Imagine meeting a whole group of Pathfinders and Rangers for the first time at an airport. In a few short hours you will be travelling to Peru as part of Girl Guides of Canada’s Peru Adventure 2014. Up until now, everyone has just been a name or a quick Facebook comment. It reminds you of that “first day of school” feeling. Then, only three weeks later, once the trip is complete you’ll be back at the airport saying so long to best friends who you’ll stay in touch with for years to come.
This is the best part of travelling internationally with Girl Guides – the fact that Guiding provides that common ground, a shared experience. When all 20 of us met in Toronto (16 Pathfinders and Rangers and four Guiders) we were excited for the upcoming adventure to Peru. Jointly with Canada World Youth, we would volunteer in the remote highland town of Mato. There, we would assist community projects like building ecological kitchens for people in need. We started on our stove construction by digging adobe dirt to mix clay to make the necessary bricks. Our team worked in the sun for hours. It was a tough and dusty job. Still, everyone laughed and chatted while working together. Some shared experiences were humorous – chasing noisy poultry from our building site or getting up close with a hungry llama!
Girl Guide travel gives you a family away from home. Each girl twosome shared a homestay family. When we travelled as a group, climbing the Inca ruins outside Cusco at Ollantaytambo, the high altitude made the 60° incline seem impossible to climb. Girls encouraged one another to make the trek to the summit and the stupendous view. Going up was fine for me but coming down was a whole other story, as I became almost paralyzed by dizziness. I inched my way back down; grateful for all the encouragement I had from our team. Just two weeks ago we had never met—and now these girls rallied to my aid!
At the end of our Peru adventure there were lots of tearful goodbyes. Many of us are planning to get together at other big Guiding events and keep in touch on Facebook. One of our Rangers said it best: “I didn’t realize I could make a new best friend in just a week.”
By guest blogger Geneviève Lespérance, a Guider in Kingston, Ontario.
Applications are now open for our 2015 travel opportunities!
- North Vancouver Island
- Ottawa/Montreal/Quebec City
- Sangam World Centre
- Our Chalet World Centre
- Sea of Cortez
- Australian International Jamboree
Trip applications close November 9.