By: Isaac Thomas & Rondell Gulston
One light should not stand on its own. Unity is power. Each one of us has one thing or the other that can be useful to someone else. This was the basic gist of the opening and closing ceremony of the 5th Interamerican Leadership Training (ILT) in Quito, Ecuador.
They never knew that it was possible to form a bond with so many people in so little time, as participants from 49 different countries gathered in one place for one common goal. Although they were different in culture, background and language, to name a few, they realised the only barrier was themselves.
For example, the members of the Trinidad and Tobago contingent had never met each other formally before. Siddeeq Shakoor, Assistant Senior Team Leader, Rondell Gulston and Isaac Thomas, are all from different groups.
Although Siddeeq and Isaac are from the same district, they were never personally acquainted and Rondell is from a totally different district. Despite this, they were able to come together as if they had known each other for a long time, which is basically our 'Trinbago' culture. However, it was really amazing to see their brothers and sisters from different parts of the world do the same thing.
They both experienced their own challenges on this journey. The greatest challenge of all was getting accustomed to the very cold climate. Another, especially for Isaac, was the food because he is not a fan of rice and Ecuadorians eat a lot of rice... A LOT of it. But eventually their minds were focused elsewhere, in union with everyone at the leadership training, on how to develop themselves and even their fellow participants and team members, to then help further develop their individual NSOs.
Local Day and International Night were two of the greatest displays of cultural diversity. During Local Day they learnt about the historical background of the Equator and also the history of Ecuador itself, they mixed with locals who were not scouts. Throughout International Night they saw an enormous number of cultures that were sitting in the same room with them for almost an entire week and that was so mind blowing to experience almost the entire world in one room. In just a few hours it also showed that there is so much we still need to know, if we really want to have world unity and peace.
Saying goodbye was way harder than they could have thought. Isaac isn't one to cry in public but was unable to hold back the tears for his beloved Red Team consisting of Team Advisor, Taranto (Brazil) and members Bri (Aruba), Carolina (Ecuador), Marcelo (Guatemala), Meg (Japan), Jorge (Peru), Seth (USA) and himself.
The Gold Team led by Flor (Argentina), to which Rondell belonged, was quickly able to establish a special bond that their language barriers could not break. These people were responsible for an awesome week as they spent most of it together and it was really hard knowing that they just might not see them for a long time or even ever again. A unique love was formed between their teams, brothers and sisters from the Caribbean and by extension the entire world of scouting.
This experience will never be forgotten. It will always be cherished and they know it is safe to say about all three scouts representing Trinidad and Tobago that they have become even better individuals. The world is in their hands now it's their choice to change the way it spins.