#iamaBBleader because…

David Sneddon is currently the BB Scotland Committee Chair and also a company officer in Bothwell.  David took a moment to reflect on his role as BB leader.

My “BB life” began in the Life Boy team at 1st _DSC0043
Bothwell in 1965.  The Company was fairly small but very vibrant; there was always a buzz on BB night and always plenty of things to do. As a 12 year old, the concept of being well organised, was probably something I didn’t really think about – and yet the Company must have been, as there were activities on 3 nights per week plus sports and competitions most Saturday mornings, and of course Bible Class on a Sunday. Highlights from these times include meeting my friends, Company camps, the expedition hikes, gaining my Queen’s Badge and even the one and only time we won the Battalion drill competition when I was a Boy!

I became a BB leader, like many other people, because I wanted to share what I had enjoyed in the BB with the next or possibly even future generations.

As a young leader I learned a great deal from the other officers, not only at 1st Bothwell, but also officers in other Companies – especially my peers as we completed our Officers’ Basic Training together. One particular highlight as a young leader was how early the Captain and seniors gave me their trust as I was allowed to organise and lead weekends away for our N.C.Os as part of their leadership training.

Thistle ServiceI have served in many different roles both in Hamilton and District Battalion and within the Lanarkshire District Fellowship, learning all the time and sharing marvellous experiences with young people from around the county and from across Scotland.

Every organisation I have ever worked in has had its own hierarchy and structure. The Scotland Committee of the BB takes an overview of all BB work in Scotland and aims to support Battalions around the country to provide the best support which they in turn provide to the local Companies.

In my time on the Committee I have been privileged to work along-side many talented people on a variety of “work groups”. It is also my privilege to be the current Chairman of the Scotland Committee, which I see as not just the task of chairing the regular meetings, but also representing the BB in Scotland at appropriate events to promote the BB or to share views and ideas with our kindred organisations.

Being the Chairman of the Scotland Committee sounds very important; it is however simply a job that needs to be done. My first and most important job is still to work with our young people in Bothwell – I particularly enjoy working with the seniors and young leaders and hope to continue to try to offer them the opportunities and experiences which I have enjoyed through membership of the BB.

Given my experiences and my passion for BB, the statement “I am a BB leader because”, for me should read “I am still a BB leader because”, even after 50+ years’ service in the BB!

Find out more about the #iamaBBleader campaign here and learn more about BB volunteering on our website.

‘The best week of my life!’ And this is from a member of staff?!

BB Scottish HQ’s Training & Development Officer, Alan Hunter, oversees the training delivered across the organisation in Scotland and even finds time to coordinate some of The BB’s biggest national events too!

But, for a couple of weeks each summer, his focus is firmly on supporting BB young leaders, aged 17 to 22, in the KGVI Youth Leadership course.  The residential training experience is like no other the organisation offers and equips BB young people with the tools, skills and attitudes to be effective BB leaders, which takes place at the National Training and Recreation centre at Carronvale House.

Once he finally caught his breath from the seven days and six sleepless nights, Alan reflected on yet another frantic, but rewarding week of KGVI!

Alan Hunter, Training & Development Officer

Alan Hunter, Training & Development Officer

‪#‎KGVI60 complete…and now I have that weird mixture of sad and happy all rolled into one! And then I remember that wonderful quote, ‘Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened’.

What an amazing week, shared with another excellent bunch of lads, who each brought their own individuality to the course, but gelled very quickly into strong team. But what makes KGVI any different from something like Queen’s Badge? I suppose it’s the fact that the participants are all there because they want to be, they have chosen that path, to complete training and become officers…in their words, ‘giving something back’ for the positive experience they have received, rather than perhaps just ticking a box.

And then there’s the staff team, what can I say, a great bunch that I am proud, not to call colleagues, but good friends. Like the Cadets, a group of individuals, who come together to produce an awesome team. I always say that KGVI is the profit sharing of my job. Would I change all the work that’s required before and after? Not a bit of it, it’s a great privilege being part of the team, but even moreso being able to put that team together. Do I always get it right? No, not always, but I reckon the two teams this year were spot on.

Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison, Moderator CofS General Assembly, spent time with Cadets

Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison, Moderator CofS General Assembly, spent time with Cadets

60 years on and whilst I don’t know what the early years were like (before anyone suggests I was there) I am fairly certain that the ethos and impact of the KGVI experience is still the same. The packaging and content may have changed, keeping it fresh and fit for purpose, but the foundations are still intact. Society tells us that young people don’t do Christian Faith…oh I think you should think again society…it’s certainly alive and well in KGVI. For me, The Lord’s my Shepherd last Wednesday evening is a memory that will last forever. The power and feeling behind those words, which have supported many people over the years, was breath taking and the only word I could use to describe it was…WOW!

I’m often asked, “Which KGVI course was the best?” And that one is easy to answer, it’s the one that you were involved with. Each course brings with it a new bunch of Cadets and a fresh staff team. For the last few years I have been the only constant and whilst that might sound unexciting, it isn’t because I get to be part of the KGVI experience for the first time, with each new group that comes along. Each course will have its highs and lows, the tears and the laughter, but like the groups, has its own individuality, the spark that makes that one special, the uniqueness that doesn’t work in another course. Anyone who has completed KGVI will know exactly what I mean.

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Tackling the ‘alpha scenario’!

Do I have a disappointment in KGVI? Yes, no one told me about it when I was the age to come along as a Cadet. I would have loved the experience. I was shy, probably painfully so, at that age and KGVI might just have been that confidence boost I needed. I reckon I probably still am shy, but the remedy for that comes from working with today’s Cadets over the past 16 years.

If there’s a highlight of that time, other than working with some amazing people, it was getting the KGVI experience levelled and credit rated on the SCQF. To have the learning recognised at Level 7, the equivalent of an Advanced Higher or and HNC, adds so much weight to what is an already amazing experience. Seeing the 13 credit points KGVI carries mean the difference from getting into university or missing out on a place, is quite humbling and with exam results arriving during the course itself, you get a sense of walking that road with the Cadet and being able to support them, whatever the outcome may be.

To all the Cadets from this year…good luck for the coming year, you are amazing and you’re going to make a huge difference back in your companies. For those who completed this year: we have the Graduation to look forward to; for those who finished New Entrants last week, the pleasure of doing it all over again! 🙂

You can find out more about the KGVI experience by visiting the website.  Alternatively, drop Alan an email alan.hunter@boys-brigade.org.uk

And….Check out this video made by one of this year’s participants!

Our BB Clydesiders!

It will come as little surprise that many BB volunteers are also making a difference during Glasgow 2014.  John Armour, Jim McCormack and John Paterson took time out of their busy schedules to comment about their experience about being Clydesiders! 

John is a BB leader with 268th Glasgow, located in Bishopbriggs.

 

John Armour, 268th Glasgow

John Armour, 268th Glasgow

Being a Clydesider has been one of the best and most exciting experiences of my life. To be part of something this big on my doorstep was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up!

My job has been in the athletes’ village, checking the food areas, toilets and bin stations. It isn’t the most glamorous of jobs, but we are up close and personal with many athletes and is all part of the bigger picture.

In my time in the village, I have met so many amazing people and always had a story to come home with.  It has been hard work but I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.

To have been picked out of 40,000 was special enough and something I will probably never experience again. Volunteering is something I’m used to twice a week at BB but this is something else.

A once in a lifetime experience that I will always remember!

 

 

 

Jim has no current company attachment but originally the 7th Coatbridge.  Jim is now the National Expedition Co-ordinator for The Boys’ Brigade.

 As you can see I am not from Glasgow but I have close family connections in that my mother’s family, who came from

Jim McCormack, National Expedition Coordinator for The Boys' Brigade

Jim McCormack, National Expedition Coordinator for The Boys’ Brigade

Scotstoun. I was born in Coatbridge and have lived here all my life.

I initially volunteered for Athletics, hoping to be at Hampden. I was accepted and my area became “Field of Play” –  Little did I know that this area encompassed more than athletics!

Field of Play is the area within which the race is run – the area that spectators are not allowed to enter during competition.

I worked for two days’ training at the Diamond League Athletics at Hampden were I became a press runner and worked with the BBC Athletics commentators, which included Brendan Foster, Steve Cram, Jonathon Edwards and Colin Edwards.

After this I was allocated the two road marathons ( I was responsible for a pedestrian crossing at the Broomielaw just at the the footbridge over the Clyde)

Then I spent five days at Cathkin Braes, including the Medal race day.   My team (photo) was responsible for laying out the stakes and tapes along Sector Five which overlooked Castlemilk and Glasgow, from this stretch you could see seven of the Glasgow games venues!

