On Day 23, it was a little surprising to see cold cottage pie make an appearance on the breakfast table.
However, this aside, the next and last day of Leader camp included sessions and discussions on ideas for retaining members, building a programme and recruiting new girls. The day ended with an evaluation and then an immense amount of packing and distributing of spare bread before everyone piled on the bus.
We bounced (literally) back to the hostel as the road wasn’t really a road but more a collection of potholes joined together with rocks. At the hostel it was all systems go as we had to shower, eat, pack (yikes…) and meet with Anahit and the National Board to discuss the project and talk about aims for the future.
Shower: no problem, meeting: no problem, packing…..I’ll get back to that, dinner: no problem apart from the fact that we’d been given enough bread to feed all our Guides, Brownies and Rainbows for a week.
Packing was interesting. We all had less stuff than we started with, mainly because we weren’t taking the tents home. We’d also chucked away bits and pieces as they broke/fell apart/turned out to be useless. But it still seemed a mammoth task: every time we thought we’d finished and declared that absolutely nothing else would fit, we’d suddenly discover a dozen more things that had to go in the bag.
When we were ready to go, it was a bit of an anti-climax. We didn’t really want to leave. We’d had an amazing time and in all the manic packing and organising, we’d not really thought about it. NUGGGS (the National Union of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) had presented us each with a framed photo of everyone on camp, a bookmark of the Armenian alphabet and a NUGGGS pin badge, all in a hand-made giftbag. We were really touched and these will be wonderful reminders of our incredible experience of working with Guides and Guiders in Armenia.
It was heading towards midnight and that meant it was technically no longer Day 23, but Day 24, our last day.
At midnight we were all ready and it was also time for the Olympic closing ceremony to start, Armenia time. So we settled in the common room of the hostel to watch. Our taxis to the airport were booked for 2:20am so there didn’t seem to be a lot of point going to bed.
We changed into our uniform and headed home via two taxis, two planes and a couple of airport shuttle buses, and then a mixture of tubes, trains and coaches back in the UK. Very little sleep was had by all. And it was sad to say goodbye as one by one, we split off and made our own way home.
But we’re all back and well and even if it is weird to be home and not have to mime every request with giant actions, or consult 5 other people about what colour top to wear, it also sad not to have 5 awesome Guiders on hand to share each experience with. Team Armenia? I miss you!
And thus ends of the tale of our Armenian adventure.
Team Armenia, for one last time, Over and Out.
P.S. How long until debrief?
P.P.S. It turns out that Rachel is a cartoonist! She claims she didn't know she was either but drew us all while we were on leader camp. I can't resist sharing these :D
Jade: Team Leader extraordinaire :
Rachel, GOLD cartoonist and official healer of the sick:
Amy, our unparalleled keeper of the cash:
Rachael, hunter-gatherer of all things resourceful:
Tori, the supreme minder of the minutes:
And last, yours truly, the face behind the camera and the voice behind the blog: