This is a post from the official website of Chiro Pilipinas about our experience in KRINKEL 20017; a camp for the leaders and oldest division of Chiro Flanders . I wrote this article, so enjoy reading! 🙂
Every four years, Chiro Flanders organizes the biggest summer camp for its aspirants and leaders called KRINKEL. They live, play, sing and be together for six (6) days. This is also their way of inspiring leaders and giving them new ideas for their activities. As a way of solidarity, they invite FIMCAP member organizations to send participants and they are gathered in one campground – the INTERNATIONAL. This year, five (5) leaders of Chiro Pilipinas responded to the invitation. This is us sharing our KRINKEL experience to you.
It was August 24, when we arrived in Merksplas. We were amazed by the big tents that were already set-up. With our heavy backpacks, we walked to our campground and saw how everyone was busy building structures and sleeping tents for their respective campgrounds. We heard KRINKEL saying, “This is KRINKEL, prepare to be amazed”. The first task given to us was to help put up the sleeping tents which are not like what we have in the Philippines. These are big and heavy military tents which required more than four people to assemble. Apart from gaining the skill to put up military tents, we also gained new friends.
Over 4000 people lived in Merksplas for Krinkel 2017. It is the biggest number they got so far with 800 volunteers, 12 camp grounds, and more than 300 living groups! All participants were divided into small groups, which they call living group. We played together as a living group, sometimes with another living group which could be from another campground. Playing new games and meeting new people added to our excitement every day. One specific instance is when we met an aspirant during one of the games. She is a Filipino by birth adopted by a Belgian couple back when she was still in an orphanage in Quezon City. She told us about her plans of finding her biological parents in the future.
After every breakfast, we pack our lunch and off we go to the sites where we had the activities. We do things together as a living group, even having lunch. Water was also essential for survival in Krinkel, because it can get too hot in the field and we have to walk for about 15-20 minutes to get to the play area. Sometimes we were already tired even before the game began, but because we are Chiro and FIMCAP, we were always up for the challenge. We played until all our muscles were tired that we would jokingly say the next day that we regret playing the game. But in reality, we do not mind it at all because we love being in Krinkel.
Each day was different. There was always something new and special with the program. Our campground started one day in advance from the other campgrounds. So on our second day, Krinkel officially began. We were welcomed by a “RADIOSPACE”- everyone was full of energy, dancing and singing with the DJ in the spaceship. Loud music can be heard all over the area, some are sitting on the pelouse meeting new friends, eating their lunch and some are going around to play the small games prepared for them. It was a very fun welcome! The activity was followed by the grand opening in a big, big tent. Everyone cheered for their camp ground as their banner bearer entered the stage and proudly waved their flags. Of course, we cheered for the FIMCAP flag!
Since we were at the International campground, sharing of traditions and cultures were part of the program. Each organization presented something about their country that will highlight their culture or the organization itself. After the program, we had a buffet of delicacies from around the world. One may also get souvenirs from countries in the FIMCAP continents. Well, that is one of the perks of being at the International campground.
The mass game was amazing! Imagine 4000 leaders and aspirants playing different games which were interconnected. Seems chaotic, isn’t it? It was chaotic but in a fun way. There was something happening everywhere. There was a game played in each terrain. We had to protect our lives and at the same time, protect our allies since our opponents were waiting to stop us from achieving the goal of the game.
The spirit of KRINKEL twinkled even more during the National Singing Moment. Each campground would shout their yell at the top of their voices – from the band, to the parade, to the yell of every camp ground. But of course, the best yell for us is: “KRINKEL ACQUI! KRINKEL ACQA! INTERNATIONAL ESTA!” which means “Krinkel is here, Krinkel is there, this is International!” The night became even more special when a massive bonfire was lit and one of the most famous singers in Belgium took the center stage!
We also had a super late-game on our 4th night, which was very well formulated on our perspective as a participant. We can see; though it’s dark that the materials were perfectly placed and that everyone was so eager to be the first team to join the spaceship in its launch. We did our best to win. But because of the light limitation, our team’s color landed on the second spot. What surprised us the most was how the materials were set up so quickly. It was not there before we had dinner. But it was like a mushroom that sprung from the ground without us noticing it being set up. Moreover, there was quite a distance between the materials area and the activity area.
On our 5th day, we had a grand picnic for our lunch under the sun. Hotdog sandwiches and pancakes were served for everyone. White cloths were placed on the ground as our picnic table, where we ate while we waited for our next activity. That night, we went to visit the different campgrounds of each region and see what they prepared for their visitors. The gimmicks of each campground were so cool. One that caught our attention was that of a man sitting on a high platform licking a lollipop. The objective of the game was to guess how many licks it took to finish the lollipop. Each answer was written on a piece of paper together with the name of the person who guessed it. The person who wins will be contacted the next day and will be given a reward. Our guess was 54. Nobody contacted us so it means we did not get the correct answer.
It was Tuesday, last night of KRINKEL. The day no one was looking forward to as it means we will be bidding goodbye to everyone the next day. So we had to cherish every minute of the last remaining hours in Merksplas. The last show was indeed a great way to cap the event. It was awesome to see how the whole production was done. Indeed, it was the perfect show to end the KRINKEL. And not to mention the surprise wedding proposal that happened during the show.
We travelled 19 hours to get to Belgium and 23 hours back to the Philippines. It was a long but worthwhile journey. We will never forget our days in Krinkel but most especially, we will never forget our days with our host families where we stayed before and after the camp. Because of them, we had a chance to visit Brugge (sometimes referred to as the Venice of the North) and strolled the city of Brussels. We were also introduced to a typical family barbeque night and a common night at home that involves board or card games and beer or wine.