1921-22 – “GROWING UP IN NAIROBI – TRACKING WITH THE GIRL GUIDES
An early part of the Girl Guide activity schedule was to get the girls outside “spooring” – and there was a section in the guide handbook on tracking. Jade shows the girls how to track and has them practice on people in THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE.
But just what was the approved method of teaching tracking?
The section on “Woodcraft” begins on page 44 of The Handbook for Girl Guides with instructions to take girls either to the zoo to observe animals and their habits or to a farm, depending on whether one lived in the city or the country. Girls were taught to stay still and to match their clothing to the background so as to blend in and not startle the animals. Again, the influence of Agnes Baden-Powell’s brother, General Baden-Powell, can be seen in the examples given. “A Zulu will keep his head perfectly steady for an immense time, hoping that he will be mistaken for a stump or a stone. If he is not detected, he will very gradually lower his head, inch by inch, into the grass again, and crawl quietly away.” (p. 46)
Stalking games were recommended such as one where the instructor plays the role of a deer, slowly moving as if walking and browsing. The girls were to stalk the “deer” but whenever one was spotted by the instructor, the instructor “directs her to stand up as having failed.”
By page 81 of the handbook, Guides were being instructed in observing sign, letting no small detail escape their attention including scents as well as broken twigs etc. Examples were given as to tracking horses, birds, as well as bicycles and motorized vehicles.
However it was taught, learning to track will save more than one life in Jade’s sixth adventure. The Crocodile’s Last Embrace is released September 7, but you can get a sneak preview at www.suzannearruda.com Click on “read an excerpt” and see for yourself.
Quotes and images taken from The Handbook for Girl Guides, by Agnes Baden-Powell
NEXT WEEK: MORE OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES - TRACKING
By the way, The Crocodile’s Last Embrace just received a starred review by Publishers’ Weekly who called it “rip-roaring.” Romantic Times gave it 4 Stars and called it “Enormously fun” and Library Journal’s starred review stated “Do not miss this one.”
MORE MYSTERY TOPICS:
1) Does mystery have to equal murder? I weigh in with the Suspense Sirens on their blog posting at : http://bit.ly/cpprpx
2) Interested in some insight into what makes me and Jade tick? Go to SCENE OF THE CRIME http://bit.ly/ao2gjg for an interesting interview at a great website by author J. Sydney Jones.
NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, all available in trade paperback. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH is available in hardcover. THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE will be released Sept. 7, 2010. An excerpt and information on ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda