Fires, Bricks, and Nature

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Cawston Ranch with Mixed Core
August 30, 2016
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Malilangwe with Mixed Core
September 18, 2016

Fires, Bricks, and Nature

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Armstrong Tent – Shannon Farrell, Rachel Bailey & Isabella Cockburn

This week has been quite a fiery occasion for the Mixed Core group. Monday was started off with usual PT at 6. After this however we had our first experience in burning fire breaks. It was treated with much enthusiasm by the pyromaniacs of the group and on the first day there was much determination by Mr. M to burn one specific bush which resisted his efforts to make it catch light. We had three of these fire break sessions; the last one being the most intense with the fire almost running away from us. The flames were huge and ate up the dry bush with ease. It was amazing to see the huge difference a simple gust of wind makes to the fire. In some places the smoke was so thick we couldn’t breathe or see a few feet in front of us. It was definitely something that will stick in our minds and the fire had a certain savage beauty to it as it blazed.

In addition to the excitement of the fires, we got some construction experience under the guidance of Mr. Sam Maphosa who was quite patient with our clumsy efforts (in some cases) to build a miniature house. The process itself is quite precise much to our surprise and was not as simple as initially thought. It certainly gave us an appreciation of what builders go through to complete a design.

We also received our tent inspections on Monday – they did not go so well unfortunately and the vast majority of us ended up sleeping out in the cold. It was reminiscent of our survival week experience and not an altogether warm encounter! We have definitely learnt our lesson – spick n span is the order of the day!

The week continued on and by Wednesday our set groups were swapping over from construction to natural acumen and vice versa. I must say natural acumen is a lot easier learning curve than construction. Mr. Macdonald is a wonderful man with a great working knowledge of the natural environs, and he has a great sense of humour and was very tolerant of our occasional exuberance.

Friday came around and we were greeted with our QFT which was nervously anticipated by our group. The measurements were the worst of it though. Everyone appears to have improved in all the set exercises and the run with some people taking off in excess of 5 minutes on their run! Well done guys!

Despite our privileges being removed due to the state of our living quarters, we did have a games evening up at the Randle’s on Friday night.  This became super competitive with teams racing through the house, colliding around corners, in order to make up time in the ‘Drawing Game’.

The end of the week saw us either going off to Bulawayo to help cater for a wedding or staying at base and celebrating Anthony’s birthday which apparently was a lot of fun for all. The wedding was definitely an eye-opening experience and it really showed us how much work goes into the behind the scenes action in the hospitality industry. It was a very long tough 16 hours on our feet cooking and washing and serving – but we definitely all felt a sense of accomplishment at the end of our time and we were rewarded for our efforts which definitely helped us keep up motivation. Thank you Carmen for the opportunity and the experience!

And so starts another week at Quest! Into the mountains we go!