We reached our destination after about half an hour of cycling along a quiet country road. The camping ground was a clearing about 200 meters from the road. So it was quiet except for the sounds of nature all around us. Once in awhile the faint rumble of a vehicle passing by on the distant road can be heard.
There were about forty of us, all scouts from our school. Our scout troop was divided into seven patrols. I was a new member of the fox patrol. The troop assembled in front of the flag post. Our scoutmaster gave us some general instructions before we set up our tents.
For the first time in my life, I helped to pitch the tents. My patrol leader showed us how to do it. It was a wonderful experience as I listened to the sounds of the wildlife around me. I breathed in the fresh country air and marveled at how beautiful nature was. The only thing that was not so pleasant was keeping away the mosquitoes that kept attacking me.
It was a new experience for me. I learned to tie knots, cut firewood, fetch water from the stream, make a fire, and cook a meal, None of these had to do at home. Modern living certainly deprived us of doing these things. Anyhow, I could imagine how our ancestors lived when there were no modern conveniences.
That evening I had dinner with members of my patrol beside the fireplace. The rice tasted half-cooked and the vegetables too soggy. The sardines were excellent though, taken straight from the can. However, he was too hungry to complain. We finished all our food, half-cooked or otherwise.
After dinner, we assembled next to the scoutmaster’s quarters. He taught us some songs which we sang with gusto. We adjourned to our respective tents after the singing session.
That night I could not get to sleep at all. The others too could not sleep. The excitement of the day lingered on. So we spent the night talking and listening to the sounds of the creatures around us.
The next day, after a quick breakfast of bread and beans we got ready for inspection. The scoutmaster and troop leader inspected all the seven patrols. We made sure our campsite and uniforms were clean and neat.
For the rest of the day, we spent our time learning the craft of scouts. Time passed so quickly. Before I knew it, it was getting dark again. So again we adjourned to our respective sites to make and have our dinner.
After dinner, all the scouts gathered around a huge campfire. Each patrol participated by giving sketches and songs. It was pure fun. I realized that my fellow scouts were very creative and talented people. Some of the sketches and songs were definitely better than those on television. Anyhow, sitting around a campfire and enjoying ourselves was something that had to be experienced to be appreciated. It was fun beyond description.
That night all of us slept soundly. We were all too tired even to talk.
The next day was Sunday and we all prepared to go home. After the usual breakfast and inspection, we all broke camp, making sure that we cleaned up our campsites. Then we assembled in front of the flagpost. The scoutmaster congratulated us on a successful camping trip. Then we dismissed and headed for home on our bicycles.