We arrived in Hong Kong after an 18-hour flight with our family, to a much warmer, much busier atmosphere then we are used to living in rural Ontario. Knowing we were missing the beginning of the Girl Guide year at home, we had reached out to the Hong Girl Guides Association via email before we departed Ontario, asking if it would be possible for my daughter and I to join a unit for a meeting while we were there.
I received an email from a Guider in Hong Kong who has a joint unit of Brownies and Girl Guides who were eager for us to join them. They asked what I would like to do at the meeting and I said simply that we would like join in the fun. After a long MTR (subway) ride, getting lost a few times and still getting used to the time change my daughter and I arrived at the meetinghouse.
The young girls who were there so smartly dressed in their brown and yellow summer Brownie uniforms were quick to greet us with hellos and hugs. Delaney and I joined in with the opening song and skipped around the room with the leaders and girls, not understanding the song they were singing but enjoying every minute of it none the less.
After the opening, their Guider, Vicki, introduced my daughter and I told the girls that we were Girl Guides from Canada. They had lots of great questions for us: What was Guides like back home? What did we do for fun at Guides? What were the badges on Delaney’s sash? What was it like to have snow?
After we had answered their questions, we joined into the activities of the afternoon, making paper lanterns for the Mid-Autumn Lantern festival. Delaney quickly joined the table and it was nice to see the girls working together even though they did not speak the same language. While the lanterns were being made, I joined the group of Guides next door, exchanging gifts of Girl Guide cookies, Girl Guide pencils, maple syrup and of course badge swaps!
We then all gathered for photos before closing. I am so grateful that my daughter and I had this opportunity to join in the fun and friendship Girl Guides has to offer and see what it truly means to be a sister to every Guide, even when you do not speak the same language.
By guest blogger Amanda Benny, a Guider with the 1st Beaverton Pathfinders and Rangers. This year, Amanda opened a joint Spark, Brownie and Guide Unit and is loving every minute of being a Guider for every branch!
Have you ever visited a Girl Guide or Girl Scout unit in another country? Pitch us your story: ggcblog (at) girlguides.ca