When Troop 5384 was formed in October of 2010, one of our strong goals was to expose our girls to the world outside the United States. An opportunity for them to learn more about Zimbabwe arose when I was told I’d be traveling to Harare on a business trip in December, just two months later. The Troop decided not just to learn more about Zimbabwe, but also to reach out to the Girl Guides there in friendship. We contacted the Girl Guides Association of Zimbabwe (GGAZ), who were excited by the idea of developing a relationship with GSCNC.
We all agreed that I would meet with the Chief Commissioner of GGAZ during my business trip. In the meantime, we developed a project that the Troop 5384 Daisies and a Unit of Sunbeams in Zimbabwe (the girls of the same age group) could complete together. We decided on preparing two friendship banners, one that could be presented to the Girl Guides Association of Zimbabwe (GGAZ) and kept in the GGAZ main office, and one that could be presented to the GSCNC and kept there. Our Troop designed the banners and had our girls put their handprints on one side. I then brought both banners to Zimbabwe to be given to a Sunbeam Unit Leader for their turn.
I was able to visit the headquarters of GGAZ twice during my trip. During the first visit, on December 12th, I took lots of pictures of the GGAZ offices and purchased manuals, uniforms, and patches for Troop 5384 to use during our Thinking Day activities in February of 2011. Because the Sunbeams have their summer vacation in December, I was unable to meet with them to complete the banner during that trip. However, a Sunbeam Unit Leader named Mary is excited to complete the banners with her girls, and I left the materials at the GGAZ offices for her to pick up. Because I will need to return to Zimbabwe in March (again for business), I hope to meet with her Sunbeam Unit then and bring home the banner that will be kept at the GSCNC offices.
During the second visit on December 15th, I was honored to meet with the Chief Commissioner and present a gift from GSCNC (a glass jewelry box) and a gift from our Troop (a 100th anniversary GS pin). GSCNC also provided friendship patches for the Sunbeams that work on the friendship banners, and the Chief Commissioner liked them very much — so much that she is exploring whether she can have the next batch of GGAZ badges made in the USA! She also sends her love to our council, and her appreciation of our efforts to reach out to the girls of Zimbabwe. Everyone there was very friendly and I am looking forward to my return trip to Zimbabwe and the opportunity to forge stronger ties of friendship then.