Wa: the responsibility we have to each other and the planet

Josie TroostJosephine Troost is a 17 year old Scout from Stanford in the Western Cape. She has been home schooled since grade 1 and is currently completing her schooling through Cambridge. She joined 1st Hermanus Sea Scouts in 2009 but was a member of the Girl Guides prior to that.

“I went to Europe with my mother when I was 11 but this is the first time that I am going overseas without my parents”, she explains. “World Jamborees only happen every 4 years and you have to be between the ages of 14 and 18 to attend as a participant, after which you can join as an adult volunteer. So as this is the only opportunity I will get to attend a World Scout Jamboree as a Scout. I am super excited to have the opportunity to take part in this adventure of a lifetime but at the same time I’m really nervous because I have never been away from home for this long before. I feel like I have butterflies in my stomach  from excitement and a tape running in my head constantly asking me, what if this happens? What if I forget that? What am I going to do if I forget something important? And a million other questions. I guess it will all be fine once we are on our way.” Says Josephine with a smile. “I am most looking forward to meeting and making friends with Scouts from other countries and experiencing other cultures within the framework of the Scouting system. I also love history so I am looking forward to learning more about Japan on our pre Jamboree tour in Tokyo and Kyoto” says Josephine.

In preparation for the trip  Josephine has been reading any and all information sent out by the leaders of the SA contingent and has been talking to other Scouts who are going to this Jamboree or have been to previous Jamborees. She has also been researching the places they will be visiting.

When it comes to the Japanese culture, language or food Josephine is eager to immerse herself in this new experience. “I think that the difference in culture will be an interesting experience because Japan is so different to South Africa but that it won’t be unmanageable because most of the time we will be with people to whom the Japanese culture is just as foreign as it is to us. Also in today’s global culture I think that there will be more similarities between different cultures then there would have been 100 years ago. The difference in language does scare me a little as it poses difficulties in understanding, or communicating with, other people. The only issue I am worried about with regard to food is the fact that I am a Vegetarian and this could be difficult to explain. I am not worried about tasting new foods as long as they don’t contain meat.”

The theme of the 23WSJ is “Wa: a spirit of unity”. “To me Wa: a spirit of unity means being sensitive to other people with cultures or beliefs different to your own without compromising on things you feel strongly about. To me it also relates to the common responsibility we have to each other and the planet we all share.  Another part of this “spirit of unity” that is very important to me is the preservation of threatened/minority cultures that are dying out as our world gets more and more connected and many young people like myself are leaving their heritage behind in the race to get ahead.”

When asked what she has to say to her fellow SCOUTS SA Contingent she replied “Lets go and show the rest of the world how awesome South Africa is by representing our country in the best possible light by living up to our Scout Promise and Law. Let’s go and make some awesome memories and fantastic new friends!”