October 2012

Siempre Listo : Always Prepared

Scouts in Cochabamba know what ‘Siempre Listo’, the motto of the scouts, means. It does not only mean to be prepared for surviving in nature or to pioneer big things. As a scout you have to ‘always be prepared’ to help a friend in need, to learn about other people, that are different than yourself, and to always contribute with your best effort in making the world a better place.

By: Marie Cathrine Ettrup
Projects Abroad Volunteer
Ryde – Denmark

Portrait of Lord Baden- Powell, the founder of scouting. Painted by David Jagger in 1929
Photo: http://gdlstemoura.wordpress.com/tag/baden-powell/

When Lord Robert Baden- Powell of Gilwell in 1908 wrote his famous book “Scouting for boys” he did not know, what he had started. The book, which was inspired by a camp Lord Baden- Powell held together with 20 young boys on the island of Brownsea (in 1907), changed the lives of millions of youngsters and adults over the world. In the beginning Lord Baden-Powell`s vision of educating youngsters and children in taking responsibility in their own lives and by that making the world a better place, caught a lot of the young English boys’ attentions. And soon the words of Lord Baden-Powell were spread trough out England’s borders and groups of scouts appeared in countries all over the world. Today the World Organization of the Scout Movement, WOSM, counts over 30 million members worldwide in 161 countries. Asociación de Scouts de Bolivia, ASB, got a member of WOSM in 1950 but the first group of scouts in Bolivia was gathered already in 1911. 7829 Bolivians are a member of ASB today and one of them is Cecilia Bustamante, 20 years old, leader of the Wolves of the ‘Incas’ and has been a scout for 7 years: “Here we say: when you start as a scout, you ask ‘why’? But when you have been a scout for some time, you ask ‘why not’?” But what is it about scouting that does, that over 30 million people worldwide are scouts?


In nearly every group of scouts throughout the world, the scouts are divided by their age into four groups. The youngest group is called ‘Lobatos’ or in English ‘the Wolves’ which contains children in the age of 7-11 years old. While a Wolf the child learns to ‘listen and respects others’, ‘speak the truth’, be ‘cheerful and happy’, to ‘help other persons’, ‘protect the nature’ and ‘wants to learn’. Every single point is from the ‘Law of the Wolves’, which is an adjustment of the ‘Law of the Scouts’, so it suits the availability to learn and the mind of the Wolves. For about 20 years ago four books for educating the Wolves got published. In these books every chapter has a character, mostly from The Jungle Book, and every character represents a quality, you need as a scout. Baloo represents intelligence, Bagheera flexibility, Kaa strength and Rikki Tikki Tavi courage. One character besides the ones from The Jungle Book, who plays an important role in educating the Wolves, is San Francisco de Asis. He is a catholic saint, who cared a lot for the nature and the atmosphere and teaches the Wolves that every plant and every animal is a creation by God and therefore your brother, whom you treat with respect.

Next after the Wolves comes ‘Exploradores’ or ‘the Explorers’, who are between 11-15 years old. Then the scouts become ‘Pioneros’ or ‘Pioneers’ as 15-18 years old and finally as 18-21 years old the scouts end as ‘Rovers’. Each different group of ages is taught in six different qualities: creativity – how to find a solution on a problem; sociality – how to be around other people; corporeality – how to take basically care of your body; spirituality – learning to respect other religions than one’s own; affectivity – how to understand, recognize and cooperate with feelings and emotions; and finally character – to find one’s own personal character through playing and general learning of the upper five points. Fany Jeanet Arnez Sejas - also known under the name ‘Negra’ – is 47 years old, leader of the Wolves of ‘Grupo Scout Loyola’, works in ASB and Distrito Scout Cochabamba, DSC, as the leader of all the Wolves in the district of Cochabamba and has been a scout for 33 years, says: “the important things of scouting are working on the personal character, the scout’s heart and mind and how to find the solution on problems. I think that it is the instrument for learning to be with people like tolerance, kindness, generosity, helping other people and finding peace, that are the most important terms in scouting”. And Cecilia Bustamante supplements that “the most important thing is the spirit: to help another person - scout or not scout”.

