Highlands and Islands

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Sunday, September 12, 2010 - Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day in the Life

Sunday, October 31

By Amber Seeds

Well, I have some sad news folks. Today we are sitting at our final destination together, Whites Lake. It’s hard to imagine that it’s all over. Looking around the cottage, I see my Otesha family as natural as they ever were. A juggler in the living room, a bread making team in the kitchen, clean-up crew collecting dishes, people reading books about bottled water and me to we. Everyone wearing what they have decided is their cleanest remaining pair of spandex pants. A smile on EVERYONE’S face. How can it be that in two days I won’t be waking up next to them any more?

The Highlands and Islands Tour tour has been so much fun, and I’d like to share a typical day with you:

6:00 a.m. (or earlier, Aye aye-aye) 
Wake up to a team members' favorite songs and bust out some dance moves.

6:30 a.m. 
Cook oatmeal.

6:45 a.m. 
Burn oatmeal.

6:47 a.m.
Add cinnamon to burnt oatmeal.

6:48 a.m. 
Discover that no amount of cinnamon can cover up the taste of burnt oatmeal.

6:49 a.m. 
Eat an apple instead.

8:00 a.m. 
Everyone is packed and hops on their bikes. We have a great invigorating ride to our first performance. Everyone arrives in a great mood.

8:15 a.m. 
Discuss how to get more fair trade coffee into teacher’s lounges.

9:00 a.m.
Give a great performance to a receptive audience. Try to contain our laughter as forgotten lines are improvised on the spot. Open the eyes of hundreds of kids about the impact of their choices.

10:00 a.m. 
Give a workshop to the kids. Get great inspiring ideas from the schools (if you don’t text in the shower, you can save water!)

12:00 p.m. 
Get a free lunch from the school. Try to convince some confused lunch ladies to serve us directly into our Tupperware containers instead of using disposable plates.

1:00 p.m. 
Hit the road again. Bike through sun, wind, rain, flat tires, angry drivers, polite drivers, waving children, pot holes, no shoulders and bike lanes.

4:00 p.m.
Grocery shopping with your kitchen crew. Discuss the relative benefits of choosing a local product over an imported organic product.

5:00 p.m. 
Start cooking dinner on camp stoves. Oh, no! The camp stoves won’t light. Convince the community center across the street to let us inside to use their kitchen.

7:00 p.m.
Serve vegan dinner to our very loving and appreciative Otesha family.

8:00 p.m.
Have a meeting to discuss the next day’s agenda. Do a check-in about our day “Today, I saw a cow smell something bad and then dry heaved onto my bike. True Story.”

10:00 p.m. 
Hilarious, spontaneous game of musical chairs which turned somewhat aggressive in the end. The prize? A 15 person massage. We laughed until we cried.

11:00 p.m. 
Fall asleep with my family to the sound of gentle and heavy breathing. Ready to start it all over again...

 

Une Journée Dans la Vie


J’ai une mauvaise nouvelle, les amis. Aujourd’hui, nous sommes assis ensemble à notre dernière destination, Whites Lake. C’est difficile d’imaginer que tout est fini. En regardant autour du chalet, je vois ma famille Otesha à son état le plus naturel. Une jongleuse dans le salon, une équipe qui fait du pain dans la cuisine, une autre qui ramasse la vaisselle, des gens qui lisent des livres sur les bouteilles d’eau en plastique et sur Me to We. Tout le monde porte des vêtements qu’ils ont pensé être le pantalon en spandex le plus propre. Un sourire sur les lèvres de TOUS. Comment se peut-il que dans deux jours je ne me réveillerai pas à côté de tous ces gens?

L’équipe

HIT a eu beaucoup de plaisirs et je veux partager une journée typique avec vous :

6h00 (ou plus tôt, Ouf!) 
Réveil au son de la chanson préférée d’un membre de l’équipe

et se lever en dansant.

6h30 
Cuire
 le gruau.


6h45 
Brûler le gruau.

6h47 
Ajouter de la cannelle au gruau brûlé.

6h48 
Découvrir qu’aucune quantité de cannelle peut couvrir le goût brûlé du gruau.

6h49
Manger une pomme au lieu.

8h00 
Tout le monde a préparé ses paniers et on saute sur nos vélos. Nous avons une promenade énergisante pour nous rendre à notre première performance. Tout le monde arrive de bonne humeur.

8h15 
Discuter comment on peut convaincre l’école d’avoir du café équitable dans le salon du personnel.

9h00 
Donner une excellente performance à un public réceptif. Essayer de retenir les rires quand on oublie des répliques et on improvise. Ouvrir les yeux de centaines de jeunes face aux impacts de leurs choix.

