Twenty Boy Scouts in Berkeley gave up their afternoon to aid their counterparts in Zaire.
Compared with the Zairians' sacrifice, theirs was easy: the Scouts in Goma are burying the dead."We're doing this to help the Scouts," said Robert Heatherington, a sixth-grader at Longfellow School in Berkeley. "If there's an earthquake, the same thing could happen here."
Scout leader Vince Lipinski said the boys were moved by a newspaper account describing how 500 Scouts in Goma were assisting French soldiers in the hot, dirty, indescribably dreadful task of carrying Rwandan refugees felled by cholera to mass graves.
"The boys read the article, and it got very quiet, and I said, `What do you guys think?' " Lipinski said, recalling last week's troop meeting. "And they said, `Let's help the helpers - let's help our fellow Scouts.' "
The 20 boys, aged 11 to 16, spent Saturday marking and packing a collection of face masks, hats and Scout neckerchiefs.
They settled on the face masks and scarves because, in the newspaper photo, they could see the Zairian boys were wearing their Scout neckerchiefs across their mouths to ward off the odor of dead bodies. They decided on the red baseball caps because they noticed the Scouts were hatless.
In all, the Berkeley Scouts are sending $750 worth of gear.