Scouts’ get together in Kolkata
On December 29 we started our journey to Kolkata to attend the Special National Jamboree being held in Rajarhat, West Bengal, India from January 2-7 to mark the centenary of the Scout movement started by Lord Baden Powell.
After facing traffic jams and bandhs, and a 19-hour train journey, we reached Howrah station. This was my first long-distance train journey.
We spent the first two days sight seeing. We rode the metro, which was probably a first for many of us. It was so much fun. We visited the beautiful Victoria garden, St Paul’s Cathedral and the amazing Birla Planetarium. We also managed to visit the local market for some shopping.
We decided to do something special on New Year’s Day. We began our new year by visiting the holy Kalimandir. After getting the blessings of goddess Kali, we visited the zoo and enjoyed ourselves at Nico Park. The following day we left for the Jamboree.
The Jamboree started with an opening ceremony after which we familiarised ourselves with the camp.
It was one of the biggest gatherings of children that I have ever been to — with more than 16,000 children. It was a National Jamboree with scouts from all over India, and also from several foreign countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Portugal, and Hong Kong. There were 260 scouts from all over Nepal with contingent leader Bharat Sir, and assistant contingent leader Miss Pushpa.
The theme of the Jamboree was ‘The promise in practice’.
We had lots of exciting activities to do. They consisted chimney climbing, Russian wall, commando crossing, swinging board, flying trapeze, tiger jump, ladder crossing, tyre crossing, plank walk, tyre wall, pull up and repelling wall. Similarly offside activities consisted of parasailing, water activity, night hike, artificial rock climbing. Fun activities were archery, skate boarding, fun riding, stilt walking, fun with drums, touching the target, marks man, C-sliding and mud basketball. Intellectual activities consisted of amateur radio, computer awareness, poster making, puzzle corner, vocational hobby, slogan board, and singing stage.
The mix of activities undoubtedly helped us gain new experiences. We also visited the Bandel church and prayed for the blessings of god. We had a magnificent view of the Howrah Bridge from the steamer in the Hooghly river.
The camp life was fun except for acute shortage of water. There was little water for drinking and literally no water for the toilets. The place was quite dirty.
It made us think about the comfort of our homes. But this acute shortage of water and sanitary condition at the camp made us realise the importance and value of water, which otherwise we tend to waste a lot. It prepared us to face the hardship and discomfort
of camp life and cope with the situation.
The Jamboree helped us realise the essence of life. It gave us a chance to experience challenges and hardships. It has taught us to be alert and ready at all times.
We spent wonderful moments that helped us to be bold and ready, to undergo any difficulty in life and to survive under any circumstance.
The Jamboree offered us self-knowledge and challenge that will help us to develop our talents and shape our lives. Having learnt so much, we returned to Kathmandu on January 10.