Sunday, November 4, 2012

Residential Field Trip

This morning the kids helped with creating this design, made from the target that was used for Thing One's shooting practice during a school field trip in October. We're planning to make it into a shirt for the Y6 class. (shhh, it's a surprise!)  By now we have sent out a batch of photos from the camp (the same ones here) but with my explanations.  I thought it would be good for the boy to tell you about the week himself. (I know it's a bit annoying but I kept the kids name out.)

This is the mud slide which is part of the obstacle course. There were more than a dozen obstacles and the race through the course was timed. We had two teams and the fastest team to get their whole team through the course would win. Our team, the LIONS had 12 kids. For this obstacle, Four Lions were at the top of the mud slide and the rest of the team was at the bottom.  At the bottom of the slide there was a bucket with water and some cups. At the top of the slide was an empty bucket.  The goal was to fill the top bucket using the cups and without moving the buckets.  We had to take a cup, fill it with water go to the slide and wait for a Lion at the top to pull us up.  It was very slippery and we needed the help to get to the top.  Once we were at the top we poured the cup of water into the top bucket and go back down the slide to do it again until the top bucket was full.

R's birthday was during camp. The camp cooks made him a cake and we celebrated after lunch!

A section of the Nkanga River was dammed up and there were fishing ponds below the dam.  We fished with bamboo poles and porcupine quill floats.  We hooked live worms for bait and caught bream and yellow bellied somethings.  There was a contest between teams to see who caught the most, the biggest and the smallest.  I got second place for the smallest.  K and J (above) caught the most fish -- 40 and 36.  Most of us caught around 10.  For the final count I had 7 -- 4 fish went missing!  I don't know where I put them! We turned all the fish over to the staff.

MAKING OUR OWN BREAKFAST!  We did this for two mornings. Our group (we spilt up into 6 cooking groups) had bacon and eggs for breakfast. Another morning we made french toast (sort of). Each group was given some matches and a bit of straw.  We collected small sticks and big sticks and lit the fires ourselves. No problem. Bacon is my favourite thing for breakfast. The french toast....was blleeehhhhCHHhhh.  No one really liked it.  I wasn't in charge of the french toast.  We have a recipe at home that I love but we did not have all these ingredients.

The dissection of the puku was really fun.  One of the camp staff shot a puku and hung it up for our lesson. The camp director started by cutting kind of have to start by cutting the testicles to get a starting point, from there you get a tool that looks like a bottle of the girls put this tool in the hole and pulled down so it cut the skin down to the neck. From there we skinned the whole puku.

This is the puku's heart.  F has his finger in the aorta, which brings blood into the heart.  I did not touch the heart.  We got to see and (if we wanted to) touch the different organs -- stomachs, teeth, brain, eyes, lungs, intestines, bladder, etc.  The eyes have a reflective part at the back - if you shine a light at night into the darkness and if there are animals....the eyes shine back because of this. (You can sometimes even tell what kind of animal is hiding in the darkness from the colour of the reflection). The dissection was COOL!  I had never seen a body's insides.  Some things were a bit gross but was AWESOME!

Shooting was by far my favourite activity.  Using an air rifle, we shot at hyena and wildebeest targets, balloons, and tin cans.  Some kids went out shooting animals and shot common birds like guinea aren't allowed to shoot any old animal you see!

Again!  The obstacle course.  There were 4 boats in the camp: the Jacana (it was the tippiest), Kingfisher, Otter, and Nkwazi; each holds 6.

Another obstacle in the course was the tunnel....

Last in the obstacle course was the rope bridge over the river.  Someone in the other team fell off. The Lions' best time was 22 minutes for the whole course, the Puff Adders best time was 37 minutes.  We beat them by a lot!  The canoeing was the worst for them....they just kept going from bank to bank instead of up river.  Plus they thought it would help to have swimmers in the river but that made them go slow.  The canoeing was our fastest obstacle!

AHHHHHHHH!!!! The zip line ends in the river - SPLASH!

The camp has a cattle and sheep ranch. We watched the sheep and cattle go thru the 'dip'....they get treated for tics when they go thru it and THEY DON'T LIKE IT! The baby cattle needed help with swimming.  There were stairs getting out of the dip.  The camps water crazy dog wanted to go into the dip.  At the ranch we got to hold lambs (the lambs didn't go through the dip).  This is NOT how you are supposed to hold a a baby??

A getting his shot gun aim checked before going out shooting.  His finger is OFF the trigger.

The camp has 8 dogs:  Maple, Sydney (the water crazy one), Ciah and Jet (who looks like mini-Ruby and Ruby), Dipstick, Millie and her pup Rufus (who got a porcupine quill in his eye), and my favourite (above) Bobo.

Tug of War!  The Puff Adders won!

Water, water, everywhere! This was an activity separate from the obstacle course.  The winning team was the team whose hole-y blue water can had the most water in it after 5 minutes.  Each team starts with 5 buckets and 50 corks.  You can trade a bucket in for 25 corks.  The Lion team won - our water was about waist-high after 5 minutes.  We traded in FOUR at at time...when we needed more corks, we traded another bucket.  Not all the corks fit properly so even the corked holes leaked.

 Here is one of the camp staff with Sydney - we flipped their canoe for fun during our free time!  We got to do the zipline, swimming, the rope bridge, and canoeing during free time.

We went net fishing AND pole fishing. We are all fish-kissing for this photo!

(back to mom) this was taken straight off the bus.  All the kids were in various states of disarray but this particular child was FILTHY and totally in a daze; he had food and leaves in his hair and dirt and mud all over his face.  The funny thing is that when he packed his toilet kit, he made a point of packing this travel pack of Pond's Hand and Face wipes. At the last minute, he took it OUT of the toilet kit and put it in the outside pocket of his backpack instead so he could get to it easily.  Apparently...not easily enough!  After the hugs, hellos and welcome backs we had this exchange:

MOM: Did you brush your hair at all this week??!
O:  I tried to.  Once.
MOM:  Really.
O: But I washed it every day!

Seeing how my good friend in college met her future husband on a beach in Fiji because of his hair, I'm  this way I am not sure how to respond to this usually messy and annoying fashion statement of my own child.....(which isn't meant as a statement of any sort).  My friend met her future-hubby while she was visiting me; they got to know eachother while she brushed the knots and unintentional dreds from his sunbleached nest of shoulder-length surfer locks. He was at the end of a round-the world surf trip and needed some tidying up before re-entering society and reuniting with his family in London.  Maybe this is why I have a soft spot for O and his own nest/bed-head?  You never know how it could come in handy.

Anyway, one last insight into camp life, a journal entry from day 4:

"Thursday 11th October 2012:  We were ready for inspection at 6 hrs.  We got 9/10.  We were out of the tent in no time at all.  We started to do exersizes.  Next we had the running race again.  This time I came second.  The water balloon game was so hard.  No team did it. 
AAHHH, BACON! Nice cooked bacon for breakfast.
The anatomy lesson was so cool.  They cut up a puku. 
The canoe race was hard.  We got stuck TWICE!
SHOOTING!  It was more fun this time because we shot balloons. 
At last, lunch.  I was SO HUNGRY.
Again, we did the obstacle course.  The mud slide was the hardest. 
Fishing was my 2nd favourite activity.  We had to trap fish in a net.  "HA HA - Got you, Fishes!"

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