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!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Because I am a girlguide there's nothing I'd rather be!

We arrived back from camp yesterday, dirty, smelly and exhausted so the update is coming today! It has been a busy four days so there is lots to write!

Day 1 – Monday
Crowding on the bus
We were up bright and early for Nikki and Laura to go resources shopping with Berle and Sarah, and so we could have pancakes! Heather, Hannah and I spent the morning preparing, packing the resources bag and cleaning the apartment. At lunch time we had a homemade pepperpot that was made for us by Miranda’s (one of the guiders) Mum! It was soon time to get in a taxi to HQ with our hundreds of bags to meet the girls and the bus. There were 12 girls when we arrived and once all was packed on we thought it was a full as it could get, but we stopped twice to pick up more people and more stuff on the way!  We squeezed in however and drove through some beautiful countryside and over the Berbice river to reach New Amsterdam. It was somewhat a surprise therefore when we arrived at the campsite, expecting a rural wilderness, which was a church garden off the main street. We soldiered on however and got a horseshoe of tents up before dark and just before rain came. Some of the tents were slightly dodgy looking and one of them needed pegging out just where a giant pile of poo was. There were actually several piles of poo around and we saw some of the animals that were making them too… Bless Saudia who went round and scraped the worst of it up, then covered it with hay. It was a good job as the girls were running around in bare feet, despite our best advice. We had some small activities planned to learn names and similar but as it was dark we left them to get settled after dinner.

Day 2 - Tuesday

At the orphanage
Teaching knots!
After an uncomfortably hot night we woke at 6am with the sun and got changed (with some grumbling from Heather and I!) to begin the day. It’s surprising how hot the sun is even in the morning! This morning we were teaching knots which was really fun and the girls got into it! We had an Olympic theme so each patrol had a country name, and we had an Opening Ceremony and then raised the flags and sang both national anthems. The girls could earn pieces of string for good deeds and things well done so we said if they could show us all 7 knots we’d taught them they would get a piece of string. They all managed it so we were very proud, particularly as we’d only learnt the knots ourselves that morning. The church gave us an indoor space that we could use which was great as somewhere shaded to have lunch and do activities, and get some relief from the sun burning down. The leftover food from Monday was taken by Berle, Hannah and Nikki to a childrens orphanage which was lovely but really humbling experience for them. The afternoon was given over to water games which cause a lot of complaining but they did enjoy and was very funny to watch, particularly when Hannah, Laura and Nikki got their own back on Heather causing a water fight! It was quite a relief to cool down after the heat of the day. After drying off we left them to practice for their talent show in the evening, bathe (their favourite thing – they were not amused to hear that when I go to Guide camp in the UK we go for 5 days and don’t bathe!) and do duties.We had a quick wet wipe wash and spray with febreeze to freshen up before evening entertainment. The talent show was great and it was really hard to pick the winner!  Luckily Berle was there to be the decider.

Team games!
Day 3 – Wednesday
This morning, after a much better night’s sleep, we began with crafts which everyone enjoyed, one of the girls even made 5 pom poms which she is going to put on her school bag! We also had them making friendship bracelets, beaded geckos and dreamcatchers. That kept them going till lunchtime and after lunch we played some more team games. It was surprising as it started to absolutely tip it down but the girls wanted to carry on anyway – despite all the moaning the day before! It was fun for them though and then they went off and organised their own games. After they had dried off and changed into (for some of them) the fourth outfit of the day, they went into town for a look about and to visit the shop with Erin and Saudia leading. We stayed at the campsite and did some planning. It was campfire in the evening which was interesting as the wood was somewhat damp and did not want to light. Luckily we had some kerosene to make FIRE which Heather enjoyed using her skills as a Science teacher! We also sang songs about burning and fire to encourage it to burn! Sadly after the kerosene had burned out there was only embers but we had a nice time and sang ourselves hoarse. By the time we went to bed we were all exhausted!

Day 4 - Thursday
With several more mozzie bites than we would have hoped for (i.e. hundreds) we woke for the final day at camp. We put away our tents once they had dried from morning dew and helped the girls take down theirs which was an interesting experience! The bus company rang to say they wouldn’t be there till 2pm as they were leaving Georgetown at 11am so we completed all our striking camp tasks, had lunch and a closing ceremony where we awarded the prizes to the winning team and said goodbye in time for 2pm. At 4.30pm the bus finally turned up, and the packing saga began. By the end of it, Nikki was literally sitting in one of the cooking pots sharing 4 and a 3 year old to 3 seats, stuff was piled high everywhere possible and some places that shouldn’t be possible! By the time we reached Georgetown having stopped to drop people off three or four times (involving taking off all the pots to clear the exit each time) we were exhausted, hot and somewhat travel sick. Thankfully the bus dropped us off at home so we could just climb the stairs and collapse. Unfortunately we were not home in time to go to the concert with Maria but we had lovely showers and visited the Roti Hut which was amazing!! We even had ice cream and cake afterwards! Just what we needed after a long day! We had to do planning before we could finally fall, clean and full of food, into a comfy bed with a fan! Relief!

Happy campers!
We all enjoyed camp (despite some original feelings) but we were glad to be home yesterday, particularly after the bus journey! Today is evaluation day and the end of the project causing some tears this morning! Tomorrow when Laura leaves is going to be sad times but wow – what a project!

Lots of GOLD love
Team Guyana 2012

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