Jan - Apr 2005 Quarterly Troop Magazine
Mabukuwene Nature Reserve
Fridays 19:00 - 21:00 hrs
Norman's Email address
With thanks to the publishing team:-
Mrs Helen Rorke, Mr Graham Ralphs, Mrs Karen FitzPatrick
UNDER THE PSEUDOLACHNOSTYLIS MAPROUNEIFOLIA
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.
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.
MTSHELELE DAM TO GORDON PARK
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 left Toghwana at
930.am 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!
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
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.
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!
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!
The hike there was very stress free
because it was flat land all the way.
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.
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
I cannot wait till the next hike! We All had so much fun!!
FAMILY SOCIAL CAMP
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.
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
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!
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,
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.
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
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.
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.
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)!
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.
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”.
I thank Norm for taking us out to the
camp because it gave us really good
experiences about teamwork and looking after each other.
Assistant Patrol Leader
SHUMBA SHABA THEATRE
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.
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
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
1st BULAWAYO (PIONEER) SCOUT TROOP
TROOP PROGRAMME OF ACTIVITIES
MAY – AUGUST 2005
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
The old Cherokee simply replied – “The one you feed.”
Ack: Irelands Own Magazine
Sent by Mrs. Moloney