So to integrate into the community, I decided to get involved with a local Girl Scout group. Before I got to my city of Iloilo (in the Western Visayas), I visited the headquarters of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines in Manila and bought myself a uniform, but I also wear my Canadian Girl Guide international scarf and world pin to show that I am a member of the international Guiding community.
So off I went to find the Girl Scouts! As luck would have it, there was a local group that meets right next door at the Molo I elementary school. We've had two meetings so far (for about an hour and half right after the school day is done at 3:30pm) and they've been great! We've sung some songs (both Canadian and Filipino) and played some games, and even done a project. They're called sit-upons, and you make them by rolling up pieces of newspaper, flattening them, and then weaving them into a mat that you can sit on. I think everyone had a great time, including myself! The simple projects always seem to be the ones that everyone has the most fun with, either in Canada or
The girls wear different coloured scarves depending on what level of a Girl Scout they are. I think the young ones wear yellow scarves (Brownie age) and the older ones wear pink ones (Guide age). We always seem to have a few "extra" kids hanging around, but no one seems to mind that they're not Girl Scouts. The leader seems to think that it will encourage them to join if they see how much fun the other girls are having!
I also went tree planting a week or so ago with some of the older girls. The Girl Scouts are very environmentally aware and are trying to ensure that deforestation does not happen in the Philippines, especially with the growing population requiring new land for places to live. So we went to their campsite in Dingle, which is located about an hour from Iloilo city so that we could plant some trees. I was quite surprised to be asked to speak to the girls before the planting started, so I managed to come up with something on the fly about preserving the environment for the future. They also had a lecture with a guest speaker in
to talk to the girls about biodiveristy and preserving the Philippines native flora and fauna. It was very interesting! There are hundreds of species of birds, plants, and reptiles that are unique to the Philippines, and many of them are endangered.
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