I am stewarding on the Men & Womens’ Road Cycling time trial as well as the Men & Womens Road Cycling race which is on the last day of the games.

John is 19 and a leader with 3rd Kilsyth Company.

 

John Paterson, 3rd Kilsyth

John Paterson, 3rd Kilsyth

There wasn’t an option to pick what i wanted to volunteer in but I put my name down to as much as I could, as I really wanted to be a part of the biggest show in Scotland! I was picked for the Arrivals and Departures team.

I started volunteering as part of the Glasgow Central Station team before being moved to the Athletes Village which has been fantastic! In total, I will have volunteered from the 8th of July to the 6th of August, completing 25 shifts. Very tiring but totally worth it!

I saw the success of the Games-makers at London 2012 and I wanted the chance to have Clydesiders have the same attention in terms of the great compliments and work that they gathered and did. I volunteered, as I really wanted to be a part of the biggest show of sport in Scotland. Volunteering is a big part of my life within The Boys’ Brigade and I wanted to explore a new option within volunteering. It will also be a great addition to my CV, especially as I’m training to be a primary school teacher.

Simply, I just wanted to be part of the Games and feel the buzz and atmosphere in and around Glasgow, whilst doing my bit for the Games.

There have been quite a few highlights to choose from! From seeing Her Majesty and Prince Phillip, Wills, Kate and Harry or having Usain Bolt walk by me, but my highlight must be seeing all the Scottish athletes coming back from their events with massive smiles and medals around their necks!

The best bit of volunteering was the feeling that by doing your job you were contributing to the biggest sporting event to happen in Scotland and that it happened so well.

What I’ve got out of volunteering was an experience that will live for me forever. I have met some amazing fellow Clydesiders and people from all around the Commonwealth. I have benefited from my experience in ways, such as an increased confidence, particularly getting a sense that I’m showing people from across the Commonwealth an amazing experience in Glasgow. I have learned many different things from these people – From how to say hello in many different languages, to skills that I can take back to my company and my teacher training.

 

John, Jim and John are just some of the thousands of Clydesiders who are playing their part to make Glasgow 2014 the best Games ever.  Once the Games are over, the city still has its next big event to look forward to – Brigade Conference on September 6th!!

BB Mums – Part 3

In the third and final part of our feature on some of the many of ‘BB Mums’, we hear what 2nd Dumfries’ captain, Samantha Thomson, thinks about being a mum and BB leader.

Samantha Thomson, Captain, 2nd Dumfries

Samantha Thomson, Captain, 2nd Dumfries

I have two boys who are surprisingly members of the BB. Rowen is 18 In May, he’s in sixth year at school, and is waiting to hear about college placement. He got his Queen’s Badge last year and will complete KGVI this year. He is laid back, has a wicked sense of humour and loves being with his family and friends. Rory is 15 later this year and undertaking his Presidents badge at the moment.  He loves playing rugby and is very sociable. Rory has many leadership qualities and is very quick. The boys are very different, but have many similar traits, I have so much to be proud of, well blessed with my children.

 

The best thing about being a Mum is knowing that you unconditionally love someone. It’s also the scariest! I love the fact that the boys will have so many fantastic opportunities, and so much potential for life.
Apart from the realisation that washable pen isn’t really that washable, I wouldn’t change anything as I like as well as love my boys and everything that happens, impacts on how we are.

I am still learning from my mum, she’s my heroine. I hope that I inherited her attitude to people, to treat others as we would like our folks to be treated. To treat everyone fairly, and to stand up for what I believe in. I also learned how to put my faith into service. She’s awesome. I hope I have passed this on to my boys.

I think that it’s a hard job regardless of when you do it, there are no instructions with babies or children. However I also think that there are many pressures on our boys and young men, and that is very difficult for Mums to deal with.

 

So, how did your involvement with The Boys’ Brigade come about?

Rowen was asked if he would like to go to Anchors, when he turned six, I went with him his first night and was reminded of the great fun I had as a Brownie and a Guide, they still played Duck, Duck, Goose… When he was promoted to Juniors I offered to help out the odd time, 10 years on I’m Company Captain!

