Upon arrival to Pambujan, I was invited by all the male teachers to attend the Regional Boy Scout Jamboree that week. I’ve seen some other scouting events in the past here, and wasn’t too impressed. Then again, I was only there for a short time. I’m happy to stand corrected. Although it took some time to convince me of their Boy Scout ways.
It’s part of Filipino culture to start something at 9 and then really start at 10ish. This applies to everything except scheduled means of traveling. This is totally up to the discretion of the driver, and they usually leave 30 minutes to an hour early. I was on a plane that left 1 hour early two weeks ago, and my supervisor missed the plane because she showed up on time. So when you come to visit, show up early, and then have no expectations or plans for that day. Just show up when you do, eat, drink and rest. Travel days are actually pretty good for just that. You are expected to sleep for the rest of the day.
So the first day of Boy Scouts, I was to meet the group of men at 7:30, they showed up at. . .? 8:30. Then they left me because they were all on motorcycles, and I can’t ride those because of Peace Corps policy. So I walked a half mile to the bus terminal, and sat in a van for 40 minutes while we waited for the van to fill up. In a 9-person van, they will fit 15. Always room for one more!
I showed up to Scout City and mamasayada (walked around, favorite Filipino word). Some how this group of men left an hour before I did on motorcycles, and still managed to show up an hour after I did. I really didn’t mind. I got to walk around and enjoy the beautiful venue. I also met some other young men that were helping to organize the event. They were Eagle Scouts too, and we had lots to talk about.
Eventually when the other men showed up they began hauling wood and other materials up a steep hill made of slippery clay. Then we began to construct a stick framed structure that we would drape several tarps over to keep the rain out. This structure reminded me of something that I really wanted to build in my backyard when I was 11. Building our fort took up the main portion of that day.
The following day, boys showed up and acclimated themselves to the camp ground for the first part of the morning. In the afternoon the boys got together to practice songs, hip-hop dances, and some instrumental pieces to be performed later that evening. I was very impressed. I know some Filipino boys would be happy to come to the states, and give hip-hop dance lessons to our kids. I have complete confidence in their ability to teach and dance. I’m blown away by the synchronized Ga-Ga slides, and fluid Justin Beaver arm-bops.
The next day the boys moved around camp and went to different activities such as a zip-line (using a rope-harness technique taught to us in Search and Rescue classes), A hike that leads scouts down steep slippery trails, dodging spiders, wasp nests, who knows what else and a rope spanning the width of a pond to be used to cross the pond (Filipinos can’t swim, fortunately it wasn’t that deep), next comes a mud crawl, followed by another mud crawl. Those guys are troopers. We had so much fun. I stayed out of the mud, but enjoyed everything else. There were also some team-building activities, and a community project that involved cleaning up trash on the beach.
I spent the night at Scout city that night. I went for another mamasayada sa bukid (mountain) at night, and at one point found myself completely surrounded by fireflies. It was so cool! There were so many, I was actually a little intimidated. That night as the boys slept, the other men and I drank and shared stories. I got a lot of language practice that night. Visayan tends to flow so smoothly when I’m drinking. During the night, strange noises filled the air, the moon lit up the ground and surrounding foliage, and nothing that I know of crawled into bed with me.
It was a great experience and a good way to get to know some of the other teachers at my school, and some of the students that I will be working with. Kudos to the Boy Scouts of the Philippines for having a good time, giving the boys some great experiences and being so involved with the school.
Siget, Makadi ako sa dagat, para maglalakat ngan magbibiling la. Sanglit, mayada kamo malipayon ka kulop, ngan magsurat san-o magbibiling sin pagtrabajo! (Okay, I’m going to go to the beach for a walk and look around. So, you all have a great afternoon, and write when you find work!)