Just a few weeks ago, my daughter and I were on the long flight to Mozambique, Africa. We were going to meet our sister Girl Scout troop in an orphanage there and were unsure of what we would find. I was confident that they were a group of great young ladies that wanted to be Girl Scouts and we would have fun. When we got there we found out it was that and so much more. These girls absolutely blew me away with their open hearts, creativity and beautiful singing voices as they welcomed us into their world.
Girl Scout Troop 499 in Mozambique is 22 girls ranging from 5 years old up to the leader who is 24. We even have one ready to join at 3! These girls didn't know any Girl Scout songs, so they wrote their own, They didn't know what to do as Girl Scouts, so they went through some program books we had sent them and came up with their own ideas. Isn't this what Girl Scouting is all about? I had originally sent them some stuff so they could be Girl Guides, since that is what is normally in Africa. They chose themselves to truly be our sister troop by embracing everything Girl Scouts. When they started saying the Girl Scout Law, I realized they knew it better than I do!
The leader, Alfina, decided to have troop meetings almost every night while were were there, to get the most out of our visit. We had a great 3 weeks of sharing all the things that we love about Girl Scouts. We taught them a flag ceremony, earned badges and patches, learned knots, made crafts, helped them make their own troop banner and went on a hike to a waterfall, which was their first ever field trip. And of course we had a campfire complete with s'mores (as best we could with the ingredients available.)
What they taught us was that the things that kids here value so much (and I mean things like computers, video games, texting, fancy clothes) are not as important as just being alive. They embrace each day as an new chance to do well and are happy despite having so little.
We got to spend one amazing day at a Mission nearby called Maforga. There we met Nana and Trish. Nana is 82 and was a Girl Guide in Zambia. Trish was a Girl Guide briefly in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and got the honor of meeting Lord Baden Powell. In 1987, these two ladies along with 5 other missionaries were abducted at gunpoint by the Mozambique National Resistance Movement (MNR) Together with their captors they were marched for months, always moving. Sick with dysentery, malaria, infections and caught in the crossfire of the bullets of the political battle of a 16 year civil war, they managed to survive. Nana told the story of how she was thankful of having been a Girl Guide, because it taught her how to track by the stars, find food and water and just survive in the bush.
Since the girls can't sell cookies there- we helped them make some beautiful bracelets that we will be selling here and they can use the money to go on a field trip of their own. They want to go to the city of Beira and see the beach as their first trip!
I am so proud of these girls and am looking forward to watching them grow in Scouting and I know we are going to grow too! How can we not be better people after being with these beautiful girls?
If you would like to know more about the orphanage please go to the website for Caringfororphans.com
If you belong to a Girl Scout troop and would like more information on the girls or would like to help us get more badges to them- please feel free to email me at: email@example.com