Sat, Feb 21

This morning was an earlier morning because we had to be at the scouts and guides place by 9am…and things happen quite slowly around here! I had a wonderful sleep, however, which was awesome! I am sure the evening Bollywood dancing probably helped with that.
Getting to the Guiding ceremony was an interesting experience. The bus that was ordered to pick us up was larger than anticipated, which meant that it couldn’t go in many areas of the city! There are size limits to these things, which most definitely created problems! We ended up going a very roundabout way to cross the river and then the bus stopped on the bridge! We sat there, until a smaller bus came to pick us up and get us to the ceremony! If this had been happening at home, I would have pretty much lost my mind, but I am getting better at understanding an accepting the Indian time concept…so I survived!
We all got there at different times, and quite late, unfortunately, because the Thinking Day ceremonies had already started. And, because we were the guests of honour, our seats were in the front. It was slightly awkward. I felt bad because they all had so much to show us and were so organized and well dressed, it was unfair to them that we were so late.
The ceremony was nice. It was done in both Hindi (or the local dialect) and English so we could understand what was going on. There was a prayer said and awards presented. A girl band gave a small performance as well. After all of that was finished, we were assigned to groups of guides/scouts where we spent about an hour. They blessed us and put the red and yellow spices on our heads and taught us games. We also taught them games – none that we had planned, and none that were relevant to the HIV/AIDS theme! As predicted, the language barrier was a definite issue there! The kids really liked us, though, and you could see that it was a special day for them because we were there. It made the ceremony, that I have been a part of for 17 or 18 years now quite a bit more meaningful!!
Getting home was (thankfully) easier than it was getting there! Lunch was uneventful and we had a good game of WAGGGS millionaire afterwards. My team won, which made me pretty happy!! I definitely got into it, and I also had a great team, which helped out. My speedy (not to mention absolutely illegible) writing was also of use because some teams didn’t get points ‘cause they couldn’t write the answers fast enough. Made me happy to be of use.
Tonight was international night. Everyone did a presentation and had a little table set up with things from their country. We put together a puppet show, which went over quite well, I think. We were the only group that didn’t teach a dance, which was really great – especially ‘cause I had initially wanted to teach line dancing! We put out cookies and extra traders and Canadian stuff on the table for people to take too. Everyone had food from their country and a bunch of stuff to see and give away. I think I ended up coming away with more stuff than I went with! It always seems to be like that. I also got a couple of really cute teddy bears…and now I am going to have to carry them around India with me! It’s okay, I guess, ‘cause after Monday’s flight, I’ll start expanding into my second suitcase, so I’ll have room!
You can tell things are winding down because there is more free time and getting rid of junk and all that stuff!! We had a meeting to learn what to eat and how much to tip and useful tips like that for all of us carrying on after the session is over. All good things. Tomorrow will be exciting because we get our Punjabi suits back and have henna (Mendi) done before our big dinner celebration! It will be awesome, I am sure!
-Allison

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