iProj 2017: A Look Back at the First 6 Days

By Nick Leung

Within the first week, we traveled from the rural area of Shuanglianpi to the National Changhua University of Education. This marked the end of our first two major stops in Taiwan: Hualien and Shuanglianpi. As a Rover Scout on my first International Service Project (or iProj for short), I wanted to take a look back at the first 6 days of iProj.

We started our journey in Hualien, where we visited Scouts at the Hwa-Gang Junior High School. We gave them an introduction to Canada and our Rover Crew. One of the Scouts told me that this was her first time ever meeting Canadians, so I was glad that she was having a good experience out of our visit. After, we played a couple of icebreakers games with them. Since the students only spoke a little English and I only spoke a little Mandarin, some of the communication was difficult, but we all had a fun time and got a good laugh out of it.

Looking back, the icebreaker was just as important for the local Scouts as it was for our contingent; not only did it help them be more comfortable talking to us, but I also felt that members of our contingent really worked together to create the best experience possible for the local Scouts. In addition, not all the members of the contingent knew each other that well, but even after our visit to the school, I found myself interacting with members of our contingent at a more personal level.

Next, we headed to Shuanglianpi for our environmental project. I had never stayed in a rural part of Asia before, so this was a new environment for me to live in. Shuanglianpi was the home to some of the biggest spiders I’d ever seen and some of the most rambunctious frogs I’d ever heard, but it was also a beautiful landscape with other interesting wildlife and insects. Our main goal at the Shuanglianpi Environmental Centre was to remove surface vegetation and dig a hole wide enough so that we could construct a pond. The hope was to recreate a similar environment to what the lake at Shuanglianpi was 70 years ago, when it contained many unique migratory birds and aquatic plants. I learned that only one year ago, the staff working at the centre discovered a type of aquatic plant they thought was previously extinct, and that gave me and many others a lot of motivation to work harder.

The thought of sleeping at this centre for two nights was an uneasy one at first. Even though I joined Scouting at the age of 7 and had plenty of experience camping outdoors and sleeping with nature, I still did not feel completely comfortable with sleeping in the dormitory. 16 of us had to fit into a dormitory, and the smell of our hard work, sight of the insects, and constant croaking of the frogs did not make it easy to sleep.

But this is iProj; This is what we were here to do and we were all able to enjoy it together. The entire experience at Shuanglianpi really pulled our contingent together, and even though most of our activities consisted of physically tiring work, our energy levels and team morale seemed to be at an all-time high. We’re not even halfway there yet, and I cannot wait for what awaits us.

 

This is a summary of  Rover Scout Nick Leung’s experiences during the first week of our international service project. To read in further details of these events referenced, please visit our iProj Taiwan landing page.We also have more content that is not on here on our social media! Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! 

Nicholas Leung

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