My holiday after the 2nd term of school, seemed to revolve around the addictive taste of Cheeto’s, the loneliness of my bedroom and a 50 inch TV screen playing my favourite movies. If I was seen coming out of my room by some great miracle, it was for a bathroom break or more food. Other than that I was basically a ghost with a continuously grumbling tummy. My parents were not impressed by this behaviour, as they said it was unhealthy. I, on the other hand, completely disagreed. Two days later, I found myself being shipped off on a two week long camping trip, much to my disdain.
From what I had heard from my classmates about their own camping experiences, they involved bird watching, horse riding, canoeing and various obstacle courses. What I found most appealing, were the stories of how everyone sat around the camp fire, telling scary stories whilst roasting marshmallows. How awesome it must be, I thought, to watch the fireflies circling round the campers, underneath the twinkling stars in the cool night sky. When I thought about it, it seemed so surreal, but I had no idea about what I was about to experience.
We had been two hours on the road already, and there was not one person that I knew on the bus. As I sat in the back seat, my hoodie over my head, I looked out of the window at the cloudless sky and silently hoped that these next two weeks wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe the time would pass really quickly, and before I knew it, it would be time to go home. With hope and determination in my heart, I straightened myself up and braced myself for our arrival at the camp. Twenty minutes later we arrived, and as my feet touched the ground, the hope in my heart evaporated as I looked around the camp. It looked like a run-down dump that had been deserted for years. There were two rows of cabins across from each other in the camp area. Approaching us were the camp counsellors who greeted us and welcomed us. We passed a sign that said “Welcome to Camp Kiki Waka”. I felt an impending doom settle upon me.
Everything in this place looked old, worn out and dilapidated. I felt like I would be spending the next 2 weeks of my summer at the camp of horrors. Well, there was nothing I could do about it now, I was here for the next two weeks. I just had to try and get through this experience as best as I could. We were handed our timetables and assigned to our cabins. The first night at the camp was filled with hooting owls, followed by the squeaking of rusty bed springs as I tossed and turned. Over the next few days there were a bunch of activities listed on our timetables, which we had to make our way through, in order of cabin numbers. Some of these activities would end up with me in the infirmary, one activity in particular being when I went down the zip liner and crashed into one of the counsellors at the bottom. After having the wind knocked out of me, I was convinced that things couldn’t possibly get any worse. I was wrong. At lunch time after a tiring obstacle course, and looking forward to having something to eat to satisfy my hunger, imagine my horror when I found a dung beetle in my obviously expired lasagne. I had to resist the urge to throw up, and immediately lost my appetite. I felt like a prisoner with no hope of escape. Morning couldn’t come soon enough for me.
The next morning during our canoeing lesson, someone leaned too far to one side, and when the person behind them tried to catch them, it caused a chain reaction and our canoe tipped all of us out into the lake. I found myself kicking and screaming and trying to stay above the water. Within a matter of minutes I was rescued by the counsellor who was supervising us. I spent the rest of the day resting in the infirmary.
Finally, it was the night before we were leaving the camp. I was so excited to be leaving that I couldn’t get to sleep. I could hear voices and laughter coming from outside, only then did I realise that I was alone in the cabin. Curious to see what they were up to, I put on a jacket and went outside, only to find everyone seated on logs around the camp fire. They all seemed to be having a good time chatting and joking around. I found a spot on a log to sit on and was handed a marshmallow to toast over the fire. In that moment, with the smell of marshmallows roasting, the fireflies flying around, the stars in the sky, and the endless chatter and laughter,I forgot all about the bad things that had happened in the days leading up to this night. I couldn’t have imagined anything more perfect than this. I did not want it to end. The next day as we prepared to leave, I glanced back at the “Welcome to Camp Kiki Waka” sign one last time. How I wished that we could have had a repeat of our time last night, around the camp fire.