Torchbarerer builds links in Botswana

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A teenage girl Scout has returned from a once-in-a-lifetime experience 3,000 miles away in Africa.

Suzi Martin, who is an Explorer Scout, was part of a 32-strong team of UK Scouts who have ten weeks in the Botswana building a new headquarters to help launch a Scout training centre in the area.

The project involved the volunteers raising £3,000 each to provide a war chest of £216,000 for travelling, subsistence and building materials. They also devoted over 25,000 hours of hard work on the site in the Okovango Delta.

Suzi, who lives in Ampthill said: “When we arrived at the campsite in Botswana we were met with hot 44 degree sunshine, happy faces and lots and lots of dust. “We had one night to settle in before Team A showed us the ropes and helped us get started.

“We 24 months in the UK being trained in building walls, digging holes, and fitting pipework and a water supply so we knew what to expect.”

Suzi, who was also a torchbearer for the Central Beds part of the Olympic flame relay in= July, has also raised over £2,000 for the Keech Children’s Hospice over the last few years.

She added: “Our adventure, in the wilds of Africa to support thousands of local youngsters, was just out of this world.

“Our aim was to create a centre where the local Scouts could educate schoolchildren and other visitors in conserving wildlife and preserving a natural space where the area’s endangered species could thrive.”

“My time in Botswana was literally a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“I learnt a great deal about international Scouting in Botswana, the importance of teamwork and what it is like to live away from home in a foreign land.”