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Salem: Silber 2005

Salem: “Our limits were much higher than we had expected”

By Pauline Auffermann, Daniel Forstner, Daniel Schneiderbauer, Ashley Neizert, Anna Ulfert and Anne Wolff

Textnummer: 548403

Erstellt am 2005/07/20, zuletzt geändert am 2008/09/02

Mitte Juni meisterten die ersten Schüler der Schule Schloss Salem ihre Silberexpedition. Über ihre Erfahrungen haben die Mitglieder einer der beiden Gruppen den folgenden englischsprachigen Bericht verfasst.

Mitte Juni meisterten die ersten Schüler der Schule Schloss Salem ihre Silberexpedition. Über ihre Erfahrungen haben die Mitglieder einer der beiden Gruppen den folgenden englischsprachigen Bericht verfasst.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award (or International Award for Young People) is a youth program that was started by Kurt Hahn in 1956 when he was exile in Scotland. Today, some 400 000 students around the world receive the award every year. The students do not compete for it but work together, so everyone can get the award in the end. In order to receive the award which exists in the three levels bronze, silver, and gold, a student has to complete four areas: A social service, a sport, a creative skill and an expedition. Since Salem is still highly influenced by Hahn’s ideals of education, the first three areas are already covered by the school’s compulsory CAS-program.

It was for this reason that the award was finally introduced to Salem this year. Soon, twenty ardent students who were eager for obtaining this award could be found. However, when it came to the actual expedition, only a dozen of us remained. We formed two groups and from then on we had to plan our expedition for the silver award separately and independently. The buying of food, the decision upon the route we would follow and finally the efficient packing of our rucksacks, had to be done on our own.

Then, on Friday 17th June (after the unavoidable Morgenlauf), we were ready for departure. Everybody carried about twenty kilograms, hidden in sleeping-bags, tents, cookers and much more food than we possibly could eat on one weekend. Subsequent to a short briefing with Mr. Chodak, one of our coordinators, we left the castle at 8 am, aware that we would not see it for three days. Briskly we headed towards our first checkpoint of a total of twenty, distributed all along the route, where the teachers could meet us.

We arrived there early and already had to surmount the first obstacle. Daniel F. who had started the trip despite his illness had to vomit three times, after he had taken a single bite of a muesli-bar. Nonetheless, he wanted to continue and indeed a few zwiebacks as his only food for the whole weekend not only let him recover but also made him our restless pacemaker.

On that Friday, we walked 19 of the required 48 kilometers over fields, hills and through forests - an exhausting occupation for which some acclimatization was necessary. At 4.30 pm we arrived at the location where we had planned our first camp, in fact, only 3.5 kilometers away from the castle. We found ourselves in the midst of an apple plantation. The owner we asked kindly allowed us to stay there overnight. So, under the blazing heat of the afternoon sun, we put up the cooking place and the boys’ tent (too early: the interior was heated uncomfortably). But until it was time for dinner, we sun-bathed and passed the time with word-games and riddles.

Later on, Ms. Chodak came to check us at the campsite and to ensure that we were preparing a three-course meal. Alone again, we had some difficulties with the food: burned sauce, automatically cooking goulash that did not work and grass that caught fire after the cooker toppled over, to name just a few. After we had eaten the edible remains and some sweets we were satisfied, surprisingly for we really had not eaten much. Full and tired, we went to sleep, the boys in their hot tent and the girls on a tarp.

At that point, their method seemed much more sensible, but at two o’clock, it began to rain a little and the girls sought shelter in the two-man tent. In the end, two of us slept outside voluntarily, while the other four had a dry but crowded night. In the morning, no one really wanted to get up and so it took some time on that beautiful sunny morning until we had packed up our stuff, thanked the farmer and enjoyed a delicious porridge as breakfast. We finally started one hour later than we had intended to. Unfortunately, the rucksacks did not seem to be any lighter.

Still we were all very enthusiastic and almost on time again, when we got lost in a forest. We had followed a path which became more and more invisible and inaccessible until it was gone completely. For almost one hour, we cut our way through a jungle. In this case, this was no exaggeration, for the bushes reached heights of two meters and more, richly interspersed with burning nettles and stinging blackberries, and the swampy ground was an excellent breeding ground for countless mosquitoes and ticks dropped all around and on us. Bitten all over, scratched and tired, we finally reached the edge of the forest. During this “shortcut” we had walked merely 500 meters of our route! One more reason to carry on immediately.

The rest of the day we walked without complications and after a midday-sleep next to grazing cows, we reached our second camp. There the farmer told us that the place we initially wanted to go to was swampy and thus we had to look for another site. We chose a nice spot uphill with an amazing view over the countryside.

Unfortunately, it was too near to the forest, so there were loads of insects and ticks. Again, we had to move our camp. In fact, one tick already had got a firm grip on Pauline’s belly. So the next half an hour we spent operating her. Finally, the tick could be removed and hungry, we improvised a “bread-soup” to get rid of the burden and, after that we made pasta which this day was more successful and the outcome tastier.

We were already muffled in our sleeping-bags, when we were woken by a Salem Bus driving towards us. It was Mr. Chodak who had been searching for us for four hours! He did not know of our camp change and we in return had had no possibility to contact him.

The next day, although it was by far the hottest, was the easiest, not only because the rucksacks were lighter and we were finally accustomed to it. The Sunday-route was the shortest leg and all of us wanted to back as soon as possible. Fatigued, we returned to Salem around 2 pm. How happy we were to be back to civilization!

The expedition was hard and tiring, but it also showed us that our limits were much higher than we had expected. We all had a wonderful time together and it was a totally different but positive experience to be outside all day, to walk kilometer after kilometer and to be on our own without the little things that make life “easier” and have such an unnoticed affect on our daily life, things like mobile phones, mp3-players or simply a shower.