I’m just writing to let you know that I might not be doing any updates for the next couple of weeks. ICYE told me more about my task in Pespire and it sounds, well, intriguing. I’m going to be helping the Girl Guides of Canada. It’s a challenge no one can quite envisage me doing, and I bet no reading this back in the UK has done anything like this before, especially the men. If anything, it’s a welcome break from working with street kids. I might need to revise my orientation skills and how to read a map with a compass, which I learned in Cubs and Scouts all those years ago. The Girl Guides who are coming don’t speak Spanish, nor do they know each other, I have been warned that they will get homesick and have a culture shock (many adults can get a culture shock here), and one year, one of the girls went off with one of the local fellas on the back of motorbike. She did return and was sent back to Canada, I was duly told. Their mission will be to paint a mural in a school. I have done this in the past with the Refugee Council. Some of my former colleagues might remember that I completely sabotaged the Somalia flag that I was painting. I used the wrong shade of blue for starters and it ran like blood over the stars on the flag. If any proud Somalians had seen what I was doing to their flag, I might not be living right now.
I have had to read about the Girl Guide laws and learn a bit about their traditions. My favourite two laws of the original set of rules for the Girl Guides are number 8 and 9:
- Girl Guides must sing and dance no matter what is happening
- Girl Guides must be thrifty.
To be strictly honest, I was a little unsure what thrifty meant exactly. Now I’ve read up, it means being economically sound and prosperous. Another thing I particularly enjoyed reading was that the initials of “The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts”: WAGGGS. Brilliant, that’s all I can say. I’m sure English readers will appreciate the irony. If you are not English and don’t understand, type WAGS into Google and I’m you’ll probably get a million tabloid stories about Cheryl Cole flying at you.
I must also re-learn to use the left hand to shake hands. That might be a problem, not because I don’t know the difference between my left and right (which I don’t), but mainly because in Honduras I have got used to “the touch”, which is kind of like in playgrounds in schools or gang culture in the UK, and involves two people greeting each other with two soft thumps (not always soft with the street kids, mind) on the knuckles. I can see myself choking on that one.
My itninary looks something like this:
- One night in the second city San Pedro Sula to collect the girls from the airport;
- A trip down to Valle de Angeles for two nights;
- Ten days of singing and dancing and being thrifty and painting and stopping Girl Guides heading off with the locals in Pespire;
- A couple of days reflection in Lago Yahoa;
- Back to San Pedro to send back the girls to Canada:
- Back to Tegus for ICYE and me.
I am going to leave you with a video of a Girl Guides march and the lyrics. I particularly like the line, “We’re not afraid of wasps and hardly afraid of cows.” Maybe they should change the lines to, “We’re not afraid of sancudos but maybe we should take care around the Maras”.