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Jan - Apr 2005 Quarterly Troop Magazine

Pioneer Trail Pick emblem
Mabukuwene Nature Reserve
Fridays 19:00 - 21:00 hrs
Scout Leader
Norman Scott
Norman's Email address

With thanks to the publishing team:-
Mrs Helen Rorke, Mr Graham Ralphs, Mrs Karen FitzPatrick


Jonathan de Jong, our senior Scout, did himself proud by obtaining four A’s in his Cambridge “A” – Level examinations that he wrote at the end of last year. Jonathan who attended Petra Secondary School is now taking a “gap” year in England before starting university in a year or two’s time. Our hearty congratulations Gumbie, well done on such an outstanding achievement and all the very best for your future. PS. We all miss you.

In early February six new recruits were invested into the Troop at the campfire held during our parents weekend in our campsite at Gordon Park. Of the six, four were newcomers to the movement, having heard about our scouting exploits from their friends. As a report of the camp appears in this edition of Pioneer Trail, all I would like to say is welcome to our Troop and I would encourage you to actively participate in all that our programme has to offer.

The Troop joined with 186 other Scouts and Cubs from Bulawayo in the annual Baden-Powell Camp held at Gordon Park from 18 – 20 February 2005. Despite the shortages of food stuffs and fuel coupled with the high cost of living our country is currently experiencing, I feel this large turnout of Scouts is a demonstration of a true Scouting spirit which comes to the fore in very trying circumstances. A sincere Bravo to all. During the Baden-Powell Day service on the Sunday of the camp, five long serving members of Scouting here in Matabeleland Province, each were awarded Zimbabwe’s highest Scouting award, The Golden Lion. This award is given to those adults who have given, “Services of the most exceptional character over many years”. The Troop’s congratulations are extended to Mrs Rosemary Moody, Mrs Aurielle Wilcox, Mr Richard Shilling, Mr Mike George and Rev. Fr. Odilo Weeger. You are an inspiration to us all.

Judging by the number of articles in the last few editions of Pioneer Trail by Assistant Patrol Leader Timothy Chadwick, we may have a future journalist - book writer in the making. Welldone Tim on your interesting and enthusiastic reporting of our Troop’s events. It is greatly appreciated, all the more so, as you have done these write-ups on your own initiative.

Over the past year, we have had a few changes in the people who produce our magazine and I feel a little ashamed at not having acknowledged their invaluable contribution in the life of our Troop. To make amends I would like to thank most sincerely Mrs Helen Rorke and Mr Graham Ralphs for typing the magazine. These two people have no sons in the Troop but support us in our endeavors. The typed material is then forwarded to Mrs Karen FitzPatrick who rearranges the format and includes photographs that have been taken of our various events. She prints hard copies for the Troop and then e-mails our magazine to people all around the world who have requested a copy to be sent directly to them. Finally, I have to thank our web master, Mr Hylton Garriock, who on his own initiative has produced a website for the Troop. It is due to this website that many people around the world are reading our magazine. These include many of my former Scouts who have contacted me to congratulate you, the members of the Troop, on your Scouting activities. Many of these people, including people I have never met, are coming together to help us in various ways in order that Scouting continues to flourish here in Matabeleland. I am sure I will be hearing more of what they would like to do for us in due course.

Whilst writing of my former Scouts, whom none of you know, for they are all grown up and many have their own families, the Troop recently received a parcel of sweets from Patrol Leader Mark Perry, whom you do know, and who is now at school in Germany. It was an interesting sight to watch as Patrol Leader Paul Carlsson shared out the sweets one Friday meeting. Thanks Mark for remembering us and we look forward to your visit in July when you come home, for you are also sadly missed. Oh! There were no squabbles when the sweets were shared out.

When we are invested into the Scout movement we make our Scout Promise in which we, “ Promise to do our Duty to God.” With this in mind I have no hesitation in including some thoughts on the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of his successor, Pope Benedict XVI. No one need be a Catholic to realise that the world has lost a true and dedicated leader of mankind, not only in a religious context but also for the sake of justice and peace for all humanity. The mere fact that some 3 million pilgrims, which included not only Christians but also Jews, Muslims and other non-Christian communities, descended on Rome to honor the late pontiff at his funeral, is testimony to the great humanitarian work the late Pope was doing in trying to unite all people in God.

Pope John Paul II was a family Pope and he held youth in high esteem and promoted many youth activities from seminars to hands on activities such as youth camps/retreats and everyday caring and loving of others. One of my former Scouts had a picture of the late Pope wearing a Scout Gillwell scarf and wood badge beads. He wanted the Pope to autograph the picture when he visited Bulawayo in 1988. Unfortunately, I do not know if the picture was signed, for it disappeared.

What the late Pope will be remembered for is his rigid stance on issues of a moral nature, a position, which brought much criticism and labeling as “out of touch with reality” and “old fashioned”. His stance will be justified in time to come but for now it is up to Pope Benedict XVI to continue the work that has been started and which he fully subscribes to. The world may be changing, but if basic principles are tampered with we will see the downfall of all civilization, as has been witnessed on a smaller scale with the collapse of so many great civilizations in the past.

As Scouts it is our duty to rededicate our selves to the ideals of Scouting, to our religious beliefs and to continue to grow in our faith.
Pseudolachnostylis Maprouneifolia And now until the next time, it is back to my hammock beneath my favorite Pseudolachnostylis Maprouneifolia with my floppy hat pulled over my eyes as I contemplate the coming term’s Troop programme of activities.

N. Scott
Scout Leader

7 – 8 January 2005

The January hike was from Mtshelele dam to Toghwana dam which was 7 kilometres away and then to Gordon Park which was 10 kilometres away. Paul, Gumbee and Tom were absent so there were ten of us on the hike.

When we arrived at Mtshelele, we set up camp, ate dinner, and then we played “Ravin’s Hill”. When we settled down, we all dared Chris to dog - pile on Conner, Kieran, Tim and Edd and he did so.

We left the following morning at 6.00am and got to Toghwana dam at about 9.00am. On the way to Toghwana, Dylan and me saw an impala and we found a well camouflaged rock scorpion on the side of the path we were walking along, Unfortunately it was dead, and it was being eaten by red ants but the shell was intact. Close to Toghwana I spotted a chameleon hot – footing it across to road.

Click to enlarge:
January Hike – Kopila Cave 
paintings and grain bin. 2005
January Hike – Kopila Cave paintings and
grain bin. Dylan, Connor, Tim and David

When we left Toghwana at we walked to Kopilo cave that Norm wanted to show us. Only four of us saw it. It was quite big and there were lots of paintings. There was even an old grain bin, which Norm estimated to be about 170 years old!

On the way back we were kind of lost and ended up bundu – bashing through thick bush, until we found the road.

We walked another 2 kilometres until we crossed through a thicket of reeds and up the hill to the showers at Gordon Park. Once we showered we had our well awaited lunch and finally got to relax.

I was very grateful to be on the hike because I am not part of the troop yet and I really enjoyed it, despite the heat!

David Chadwick

4 – 5 February 2005

It was another one of those terribly hot afternoons, when we all met at Christ the King Church. On this hike we had four new juniors joining us. They were David, John, Scott and David Meikle. We all left in Norm’s Landie and Mr. Swannack’s bakkie to Gordon Park. It must have been about 6.30 pm when we got to Ghali and set up camp. It was a lovely warm evening with the most amazing sunset, setting over the hills in the distance over a vast area of communal land. We all had supper and then went to go and chat around the campfire. That night we had a reasonably early night going to bed at 9.30!

In the morning the wind had picked up considerably and we had our stuff blowing all over the place. We had a good hot breakfast of oats and tea and then packed our kit. We left at 7.00 in the morning on the shortest but most scenic hike I have been on. We were able to follow paths leading straight to Shumba – Shaba.

Click to enlarge:
February Hike - Ghali
February Hike - Ghali – a group picture
taken on Ghali from where the hike started

The hike there was very stress free because it was flat land all the way.

There was a bit of bush – whacking but it added to our hiking spirit. What also made the hike so pleasant was the lovely cool breeze. We climbed Shumba – Shaba to the top and played in the pools. After that it was all downhill to Gordon Park. We were back at the park at 10.00 am for tea.

That afternoon we went caving and climbing for a while and others shot the pellet guns or just ate. Then the whole lot of us decided we were going to push the scotch cart to the showers and back, this turned into a very amusing event! It was up hill to the showers but on the way down that scotch cart was moving! We bailed and crashed countless times. After that we packed the Land – Rover with a huge lawn mower to go and cut the grass at our campsite for the forth-coming parent’s camp. We also collected wood for the campfire and tidied up the camp site. Then that was pretty much it. We headed home and on the way went past Rowallen Park to have a look. There was not much there except for some old buildings. In one of the toilets Kieran went into he disturbed a hornet’s nest. He got away luckily with only two stings. Norman gave him some amazing anti-sting mootie. The swelling was then rapidly decreased. We got back to Bulawayo at 5.30 and that was the Ghali hike.

