RUNNING THE GAUNTLET…… AND OTHER ACTIVITIES!
By Angus Bidwell and Hugo Prinsloo of Marco Polo Tent
After a relaxing weekend most of the group had recovered from the previous weeks exertions and we started Monday in a good and positive mood. Alas it was not to last. During morning fitness our tents were inspected and very few of them were in an acceptable state. We were told of the inspection, but were not told of the consequences until later on that evening. The rest of the day was spent settling into our new lessons. 10 people started the cooking course, 5 on mechanics where we stripped an engine, and 5 on learning about the flora and fauna of the area. The new cooking group made delicious food, (almost as good as last weeks!). One of the cooks, Hugo, received an unexpected lip Botox from a bee and spent the next two days with a pout any super model would have been envious of! Unfortunately for Hugo, nobody could take him seriously, not even Mrs Randle. After dinner we were told of our punishment for the state of our tents …. the night in the bush with only our sleeping bags and water bottles.
Tuesday was predictably a long and tiring day. Very few had had a comfortable sleep, we were dirty and our previously good mood was diminishing. We were all looking forward to being back in our comfortable tents….. however, Quest being Quest, we were once again back in the bush for another night, however we were given the ‘luxury’ of being allowed to take our roll mats this time. Yay.
On Wednesday the flora and fauna groups swapped over and the cooking group were left in the kitchen…. unattended and challenged to make dinner for everyone…. and it had to be better than last week’s unassisted dinner in order to win a crate of beer. Fortunately for them, they won, but it was very close so last week’s group also got a beer each.
The cooking group then left the kitchen behind and headed for the eastern Matopos. They had a tough day doing a 50km bike ride on very rough track, in searing heat, but surrounded by such spectacular beauty that it helped to distract them. During the bike ride there were the standard few falls but no serious injuries.
The remaining ten back at camp had a lovely time ‘getting the tan on’ and attending lessons. (hopefully not in that order -ed) On Friday night at the bar two unfortunate Brits were soundly beaten at a game of table football and as a previous blog mentioned, the punishment is to run to the Randle’s house and back butt naked!! (Guys.. remember this is a game park.. don’t scare the wildlife!!-ed)
The Matopos group started their short walk from Lumane Falls to Mtshebezi. Once at the dam, they had a break then began a game of ‘topless paintball’. Some of the participants with questionable sanity decided to get shot before the first game to ‘condition themselves to the pain’. By the end of the game everyone had been shot, with one unfortunate individual holding the record of 13 hits. They arrived back at Quest that evening to the news of the nights entertainment, (Two handsomely built Brits stripped naked and running to the Randles house and back, dodging ‘encouragement’ from the instructors!) which they wouldn’t have wanted to miss!!
An early morning swim in the College’s stunning 50m pool on Saturday made many of us realise that we weren’t as fit as we thought. We then worked in Quiet Waters, checking fences, clearing tracks and repairing roads, until lunchtime. We were then given the rest of the weekend off.
On Sunday it was Haydn’s 20th birthday. However because everyone is broke we have decided to save the celebrations until next week’s payday. (We had an impromptu celebratory sundowners on top of a hill, joined by a group of the horse riders to mark the occasion… unknown at time of going to press!-ed)
This week has been very hot, reaching temperatures of 41˚C. We have all learnt that by trying to stay as a team and push through obstacles together is better than separating your-self from the group. Hopefully next week we won’t spend 2 nights sleeping in the bush, battling mosquitoes and hard ground!