There’s so much to say about what I gain from BB. The main thing is the fun and fellowship we share – the lads are sick of me talking about our Friday BB family, but I feel that’s the glue that keeps us going. I take huge pleasure from the boys /young men attaining their awards. I really like when they share the table at canteen and you hear the chatter and excitement of their interactions. Often this is with folks who they wouldn’t normally socialise with. I enjoy the fact that we make this happen. The fellowship and friendship is also excellent with the leaders who are just fab!

Being a Mum is invaluable asset for a BB leader. The problem solving and multi-tasking ethos transfers well to the BB setting. As you know your own children, you can empathise with parents’ fears and expectations about our organisation. Sometimes it’s the experience of knowing when someone needs a listening ear, or vigorous encouragement (!) However I suspect that I also feel that I have an almost maternal responsibility for the Company, which lets me be involved wholeheartedly, and yes I take it to heart.  I have seen the hugely positive impact on many, who after going through the Company as Boys, stay on as young leaders.

Definitely a proud Mammy moment!

You can follow 2nd Dumfries BB on twitter and also find out more on their website.

Our top award – 100 years on

BB Training & Development Officer, Alan Hunter, reflects on 100

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years of the highest achievement and how it benefits today’s young people and the wider community.

 

In 1913 the first crossword puzzle was published in a New York newspaper, Charlie Chaplain began his film career, and Brigade Council in Glasgow suggested that a King’s Badge be introduced as the highest award in The Boys’ Brigade. 100 years later, crosswords are still a growth industry in many publications, Charlie Chaplain is still recognised as a pioneer in the world of film, and the King’s Badge….

In 100 years the award may have had two different names, been awarded by four different monarchs and had five different designs, but the ethos remains the same. The original regulations called for the development of skills, which would help the young man develop as a person and that is still the case today, however the Queen’s

queens badge colourBadge of today helps develop skills for learning, life and work and the health and wellbeing of the young person. These fit neatly into some of the Scottish Government’s priorities for young people in the first part of the 21st century. The current Scottish curriculum, Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), recognises that not all education of young people will be covered at school, and often the informal learning achieved in The Boys’ Brigade and similar youthwork organisations, will provide the young person with the soft skills, valued by employers, in areas of teamwork, communication, leadership and relationship building.

CfE’s purpose is to enable children and young people to develop into being Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Effective Contributors and Responsible Citizens. Although CfE was only introduced in 2010, the Queen’s Badge has helped thousands of young people to be each of these four, over the last 100 years of its existence. With over 500 Queen’s Badges awarded last session, that amounts to well in excess of 30,000 hours of volunteering by young people, whether it be within their own Company or in the wider community, making a difference to the lives of others. That assumes that every award holder only completed the minimum amount of time, although many will do far in excess of that.

The Queen’s Badge features in the publication Amazing Things, which has been developed to highlight the contribution made by awards to young people’s achievement. Amazing Things helps youth work organisations see ways of accrediting young people’s volunteering, achievement and self-development; schools can see how activity in the community complements in-school learning; colleges and universities can offer opportunities for students to develop skills and competence alongside their studies; and employers can better understand the way in which young people’s community activities build up their soft skills and make them more effective employees. To view a copy of Amazing Things follow the link: http://scotland.boys-brigade.org.uk/amazingthings.pdf

QB course

Does your Company offer the Queen’s Badge? As you can see, the award is much more to the young person than a badge to wear in uniform or a certificate to hang on a wall.  Ultimately it can open doors into the world of employment. And like the crossword, I’m sure it will be around for a long time to come…another design, name or monarch perhaps, but continuing to ‘make a difference’ for young people, our communities and our businesses…what better investment is there?

For find out more about ‘The Queen’s Badge’, please visit our website or alternatively, contact Alan Hunter directly (alan.hunter@boys-brigade.org.uk).

My Queen’s Badge experience…

The Queen’s Badge is the highest award that may be gained by a member of The Boys’ Brigade and this year celebrates the centenary of its predecessor the King’s Badge, first awarded in 1913.Image

The award aims to challenge and equip the individual, provide new opportunities and expand horizons while remaining accessible to young people of all abilities. The Queen’s Badge offers the chance to engage with the local community, take on responsibility, set personal goals, build self-confidence and experience a sense of achievement.

