7+/-2 by Guy Quittenton
During this week, Quest had a surprised visit from the man in the shadows Mr Harvey ‘ghost’ Leared. The boys became rather apprehensive as Mr H seemed more stressed than usual about the cleanliness of the tea making station. He even managed to panic Ben Pio at one stage, quite the achievement it must be said. The tension brewed further until Mr Leared arrived sharp at eight thirty. As the eagle landed the mysterious Mr Leared was revealed to be quite the opposite. Open, chatty and an all round nice gentleman who had learnt all our names (well most of them) and was keen to hear about our experience of Quest. The boys showed him their projects in their initial stages and before lunch Mr Leared gave a lesson on how to construct our Personal Development Plan. He stated that the rules for the PDP applied to every piece of writing that we will ever do. In light of this, I will attempt to apply the rules he has taught us, and hope to produce a half decent blog.
This week may not have had the glamour of an away trip, but nonetheless it was valuable and good experiences were had all round. The reasons for this week being fantastic was that we had great evening talks, we advanced our projects, continued to build on our fitness and finally met Mr Leared.
Firstly, we were extremely lucky to once again receive Falcon teachers for evening talks. We had an impassioned talk on falconry by Mr Pierre Heyman on Tuesday. Followed by an enjoyable quiz on, ‘guess which animal this part comes from’ by Mrs Kelly. A few interesting things were learnt about falconry, such as a crowned eagles’ main prey is monkeys, but they have been known to take down impala. Some of the guys seemed stimulated by the idea of having a pet assassin, especially when someone decides that they are entitled to two sandwiches at tea. In addition, a lot was learnt by Mrs Kelly’s fun quiz. Even Mr ‘Ush’ Proudfoot realised he didn’t know all the answers. Myself and Karl, for two foreigners to southern Africa, we achieved a fluky score. Although, some would be quick to point out we did have a Zim national in our team in the form of Pio. However, we all added to our knowledge of the bush this week.
Furthermore, progression in the projects was easily seen and new skills readily learnt by the boys. For example, the Gym construction was underway and the boys learnt how to lay foundations. They also learnt that they were going to need some serious help in the form of manual labour, especially after David decided to wield a faulty pickaxe and damage one of his digits. Rory Overton and Ben Beaton learnt to expect the unexpected as Luke Bulmer decided to fall down the stairs on Sunday night and damage his ankle quite seriously. With Luke out of action the two entrepreneurs had to step up to be on track and deliver the chef’s solar shower. Moreover, Harare boy Ryan Fourie was taught how to drive a tractor, only to discover moments later that the breaks were not working and he was sent hurtling down a hill backwards. Albert’s laugh was heard all around Quiet Waters. Even though there were some mistakes, lessons were learnt this week.
In addition, in preparation for the QFT on Thursday, Mr Randle and Co upped the anti with PT. On Tuesday morning, we met in the vlei and were greeted by 12 ominous tyres arranged in a large circle. Mr Randle informed us the PT was Royal Marine inspired and once it begun we do not stop running. We ran around and around the circle, numbers were called that signified certain things such as touch the floor, change direction and ten press-ups. It was tough, but it got tougher. After forty minutes of running around and around we stopped. Then were told to sprint 100m, with a tyre, then carrying your partner. We did it more than once, even if Keaton face planted with Calum on his back. Thursday arrived and that brought the QFT. Safe to say Quest is doing us good as we all improved our stats and times. Most notably David pumped 107 press ups in two minutes. Every single boy is pushing themselves physically and it was encouraging to see so. This week, fitness is still very much on an upward curve.
Finally, as I have already spoken about we were lucky enough to meet Mr Leared. He scanned all our journals, from back to front, sickly love notes to the girlfriends and all. From this he could understand our experience, but also guide us into how we should use a journal. He informed us how they are used for aggregation, to gather all our learning experiences at Quest and ultimately, learn from them. Furthermore, he taught us about the 7+/-2 rule. That it was scientifically proven that the brain tends to focus on 5-9 things at once and on that basis, in a piece of writing the meat and drink should consist of 5-9 major themes. The boys seemed unconvinced at first, but by the end of the lesson it was clear that the PDP was not a particularly challenging prospect. Therefore, thanks to Mr Leared, we learnt how to improve our writing and how to effectively use our journals.
In conclusion, it has been an extremely successful week. All of us boys are continually learning. Whether it is new construction skills, new knowledge of the bush, improved writing or learning to push ourselves physically. One theme that we found in our lesson was that life, with all its challenges, is an opportunity to learn. I think the boys know that now and are learning a lot at Quest.
P.S Yes, I only did four themes.