Our Story

Our Story: After meeting in graduate school at UGA, we were married in 2011 in Marietta, Georgia. A year later, we joined the Peace Corps as environmental conservation volunteers and embarked on our adventure in Paraguay!

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are ours personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.

March 6, 2013

What's with Sarah and Ben wearing those Scouts uniforms?

One of the first contacts we met in site was Daniel. He is a member of the Lion's club and a part of a group of people who are starting up a Scouts group in our community. He invited us to a dinner and we met all of the leaders, and Dani said that we were already Scouts, so get used to it! Since we didn't have too many projects going on, we decided it would be a great experience.

We started by going to a lot of their initial planning meetings each week. Every leader takes turns having a meeting at their place, and we take care of business first, then we eat snacks! Yum! Usually pizza or empanadas or some kind of desert, or all 3! That's our favorite part.

After a bunch of planning meetings, it was time for all of the founding leaders, including us, to swear-in as Scouts. We adapted ours a little; we had to say I will serve my countries instead of country. We thought we were really smart for adding that. We had just swore-in as volunteers about a month before, and here we were swearing-in to another organization. I wonder how many we can swear-in to in 2 years. The ceremony was again in Cristina and Albertos living room. We went one by one saying the promise, then we all say down and watched a movie about helping motivate people who don't feel like they belong. It was called The Butterfly Circus. Then we got snacks again! Here's the oath we took:

Prometo hacer cuanto de mí dependa para amar a dios, servir a mi países, trabajar por la paz y vivir la ley scout.

The Scouts group is the same as Boy/Girl Scouts in the states, except, you know, everything is in Spanish. In our community, they started a cub scouts group (lobatos) for the younger kids and a Scouts group for the 12-15 range. As they already had 2 guy leaders for the scouts and 2 girl leaders for the lobatos, they decided to put Sarah with the scouts and me with the kids. All the leaders wear the official grey uniform shirt with the official uniform badges of the World Scouts organization, the Paraguay Scouts organization, and Troop 99 of Coronel Bogado. We also get to wear a bandanna around our necks. Each troop designs their own bandanna. The red, yellow, and green colors of our troop bandannas mimic the colors of the flag of Coronel Bogado.

After a few weeks of planning, we had our first meeting. We started with a lot of scouts basics, we all stood in line, wearing our uniforms, as the Scouts flag was raised along side of the flag of Paraguay. Sarah and I sang Mami Loro for all the kids. The kids were really enthusiastic and everyone seemed to like it. The next meeting I read the story about Robert Baden Powell and how the scouts was founded. Sarah's group practiced Scout formations and played a few team-building games.

The leaders are all really excited to get our name out there. Our town had a big event called the sounds of the world and a bunch of school orchestras came from all over the world. Our Scouts group volunteered serving food to people and cleaning up afterwards, in our uniforms of course to show a connection to the community. Sarah and I even went around collecting all the plastic bottles so that we can reuse them for eco-ladrillo projects. Everyone was asking us what we were doing and what are uniforms meant. Some people even recognized us as scouts and greeted us with the Scouts salute.

After several meetings of helping with icebreakers and generic Scouts related activities, we have worked out a different niche in the group. While we enjoyed being leaders, we have decided to shift gears and act more as the environmental experts of the group. Sarah and I are going to be working together presenting environmental activities to the kids each week. We will present twice each meeting, once with each group for about 20-30 minutes. This change to our role in the group came right after we had our site presentation and our bosses finally brought all our training and activity manuals that we had put in long term storage. So, good timing! Now we can use our manuals to plan environmental activities for both the Lobatos and the Scouts.

All-in-all, we love working with the Scouts, and we hope to support them throughout our entire time here. We can't wait for our first camping trip! Siempre listo!

You can keep up with our Troop 99 on our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ScoutsDeCoronelBogado?fref=ts.

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