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Caritas Challenge provides food for thought

Daniel Pereira

The Caritas Challenge event took place on the evening of Friday 23 June 2023 in the school Auditorium with a variety of Year 11, 12 and 13 students participating. The concept of this year’s Caritas Challenge was to stimulate the life of people living in Fiji, where people face many challenges like poverty and climate change.  There were four challenges focused around these categories: Sweat It, Move It, Stop it and Live it with the central theme based on Catholic Scripture, John 8:12, “I am the light of the world”.

When students all arrived, there was a small video played for them about the focus of the Caritas Challenge throughout New Zealand. This was followed by a short introduction from the leaders and a game of spectrum. Once the games were completed, everyone was split into four different groups and the activities began.

The first challenge centred around the focus of ‘Move it’ and involved water. The aim was for a team to fill up their bucket with water at their home base. The catch was that the barrel, containing the water, was far from them and to they had to fill their buckets with a bottle that had holes in it. The winning team was the team that did this the fastest.  It helped students understand the difficulties some people face when having to travel long distances for access to necessities like food, healthcare, fresh & clean water, and education. It also allowed students to gain an insight into the obstacles refugees and migrants face when undertaking the long journeys to find a safe and fulfilling place to live.

The second challenge centred around the focus of ‘Live it’ and involved building huts. The aim was for a team to build a hut/shelter for their full team to fit into. They were only allowed to use scissors, tape, and a limited amount of cardboard. The winning team was the team that built a hut that was stylish, had space and was durable. Its aim was to provide an opportunity for students to personally experience what it might be like to live in a makeshift shelter after being forced to leave your home. It also allowed them to act in solidarity with the poor and vulnerable.

In the third challenge centred around the focus of ‘Sweat it’ and involved teams enjoying a time-based scavenger hunt. Questions were based on Caritas world issues. Teams started off a sheet of all the questions, and then had to figure out the clues to the locations of the answers. The winning team was the team that a finished the fastest. It provided students with the opportunity to stand in solidarity with others who are forced to work in such demanding environments and conditions.

The final challenge centred around the focus of ‘Stop it’ and was a faith-based activity. Teams had to decipher John 8:12-14, the scripture that was the theme for the challenge and then reflect on the reading. The winning team was the team that could decipher the reading the fastest. It enabled students time away from their devices (which would have helped them to decipher the scripture faster) but it allowed them to appreciate the less fortunate and privileged then us who don’t have technology at their fingertips.

With all the teams all tired and worn-out, it was time for a classic kiwi sausage sizzle, with a twist.  As every team were awarded points for every challenge of the night, there were teams with array of points.  The winning team celebrated a feast of everything they wanted with their sausage sizzle, like tomato sauce, onions and multiple sausages.  Whereas the lowest team only received a single sausage on bread.

To finish the evening, we all enjoyed two activities: an obstacle course and a small liturgy reflection. While the obstacle course worked on team building skills, the small liturgy reflection allowed students to reflect on what they were grateful for while thinking about the scriptures, the word of God, and words of wisdom being shared by the leaders. The night ended on a positive note with a small awards ceremony to congratulate those who had taken part in the Caritas Challenge.

Click this link to watch a short video of the evening’s events.

A huge thanks goes out to the student leadership that organised the Caritas Challenge – Jennifer Zeng, Teresa Croker, Alexandria Lazatin, Albin Paulson, Ethan Karl, and Daniel Pereira. It would have also not been possible without the support of several teachers which helped make this event run smoothly: Ms. Smith, Mr. Tamayo, Mr. Piggin, Mr. MacLeod, Mrs. Sullivan and Mrs. Kevern.