Sep - Dec 2004 Quarterly Troop Magazine
Mabukuwene Nature Reserve
Fridays 19:00 - 21:00 hrs
Norman's Email address
With thanks to:- Editor, typist, distributor - Karen FitzPatrick
UNDER THE PSEUDOLACHNOSTYLIS MAPROUNEIFOLIA
What should have been a relaxed third term of the year
turned out to be a rather active period. But then,
Scoutingís motto of 'Be Prepared' was no idle choice by
our founder, Lord Baden-Powell. Despite this last school
term of the year being a time of qualifying examinations
for the next year ahead, our scouts found the time and
energy to demand active scouting. Oh well, forget about
the quiet time and read about the Scoutís accounts of
events that unfolded.
underscored the universal nature of
Scouting and that Scouting is preparing
young men for their adult life in the
community. So, my initial disappointment at
not being able to carry out the investiture in
the Matopos was well compensated for by
the nature of the report back. Further, our
meeting place is located in a nature reserve
with our 'Scout hut' built on top of a granite
outcrop, reminiscent of the Matopo hills. To
you Thomas, welcome to Scouting and our
Troop in particular.
An upsetting event for the Troop during the term was
Patrol Leader Joseph Roseís decision to leave the Troop.
The new scouts took to Joe right from the start and
they asked me several times if I couldnít persuade him
to come back. For me, I was sad for several reasons, one
being that Joe was well on his way to attaining his Sable
Award, which he was capable of gaining and I am sure he
would have treasured that achievement in years to come.
Having said that, I also appreciate that scouting plays its
part for a certain period in the development of a young
man and when that period ends and the person moves
forward in other interests and is inspired by many noble
persons in the adult world, then to leave scouting, instead of lingering on half-heartedly, is a
wise decision. As Joe mentioned to me about his scouting, - years and experiences I will have to
draw on as I grow into adulthood - indicates a mature outlook on his life and his career. I would
also like to think that by this remark, Joe enjoyed and gained much from being a scout. To you
Joe, I wish you the best for your future and if scouting has played a positive role in your life, it
has achieved its goal.
With Joeís departure, the Troop, which has witnessed a steady growth this year, with more
boys joining this last term, has been left with one Senior Scout and one Patrol Leader This
means that next year will be a difficult year in maintaining the level of scouting that has been
steadily nurtured over the years. The difficulty will stem through the large number of new
inexperienced Scouts being tutored by the two seniors and myself. Each individual Scout must
progress at his pace, for this is the hallmark of Scouting, but this will not now be easy.
However, I am sure a way will be found to ensure that each Scout will progress and that our
programme of active, hands on scouting will continue.
Mentioned in this edition of Pioneer Trail is the investiture of Thomas Timberlake into the
Troop. The investiture was held at the end of the Michigan International Camporee report back
at our meeting place, Mabukuwene Nature Reserve. In the past, I have programmed investitures
to be held in our campsite at Gordon Park, but it was impossible from a time point of view, to
organize Thomasí investiture to be held at Gordon Park in the remaining month of the year. The
investiture at our town venue was, however, still memorable, for holding it after the report back
of an international event witnessed by a supportive gathering of parents and friends,
Life today in Zimbabwe is very testing -
from whichever point one would wish to view
it. However, whether it is clear to us or not,
history is unfolding as it should. Scheduled for early next year are Zimbabweís national
parliamentary elections and if the last elections are anything to go by, the country is in for a
very lively time. With this in mind, I decided to bring forward our hike in the Chimanimani
Mountains and so the hike was held during the first week of December 2004 instead of January
2005. This hike is one of our troopís highlights of the year, as we have to travel almost six
hundred kilometres across to the eastern border of Zimbabwe where the Chimanimani
Mountains are located. Further, the mountains are real mountains quite unlike our Matopos hills
near Bulawayo and the area receives a much higher rainfall. The traveling to and from the hike
in the mountains, which rise to an altitude of 2660 metres above sea level with cool invigorating
air, the different vegetation and bird life, the abundance of crystal clear water in the mountain
rivers, all make for a magnificent area in which
to hike. An added bonus this year was that none
of the junior Scouts had ever been to the
Chimanimani Mountains and some had never
traveled so far from home. This just goes to
show what Scouting can do for individuals. A
report on our hike appears in this edition of
And now, it is back to my hammock beneath my
favourite Pseudolacnostylis Maprouneifolia with
my floppy hat pulled over my eyes as I dream of
what exciting experiences our Scouts will be
privileged to be part of in 2005. Merry
Christmas and a blessed New Year.
