Lynette from Madagaskar: Watch “Inside Bundescamp 2022 | Eröffnung”

Be free, was the motto of the 2022 Ranger Bundescamp in Thüringen, Germany. The whole theme of the camp revolved around Marco Polo and his trip along the Silk Road to China in the year 1300. This trip lasted 24 years after which he had made his way back to Venice by sea. This historical event gives us a feeling of adventure and discovery.

I have so much to share about this incredible experience, but will stick to an introduction today.

As many as 430 Royal Ranger outposts presented themselves at the camp and I had the privilege to be part of Thesi’s outpost of Heidelberg. There were about a total of 17 000 Rangers at the camp and our outpost counted for less than thirty of that total. The venue was at an old horse racing track and covered about 60 hectares. So, you will not be surprised to know that I had blisters on my feet by day 2.

We arrived by bus from Heidelberg and had to set up our own camp. The traditional “yurt” tent was used and required a team of people to put up. In typical Ranger style, this was done in no time. A fire table and eating place were also built, because we cooked over an open fire. I learnt so much already on that first day and were just amazed by the leaders’ efficiency. I saw Thesi go from relaxed student to full “let’s do this mode” and that set the bar for the rest of the time.

You probably wonder where the wood came from to build all these amazing structures. I was taken aback when I was told that the wood of about 57 000 trees were used. But I have since changed my mind after I saw Germany’s never ending forests and that nothing gets wasted.

The opening event was spectacular. It took place in the specially built arena. It took some time to fill the arena also named the “makan” and the sound of 17 000 Rangers moving towards it, is something that I shall always remember. It sounded like a huge army closing in and for a moment I had this image in my mind of God’s children marching forward in the His Kingdom. It should not be in silence, but with boldness and courage. I felt really honoured to represent Madagascar and was part of the flag ceremony to present all the foreign delegations of which Mongolia was the biggest. This was really amazing as it fit in so well with the theme of Marco Polo. They entertained us with music and dance every night in the basar. All the ancient places where Marco Polo was said to have travelled to, were represented in the basar arkund the arena and provided unique experiences to the Rangers. Culture, food, theatre and games took us back to the time of Marco Polo. Our outpost was part of Venice and I helped Thesi in one of the many workshops which taught the children to make Venetian masks. My favourite basar place was Persia, because it looked so spectacular and as a bonus, offered yoghurt and green smoothies.

There was even a Marco Polo race and the heat of the European summer did not deter young and old to climb over obstacles, crawl under some others and try to run through the mud. Not for the faint hearted. Needless to say, I did not even think of taking part.

I joined up with the South African delegation to share with camp goers about Royal Rangers in South Africa and Madagascar. Gerhard lost his voice towards the end after all the talking to share his big heart for children. Everyone wanted ny necktie, because it was so unique. It turned out to be a very effective way to get people’s attention and then share with them about what God is doing on our island.

On day 7 we packed up and when I was told that we had to break down the camp site and all the construction in less than five hours, I secretly thought, ‘no way’, but once again I was proven wrong. I am not exaggerating when I say that there was not a sign left that a campsite stood at that place. No remains of a fire, not a scrap of paper! It looked exactly the same as when we arrived.

Of course the camp was not just about exploring different cultures, building stuff and having fun. I was blessed and encouraged by the spiritual input. More about that next time.

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