WSJ – Timor Connection

The WSJ in Sweden was an exciting time for all. In particular the contingent was joined by two Venturers from Timor-Leste, Fernando and Octaviano. I was fortunate enough to be in the same patrol with them and also coordinate their week in Canberra prior to the Jamboree.

Fernando and Octaviano had never been outside Timor-Leste before this great adventure. So on the Monday prior to our departure to the WSJ these two brave Venturers said goodbye to their family and friends and hopped on a plane to Darwin. It was in the few hours that they were in Darwin that they were invested into Australian Scouts by the local Sea Scout Group and then placed on the red-eye flight to Sydney.

They spent about one hour in Sydney before flying to Canberra. Yes, July is cold in Canberra and Timor-Leste is warm all year round. On arrival in Canberra Fernando and Octaviano were given coats to wear. However there was no preparation for the cold Canberra winter. From their faces it looked like the two of them had arrived at the end of the world. They did not look impressed.

Canberra provided a range of new experiences for the two Venturers. There are many things that we take for granted that provided a smile or a sense of uncertainty in the beginning for the two of them. These things included escalators, shopping malls and the lack of motor cycles on the road. During the next four days Fernando and Octaviano spend time learning about Australia, while talking with Australian Venturers and visiting places like Parliament House.

Then on the Friday night it was time to head down to Melbourne for Fernando and Octaviano. They flew out of Melbourne to the WSJ on the Saturday, as I flew out of Sydney on the same day. We next met in Bangkok for the rest of the WSJ adventure.
It was from Copenhagen on that Fernando and Octaviano really got to experience international Scouting. As we all greeted and met scouts from all the continents of the world on the streets, we got to rely on the Timor-Leste Venturers’ language skills. Unlike Australia schools, in Timor-Leste it is compulsory to learn many languages at school. So with the languages of Portuguese, English and Indonesian, we were set to talk with just about anyone and everyone.

At the Jamboree there were all the events on offer as part of the Australian troop, plus Fernando and Octaviano got to participate in the Portuguese speaking activities also. This involved a reception, meetings and a party. Overall it seemed that they got to live the best of both worlds. This being the case Green Troop got to benefit from their experience in construction. It was a great opportunity for cultural exchange for both the Australians and the Timor-Leste Venturers. We all look forward to a Scout trip to Timor-Leste in the future to meet up again.

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