Matopos Cave to Worldís View
Tom, Edwin, Kieran, Chris, Connor, Dylan, Daniel, Paul, Gumbie and myself met at Danielís house,
and were taken out to the Matopos in Mr. Swannackís car and Normís Landrover. We drove into
the National Parks to Worlds View where we parked the Landrover. Then Mr Swannack drove us
to the Kezi Road to Matopos cave, in which we were going to sleep. It was an amazing cave with
Bushman cave paintings. It was a cold
night so Dylan and Christopher got a
roaring fire going which warmed and lit
the place up.
1-2 October 2004
The next morning we got up late after a
late night playing and talking. We
started the hike at about 8.00 am with
a long trip ahead. Gumbie led us through
a small marshy area where we literally
had to hack our way through. It was
amazing walking through all the vleis,
and over hills and through valleys. On
the way Paul and Gumbie tried a few
minutes of fishing at a dam we stopped
at and caught little more than a tiddler.
From the dam, we carried on walking through open bush land up to a point where we had to go
down a kopjie. This took a while to get down because of the steepness and all the stinging
nettles. Once we got down that kopjie we carried on to the Maleme River where we stopped for
a rest. We walked non-stop for the rest of the way to Worlds View where we had left Normís
We took a slow cruise back to Gordon
Park where we showered and had lunch.
That afternoon Tom, Gumbie, Paul and
myself went abseiling off Leask rock. At
first it was scary but then I got the
knack of it. We got back into Bulawayo
late and everyone was exhausted. I think
it was the most challenging hike yet.
Morning Glory Farm, Kudale Cave, Silote Hike
We all gathered at Christ the King on a hectic Friday afternoon. All nine of us were there
except Connor Paul and Gumby. For the first time Norm was actually late! Chayce had brought
along a friend from Petra School called Robbi, who wanted to come along on the hike. The whole
lot of us and our packs had to fit into Inguluwane - Normís little brown landy. It was a bumpy
ride on the Old Gwanda road but we arrived at our destination just before it got too dark. We
camped at a farm called 'Morning Glory Farm'. It had plenty of houses and dormitories, but we
slept outside. The ground was soft and great for sleeping on. We unpacked our kit and had
supper. Chris, Chayce, Dylan and Robbi got a roaring fire going which gave lots of light. After
supper we played a game of 'Ravins Hill' and went to bed far too late.
5-6 November 2004
We woke up early on Saturday and had tea and breakfast. After we had cleared up our camp we
all went exploring and found a small clean dam. This would play a great help after the hike! This
hike was a short hike only 14 kilometres and we didnít carry our packs so it was more of a walk
and exploration than a hike. Norm showed us a cave named Kudale which had many other caves
extended onto it. There was graffiti all over the cave walls but it was still a magnificent cave
and some of the Bushman paintings were very good. All of us were caving and climbing and some
of us got stuck in the narrow passageways. Once we had finished we set off to Silote Mountain.
On the way, all the guys with sticks were smashing monkey oranges, which of course was great
fun. We got to the summit of the mountain and had a good rest. About 200 metres below us to
our east was the Mtshebezi River. After our rest, we risked our necks trying to get down an
almost vertical face! Anyway, we got to the bottom safely and headed back to camp.
