Snow Camp - Kazakhstan
In February, I was lucky enough to attend Snow Camp which takes place in Kazakhstan. I knew very little about Kazakhstan but did know it would be very cold. On one of the days it reached minus 38!
I came across this opportunity whilst looking for international Scouting opportunities one day, and quickly paid my money. I did not know any of the other participants and was not fazed at the thought of being the only girl. I met the four other participants at Heathrow airport and we started our journey via Frankfurt in Germany. Approximately eight hours later we arrived, and were greeted by two scout leaders, but with one missing piece of luggage.
We set off to reach our log cabin set in the forest and it was quite literally a winter wonderland! Unfortunately I made the mistake of taking a huge intake of breath when I first left the airport before proceeding to cough and splutter. Over the next few days I got to know the rest of the boys, learnt some all important Russian, took part in ice fishing, dog sledding, camel riding (yes a camel)!, skiing, wintery hikes, horse riding, and snow shoeing. Ice fishing was an experience and one of the few times I was actually cold! I now have a new outlook on life and rarely say I am cold as now have a very extreme comparison. We were unsuccessful in catching an fish but that is to be expected. We had a sauna on our final night, which half way through involved running outside and rolling around in the snow and then going back in. We had a communal area directly outside the sauna which had BBQ'ed meat cooking the whole time. Truly immersing ourselves in the culture.
We spent the last two days in Astana including having city tours, spending time with the Chief Scout (or the Kazakh equivalent), and running Scout meetings for the Kazakhs.
My the end of the week, I knew I had made friends for life, had mastered the art of layering up quickly and knew that I would return to Kazakhstan in the near future.