GOLD Guyana 2012

Hello and welcome to our blog! We are a group of 6 Girlguiding UK members aged between 19 and 27, who have been selected to take part in a GOLD project this summer.
GOLD stands for Guiding Overseas Linked with Development, a project run by Girlguiding UK which gives young women aged between 18 and 30 the chance to assist in community action projects in other countries. As well as making a positive impact on the community, we also hope to grow the Guiding Association in the country so that they can participate more fully in WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts). There are 8 projects this year, including our destination Guyana.
We're all very excited for our GOLD journey to begin, and we hope you enjoy reading about how we are preparing and what we are doing when we get there!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

3rd Briefing - Luton!

With only 5 weeks to go until G-day, we were all very excited to meet up for 3rd briefing, which was just this weekend at Nikki’s sister’s house in Luton (thank you very much Carrie and Nino!). Sadly one of the team, our beloved Laura, was unable to make it because of her silly back, but we all wish her to get well with all of our hearts! Due to amazing advances in technology we were happily able to skype and so we could all talk together, and we dressed up a bear in Laura’s t-shirt so she was there in spirit!
Team photo in our beautiful hoodies!
Friday evening was very relaxed, Nikki, Hannah, Heather and Zoe went shopping and made tea whilst I struggled with trains being late and being stranded in Derby and Leicester for longer than anticipated (I have never been so delighted to arrive somewhere)! Finally though, we were all together, and catching up on all the chat we have missed since 2nd briefing. Despite everyone’s tiredness we had a long chat as there was so much to catch up on, as well as skyping Laura (which occasioned some tears!). There was also the very exciting moment when we all got our kit!! They are very pretty, all lovely colours and beautifully embroidered. Needless to say we all wore our hoodies all weekend J. We all dropped off quite quickly once we had assigned beds – training for Guyana!
Saturday dawned bright and early, with our lovely leader bringing tea in bed! We spent the morning researching and writing session plans and resource lists, Hannah and Heather focussing on the environment, Jess and Zoe on advocacy, and Laura on leadership and energisers. Nikki has the unenviable task of writing up the Handbook they worked on last year to take to Guyana with us.  We had great excitement when we received the parcel Laura had sent, containing not only our beautiful badges, but also some amazing Guyana biscuits with the Guyana flag and our badge iced on them. Nikki cried again when she read her letter!
We had lunch, and afterwards continued marking things off our ‘to do’ list, which was quite long and creatively presented as post-its on a Guyana flag which when we had finished them could be moved to the UK flag! When we had come to the end of our tether for the day we skyped Laura to keep her updated, then got ready and went out for dinner at a local restaurant. We all had a lovely time and lovely food! We did feel a little sorry for the couple next to us who had clearly come out for an intimate, quiet dinner, when we sat down right (and I mean RIGHT) next to them. It didn’t improve when a huge party came and sat on the other side, by which time we’d had a few glasses of wine! We were of course very sensible and fairly quiet for GOLD team standards but they weren’t very happy judging by the looks they gave us! There was also a visit to some very strange toilets, but that’s another story...
In the evening we skyped with Laura and chatted until the wee hours, whilst looking up hotels in Trinidad (how exciting!) and confirming that Nikki is ‘a serious leader!’ There was an incident before we got to sleep with inflatable beds deflating but eventually it was time for another sleep. It seemed to come round really quickly, and it was not long at all before it was Sunday, the last day we would be together before Guyana!!
Sunday morning began a bit later, but still quite early for a weekend, and after breakfast and showers we started our day with looking at the kitlist with Laura on skype which was a long but very useful process, involving dividing out group stuff and reminding us of stuff we still need to get!  We also went through forms, of which there are a lot, and the risk assessment (a little scary!). Then we got very excited making gingerbread Lauras, showcasing the various guises we have seen her in! After we ate them with a cup of tea, we did some more things on our to do list, then had lunch. In the afternoon we went for a walk to clear our heads and took some pictures in a local park, possibly scaring/confusing local people on the way. We were glad of our decision not to take the giant bear though!
All too soon we had finished all our stuff and divided out the remaining things to do, and it was time to leave. We made a thank you card for our hosts, packed and hoovered, and then it was time to go! Train trek number 2 was about to begin for me (apologies for the train complaints!) and for Zoe and Hannah too. We skyped Laura one last time to wish her farewell and send her our love (We love you Laura, we do, we love you Laura, we do, we love you Laura, we do! Oh Laura we love you!) and headed to the train station to go our separate ways!
We all had an amazing weekend, as always, and it was nice to really get down to some Guyana business. It’s unbelievably close now, only 5 weeks away, and so everything is sorted or being sorted, and getting very very exciting! There is a lot to do in these 5 weeks and I know they are going to go so quickly but it still feels like a long time till we will be reunited as GOLD Guyana 2012 again! This time it will be for real though, and all our planning will come to fruition!
Well that’s all from us, for now anyway, our next blog may be coming to you from Trinidad!! (Or, less excitingly but still quite exciting, at least for us... Gatwick Travelodge!)
Lots of GOLD love
Jess xxx

P.S More photos to come! If anyone wants a copy of the challenge badge pack or a badge, email us at :)

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