Once back at the farm we just swam and ate a late lunch. We had a major weed war in the dam
until Norm had to call us so we could get going
to a neighbouring farm. At this next farm
Norm attended a Matobo Conservation
Society meeting while the rest of us, led by
Tom, went swimming in deep clear pools, and
caving near the pools. We had plenty of fun
and we caught more than enough sun and went
home looking like beetroots. On the way we
went past King Mzilikaziís memorial and made
a note to include this and Mzilikaziís gravesite
on a future outing. We got back to town at
about quarter to six. A really great hike.
Michigan International Camporee Report Back
Preparations for the report-back started mid afternoon when the mountains of souvenirs that
Joe and I had brought back from the Third Michigan International Camporee were arranged for
display in our open sided 'Scout Hut' at Mabukuwene Nature Reserve. Central to the display was
a large board with over one hundred photographs taken at the Camporee.
26 November 2004
Next to this board was a huge map of America with an arrow marked on it pointing to
Northwoods Scout Reservation in the state of Michigan where the Camporee was held. On the
tables were countless badges, scarves and Troop nametapes, various designs of woggles and even
complete scout uniforms. In addition the state flags of Michigan and Virginia which in turn were
flanked by the Zimbabwean and American national flags tastefully dropped from 'sky hooks'
added to the kaleidoscope of colour transforming our 'Scout Hut' into Aladdin's cave for the
evening. Then there were brochures of the various places and towns visited - from amusement
parks to the Michigan state capital building, and on to Washington DC and itís famous landmarks.
Occupying a corner of the display tables was a computer dutifully flashing a slide show of the
Camporee events taken by American Scout Leaders Terry Lowery and Paul McKim of our Troop,
Chippewa. The CDís complemented the report-back Joe and I gave later to our own slides.
By 6.00pm the braai fires on the patio outside had burnt down to red-hot coals awaiting the
members of the Troop, their families and friends. As people arrived, so the social interaction of
talking and laughing transformed the evening with warmth and friendship.
At the appointed time of 7.30pm the last crack, whoosh, ssss of a sausage, accompanied by the
pop of bottle caps was heard as the lights dimmed. And so with a full moon rising behind our
guests, the overhead projector blazed into life with the introductory messages, the first by
Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell, who in 1929 stated:
'We should take care, in calculating patriotism into our boys and girls, that it is a patriotism,
above the narrow sentiment which usually stops at oneís own country and thus inspires jealousy
and enmity in dealing with others. Our patriotism should be of the wider, nobler kind which
recognizes justice and reasonableness in the claims of others and which leads our country into
comradeship with, and recognition of, the other nations of the world.'
This was followed by a message by Arnold Alderman; Chairman of the Connecticut International
Camporee held in 1992 of which I had been a participant.
'What good comes out of an International Camporee?
What elements will come together, propelling this experience onto a higher level?
An International Camporee is more than just a high-priced camping adventure. A Camporee is an
investment in the future. We the Scouts and Scouters, who make up the World Organization of
the Scouting Movement, send a message to the world.
We can live in peace. We can co-operate. We can maintain our individuality, while respecting and
appreciating the diversity that surrounds us. This is the value of an International Camporee.
And this is the message and meaning of Scouting.'
With these two powerful messages as, if given in person by their authors, Joe and I welcomed
our guests to the report-back.
As the slide show progressed, Joe and I took turns telling our story of adventure, experience,
and social integration with the Scouts from twenty countries of the world to do justice to both
the organizers of the Camporee, under the chairmanship of Bruce McCrea, Scout Leader of
Troop 180, Lansing, Michigan and to the authors of the two introductory messages above.
Further we wanted to bring home the statement in the passage 'Desiderata' for our world is
bleeding and we need some positive encouragement:
'With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful - strive to be happy.'
Having given our report back, the
evening came to a most fitting climax
with the investiture of a new recruit,
Thomas Timberlake, into the Scout
movement, and our Troop in particular.