I cannot wait till the next hike! We All had so much fun!!

Timothy Chadwick

Saturday 12 to Sunday 13 February 2005

It was with some trepidation that we set out for Gordon Park on Saturday 12 February, for this was the place, held sacred by our sons, as their area, where hikes, climbs and other adventures happen without parents around to warn, scold, fret and pass on their anxieties. We did not want to spoil the special quality of this place for our children.

So it was that several of us trickled in from 10.00 am onwards on the Saturday, driving slowly past H.Q., Knapman Hut, the Scout Hall and the other Gordon Park buildings full of scouting history. Then on along the dusty road, twisting between high rocks, Marula trees full of fruit, round-leaved Mukwa’s still in flower, and other little shrubs with small bright yellow flowers, deeper into the park until we came to what felt like the heart of the forest, a lovely grove of trees, beneath high rocky kopjies – the camp of the Pioneer Scout Troop.

We pitched our tents in a shady grove of wild olive trees, drank some tea, and then set off walking back along the road to watch the boys abseiling down Gordon Park Rock. Paul and Tim dared the unconventional “walk–forward-off-the-rock” stunt, which got the parents nervous and the baboons puzzled.

We returned to camp to drink more tea and then, of course, enquired about toilet facilities. Norman pointed out a wonderful long-drop, up on a raised piece of land, with a comfortable seat and a beautiful view – all the essentials of a good toilet. However, a small disadvantage was that it had no walls! No one was seen using it in daylight, but perhaps it does a roaring trade in the dark of night. As the nearest other ablutions were about 20 minutes walk away and locked, it was no wonder that Emma, Norman’s dog, wasn’t the only one walking around with legs crossed!

Click to enlarge:
parents camp
Families gather in our campsite for the
parents camp. Here the Timberlake
family enjoy the morning tea break

In the evening a wonderful braai fire had been made on which we cooked our food. We then moved across to the area of the ceremonial campfire where a huge tower of wood lay piled up. We drew our chairs around the pile in a circle and waited expectantly for 8.00 o’clock when Norman appeared in his camp-fire blanket covered in badges, to begin the Camp-Fire Ceremony.

The fire was lit and suddenly the flames roared up fiercely above us. Then there was silence and, as the sparks flew upwards beyond the trees, Norman began with a traditional scout camp-fire poem. This was followed by songs and then the serious occasion of the investiture of six new scouts, Jordan deVilliers, Scott Herbst, David Chadwick, David Meikle, John Swannack and Jonathan Davies-Coleman, Norman took the trouble to treat each boy individually, giving different facts and information to each as they made their promises and became invested.

After that Tim and Tom were presented with their Collectors badges and Tim and Edwin were given their Discoverer badges. As Paul is now the only Patrol Leader, Tim and Edwin were awarded the honor of becoming Assistant Patrol Leaders.

The evening ended with Norman reading out a very thought-provoking and inspiring excerpt from a book called “Zambezi Odyssey”. It gave us a sense of all the possibilities in life if one goes beyond the normal conventional goals of material possessions and physical comfort,
Click to enlarge:
chasing butterflies
Tom, Tim and David go chasing
butterflies early on Sunday
morning during the parents camp

All slept that night – some like logs and others, less fortunate, on logs! Early next morning a small group set off to climb Shumba Shaba, while others remained behind to collect butterflies, or just enjoy the peace of the camp.

The climbers were Paul, Chayce, Scott, Christopher, Danial and Emma all led by Norman. The climb was sharp, steep and exhilarating and the view from the top was absolutely beautiful. Paul showed us a pool full of water shrimps and Norman pointed out the various Matopos landmarks around us in the distance: Silozwe, Ififi, Pomongwe, World’s View, Gulati. What a privilege to be up there on a cool, clear morning having our breath taken away by the beauty.

Click to enlarge:
Patrol Leader Paul Carlsson conducts a Scouts Own at the Gordon Park September 2004 church service
The Chariot Race. The Scouts constructed
scout trestles and then had races
to see which chariot did not fall apart!

Then down for breakfast, followed by ‘chariot racing’. Paul organized this while Norman prepared for the church service. The boys rigged up a weird looking apparatus using lashings and poles and then raced across the dusty plains of Gordon Park. Ben Hur would have been impressed!

At twelve mid-day we gathered at the Chapel for the Church service. Father Odilo took the service and impressed us all with his energy, wisdom and humor. He gave a great sermon, reminding us that it is now Lent and talking about the ‘three G’s’ to guard against: greed, gratification and grandeur. His words seemed to echo the very similar message from the writer of ‘Zambezi Odyssey’ that we had heard the night before.
Click to enlarge:
Gordon Park church service 2005
Scout Scott Herbst reads
the lesson during the March
Gordon Park church service

He went on to talk about the three requirements during lent: prayer, personal and communal; fasting and self-control. Not only physical but also in our behavior; and charity, not merely the giving of alms but of our time, patience and energy to those to who need it. It was a wonderful service up among the trees and rocks with the sound of the oriole nearby That brought our weekend to a close. We hope we did not invade too much the scouts’ special place and that it retains its atmosphere of adventure and excitement for them. We appreciated Paul who, as the only Patrol Leader, had a lot of responsibility and did a very good job of looking after us all with patience and good humor.

We are very grateful to Norman for organizing the whole weekend for all the commitment, hard work and energy he puts into keeping Gordon Park going, and for giving our sons opportunities and experiences that are of immeasurable value. Thank you.

Jenny Timberlake

18 – 20 February 2005

Today was a special day when we met up at Christ the King Church. It wasn’t a hike but a two night camp. Yes, today we had met for the Baden-Powell Camp and we were all anxious and excited to get going. We loaded the endless amount of kit and equipment into the trailer and got going to Gordon Park. On this camp there were no senior scouts and Kieran and Connor could not make it but it was the first camp with other troops for many of the newly invested scouts. We were the only troop to be sleeping in our own camp – site, for all the other troops were camping on one parade ground! We all settled in and I made supper and Milo, listening to the voice horns shouting, singing of the troops (Norm was not pleased)!

We got to an early start the next day with breakfast, shortly after which Norm had to leave to go to town to pick up some tourists. We got into uniform and were ready to proceed to the “unofficial opening parade”, which took place at about half past nine. Then they broke the flags and gave us some quick messages and then we were dismissed to our camps. The “Rovers” had set up rope courses, bush cricket, some courses for the Cubs and Beavers. We, after having a few cups of tea, took a leisurely walk to the different activities for scouts at that time (which where only two). The one was called “Tarzan’, and I say it had to be the best one out of the lot. On Tarzan you had to climb on rope bridges, get across poles, balance on bricks and things of that nature. That took up most of the afternoon and before we knew it, it was already time to get supper cooked. That evening we had the opening parade and the lighting of the five paraffin lights, which was meant to represent the twenty five years Zimbabwe had been independent.

As soon as the opening parade had drawn to an end everyone rushed for a seat at the campfire. The theme of this year’s campfire was “ modern day hip hop and rap”‘ which I thought was a bit tasteless for a bunch of Boy Scouts. So the 1st Bulawayo scouts made an early departure so as not to be drawn in to singing some phony rap songs all night! The rest of that evening was great, chatting to each other about “the past day”.

Click to enlarge:
April Service – Timothy Chadwick reads the lesson
April Service
Timothy Chadwick reads the lesson

Sunday morning dawned and we had a leisurely breakfast before cleaning up the camp. Then myself, Tom and David went up to the chapel to help Norm sweep it out. Later that day the Baden- Powell camp was officially closed and then there was the Baden-Powell day service. There some Golden Lions and Silver Eagle awards were presented but unfortunately no Chief Scout or Sable awards were presented. After the braai we all made our departures home. It was a really good camp.

I thank Norm for taking us out to the camp because it gave us really good experiences about teamwork and looking after each other.

Timothy Chadwick
Assistant Patrol Leader


On many an occasion at the time of the setting sun, I have taken a leisurely stroll along the road leading down the hill from camp headquarters in Gordon Park and looked across the luxuriant green carpet of the Mtshelele vlei. On the other side of the vlei, standing guard over their domain are the kopjies of Nyahwe, Tandale and Shumba Shaba. At the close of most days, these hills are lit up by the setting sun and appear as a brilliant backdrop on a giant stage, and in the darkened auditorium, occasioned by the shadows cast by the ranges of hills to the West of me, gives one the appearance that the curtain has just gone up and I await the actors to make an entrance. This, the Shumba Shaba Theatre must be one of the most majestic in the world.

Click to enlarge:
The majestic Shumba Shava
The majestic Shumba Shava

A few weeks ago, early in the morning, I espied three persons laboring their way up the northern face of Shumba Shaba. Intrigued as to the identity of these people, I decided to go closer to identify these intruders to my kingdom, for from my position in the Mtshelele vlei I could not recognise them as the sky was studded with clouds drifting from the east. As the sun inched its way above the horizon, rays of sun light broke through the gaps producing a patchwork effect of light and dark, the result was akin to that of a battery of spot lights, each highlighting some feature of the landscape below.

Having got closer I was relieved to recognise the intruders as none other than the camp Commissioner of Gordon Park, his dog Emma and two of his Scouts. It is quite natural for this fellow, who is quite eccentric I may add, to climb Shumba early on Sunday mornings and when he has his scouts in camp they too are invited to join him on his climb. Their day starts just as the francolins greet the new dawn with their raucous calls. Everyone scrambles out of their sleeping bags, lights the cooking fire, puts the coffee pot on to boil and heads for Shumba. This particular morning they were a little late for the sun was already high above the horizon. As they arrived on the top I could see a shaft of light moving across the ground towards them as the broken cloud cover lazily drifted westward. Then, all of a sudden the “spot light” was on the trio, the curtain was up for an early morning performance. The three forms were suddenly animated into action, lively singing was heard on the crisp morning breeze. This act was not only witnessed by myself, but by a troop of baboons, two dainty Klipspringer, a small pack of Mongooses, a community of Dassie, a cravan of shrews and a lone lizard. As the shaft of light moved towards the west, the stage darkened and the actors fell silent.

A loud bark of approval from the baboons, an excited chatter from the Dassies and squeals of delight from the shrews put a seal of approval on the impromptu show. The spot light extinguished, the trio exited right and the morning performance was but now history, an historic moment in one brief instance in the daily happings of my Kingdom. The solitude, the grandeur of this collection of broken masses of granite interspersed with grassy valleys stretching for many kilometres has been my Kingdom for a very long time. It has been the home to many tribes of people and had been a source of inspiration to the enlightened artists of the bushmen of thousands of years and to inhabitants of the recent past.

Yes, my kingdom the Matopos, is a truly inspirational place, and with the Shumba Shaba theatre on which the daily plays are acted out standing guard over a truly magnificent scout camping ground, what more can any young man desire in his quest to develop his potential, in readiness for his adult life.

The Silent Gordon Park Observer

St George’s Day Service
Saturday 23 April 2005

This year’s St George’s Day Service was held in St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral in Bulawayo. Fifty-six scouts and cubs from Bulawayo attended the service conducted by Fr Christoph Eisentraut. The scouts possessed into the Cathedral with their Troop flags as well as the Zimbabwe and World Bureau flags
Click to enlarge:
George’s Day Service at St Mary’s Cathedral
St George’s Day Service at St Mary’s Cathedral
Tom reading the lesson with Father Christoph
Eisentraut CMM listening

       Click to enlarge:
St George’s Day Service at St Mary’s Cathedral
St George’s Day Service at St Mary’s Cathedral
Scouts reaffirming the Scout Promise


6 – 7 Monthly Hike
8 Gordon Park Service: 12:00 noon
13 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
20 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
27 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
28 – 29 Provincial Pioneering Competition

3 – 4 Monthly Hike
5 World Environment Day
10 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
11 Information Technology Day
12 Gordon Park Service: 12:00 noon
17 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
24 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene

1 – 2 Monthly Hike
8 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
10 Gordon Park Service: 12:00 noon
15 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
22 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
29 – 31 William Arnold Carnegie Assegai Competition

5 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene (Sausage Sizzle)
6 – 9 Cub-O-Rama (for Cub Scouts)
12 International Youth Day
12 – 13 Monthly Hike
14 Gordon Park Service: 12:00 noon
19 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
26 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene

Additional Activities May Be Included


An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grand children about life. He said to them “A fight is going on inside me – it is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, greed, arrogarance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.
The same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person too.
They thought about this for a minute, and then one child asked his grandfather “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied – “The one you feed.”
Ack: Irelands Own Magazine
Sent by Mrs. Moloney

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