The story of our camp with Adam’s Farm Home
By Environmental Educator, Catherine Kühn
In March this year our education team held a sponsored camp for a group of nine women from Adam's Farm Home. The home in Plumstead is a permanent residence for intellectually disabled adult women and is run by a dedicated team of nurses and staff. Towards the end of last year, I visited the home and presented a Cape Leopard Trust talk...
As in all cases where we give a presentation, the school/group/listeners are captivated by the information in the presentation and want to know more about our work at the CLT. I was flooded with questions after my presentation and left with the feeling of "we must do something more".
It was with this feeling that I came to our Environmental Education Coordinator, Nicole le Roux, with the idea to offer them a fully sponsored environmental education camp. The staff at Adam's Farm were thrilled with the idea and were surprised by the offer. We thought, "why not? Every person deserves a special experience such as this."
And so it was set in motion and the planning began. We were constantly being told how excited the ladies were until finally the day arrived and we met at the home to greet the ladies who were attending the camp. Even those who were not coming on the camp were still excitedly awaiting our arrival and gathered around to see the Leopard Bus! We were touched to meet the families of several of the women and appreciated their trust in us to take their loved ones on a camp experience.
We packed the bus and trailer and were on our way to Simonskloof Mountain retreat farm outside Montagu where this particular camp was to be held. On the way everyone was chatting away and when we arrived at our destination and the women climbed out of the bus they were instantly in awe of the beauty surrounding them.
I showed them around the campsite and explained the compost loo's, this was a very new concept and there was a lot of laughter and joking. We took a short hike to the dam and some of the ladies swam in the cold water. That night we braaied under the stars and attempted to make stok-broodjies (stick bread) with dough twisted around a stick. The dough made us sticky as we twisted it around and around branches and tried to cook it on the fire. It was a big hit, the group kept saying they want to do this again at home!
Early in the morning we awoke to a loud thunder storm and flashes of lighting. Woken up by the storm, the group huddled together in their tents at first light laughing.
Later that morning as the sun came out we took the group on our main hike, a fairly relaxed walk down the valley from the campsite escorted by the resident sheep dog. We stopped to look at various tracks and scat along the way, and we even saw leopard scat. We walked passed our camera trap and one by one we all pretended to be a leopard as we posed for a picture. We found a lovely lunch spot under an oak tree next to the river where we spent a while relaxing, eating and taking in the views.
A highlight for myself and for the group was coming across three huge Aardvark burrows. Our intern Hilda and I each climbed into the opening of the burrow, large enough for a human! Not surprising though, because adult Aardvark can weigh up to 65kg!
In the late afternoon we did activities at the campsite, including folding origami cranes and hearing the story of the crane. We also coloured tortoises after having seen them the previous day wandering the camp site. At the end of the session each of the women received their own Cape Leopard Trust puzzle.
That night we braaied again, and this time we did stok-roasted marshmallows for pudding before we headed off to do our scorpion search and star gazing. We unfortunately found no scorpions but we did have a good star gazing session and each participant got to look at the full moon through binoculars. One of the participants still claims she saw people on the moon!
Special thanks …
We would like to extend our thanks, on behalf of the education project team, to our sponsors for making this and many other experiences possible. The women in this group have never had an experience like this before and really appreciated the opportunity.
A very special thank you to Rand Merchant Bank for sponsoring the staff time required to coordinate and implement this camp and to National Lotteries Distribution Fund for sponsoring the food, transportation and accommodation for the camp. A Big thank you to Hi-Tec, for the shoes and sleeping bags that they sponsored for the Programme, used regularly and greatly appreciated on this particular camp. A warm appreciation and thanks to the Lindbergh Joan St Leger Charitable Trust for sponsoring the printing of the leopard puzzles provided to the participants of the camp among hundreds of others in the past year.
Thank you to Hilda Chishamba, our dedicated and amazing intern, Rona van der Merwe and Oswald Kucherera for volunteering your time and help on this camp.
Thank you to the women at Adam's Farm for making this camp so special for us. We learned things about ourselves, about all of you and especially to really appreciate all we have in life. Thank you for all the thank you letter's, lumi bands and woollen coasters we have received and still continue to receive as appreciation gifts from you. We carry them around with us. Lastly, to the staff of Adam's farm who came along and helped us run the camp successfully, thank you for your dedication and the heroic effort that goes into the work that you do every day!