Something’s Cooking – by Fiennes Tent
Matthew Morkel, Kyle McDonald and Harry Taylor
As the sun rose to become a Monday dawn, groups 1 and 2 began their cooking lessons with Mrs. Carmen Rivett, a professional caterer. From the Monday to the Wednesday, they prepared and cooked meals for their fellow group members in groups 3 and 4, who at the time were learning about basic car mechanics and the flora and fauna that surround the Quest campus in the Quiet Waters Conservation Area. We learned to cook a variety of dishes, including curries, stews, pizza, soups, lasagna and several different puddings. Unfortunately, on the Monday night, while we were preparing a roast chicken dinner, we experienced a power cut. Following the mantra of “make a plan”, we turned this into a chicken stew.
On the Tuesday night, after a delicious dinner of pizza, we experienced some wine tasting, after being shown how to do it properly. We tasted several different grape varieties of South African wines from a wide range of wine regions within South Africa. Some of us tasted more than most.
A three course dinner on the Wednesday evening was our final test to prove that we had comprehended all that we had learnt over the last 3 days. We were reasonably successful, although Mrs. Rivett did question the use of yellow plastic as an ingredient in soup!!!
On Thursday morning, straight after Physical Training, we loaded our bikes and backpacks and headed into the Eastern Matopos, for a two day trek which included mountain biking and hiking, as well as a little rock climbing, thanks to Mr M’s questionable navigation skills.
The expedition started off a little bumpily, with Morkel going straight over his handlebars directly into a jay-walking cow. Harry and Joel also got lost on a straight road. We then had a swimming break at the beautiful Diana’s Pools, where we all bore expressions of intense pain as we slid down the rock into the pool itself.
Passing through the small villages and rural settlements, we were pleasantly surprised by the sheer friendliness and cheerfulness of the local people, as well as the abundance of Marula trees, which we used as supply stops. Towards the end of Thursday, everything was a little blurry. (this was probably due to the amount of marulas consumed and carried by the author –ed)
On the final descent, we experienced what for many of us was our first taste of serious downhill mountain biking. It was not a roaring success. Both Mr. Marffy and Mr. Randle fell off their bikes, as well as many of us within the group.
We then camped the night on a river bed near some the beautiful Lumane Falls, which we then scrambled up the next day. After climbing the waterfall and walking through some pretty little settlements, all while enjoying the beautiful flora and fauna of the Matopos (and eating yet more marulas), we eventually came to a large dam, which had been built back in the ‘90s to provide water for Bulawayo. The hulking trunks of the drowned trees and the domes of the surrounding granite kopjes made us truly appreciate the beauty of this majestic area.
In order to procure a 6 pack of beer, Kyle, Andrew and Haden attempted to ride cows. Unfortunately, Kyle got kicked off one before he could properly mount it. After all this excitement, we were then treated to paintball.
Paintball began with 4 rounds of ‘Capture the Flag’ – shirtless. A lot people lost their manly pride that day. We were then corralled into a circle, where we all ran in opposite directions, firing shots as we sprinted to safety. Finally, we played Napoleon Bonaparte- dueling. In this, two teams of 4 took alternative shots at each other. The opposing team could not move while being shot at. A few girlish screams could be heard echoing off the granite of the surrounding valley. The winning shot will mean that Branden will unfortunately never have any children of his own.
Hobbling onwards with pain, we arrived at the wall of the dam that held back the lake itself. We proceeded to jump off the dam into the water, which due to the drought resulted in a leap of about 9 meters from the top of the dam to the surface of the lake. Exhausted yet exhilarated with adrenaline still pumping, we returned to Quest.
Saturday started with PT/Team building exercises which was followed by us all doing some work around the Quest campus and the Quiet Waters area ranging from: collecting firewood; bush clearing; building a garden; herbicide spraying; putting a coat of varnish on a deck and so forth. This was then followed by a long overdue trip to Bulawayo to finally get our Zimbabwean SIM cards so we could communicate with our families back home.
Sunday was a day of relaxing and watching sports for some but for others it started with some extra optional work in the Quiet Waters Reserve area. Lunch was a braai at the dam followed by some fishing and swimming to end of a varied yet fantastic week, that had tested us both academically and physically.