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GNS Students Talk RSIS Big Build Trip to Borneo

Round Square
GNSGNS photo
Students on Round Square service trip

Two Senior School students recently returned from Borneo (South East Asia) where they participated in a 13-day Round Square Big Build Project.

From December 7 to 21 Sienna Yaremchuk ’20 and Morgan Macdonald ’21 spent their days doing project work. There was no road access to the work site, so the main job the two GNS students had was transporting materials such as bricks and concrete.

“The project took place in Tambunan village at a local orphanage,” said Sienna. “We were starting the construction of staff accommodations for the orphanage. By the end of the project, we had completed the main foundation of the building and began bricklaying.”

In December 2018, Sienna was part of the GNS service trip to Costa Rica and the experience inspired her to take on this challenge.

“I had been on a previous service trip to Costa Rica that was an amazing experience. This trip inspired me to travel to Borneo,” she said.” I was also intrigued because I knew that I would meet and work with other students from around the world.”

This was Morgan’s first Round Square trip and the first item she has ever left North America.

“I wanted to do a service project to expand my global perspective and see new cultures too,” she said.”It was challenging, but it was really rewarding—to see the direct impact of our actions was interesting because you can see how far we brought the project along from the start.”

It wasn’t only hard work for the students who participated in the trip. They were also able to enjoy rest days and to explore the area.

“Halfway through the project we spent our rest day at a beautiful waterfall, as well as exploring some local markets,” said Sienna. “Our two other cultural days took place at the end of the trip One day we had the opportunity to buy souvenirs and walk through some night markets.”

That final day where they took a boat to an island was a highlight for Morgan as well.

“We went snorkelling and swimming and were just able to relax on the beach. It was nice,” she said.

Both GNS students were able to make memories that will last a lifetime with them, including when they ran into a herd of water buffalos.

“The first morning on the project site a group of us went for a run/walk through the local town,” said Sienna. “Morgan and I were walking back to the orphanage and a herd of about 20 water buffaloes was coming down the street. We were so surprised and had no clue what to do. So, we started walking back the other way, but they began following us. Eventually, a car came down the street so we ran behind the car through the buffalos and continued running down the street. We then found out that they were completely harmless and we were worried about nothing.”