natesmountain (natesmountain) wrote,

I am back from Camp. The day we went started out fine but then the weather turned really cold. REALLY COLD. People in real houses were lighting fires. We slept in the bush up at Walls Whare, on a cliff above the Waiohine River. We slept in little tents. It was wet, really windy at times during the night, and very cold. My sleeping bag, a wondrous invention of the '80s with a layer of down close to your body and a layer of dacron holofill around that, has obviously seen better days and no longer keeps you warm! It sure didn't keep me warm and I was wearing a lot of clothes. My tent buddy was equally cold. We shivered all night.

And in the morning, cold, damp, no sun yet and all of us standing around cooking toast on the grotty gas BBQ still scummy from the previous night's burgers. I was wearing all the clothes I took with me that were dry. I'll post some pics of our journey later. We had been white water rafting the day before so we were cold to start with. I rafted down the river twice and that was really fun. The water was low and it's only a grade 2 river so it was very safe for the girls. The next day we had high ropes, low ropes, and the day after, caving and flying fox. I saw beautiful glow worms close up in the caves, and one big spider, but thankfully no cave wetas in this cave.

The cabins we slept in the second night were grotty as hell and I had to sleep in the bottom of a bunk and the male teacher in our group slept in the top, as the old bed I was meant to use had such soft old stretched springs that when you sat on it, the whole thing sank almost to the floor. The cabins were dirty and dusty, and in the loo I just closed my eyes so I couldn't see the bugs!! Still, we were warm and dry in the cabins and those are the most important things.

Three days of shuddering, shivering, cheering girls along and tramping about and then it was back home to the usual mayhem of activity. I nearly fell asleep driving back over the Rimutakas. This morning I had to speak to the Mercy Sisters, about 60 of them, a lot of my former teachers or colleagues. They were having a 'congregational' day in preparation for their big meeting in August. I was taking the place of my Principal who was originally invited to speak, but is overseas looking for international students. Christy came with me and that was really neat, since she was named after one of the Sisters there. Most of the Sisters seemed to love what I said and Christy really praised my words, which was nice. She said I was awesome *g*. It was strange, the Sister from Samoa was given 5 minutes and I had 15 minutes. Then we had to field questions and comments and join in the discussion until lunchtime. Christy had to pretend she still went to Catholic school so as not to rock the boat - I had said it wasn't the time or place. This afternoon I went to watch Asher play cricket out in Aotea. More of that tomorrow, I guess.

I didn't miss technology while I was away. We didn't even have reading time at night, just feed the girls, clean up, get them to bed and wait for them to go quiet, then rush to sleep ourselves! Getting up at four in the morning the first night in your tent in the rain and freeeeeezing cold to tell girls to stop giggling and go back to sleep is quite irritating! I had to go to the bathroom then but didn't feel brave enough to go into the grotty bush loos, so I walked up the path a bit and went in the bushes!

I did hold a prayerful liturgy for the girls one night, at the cabin site, and that went really well, the girls sitting in a circle in a dark, quiet room (it was actually quite a clean meeting room) and we shared what we gave thanks for or what we hoped for. I like those moments of honesty and friendship. I read them a 'psalm' by Joy Cowley called Stones. It's beautiful. I'll share it with you later if you like. Joy Cowley is a lovely NZ author/poet who has written a lot of children's stories and some beautiful reflective psalms and poems for all people.

And that's it from me. Now I have to go to bed. Have a good day.
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