Every group of ages learns the principals of scouting through activities that manage the specific age. “The Wolves” is a lot about using the fantasy and playing educative games. “The Explorers” works a lot with adventure, “The Pioneers” has lots of activities about teamwork and social work and “The Rovers” is mostly about community and country service. Each step in the scouts has a specific characteristic but in general every step is educative. “My group and most of the other groups work with the values and the principals we teach to kids like respect, ethics and the rest of the principals that includes scouting. All the activities we do with the scouts we work with the area of personal growth and self-esteem”, Betty Torrico, another leader of the Wolves from ‘Incas’ and scout for 23 years, says.

The logo of the World Organization of
the Scout Movement

Photo: http://www.spejdernet.dk/Om_Os/Designguide/Logo/wosm.aspx

Making the world a better place

One of the activities is “Clean up the world”. This is an activity, where the different groups in all of Bolivia choose an area in their city or in the nature to ‘clean up’. The scouts take care of the animals and plants and remove the garbage from these areas, which are different each time.

Another activity is “350”. The number 350 represents an ideal number of how much CO2 there should be. But in this moment the number is 385 and it is too much. To reduce this number to the more ideal number, 350, the scouts are aware of only leaking the necessary amount of CO2 out in the atmosphere. They do it by only having the light in the used room turned on, having the TV turned on only and not both radio and TV and by turning the lights off for hours, planting trees, recycling, composting and to always be aware to minimize the use of CO2.

Furthermore are activities as TRO – Terapia de Rehidratación Oral – where the scouts teach families about diarrhoea. The scouts show the parents how to cook a special soup and how to make a special drink, so the child can be healthy again.

Education for life

Aaron Beckenkamp has been a scout in Germany for 13 years and is now a volunteer in Cochabamba. He is a member of the Bolivian group “Incas” for a year and talks about the differences of scouting in other countries and cultures: “It is not like all the same but everybody has the same aim and the same goal to make the world a little bit better”. Fany Jeanet Arnez Sejas agrees with him and replies: “as a scout you learn to respect the other cultures and the people from other countries and communities than your own, because you meet them at jamborees and other gatherings.

Respect is the most important thing in the world. You are always welcome with the scouts. It does not matter if you are fat or skinny, have brown or blue eyes, Catholic or Muslim, rich or poor, German or Bolivian. It is not important. As a scout and in the group of scouts everybody is welcome”. According to her, this is also a part of working on the scout’s personal character.

From the activity ‘Clean up the world’. ’Grupo scout Loyola’ removing the garbage of an area of Pacata Alta – El Bateón.
Photo: Fany Jeanet Arnez Sejas

You learn a lot as a scout. Of course you learn all the ‘basics’ as how to behave and survive in nature, how to do knots, how to do first aid and how to use a compass. But besides these ‘basics’ you learn about yourself and other people than yourself. You learn to be social, to recognize and cooperate with feelings, to understand and respect other peoples’ backgrounds and cultures, to be in a group, to take care of yourself, the world and each other on a physical and psychological plan and to be yourself. As a scout you develop as a person through constantly working on your personal character and interacting with other people.

“I think the things you learn as a scout not only are for using while in a group of scouts, it is for life.” Cecilia Bustamante philosophizes and Fany Jeanet Arnez Sejas supplements: “scouting is education for life”. As the last words I will let the founder of the whole scout community underline a part of the scouts’ principals: “the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. “Be Prepared” in this way, to live happy and to die happy”.

The art of cooking
and eating in Cochabamba

There is an art that can be considered a heritage of the women of Cochabamba; it is the art of cooking or the preparation of meals. This skill is accompanied by a natural female tendency of being able to write down recipes just by knowing how to smoothen the taste of a meal through a huge repertoire of formulas for seasoning. The man, being gourmets and experts of this cuisine, are in charge of poetically admiring the dishes intending to be appreciated by the cooks of those fine tastes who get little recognition although having put such determination in cooking a good meal.

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