International Service Project 2017 Kickoff: The Contingent Has Arrived in Taiwan!

By Brian Asin

‘Rice burgers & tour bus karaoke’ is exactly how I’d want to describe my first day in Taiwan. From the “open 24 hours” dumpling shops to the beautiful mountainside views, it’s hard to not get lost in the magic of the island nation.

As soon as we exited the gates at Taoyuan International Airport, we were greeted by Taiwanese Scouts coming from a number of local groups. It was my first time meeting Scouts internationally, and to know that they were waiting for us since 4:00AM was very heartwarming. This is the first time I felt the global scale of the scouting community; it was absolutely amazing! Among them were Scouter Sherman and Scouter Hamtaro, whom, without them, we wouldn’t be writing to you from Taiwan today.

There is definitely something special about the food in Taiwan. In our first 24 hours, we already had six meals—all of them as delicious as the last. For our first official meal, the local Scouts took us to Mos Burger, a local chain famous for their rice burgers. It turns out that Taiwan likes their burgers just the way we do: warm & fresh, at 8:30AM in the morning. For dinner, we had the most amazing assortment of Taiwanese cuisine. A crowd favourite was the mayonnaise and pineapple coated fried shrimp. Courageously, our entire table also tried the stinky tofu, a traditional Asian dish that cannot be described by words, only by the smell.

As a first timer on an International Service Project (iProj, for short), I also got to experience some of our Rover Crew’s culture. Bus speeches have been a part of our iProj since our second trip to the Philippines. Each person stands in front of the contingent and speak about a topic randomly given to them for 3 minutes; no preparation time given. I was waiting nervously, hoping not to be called up, but I also felt inspired as Scouter John spoke of his mission (and the Rover Crew’s mission) to develop capable youth who can present themselves confidently to the public, even at random. While we did get to hear some good speeches on topics such as leadership, this time around, we sang songs on our bus ride to the coastal city of Hualien instead. Our Taiwan Scout hosts were very courteous to us, booking a bus fully equipped with karaoke because Taiwanese people love karaoke.

Right before we wrapped up for dinner, we set out to explore the Hualien Coast. Even with grey clouds approaching, the shoreline was stunning.

 

After such a welcoming first day, I can’t help but feel excited for the weeks to come!

Throughout the day, I went around and asked the Contingent to describe their first day of iProj. I think it’s safe to say that though we are all tired from our long trip here, we are having a great time!

Today was:

 

Follow us on our 6th international service project, and keep an eye out for our daily vlogs!

Brian Asin

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