The international nature of the evening,
the presence of members of the
movement as well as those non-members
who unsparingly support the ideals of
Scouting, will no doubt leave a long
lasting impression on Thomas.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all
who attended our report back. It is
support of this nature that is so
important in the overall development of our youth and for all involved in community service.
Chimanimani 2004 Expedition
On the big morning we all arrived at
Paulís house - some as early as a
quarter to seven! Until all eight of us -
namely Norm, Paul, Tim, Edwin, Dylan,
Christopher, Thomas and myself were
there and ready with our kit at 7.30.
We managed to pack all the kit into
the trailer with some truly inspired
packing by Mr Swannack, and then,
after a prayer for travelling mercies
given by Mr.Carlsson, we were off.
6-10 December 2004
The trip was uneventful in the driving
side but poor Norm had to put up with
a huge racket nearly the whole way
there from the seven of us passengers
as we tried our level best to wind and
annoy everybody else - all to no avail! After ten hours and a lot of food we all made it safely to
the waterfall lay bye where we, traditionally, would sleep. There we met up with Ken Nortjie,
from Mutare one of Norm and Paulís friends who would be our companion on the hike.
We evaluated the situation, then decided to move on and try to spend the night at the Outward
Bound School as Norman knew Mr Guy Carey from previous trips, Luck was on our side and we
were given a dorm to stay in as well as a place to leave our trailer. A big Thank You to Mr.Carey
for his hospitality.
In the morning we woke up, well
rested and leaving our trailer at
Outward Bound we moved off with our
kit in Kenís small vanette and us
bundled into the Landie.
While Norm settled our National
Parks fees we all set off, Paul and I
leading because we supposedly knew
the way, from Paulís 4 and my 3
previous trips. We had barley
travelled 200 metres when we made
our first mistake. Going down an
amazingly steep firebreak halfway
down we had our first of 3 casualties
when Dylanís bag strap snapped.
a quick fix, we moved on, Norm and
Ken having passed us to the right
on the correct path about five
minutes ago. Eventually we all
regrouped and started our climb up
Banana Grove, which would prove to
be our next test for our first time
younger scouts. Tim was on fire and
forged ahead of them but there
were numerous breaks on the way
up. All tired and glad the climb up
was over, we stopped at 'fotie halt'
for a rest. The panoramic view was
We then, after splitting into two
groups moved on, Paul and I not so
sure of the path that we were on but still leading. We were just about to leave the path and
make a beeline for our target when we saw our turnoff just a couple of hundred metres ahead.
What a relief!
We were now in sight of our target, Terryís cave, where we were to stay the night. It was now
that it started to rain, just hard enough to merit us putting on our raincoats. With new vigour
we surged forwards, knowing that we were on the final stretch. This is when our party really
started to stretch out, as those capable of speed started to show it. We then moved down into
the Bundi Valley, where a few people had problems negotiating the river, but we all managed to
cross and then it was just a short steep climb and a walk up to Terryís. Paul and Tim met some
stiff competition on the climb from two girls in the mountains. They were down by the river but
when they saw us heading off to 'their' cave, they also decided it was time to set up camp. An
intense battle ensued, Paul and Tim, I am ashamed to say, being beaten to the target. However,
with lady like courtesy they did
give us the cave, as there was a
small 'two woman' cave just
around the corner.
After lunch, four of us decided
to take a walk down to Southern
Lakes for a swim and just to
enjoy ourselves. We had our
goggles on, hoping to see some
mountain cat fish, which we had
seen last time. Unfortunately we
had no luck but it was still great
to swim in the pools, which Paul
and I managed to touch the
bottom of (an almost unheard of
feat), as the water was quite low.
After a while, we headed back to
camp, hoping to have supper prepared for us, which was wishful thinking. We arrived to find
that Norm had used his charm to some how befriend our neighbourís. So we cooked and ate
supper and then had coffee with Megan and Lucy Van de Ruit, who, after the hike was over, very
kindly helped us to badger the Chimanimani club into providing a meal for us. Then it was
bedtime, me in a wet sleeping bag as I had forgotten to waterproof my rucksack.
