It has been quite a long time since my last posting! I wrote this Postcards software planning to visit internet cafes along the way, and there uploading a postcard photo and write out a bit about the journey. However, Web access was more limited than I thought, so it was used only for finding timetables and accomodation and keeping in touch with my immediate family (as a requirement!).
I have now arrived at the World Scouting Jamboree and am working in Information Technology manning check-in and internet cafes. Today we did our main check-in; as of now we've done 36,574 (15,423 today). It is pretty astounding to see how many different cultures, countries, and languages are right in front of my face, people I thought I'd never meet but am now helping with check-in.
In slow times during shifts, I may (?) have a bit of opportunity for internet access and can write again. I hope to write more about experiences in Europe soon and write some postcards in reverse order.
The Plans page was recently updated to reflect all the dates and places where I went. Updating that page helped me keep track of my own plans! Have a look and see where it's going while I'll try to get to writing the how.
I am now on the International Service Team (IST) for the 21st World Scout Jamboree, which is the largest volunteer project ever in the UK and the largest gathering of Scouts at a World Jamboree. The Olympics-like event of 40,000 people from 158 countries has an IST of 8,000 members donating (together) over 1,360,000 hours. The event is being held on 700 acres of land (45 minutes' walk to cross) at and around Hylands Park, 33 miles from London. Normally a typical town park, it has been transformed over the last month into a city the size of Concord, NH (+/-10%) complete with "temporary" structures of every shape and size that you almost have to see to believe. Everything from supermarkets to banks to restaurants to modern art and sculptures similar to those in the most advanced world cities can be found in the hubs and paths of the Jamboree site.
Weather here is typical English; it is the first place I have seen the clouds used as a projection screen (for the disco lights of the IST welcome celebration). The clouds are as reliable as the mud.
'Scouting weather' doesn't stop people from celebrating 100 years since the founding of Scouting and making new friends from many different countries. Building up peace through positive cross-cultural connections and "Gifts for Peace" projects (prior to and concurrent with the Jamboree all over the world) is a direct goal of the event, themed "One World, One Promise." This peak comes after a great deal of preparation (mostly indirect, not knowing what it was preparation for), and will likely be remembered as a highest point in this chapter of my life story, even and especially with its challenges.
I hope to write again soon, and have an excellent day!
Grace and peace,
Postcard photo, text, & software ©2007 W. Ben Towne / WBT Productions.