Hair-rais­ing time as Le­ston pre­pares for vol­un­teer­ing

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - FEATURES - BY JAMES WYLLIE

An Aberdeen young­ster is pre­par­ing for a once in a life­time trip to South Africa.

Le­ston D’Costa, 17, will join his Aberdeen Gram­mar class­mates and spend a month vol­un­teer­ing and im­mers­ing him­self in the cul­tures of four dif­fer­ent coun­tries in June.

The trip will be­gin with a gru­elling start, how­ever, with the group tak­ing on a trek over some of the hardest walks in the area.

Cross­ing the bor­ders of South Africa and Le­sotho, Le­ston will start his ex­pe­di­tion by fol­low­ing the 37-mile Gi­ant’s Cup Hik­ing Trail.

The trek will take the 36-strong group five days, tack­ling al­ti­tudes of up to 2,876m (9,435ft) as they ven­ture through grassy plains, deep val­leys and river pools.

And af­ter com­plet­ing the walk, the group will face some more hard work trav­el­ling to Swazi­land, which has the high­est HIV preva­lence rate in the world.

Over the next six days, Le­ston and his friends will work with some of the coun­try’s 180,000 chil­dren who have been or­phaned by Aids.

Sup­ported by travel com­pany World Chal­lenge, the young­sters will help com­mu­ni­ties by build­ing shel­ters and a med­i­cal cen­tre.

They will then en­joy some time re­lax­ing with a week ex­plor­ing some of Mozam­bique’s adren­a­line ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing a wildlife sa­fari and swim­ming with sharks.

Le­ston, who is cur­rently wait­ing to find out if he will be ac­cepted to study medicine at univer­sity, said: “I think it will be a re­ally good op­por­tu­nity to go abroad and ex­pe­ri­ence a new cul­ture be­fore I head to univer­sity.

“It will be with all my school­friends too, so it will be good to do this be­fore I leave.

“My brother went to Peru four years ago and he had a great time and got to see Machu Pic­chu, and it was his idea for me to go for this.”

Le­ston is cur­rently in the mid­dle of rais­ing the money he needs to pay for the jour­ney.

“Each of the stu­dents has to raise £4,000 for them­selves and then the group as a whole needs £10,000 for the ac­tiv­i­ties at the end,” he said.

As well as con­tin­u­ing his lessons at school, Le­ston has been work­ing part-time at a restau­rant and a care home to raise the funds needed for the trip. He has also been us­ing his free time to tu­tor other school pupils in maths and chess, but his big­gest money-earner so far has been cut­ting off all his hair.

He added: “It was re­ally long and it got to the point where my brother sug­gested I should just shave it all off to raise money.

“I re­ceived about £560 in do­na­tions on­line and then other peo­ple gave me money, so I got around £650 from it al­to­gether.”

Pic­ture cour­tesy of reader Chris Mur­ray, Stornoway

Lusken­tyre on Har­ris, voted one of the best beaches in the UK. Am­a­teur pho­tog­ra­phers are in­vited to sub­mit pic­tures for in­clu­sion. Please send high-qual­ity prints to: Scot­tish Life, Press and Jour­nal, Lang Stra­cht, Aberdeen, AB15 6DF.

We are sorry that we are un­able to re­turn them. You can e-mail your pho­to­graphs to: pj.pic­

Le­ston D’Costa cut his hair off to raise money to­wards the trip to South Africa

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.