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By Patrina Kaboanga and Aydan Parascos

Gabutu, Port Moresby, PNG 3 July 2024 -- The Wantok Bosco camp once again brought together nearly 200 engaged and lively participants from Don Bosco – parishes, schools, and institutions around Port Moresby and the Gulf Province. The event ran from Friday, 21 June, to Sunday, the 23rd, at Don Bosco Technical Secondary School, Gabutu. The camp for this year revolved around the essence of the Strenna, “The dream that makes you dream.”

As the sun was slowly setting on Friday, the camp registration began. All the participants were given name tags and sent to the school’s gym for icebreakers and fun games before the camp officially kicked off with its program. Several of these were leaders in their youth groups who collected their registration fees over several weeks. “I was happy that our participants who were leaders in their youth groups sacrificed personal enjoyments to give their contribution,” said Fr Gilbert, parish priest of MHOC, Herehere.

The evening began with dinner, followed by the first talk by Fr Gregorio Bicomong SDB, the Provincial Superior for PGS Vice-Province. His thought-provoking talk was based on the Strenna and the theme of the camp. Fr. Gregorio emphasized the importance of having dreams and goals and how to achieve them through self-awareness and a strong relationship with God.

A participant from DBTI, Siranta Limi, shared after the talk, “This talk helped me gain a deeper understanding of myself and my place in the world. I am now able to identify my dreams and set goals that align with my values and passion.”

The evening concluded with the Holy Rosary and a goodnight talk by the rector of DBTS-Gabutu, Fr Pedro Sachitula, SDB.

The participants beat the early morning sunrise as Saturday began at 4:30 am. The school gym was alive as they danced and played fun games to welcome the day’s plans. A special guest from Port Moresby General Hospital gave the second talk for the camp based on ‘Mental Health.’ Dr Anna Toti, a pediatric doctor, emphasized mental resilience and coping mechanisms that anyone can use when dealing with mental illness.

After the inspiring talk, the participants took part in team-building exercises. Each individual learned the importance of teamwork and communication, followed by the next program of community service in DBTS campus and the Mary Help of Christians parish, Sabama. “In the spirit of Laudato Si, the group at Sabama cleaned the church area and rather than use black plastic bags to collect the rubbish for landfill, they buried the leaves of the plants to let nature renew itself”, said Fr Ambrose Pereira, parish priest of MHOC, Sabama.

The cleanup concluded with the third talk of the camp given by the principal of DBTS, who was a pioneer student of the school, Mr. Martin Dai. He shared Don Bosco’s dream at nine years old and stressed that being a Bosconian is not just a title but truly living according to Bosconian values and attitudes. Everyone was encouraged to have dreams like Don Bosco did and trust that one day, it would come alive.

The eventful day wound down with a vocation talk by Fr. Shoji Mathew SDB. After the forum, everyone had dinner and then went for benediction at the school chapel. The spontaneous singing and praying as the Blessed Sacrament was carried in procession by Fr Albert Swer around the school campus brought life to the still night as songs of praise resounded on the campus. The night concluded with lively presentations of songs, drama, and dance from each group based on the camp's theme. Talented Bosconians broke out of their shells and displayed talents never seen before.

The final day started with the Holy Mass presided over by Fr Moise Palaku SDB. His inspiring homily encouraged everyone to be the ‘Jesus’ that everyone wakes up to for help when they are facing storms in their lives. After mass, the program proceeded to the school park, where some beautiful live music was performed by the DBTS boys. The participants danced and enjoyed lunch.

“This camp has been inspiring. I now know about the dream of Don Bosco, and I feel motivated to also make my dreams a reality,” says Silas Kombeo Jnr, a student from DBTS when sharing his experience at the end of the camp.

Finally, as the camp concluded, everyone waved goodbye, filled with mixed emotions of sadness and gratefulness for the experience and friendships formed, concluding what was an eventful and inspiring weekend, ready to share what they had learnt with their youth group members.



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