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05-Jan-2003 (I)
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UK Contingent update


EBulletin 6 from the UK Contingent Headquarters in Thailand - dated 05 January 2003:

"Time is flying past at an alarming rate now with most members of the Contingent having been away from home for almost 2 weeks, so we are over the half way mark of the most amazing experience of most peoples lives!

The major part of the Jamboree is taken up with organised activities. The sort of activities that are needed to cater for twenty five thousand 14 to 18 year olds from all over the world make it a bit different from even a large international camp in the UK.

The Jamboree Programme is split into eight main areas, as well as there being loads of other bits and pieces going on to keep people entertained!

There are four big offsite activities, which take almost half the participants and leaders off site every day. This means really early starts, having to be on coaches for about 7.30am, but as it is nice and cool at that time in the morning, the routine doesn’t take too long.

Community Action Day is a whole day where patrols (nine participants and one leader) undertake community projects at temples, schools and other local places. Over the ten days of the Jamboree, buildings are being painted, general repairs are being done and a whole host of other jobs that will make the lives of the Thai people better. 

Our Heritage gives everyone the opportunity to discover a bit of Thailand. Visits to places that range from seeing how fish sauce is made to temples and visits to see tigers and crocodiles! A real insight into Thai life that many visitors to Thailand would rarely get the opportunity to see.

A day orienteering and hacking through the forests on an adventure called Exploring Nature not only tested everyone’s physical ability and resistance to heat but also true Scouting and Guiding skills, such as being able to navigate from one point to another on a bearing! With over three hundred different routes there has been huge variety in the part of the country visited, but a fantastic time has been had by all those who go…

The rest of the programme is run on site, at one of the specially constructed areas. Some of these (City of Science and Crossroads of Culture) are new to World Scout Jamboree’s, whilst others are variations on a tried and tested theme.

The Global Development Village runs a series of interactive workshops on some tricky concepts, often aided by the appropriate UN agency who have been very supportive of the Jamboree. Topics covered include: peace and intercultural understanding; environmental; fair trade and child poverty as well as HIV and Aids. Different countries were asked to run workshops under particular themes, with the UK providing several workshops.

City of Science has lots of workshops running on a more scientific theme, covering topics like DNA, the formation of planet Earth and the solar system, information technology, aromatherapy and evolution of life.

Crossroads of Culture has been an amazing success with all sorts of nationalities sharing their cultures with hundreds of other nationalities. In the evenings there are shows from various countries to share traditional dress and dances. There is even a Viennese coffee house from the Austrian Contingent! 

Face the Waves is perhaps the activity people are looking forward to the most. About twenty different water sports including sailing, wind surfing, dragon boating, snorkeling and rafting are available for each half day session in the crystal blue waters of the Gulf of Thailand.

A huge tournament assault course is also on offer with all sorts of challenging and adventurous activities, and the obligatory MUD! With the heat and climate in Thailand even the most mild of events is a challenge, but with lots of water available a great time is said to have been had by everyone who takes part.

There is a quieter part of the site known as the Prayer Valley, which is where there are (air conditioned) tents for a wide variety of faiths. It is a place where people can go to find out about other faiths; to be still and think or to seek guidance and religious development. There is a lovely feel to the area that is very hard to put into words, let alone photograph or catch on video, but it really does feel like the right place to be when you need to sit and think about stuff.

Walk in activities are available throughout the day and through to the evenings in all areas of the sites. There is a lot of emphasis with getting out and about to meet new people from other countries rather than staying with Guides and Scouts from the UK.

All the activities on offer are being run by the volunteers who are part of the International Service Team, many of whom are from the UK. Over the Christmas ‘holiday’ the dedicated members of the team were undergoing training for their various jobs, as well as helping set up and finalise a lot of the equipment and activities!

By the end of the day’s programme which is about 6pm, when the sun has just set and the temperature is returning to a reasonable temperature, Units make their way back to their Sub Camps to prepare the evening meal and get ready for the various entertainments in the evening. These include campfires (without the fire due to the fire risk); passport to the world and entertainments on a seaside theme!

This evening saw a dragon boat epic with nine UK International Service Team units taking on the Contingent Support Team. After an unsteady start, the Contingent Support Team took the lead, four boats gradually sank soon to be rescued by the Thai Navy. Eventually the Contingent Support Team edged in to the beach with a three length lead, therefore winning the race! Much fun was had by all, especially several bewildered Thai’s working on Beach Patrol!"

The following statement has been issued from the United Kingdom to explain the healthcare provision at the Jamboree in Thailand.

"Healthcare provision at the Jamboree is excellent. There is a field hospital on site and a Jamboree ward at the nearby Queen Sirikit Naval Hospital. Quite often, those reporting sick spend some time at the Naval Hospital. This should not be seen as the same as going into hospital in the UK but rather as an extension of bed rest and an opportunity for re-hydration – the weather here is very hot. Most patients spend only a short time at the Naval Hospital before being discharged back to the Jamboree.

The UK Contingent healthcare team are monitoring the situation and the Jamboree has provided limited visiting facilities at the Naval Hospital. If there is a case of serious illness or injury we have first class medical repatriation facilities available to us.

The UK Contingent will continue to work with the Jamboree organisers, particularly the healthcare teams, to ensure that the well-being of UK Contingent members is a top priority."

Dr Richard Johnson 
UK Contingent Medical Adviser