Scout Taotitian walks the distance for his Troop

1st Margate Scout Taotitian Sinclair was determined to succeed for his Troop. He visualised completing the full 1290 kilometres of the #HikeToMahikeng Challenge and his resolution to succeed paid off! We spoke to Taotitian and his mom Carla about his amazing achievement.

“I am a Scout with the 1st Margate Scout Troop. I, like Baden Powel, walked 1290 kilometres. We both had to have determination to do it and we both had to persevere through the long walk. We both had to be committed to the task at hand and we both had to have a reason to do what we did. Although I am not certain what his reasons were, mine were that I wanted to help my Troop do the distance required and complete the national #HikeToMahikeng Challenge. I also did it because I had finished the 20 kilometres and knew I could do a lot more! Therefore, I decided to do my best and walk as far as I could. And before I quite knew what was happening, I was almost there,” says Taotitian.

“It was during lockdown that my Scouter Rhino encouraged us to take on the #HikeToMahikeng Challenge. So I walked around my house. I walked 14 843 laps around my house and it took me 186 hours and 30 minutes to complete the full distance. I did not start out intending to walk so far. I had worked out that for the whole Troop to do 1290 kilometres, 65 people would have to walk 20km and my Troop is not that large. Therefore, my intention was to hike 200 kilometres. To manage walking so far every day I had to wake up very early in the morning. Once or twice I even woke up at 3 am to start walking by torch light. But normally I started my #HikeToMahikeng at around 4.30 am. All this early morning walking was very tiring and I was exhausted, but I wanted to carry on. I discovered that often I got bored of walking before I got tired. During this experience I learnt about a Buddhist practice called Jongram. Jongram is a Thai word and means pacing back and forth on a straight path. It’s a practice of concentrated walking where you focus your attention on the movement of your feet and body from the beginning to the end of your path. It’s a training in patience and visualisation. You visualise what you want to achieve and then watch yourself do it bit by bit” he explains.

I walked 14 843 laps around my house and it took me 186 hours and 30 minutes to complete 1290km.

photographer Chris Pieters

Taotitian’s mom Carla is very proud of her son! “Taotitian began the 20km challenge and realized that it was very easy for him to achieve. When he discovered that the whole Troop would earn recognition for covering the total distance together, he decided to do more. When he realized that the new goal was well underway, he decided to move the goalposts yet again and emanate Baden-Powell’s great quality of perseverance by walking the whole distance by himself. It was hard work and it tested his perseverance and his determination to fulfil a commitment he had made to himself. I didn’t examine his motives or involve myself in his process. Instead, I gave him the two factors that I believe are keys to success. I gave him freedom; the freedom to walk whenever it was possible for him to do so, to eat as much as he wanted, not to be questioned or overly scrutinized, to discover his own driving force and not impose any of my own will or value judgments upon him.  I also gave him faith in his own ability to achieve whatever he decides he wants to achieve. For the two gifts of self-esteem and freedom that I have endeavoured to give Taotitian, he has given me back a parental joy that in turn gives me those same two keys”, explains Carla.

“The Scouts #HikeToMahikeng challenge was a well-timed lockdown exercise that has made me proud of Taotitian and has given him the gift of practicing self-mastery for a cause greater than himself. Well done Taotitian, you have proven to yourself that success is a choice you are able to make!” she concludes.  “I hope I am able to be an inspiration to other Scouts who have yet to realise their true potential,” adds Taotitian. “Have fun with your Scouting career!”

#HikeToMahikeng #scoutssouthafrica #ScoutsSA #SAScouts #lockdown #COVID-19 #GlobalGoals #Skills4Life #PhysicalHealth #SelfEmpowerment