by NZ CATHOLIC staff
CHRISTCHURCH — The chance to show solidarity with those living in
poverty saw 46 students from Marian and Catholic Cathedral Colleges sleep rough on the weekend of April 5 and 6.
As part of the first nationwide challenge, initiated by Caritas, students were sponsored to spend 24 hours sleeping outside in cardboard boxes, eating at a soup kitchen and undertaking
activities to help them understand the everyday issues faced by those with the least in the Solomon Islands.
The experience was made even more real for the students with constant drizzle and rain setting in over the weekend.
“The rain definitely made everything a bit harder,” said Elizabeth
Everingham, a year 13 student from Marian College. “We had to try
lots of different ways to make sure the tarpaulins kept our cardboard boxes dry.”
Elizabeth said the rain made the weekend feel quite sombre. “It was
like we had gone through more because the conditions weren’t so easy.”
During the weekend students made as many paper bags as they could
and traded them for buttons — the currency for the weekend. “We worked hard in our mini ‘sweatshop’ to make enough to buy the cardboard cartons that would be our shelters,” said Nicole
Sequeira, a fellow year 13 student at Marian.
Students also had the chance to hear firsthand about life in the Solomons, courtesy of a talk by a Kiwi policeman who was stationed in the Islands recently.
Despite all the challenges, the girls said they would love to do it
“We decided to commit to the challenge because it is an important
issue for us and once we were there it was an amazingly reflective
and affirming time,” said Nicole.