Ross Baxter from 3rd Inverness shares his Queen’s Badge experiences…

“I’ve been in The BB for 13 years and currently a student at Milbrun Academy studying highers and advanced highers

I honestly enjoyed all the things that I participated in order to achieve the award. I thoroughly enjoyed developing as a leader through coaching and ‘Discover Presentations’. I have also loved learning the guitar as I have always wanted to learn an instrument.

Working toImagewards the award allowed me to develop my presentational skills and also my leadership ability, especially when leading a talk with younger boys.

The area of voluntary service that I supported was at Clachnacuddin FC Youth development which was held at both Miton of Leys primary school astro pitch and Dalneigh Football pitches.  In total,  I spent 38 hours volunteering with them during my Queen’s Badge work.

The lasting memory I’ll take from my Queen’s Badge will be Parents’ Night (the last night) as it was the most emotional.  I have enjoyed (The BB) so much –  I’m not ready to leave!”

Young people see first hand impact of their fundraising on trip to India

Visit to Lady Khatun Marium Navik School

 India Trip February 2013 – 51st Edinburgh (Bonnyrigg) Company Boys’ Brigade

Ten hardy souls set off on a cold and damp Saturday morning in February, starting out on the long journey from Bonnyrigg in Scotland, to Mumbai in India. A not inconsiderable distance of approx 4,642 miles as the crow flies, or if you want to drive – 6,650 miles according to Google! The group comprised of 4 BB officers, 4 members of the company, and 2 teachers from Midlothian Council.

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The reason for the trip was to visit the Lady Khatun Marium Navik School in Nhava, just south of Mumbai. The 51st Bonnyrigg Boys Brigade Company has sponsored 4 children in the school for eight years, and there has been an open invitation to the Company to go over and visit for a few of these years. Following the retiral of the Company treasurer, Mr Eric Lamb, it was decided to make the trip as Eric’s swan song for the Company as it was he who set up the link with the school through his work as a maritime communications lecturer and examiner.

 

After a long trip, flying from Glasgow to Dubai, and onward to Mumbai, the group arrived on the Sunday morning. Met by one of the teachers from the school and a tour guide, they spent part of the day taking in some of the sights of Mumbai – the Gateway To India, Banganga Tank (a tranquil reservoir sheltered from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets, surrounded by Hindu temples) and the Hanging Gardens – before weariness took over and they took the two hour drive from Mumbai to Nhava.

 

The school is situated within the campus of the maritime college TS Rahaman on the island of Nhava. Surrounded by mangroves, the island is connected to the mainland by a permanent link road. The school began as a small off-shoot of the college, looking after orphans and children of the shipping company that preceded the college. It grew from the handful of children to now almost 1,000 from Nursery to Junior College (3 – 17 years).

 

Having met the Chair of the School Management Committee, Elizabeth Yusuf, and the school Principal, Daisamam (Daisy) Paul, the previous night, our group toured the school on the Monday morning. The whole group were overwhelmed by the politeness and friendliness of all the children. Whenever, we walked into a classroom, the whole class automatically stood up and said “Good morning Ma’am” to the principal and “Good morning Sir” to the rest of us. Later the members of the Company – Lewis Houliston (12), Michael Daniel (15), Blair Wright (15) and Jay Aird (17) – met with groups of the pupils during their break period, and were taken to their classes to see where they worked. We were also treated to songs and recitals as we went round the classes as well.830468_10151292865554599_381370610_o

 

We also visited the onsite hospital and visited the “tank” – a reservoir constructed to supply the school and adjacent village, built in memory of one of the founders of the campus. Later in the day we took a walk into the local village, and also visited the Maritime Museum on the campus, which gave a history of shipping in the local area and also the history of the founding family behind the original shipping company and then college.

 

The following morning, a special assembly was held where the group were formally welcomed, and honoured in the traditional Indian way with the Tikka mark. The children conducting the assembly gave a very interesting and informative presentation on India and its culture. This was followed up by a presentation from our group on Scottish culture, culminating in teaching the children the song “You Cannae Shove Yer Granny Off The Bus!”

