Abi, Young Leader with a Brownie unit in south Edinburgh, was part of a Girlguiding Scotland group who visited Lesotho in Africa during August 2018. Here Abi tells us about her amazing international adventure…
Our fortnight in Lesotho was packed full of excitement! There were ten of us from around Scotland, plus three leaders. We went as part of Scotland’s five-year partnership with Lesotho. The aim of the trip was to learn more about each other’s culture and the wide-world of Girlguiding.
We met many of Lesotho Girl Guides Association (LGGA) partners, including the Queen of Lesotho, and learned about the work that they do in the communities in which they are active. They work with the local supermarket to give food to some of the children on the street. They also work closely with schools and the board of education to help young girls reach their full potential. Seeing how important guiding was in their lives made me proud to be part of this organisation and want to do more with it.
We visited many schools in the capital city of Maseru and the surrounding area. At the schools, we ran sessions, played games, and sang songs with the Brownie, Guide and Ranger Units. We learned a lot about what their lives and school was like for them. We were made very welcome everywhere we went.
The first weekend we spent at the LGGA International Camp. We ran sessions on the Sustainable Development Goals and Period Poverty. One thing that really made a change was teaching some of the Lesotho guide leaders how to make reusable period pads by hand, so that they could take the knowledge back to their units and the women in their community. On Saturday night we had a cultural evening where we had a chance to demonstrate and teach some ceilidh dancing. We also got to see some traditional Lesotho dances and some of their traditional outfits.
The next weekend we had a patrol leader training on the Friday and Saturday. For me, it was the best session of all the ones we had run because I felt that I’d really gained confidence and could happily run whatever I was asked to do. Saturday night and Sunday we spent with a host family in groups of three or four. It was perhaps my favourite part of the trip (though ask me again in two minutes and I’ll have changed my mind) and certainly gave us an insight into what it’s like to live in Lesotho. It made me realise just how lucky I am to have all the things that I have.
Going to Lesotho is possibly the best thing that ever happened to me. I came back different: more confident, more appreciative, more self-aware and with an incurable case of the travel bug. I know that I’ll remember the experience forever and there is nothing, good or bad, that I would change about it. Despite all the amazing things I did, the one thing I’m most grateful for are the 12 other people who experienced it all with me. I hope to never forget them and keep in contact.