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Baden-Powell : Challenge Guatemala - Printable Version

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Baden-Powell : Challenge Guatemala - Admin - 11-11-2009

Desafío Baden-Powell
by Marlisse Leslie
8th Belize St. Joseph Scout Unit

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It all started on a regular Thursday morning February 21, 2008 when I got up and continued to pack my bags. My mom and other family members gave me full support with everything I needed to do and get. I stayed at home, unlike my other Scout buddies who went to school as I decided that I needed the rest and I needed to be fully prepared. The morning went by quickly and in the afternoon it was time for me to get ready. We were to be at the Novelo’s Bus Terminal at 2:30 p.m. so that we could leave on the 3:00 p.m. express bus. When I arrived at the terminal I met some other Scouts who I would really have to get to know and get used to. I met Fernando Oliva who was a member of the 9th Belize St. Ignatius Venture Scout Unit, Corey Constantino and Nolberto who were members of the 1st Belize Holy Redeemer Scout Unit and last but definitely not least Zharina and Aisha who were members of the 18th Belize Burrell Boom Scout Unit. I got to meet them and quickly it was as if I knew them for years. We all left the bus terminal and arrived in Benque at 5:00 p.m. On arriving at the terminal in Benque our Leader told us that we would get a taxi from the terminal to the border where the Customs would be. So we all quickly got our large number of bags from the back of the bus and got in two old taxis and then set off for the border. On arriving at the border we met two other Scouts - Mark and Alexter - who were Scouts from Benque. They too joined us on our journey to Guatemala.

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We went through both sides of the Customs and were quickly in Melchor. We had to wait two hours until our bus came. We then boarded the Del Funte bus. It was a nice, cold, air-conditioned bus with television and a bathroom at the back. I sat beside Dianne Sosa who is a member of my Scout Unit and together we laughed, ate, slept, cried and cuddled. We left the bus terminal at 8:00 p.m. and arrived in Guatemala City at 6:00 a.m. the following morning. I was excited and very anxious to see the city. My friends and I were very cold since it was early morning and we had to wait outside for the Scout bus to come for us. We waited for almost two hours until we saw a pick-up truck come and the driver came out and took all our bags to the Scout Headquarters and then he returned for us. On our drive to Headquarters I got to see the city in the morning, how the people were all in a rush and how the city is laid out and how the students dress neatly in their uniforms to go to school. I was very impressed but on the other hand I did not like all the air pollution produced, with the majority of the vehicles being diesel.

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It took us half an hour to reach Headquarters after which we met some really nice people who volunteered to drive us around. Our Leader Mr. Garcia made sure that breakfast was our first stop so we went to a restaurant called “Pollo Campero.” We all sat around a large table and ordered our breakfast. Majority ate a regular Guatemalan dish, which were beans, tortilla, butter, eggs and salsa. It was very delicious and I enjoyed it. After eating breakfast we went into the city where we saw malls and other beautiful places. We all went into the mall as a group to shop after which we went for lunch at McDonalds and then headed back to Scout Headquarters.

When we arrived there Dianne’s Nan was there to take us females to her house to get ready and prepare for our campfire. It was a very successful campfire and we all looked very neat and sharp in our uniforms. Before the campfire ended the organizers of the event asked all of us to get our bags and board the buses. We all moved quickly, grabbed our bags and headed for the bus. Belize was on a bus with a Troop from Guatemala and together we made a whole heap of noise. We left the campfire at 9:00 p.m. and arrived at the camping grounds at 11:30 p.m. Upon arriving the Leaders told us to sign up for the following day’s challenge and after signing up the organizers escorted us to our official camping grounds.

