Nelson Mandela once wrote: “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” The Eastern Cape bush is one of those largely unchanging places and our Grade 8 boys spent four days enjoying her hospitality and they were certainly forced to engage with some of the ways of thinking within themselves that required changing.
The group walked out to Table Farm on Saturday afternoon and made good time in getting there. They then needed to set up camp and a few boys made some very creative accommodation arrangements on the first night owing to a few missing tent poles. The boys were taught how to make a Dakota stove and to cook safely in the open. They were also introduced to a new best friend, Doug, who became a very useful acquaintance indeed.
For a number of boys this was their first real experience of camping. Setting up a campsite and discovering some of the skills required to make life workable in the outdoors proved a challenge for many and the notion that one has to work as a team to succeed was a lesson that many onlylearnt towards the end of the camp. Rationing too was a foreign concept and some boys probably appreciated their meal in the dining hall when they got back to school. Some boys, however, proved that they were able to supplement their diets by catching a number of fish in the dam and cooking them over a fire for lunch.
The camp did not fail to produce a bit of drama too, with the sinking of one of the water crafts. A challenge has been laid down for the Scuba Club to test their salvaging skills. Perhaps they can raise the Titanic from the murky depths of the Camp Khula dam?
The boys were also taught how to bake bread which they enjoyed at supper time on nights two and three. They also got a taste of what some of the terrain they will experience on the Journey will be like when they went riding on the mountain bikes kindly provided by Mr Boshoff.
The boys were well-behaved on the whole and even though many experienced the camp as real hardship, they will take a lot away from this and will reflect on what they learnt for a long time to come.
A very special word of thanks must go to the staff and student tutors who accompanied the boys on the camp. Their time, especially at the end of a long term, was much-appreciated.