February 2012

Life in Fresh Air: Scouting in Cochabamba

According to the article ‘Scouting’ (Anna Infantas, El Deber, 19 August 2007), it is said that the primary person of the scouting movement in Bolivia in 1911 was Chilean professor Adolfo Piñeiro - a follower of Baden Powell, the founder of the scouting movement. He arrived at Tarija with a group of foreign teachers hired by the Minister of Higher Education, Juan Misael Saracho, in order to support the education’s progress in the city. This very first scout brigade was called Ramon Rojas.

By: Walter Sánchez
Instituto Investigaciones Antropológicas
UMSS


Scouts activities
Photo: Rodolfo Torrico Zamudio

According to the article ‘Scouting’ (Anna Infantas, El Deber, 19 August 2007), it is said that the primary person of the scouting movement in Bolivia in 1911 was Chilean professor Adolfo Piñeiro - a follower of Baden Powell, the founder of the scouting movement. He arrived at Tarija with a group of foreign teachers hired by the Minister of Higher Education, Juan Misael Saracho, in order to support the education’s progress in the city. This very first scout brigade was called Ramon Rojas.

The next brigade was organized in Sucre. In 1913, two foreign professors, Thirion and Van Swae, founded another scout group with their alumni of Junin High School which followed Piñeiro’s example. At the same time, in La Paz, other brigades were founded by three professors, Meruvia, Irle and Burns, with the alumni of the American Institute.

In the same city, in 1915, professor Hugo Montes created a brigade at the National Ayacucho High School. The brigade was called Max Paredes.

Afterwards, the popularity of scouting increased. In the same year, new brigades were founded both in Oruro and in Sucre. Due to the popularity of scouting, the Association of Scouts in Bolivia (ASB) was founded in June 1950 and legally recognized in July 1950.

According to one theory, scouting was born in Cochabamba around 1915. Not many documents about the first groups of the city exist; but apparently, it is understood that the brigades ‘Calatayud’ and ‘Bolivar’ were the initial ones. By 1916, the Calatayud Brigade welcomed Enrique Alurralde and Fidel lriarte as ‘Jefes’, and also Rodolfo Torrico Zamudio as a commander. The impact of these two groups was very strong and their activities were followed by the local press.

The Chilean newspaper, El Ferrocarril, in the edition of June 23rd 1916, pointed out the following: ‘The Calatayud Brigade. All scouts of Calatayud Brigade are excited about their first trip to Sacaba village tomorrow... Taking advantage of this excursion, they will take part in exercises such as exploration, investigation and review.’

 


Scouts activities
Photo: Rodolfo Torrico Zamudio

The excursion was described as a grand one by the newspaper El Heraldo (24 July 1916). It follows: ‘The Scouts’ Excursion. Yesterday, lead by its commanders, the ‘Bolivar’ and ‘Calatayud’ brigades went on excursions to Chocaya and Sacaba respectively. On the journey, they carried out various exercises such as excursion and review. In this short time, these brigades have learnt much, although there are many things left to do. Semaphore (flag signaling system), which is an indispensable instruction for the scouts, will be practiced soon in both brigades.’

The scouting movement promoted not only discipline for the youth, but also the experience of outdoor life and communitarianism. The media began to recommend it as a main education institution in order to train boy scouts. It was mentioned that the institution is quite important for society, to teach youth to love their hometown, as well as introducing them to a healthy life. This publicity was so strong that scouts played an active role in supporting the army by collecting food and medicines in cities during the Chaco War.

After the war in 1932, many brigades disappeared until the 1940’s. In 1950, Bolivian scouting became a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). In January 1969, it was sanctioned by a protection law which declared that their activities benefited the public. Details of the movement’s activities have been vague till January 1992; but when the principal scouts’ brigades of Cochabamba held the Jamboree, Los Andres, in Molle Molle, Cochabamba surprisingly, more than 4000 young people from 18 countries participated in this event.

The Scouts’ presence in Cochabamba attracted other important national and international events to the city. Then, between December 1994 and January 1995, the ASB organized the Jamboree Pan-American, the most important event of scouting. Seven thousand young people from 32 countries and four continents joined in. At present (2011), the ASB has nearly 8000 members and a large percentage of them belong to their local association.

MUSEO DE ARQUEOLOGIA

Instituto de
Investigaciones
Antropologicas

Traduccion
Shiho Koyama
Proofread
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Calendario FEBRERO 2012

> Ciclo de cine “Pasiones de ayer yhoy”
“A tout de suite” (Director Benoît Jacquot)
1 Febrero
“La escurridiza o cómo esquivar el amor” (Director
Abdellatif Kechiche)
2 Febrero
“Gabrielle” (Director Patrice Chéreau)
3 febrero - Hora: 19.00

> Exposición pictórica “Minimalística“
Artista Gabriela Montesinos
17 febrero - Inauguración 6 – 19:00

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