We were surprised at how far it was from the main grounds and also the long distance it was from the bathroom. We got over it and quickly started to pitch our tents. Before even properly pitching one tent the Leader told us that at our campsite we had to make three gadgets: a fence, a gate that opens and close, and a table on which to eat. Our Belize Leaders told us to try and get some rest for the following day’s activities and to make the gadgets the following day so we took their orders and pitched our tents. Pitching the tents was a disaster; from my Scout Unit one of the tents had a huge whole on the side and the other tent poles were too short. I was angry and really ashamed to say that I was from Belize. But my Scout buddy and I decided to use only one of the tents so we quickly pitched it. By the time we were finished the two girls from the Burrell Boom Scout Unit didn’t even pitch theirs and it was so easy to do so my partner along with the boys from Holy Redeemer quickly tried to help them. After helping the girls from Boom the boys from Holy Redeemer had a problem with one of their tents because it didn’t come with any poles. I was really, really annoyed with what all had taken place but as Scouts we all had fun with our challenges and quickly by 1:00 a.m. we were all fast asleep.

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Our Section Leader woke us up at 5:00 a.m. to start off our day’s drills after which we had two hours remaining - one hour to build our gadgets and another hour to get breakfast. The time quickly flew and by 8:30 a.m. we all assembled at the main hall to hear about our day’s challenge. The Leaders would call your Troop to go up front to receive two raw eggs and tell you to take care of it and then send you to the back to get your lunch after which the challenge would begin. The 25-stage challenge was fun. It consisted of us as Scouts basically knowing all our techniques, skills, rules, knots and ties, etc. We left the camping grounds at 9:00 a.m. and returned at 8:00 p.m. We were tired, hungry, dirty, wet and proud when we arrived back for we had completed all the 25 challenges. They were all memorable for we climbed trees, made two different types of fires, boiled the eggs, swam in strong current water, figured out the Morse Code, did different knots and ties, and many, many more fun activities that made us all really proud to be Scouts; but not just any kind of Scouts - “Scouts of Belize.”

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Our Leaders were really happy when they saw us and when I showed them our passport. After every challenge there was a Leader who would give us points for our performance. We did excellent and didn’t believe that it was possible. After eating as a group, together we left for our camping grounds. On arriving there we decided to take a quick rest after which we would get up and take a shower. That was a bad idea for we went fast asleep into a deep sleep. Dianne woke me up at 1:00 a.m. and we were both shocked for we didn’t realize that we had overslept. Dianne and I went to the bathroom, which was about 150 yards away from our camping grounds, and since it was late we only wiped up with wipes and went quickly back to our tents for we were in the mountains and Guatemala was really cold in the nights. We went back to sleep.

At 5:00 a.m. the Leader’s whistle blew. In our tents we were not disturbed for the entire Belize area was fast asleep. The Leader didn’t penalize us for he knew what we had to do on Sunday. We got up at 7:00 a.m. and together we went to take our showers. After taking our baths, we went back to the grounds and started to pack up and strike our tents. While taking them down the Leaders from Belize came to visit us. They told us to continue and after finishing we would go do our commercial. I was very excited and pleased for it was not too much of an overwhelming task. We all did a great job in the production of the commercial and the task was done very quickly. After completing our tasks we went for breakfast and then we had a closing ceremony. I raised the Belize flag and I was proud of myself to do such a task.

When the closing ceremony ended we went to take a bath after which we went for our bags from the grounds, received our lunch and boarded the bus to take us back to the Scout Headquarters. We left the camping grounds at 2:30 p.m. and arrived at Headquarters at 6:30 p.m. During the bus ride we traded some of our badges and pins with some of the Guatemalan Scouts. It was fun and also an excellent learning adventure. We were very exhausted but also filled with hidden energy. After unloading the bus we went out to shop and eat. Later that night we went to the bus terminal and two of the Venture Scouts and two of the male Leaders went back to Headquarters for our bags. We waited at the terminal and then boarded the bus at 10:30 p.m. and left Guatemala City at 11:00 p.m. We all sat beside someone with whom we could cuddle; it looked funny but we were all really cold. We arrived in Benque at 10:00 a.m. and then quickly caught a bus to Belize City. It was a regular bus so we arrived in Belize City at 12:00 noon. We were happy and excited to tell our parents, leaders, friends and all others about our Guatemala experience. I was happy to be home and told everyone about my fun adventure. This trip made me feel like a Scout, see different cultures, and made me want to never stop Scouting.

Scouting is fun and it helps to build a person to become someone in life.