 

During the morning we were also introduced to the children we have sponsored for the last eight years –Ajit Prasad (15), Irfan Ansari (14), Divja Jamble (14), and Harshada Deshmukh (13). They showed us their school work, and talked about their hopes for the future and their interests. Their schoolwork was very neat and tidy and their artwork excellent. We also presented them with gifts for them, and also 100 pairs of socks for the school and a donation of funds to the school. The formal part of the day over, we were taken sailing and Kayaking by the Captain of the campus. In the evening, a barbecue was held where we were introduced to the senior staff/officers of the college.  An honour indeed.

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On the Wednesday, we were guests of honour at the school sports for the nursery and younger primary age children, where there were also gymnastic displays by the younger children and dancing performed by older pupils. This was followed by a tour of the farm and bio-gas facilities, where the college and school are trying to be as self sufficient as possible by recycling as much waste as possible. Any hard waste such as cardboard, metals or glass are sold, and soft waste such as food and farm waste are fed into their bio-gas plant, and the gas used for cooking in the kitchens, which we also visited to see the production process for the chapattis they make daily – around 6,000 each day ! We were also shown around some of the college training facilities, where we had the chance to steer a container ship (OK, it was only a computer simulation!).

 

The school arranged for us to take a trip to Matheran, an area of natural beauty, on the Thursday. The area is accessible by road, but the scenic route is by train from Neral. It is a narrow gauge train that winds its way up the hill side and takes around 2 hours (as opposed to 20 minutes by taxi!). It is a very picturesque route, albeit in “compact” carriages in stifling heat! Our time there was slightly limited as our planned 9am train was full, so we had to wait on the 10.30am train. Unfortunately this train left over an hour late. There are many areas to walk in with scenic views and we took in some of them, including Lake Charlotte, leading to some stunning views down the valley. Once back at Matheran, we walked to Dasturi Naka and took taxis back down the hill to Neral, and then made the 2 hour journey back to Nhava.

 

Our final day was another morning visit to the school to say our goodbyes to the children and the staff. Having said our farewells and presented “thank you” flowers to Elizabeth and Daisy, we headed back to Mumbai for a little more sightseeing.  Our first stop was to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India. It was an interesting visit, which also had a special exhibition Mummy : The Inside Story (on Egyptian mummies, not motherhood !).

 

Our final visit was a guided walking tour around one of the slum areas, Dharavi. Not really knowing what to expect, we entered the slum with our guide. He took us around the various zones – recycling, industrial, pottery, leatherwork and residential – and explained about the slum as he went. It surprised us in many ways – it was much cleaner than we expected, didn’t smell as bad as we expected, and the amount of industry and work done in the slum was very surprising. The whole area is easily described as “high density” meaning the paths between the buildings were very narrow and quite dark in places. The tour company we used, Reality Tours and Travel, was chosen as it works with the local community and profits made from the tours are used to fund a community centre in the slum. This provides activities, training and some healthcare advice for the community and is a fantastic way to give something back to the people who live there.

 

One thing not touched on throughout this report is the traffic. Unbelievable, scary, mad – add your own adjective here! The roads in and around Mumbai are among the most congested in the world and really have to be seen to be believed.  That coupled with some of the roads being in poor condition made a few of our journeys quite “interesting”.  So much traffic fighting for the same road space was scary and amazing to watch all in one go. To our amazement, we did not see a single accident, although most vehicles did display “battle scars” ! And the less said about our experiences crossing roads the better !860786_10151292863794599_1432723456_o

 

After having a final bite to eat we then made our final journey back to the airport to fly home. Thankfully we had plenty of time, as we were caught in very heavy traffic heading out of Mumbai – the rush hour still in full flow after 9.00pm at night!  The 45 minute journey took double that and we arrived at the airport at 10.30pm. From then, it was wait, queue, and wait some more. Check-in started at 1.00am and we finally got through immigration and security by 2.30am!

 

We flew back to Dubai and were hurriedly escorted to our waiting flight bound for Glasgow. The time passed relatively quickly and before long we were back on Scottish soil, with the minibus waiting to take us back to Bonnyrigg.

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It was a long way to go for a relatively short visit, but everyone in the group thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We met so many amazing people, and experience a culture very different to our own. Politeness and respect was the norm unlike back home (unless you were driving!). The children we met were all hugely enthusiastic about school and all seemed to WANT to be there, and WANT to learn and do well. The kindness and generosity of our hosts who put us up and fed us so well was also overwhelming. We can look forward to continuing our sponsorship and friendship with the school, and possibly another trip in the future.