In the morning we woke up to salami and baked beans on toast - the joys of backwoods cooking
and then off on day two of our hike, what was planned to be and was, the most relaxed day of
our hiking. We hiked for two or three kilometres to our first stop, the jump place. One person
failed to leave the path at the right time but a search and rescue mission quickly rectified the
mistake, then we all had a bit of fun in the water, most of us doing the jumps. Man the water
was cold; we were all bluey-purple by the time we got out.
After that we continued on, stopping at Peterhouse cave for lunch and the Bundi Falls for
another swim. The joys of the
Chimanimaniís! Then it was a short
climb up onto the Bundi plain. Paul and
I stopped to fish at a few of the pools
but had no luck - no supper for us
tonight! The fishermanís cave was just
a short walk away and there we
stopped. It was a bit small for nine of
us but we all managed to squeeze in.
Paul, Tim, Tom and I then decided to
climb Peza, the mountain above our
cave. It was a long easy climb so we
travelled fast and made it in time to
see a whole lot of white mist all around
us. What a view! However, the mist
soon cleared showing us some
breathtaking views as it slid aside.
While up there we also border jumped into Mozambique, but thankfully we werenít caught. We
learned that, when you look, itís amazing what you can see. Within 5 metres of the beacon we
found a scorpion as well as two snails with black waggy tails battling it out with a wasp.
The climb down was quite treacherous as the mud was slippery and if you werenít careful youíd
end up on your backside, something we managed to do, not just once but on numerous occasions.
We arrived back quite late and proceeded to stuff ourselves with 2-minute noodles - Paul and I
had 3 packets each - and after that we still had instant pudding. Oh, the joys of backwoods
In the morning we woke up just in time to say goodbye to the mountains and after a quick
breakfast we cleaned up, finding two gas canisters telling of our illustrious past in the
mountains. One, left from 2000 and the other, we had hidden in 2003. We then hiked to the
sphinx and headed down the Hadangi trail to leave the mountains. It was dangerous because of
the continuous rain and we had to travel at a snailís pace. We made it down and left the Park,
speeded up our pace a bit - not because it was less slippery, but it was less dangerous. On the
one stretch of about 10 metres, everyone except Chris landed on their butt. We then reached
the main road - just a short while and weíd be finished. Our party split up along the way, most
attempting a short cut, but Ed and I stuck to the road. Needless to say we got back to the
Outward Bound School first.
We then went for a swim at Tessaís Pool. It was great after being hot and sweaty to dive into
the pool. They also had some jumps there, which we did. We went down to the pool about three
or four times that day. It was nice to walk about without a pack on your back.
That evening we had a presentation where we were all given specially printed T- shirts with the
2004 Chimanimani Hike logo which had been donated by an anonymous donor. Thanks to them -
they know who they are.
Then after a bit of rough and tumble to expend the kids energies and a quick check up, we
headed off for our supper at the Chimanimani Club and after that we went to the van de Ruitís
house for coffee.
A really great evening thanks to the Van de Ruitís.
The next morning we woke up early, but after breakfast, we still left late but not before saying
cheers to our new friend, Ken. On the way back we stopped at Chirinda forest, an absolutely
awe-inspiring place, to see the Big Tree. As a result we were slightly late on our return home.
Everyone was also a lot quieter on the way back, lacking some of the spark that they had on the
way up. So, after a peaceful trip back we all, Iím sure, had a great nightís sleep.
What a trip!
Being an interested supporter of the youngsters of the 1st Bulawayo (Pioneer) Scout Troop and
having been invited to take part in the December 2004 Chimanimani Hike with the Troop,
Norman asked me to write a few impressions on how I viewed the Hike.
So, my first comment is that, being aged, and supremely unfit, I did most of my viewing from
quite a long way behind the rest of the Scouts, so my observations will necessarily be
I was interested to see that, apart from Paul and Jonathan, the 17 and 18-year-old Senior
Scouts, the remainder of the members were five lighties 11, 12 and 13 years old, who had only
joined Scouting earlier in the year. Some, from a Cub Pack and others, completely new to the
Scouting movement. This was a surprise to me, because, being a little out of touch with reality, I
had certain reservations about the ability of these young Scouts to complete this rather
strenuous hike, carrying their rucksacks for three days, loaded up with kit and sleeping bags,
food and other essentials from Loving Mothers.
I was wrong of course and considerably humbled too, because they and the Seniors were always
miles ahead of me on the hike and I was always last to arrive at the overnight stops, even
allowing for their swim stops along the route.
I had very little to do with the 'Lighties' individually, as I was a stranger to them. In any case,
they did all their own cooking and catering while I was fortunate to eat with the adult group.
Lucky me, because the Lighties seemed at times to have the weirdest sort of ideas about menus,
the composition of ingredients for their meals and their own ideas as to meal times.
Inevitably, there were sometimes a few raised voices over the choice of sleeping places, choice
of meals, lost items of kit but on the whole, these were brief confrontations. They did make for
amusing interludes which all added up to a great Scouting experience.
One of the things which impressed me was the care and consideration exhibited by the two
Senior Scouts to the Lighties, either individually or as a group. I found this very encouraging
because it is not usually the case between groups with such a difference in ages. Of course, I
was delighted in their consideration for me as well, even though the age difference was so much
What else? Well, I have no doubt that all members of the Hike were pleased to have taken part
in it and proud to tell their friends and relatives of their achievements and the wonder and
beauty of the Chims. I have no doubt that there will be a long waiting list of Scouts who wish to
take part in Normanís next Chimani hike.
My sincere thanks to Norman for inviting me, and to all the participants for their help,
consideration and tolerance on the hike. I hope to meet up with them again, but I donít think
that it will be on a hike. Preferably on a more relaxed Troop activity.
1st BULAWAYO (PIONEER) SCOUT TROOP
TROOP PROGRAMME OF ACTIVITIES
JANUARY TO APRIL 2005
7 - 8 Monthly Hike
9 Gordon Park Service @ 12:00 noon
11 Schools Open
14 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
21 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
28 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
4 - 5 Monthly Hike
11 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
12 - 13 Parents Camp
13 Gordon Park Service @ 12:00 noon
18 - 20 Baden-Powell Camp
20 Baden-Powell Day Service: Gordon Park @ 12:00 noon
25 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
4 - 5 Monthly Hike
11 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
12 Africa Scout Day
13 Gordon Park Service @ 12:00 noon
18 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
25 - 28 Easter
1 - 2 Monthly Hike
7 School Closes
8 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene (Sausage Sizzle)
10 Gordon Park Service: 12:00 noon
15 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
22 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
23 Saint Georgeís Day
29 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
Additional Activities May Be Added
A List of folks
I have a list of folks I know, all written in a book,
And every year when Christmas comes, I go and take a look,
And that is when I realise that these names are a part
Not of the book theyíre written in, but of my very heart.
For each one stands for SOMEONE who has crossed my path sometime,
And in that meeting theyíve become the Rhythm and the Rhyme,
I really feel that Iím composed of each remembered name.
And where it sounds fantastic for me to make this claim,
And while you may not be aware of any 'special link',
Just meeting you has changed my life a lot more than you think.
For once Iíve met somebody, the years cannot erase
The memory of a pleasant word or of a friendly face.
So never think my Christmas wish is just a pure routine
Of names upon a Christmas list, forgotten in between.
For when I send a Christmas wish that is addressed to you,
Itís because youíre on the list of folk whom Iím indebted to.
For I am but the total of the many folks Iíve met,
And you happen to be one of those I prefer not to forget.
And whether I have known you for many years or few,
In some way you have had a part in shaping things I do.
And every year when Christmas comes, I realise anew,
The best thing life can offer is meeting folk like you!
And may the spirit of Christmas that forever endures,
Leave itsí richest blessings in the heart of you and yours.