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Girlguiding Sussex West

We hope find what you are looking for and enjoy seeing what we get up to in Sussex West. Please keep coming back to visit the site as it will be regularly updated with information on up and coming trainings and events and news from across the County.  If there is other information that you would like on the website, please let us know.  

International Expedition to Peru

In October 2019, I and 12 other leaders from around the country were lucky enough to go on a Girlguiding UK 10-day expedition to Peru, where we trekked the Inca Trail and visited Machu Picchu. For the trip, we each had to raise around £4000.

Before going to Peru, we had only met each other once up at HQ on a training day, so it was very daunting turning up at the airport on the day we left. Once we’d all arrived and met out leader, Kev, we knew we would be okay as we all clicked and realised, we had so much in common as we were all leaders. Once we checked in the adventure began with an 11-hour flight to Colombia, followed by a 4-hour flight to Cusco, the city we would be staying in prior to our trek.

When we arrived in Cusco, we met our in-city guide, Victor, who took us to the hotel and then gave us a tour of the city, where we visited the old square and got to explore the cobbled streets. Our second day was spent on an acclimatisation trek that lasted 7 hours and took us to Inca sites around the city. We also stopped at a factory where they made clothing out of alpaca fur and the owners taught us about the different types of furs used in the process. This allowed us to see and understand some of the trades that the locals have. At each Inca Site we visited Victor would give us some of the history, allowing us to have a better understanding of the city, as well as what the Inca people were like and how they used to live. After this we had some free time to explore the city and get any last minute things we needed for the Inca Trail, such as snacks and ponchos! We had a team dinner to plan talk about what the next 4/5 days would have in store for us, and what to expect.

On the day we started the Inca Trail, we had to be up at around 5 to have breakfast and get on the coach, to head to KM 82, which is the start of the Trail. The first day was relatively easy and short as we didn’t have long before dark. We saw our first Inca site and I couldn’t quite believe our adventure was real, it still felt like a dream. While on trek, we had a group of porters who carried everything we needed such as tents and cooking equipment.

The second and third day of the trial were the hardest, as we climbed to Dead Woman’s Pass which sits at 4215 meters above seas level and is by far the hardest pass on the Ince Trail. The third day was by far the longest with us arriving into camp in the dark, making it a very interesting end to the day. The next day was a very exciting one as it meant we would be reaching Machu Picchu, the day we’d all been waiting for. This was our earliest start of the trek, with the day starting at 3am! This was so we could be at the entrance to the national park when it opened, that way we could finish the trek to the famous Inca Site, and spend as much time there as possible. After trekking for around 4 hours we reached the Sun Gate, which is the main entrance. This is the site where you can first see Machu Picchu, however when we arrived the area was in thick cloud, but soon the cloud broke and we saw Machu Picchu for the first time. I have never experienced anything like it in my life, the feeling you get when you see the site for the first time is just amazing, words cannot describe it. We had done it! We had trekked for four long, hard days, over passes, through jungle, in the dark and experienced all kinds of weather. We got to spend the morning exploring, with Victor giving us the history of the site.

After we’d explored the site and taken lots of photos we had to make our way to the exit, where we waited for a shuttle bus to drive us down into the town of Machu Picchu. Here we had a celebratory lunch, before getting on the train that took us back to the small town of Ollantaytambo.

Once back in Cusco, we had a celebration dinner to reflect on the trip and how amazing it had been and how we had done such an incredible thing for such an amazing charity. The next day we had a free day in the city where we could explore and buy any souvenirs. We also visited a chocolate factory in the city to taste all of the Peruvian chocolate and taste the chocolate flavoured Picso, which is a traditional drink in the country. We explored one of the largest markets in the city and got to experience traditional food and traditional trades. This was our last day in the county, so we made the most of it, before half of us flew back to the UK and the other half went on to explore the jungle for a couple of days. It’s safe to say that this is an experience that will stay with me for ever, and I have made lifelong friends that I never would have imagined having before going on the expedition. In total we raised over £46,000 as a group of 12, which will go back into Girlguiding to allow girls all around the UK have experiences and develop skills that will help them in the future.

Jo Miles – Assistant Leader 1st Easebourne Guides

Janet’s Poppy Pride 

Girlguiding Division Commissioner for Bognor Regis, Janet Erkiert, fought back tears as she took part in the country’s Festival of Remembrance. Mrs Erkiert was one of three volunteers from Bognor Regis Division, Girlguiding West Sussex, at the annual tribute to the nation’s armed forces.

She and Katie Linskey and Jo Evans sold poppies and programmes and directed festival-goers around the Royal Albert Hall at last Saturday’s occasion attended by the royal family. They were among a 15-strong contingent from Girlguiding West Sussex who volunteered to take part in the occasion.

Mrs Erkiert said: “It was a day of pride, emotion and fun. It was a real privilege to be there. I was wearing the medals of my father and grandfather and I had tears in my eyes. I can’t really express what it was like to be there.”

It was the first time Mrs Erkiert had been present at the festival but she has been a regular participant at the Remembrance Sunday service in Bognor Regis for many years and was present again at the latest occasion.
Ms Linskey is the District Commissioner for Girlguiding Bognor Regis South and Ms Evans is the Division Treasurer and a Guide leader.

London & South East Region visit to Argentina

My name is Sophie Gilbert from Bognor Regis South Rangers and I had the opportunity to go to Córdoba, Argentina for 3 weeks, with Girlguiding LaSER. Alongside 9 other Guides aged 14 to 16 and 3 amazing leaders, I worked with Projects Abroad in a day care centre called ‘The Little Bee’.

We undertook a service project, where we did renovation work in the mornings and childcare in the afternoons. Before we arrived we were told that recently someone had broken in and stolen the little school supplies and we found this very upsetting. Over the course of our stay we painted a mural and made toys out of some tyres that we found in a nearby scrap heap in their garden and we repainted the front room. The children can now play in a brighter environment and walls can be used to teach the children their colours, numbers and alphabet.

Twice in the three weeks, we visited a local primary school and taught them about recycling. Seeing how happy they all were to see us was definitely a highlight of the trip. We also met up with some local Scouts and Guides who were very happy to see us; it was nice to share traditions, games and badges.

As well as completing our service project, we also had lots of chances to explore the city and even the chance to venture out into the countryside, to go mountain climbing. We also experienced a delicious BBQ at a traditional ranch, where I got to show off my ukulele skills – one of my favourite days!

Overall, this has been the most memorable experience of my life. I feel like it has benefitted me greatly as a person, by giving me more confidence and teaching me to appreciate what I have. I also achieved one of my biggest goals of becoming less of a fussy eater. I thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity and have made lifelong friends with the amazing girls, leaders and our incredible Projects Abroad Co-ordinator, Alejandra. Thank you to everyone who helped make this adventure possible.