Lions, Elephants and Pirates
By Ali Bruce of Livingston Tent
Probably the most difficult task for the Quest team is having to keep both intakes entertained during a relatively quiet week. Both intake 1 and 2 have been in and around camp this week, with Project week and Tech week 3 respectively, which means the staff have had their hands full with the bunch of ‘delinquents’ that make up our Quest group.
Entertaining us can be a fairly simple task through the use of physical activity; we can spend hours on end throwing rocks at trees, but throwing rocks at trees isn’t what Quest is about. We are here to learn more valuable skills than that and thus the Quest staff arranged a series of interesting talks to stimulate us mentally.
Our first talk was an incredible recounting of events from a man called André Van Rooyen. André’s story is one of a very unique nature – he is the survivor of a lion attack. His account of the incident was enthralling but more so he provided a truly inspirational view on how to overcome challenges, by explaining the difficulties he faced after losing sight in one eye following this traumatic experience. None of us plan on losing an eye at any point in the near future, but his underlying message applied to so much more than the actual event. After the first of our three scheduled talks for this week, we have learnt so much about facing individual challenges that life can throw at us.
The second of our talks was from a lady who bestowed her knowledge and love of elephants upon us. Debbie Kelly has worked with elephants her whole adult life, so we were hugely privileged to be exposed to such knowledge on such an interesting topic. Elephants, which are regularly just seen as big grey animals, (and often unfairly used as an insult to Michael Wright in reference to his paunch,) have vastly changed status in our minds following this enlightening talk. They are no longer just exciting to view on a game drive or a species threatened by poaching; they are amongst some of the world’s most fascinating animals with their unique behavioral patterns.
Clive Midlane was one of the most interesting men I have ever come across. He spoke to us about anti-piracy. Not the piracy we see on a daily basis, as Mr. Galloway boasts his array of pirated DVDs, but the real piracy on the high seas. This piracy has been around for centuries (long before the invention of the DVD or the arrival of Mr. G) He would discuss the piracy that involves the capturing of ships. Never before has somebody had the somewhat brain-dead audience so transfixed. Even Patrick Botton managed to put aside any pending “illnesses” to attend this talk. Clive gave us a remarkable overview of his involvement in private security and the fight against pirates off the coast of Somalia. He is a man who has done it all – from fighting pirates, to private security in hotspots of Afghanistan; from spending 8 months at sea, to his most challenging task of running a small café in Bulawayo. With this in mind, we then had to host Mr. Midlane at the ‘Come Dine’ evening at the Randle’s house.
Ed.’s Note: I am unsure as to whether Mr. Bruce felt unable to write about his hosting abilities or if it was just that the bus to the Chimanimanis was leaving but he failed to elaborate on the ‘Come Dine’ evening hosted by himself, Peter Symons and Nick Bailey. Recipes from ‘home’ and advice from various females was sought and the result was a very good meal. Chicken’s roasted over bottles of Savanna, baked potatoes and salad were produced for main course and a Swiss roll and ice cream pudding, learned earlier on during the year on the cooking course, was revealed with flair and surprise on the cooks behalf as they had expected it to collapse! Our hosts were excellent and provided great humour with various games, and the flow of conversation was constant. This of course had nothing to do with the fact that 3 ‘guests’ were female, blonde and under the age of 30! The evening was rounded off with a highly cerebral party game involving chocolate.