10h00 
Mener un atelier pour les élèves. Entendre des bonnes idées inspirantes de la part des écoles (si on n’envoie pas des messages textes dans la douche, on sauve de l’eau!)

12h00 
Recevoir un dîner gratuit de l’école. Essayer de convaincre les caissières confuses de nous servir directement dans nos contenants réutilisables au lieu d’utiliser les assiettes jetables.

13h00  
Sur nos vélos à nouveau. On roule au soleil, dans le vent, sous la pluie, on a des crevaisons, on roule parmi les conducteurs fâchés, ceux très polis, des enfants qui nous saluent, des nids de poules, des routes sans accotement ou sur des pistes cyclables.

16h00 
Épiceries avec ton équipe de cuisine. Parler des bénéfices d’un produit local au lieu d’un produit biologique importé. 

17h00 
Commencer à préparer le souper sur le poêle de camping… ah non… le poêle ne s’allume pas. Convaincre le centre communautaire de l’autre côté de la rue de nous laisser utiliser leur cuisine.

19h00 
Servir un souper végétalien à notre famille Otesha, qui nous lance des louanges et des bisous!

20h00 
Réunion d’équipe pour discuter l’ordre du jour du lendemain. Faire un suivi, le bilan de notre journée : «Aujourd’hui, j’ai vu une vache qui a senti quelque chose de mauvais et a presque vomis sur mon vélo. Une histoire vraie. »

22h00 
Jeu spontané et hilarant de chaise musicale, qui est devenu plutôt agressif vers la fin. Le prix : un massage à 15 personnes. On en ri jusqu’aux larmes.

23h00 
M’endormir avec ma famille au son doux des respirations de l’équipe. Prête à tout recommencer!

 

***

 

A Hopeful Ending

Wednesday, October 27

By Guy Marsan

Today, I finally reached 1000 km on my odometer. In fact, I even went over that and my bike computer now reads about 1020 km! We have arrived in Halifax, and at some points in our tour, I wasn’t even certain I’d get to see our group make it to the end and reach such a distance. We have accomplished a lot in the few weeks since Andrew passed away, and since we decided to resume our tour. We have met so many wonderful people along the way, overcome many challenges (including scary highways, and rainy, windy weather), and lit a spark in many children’s eyes. I can’t help but smile at all that we have done thus far! I am happy we found the courage to continue, despite the tragic accident our team faced in September. This morning, at a school performance, a student asked us why the words “Dearest Little Wolf” were written on our T-shirts. The explanation of Andrew’s nickname being on our shirts reminded me that despite the sadness of the events, we are still united as a team and Andrew is still with us on tour. We have been able to continue with him, his passion touching the lives of thousands of young, and not so young people. I am very proud of our team. Every one of those 1000 km I cycled will be with me forever. Each kilometer will stand for each incredible moment that I will continue to carry with me after the tour. I have learned so many great ways to reduce my impact on the planet. I have experienced a community that shares and learns together. I think that I have also learned to appreciate life a little bit more, and to live in the moment. I hope these are lessons that I will take home with me, in my life after Otesha; in the real world. It is a beautiful world and if we want to continue loving it we need to protect it, and respect the others we share it with. As we approach the final days of our tour in Halifax, I am simply grateful that I have had the opportunity to live this experience, and I look forward to many more kilometers ahead.

Aujourd’hui j’ai finalement atteind 1000 km sur mon odomètre. En fait, je suis presqu’à 1020 km. Nous sommes déjà à Halifax, et à un certain moment, je ne savais même pas si on allait pouvoir finir la tournée et rouler toute cette distance. Nous avons beaucoup accompli dans les semaines depuis la mort d’Andrew et depuis notre décision de continuer notre tournée. Nous avons rencontré tellement de bonnes personnes, surmontés plusieurs défis, et allumé des étincelles dans les yeux des enfants.  J’ai un sourire sur les lèvres en pensant à tout ce qu’on a fait. Je suis heureux qu’on ait eu le courage de continuer malgré toute la peine que l’accident nous a causé en septembre. Ce matin, après une representation, un élève a demandé pourquoi on avait les mots “Dearest Little Wolf” sur nos T-shirts. Nous avons expliqué le sobriquet, et cela m’a rappelé que malgré la tristesse de cette tragédie, on est encore une équipe unie et on a toujours une partie de Andrew avec nous. Nous avons pu continuer la route avec lui, avec sa passion et nous avons touché des milliers de jeunes et moins jeunes avec notre projet. Je suis très fier de notre équipe.
Tous ces 1000 km, ils seront avec moi pour toujours. Chaque kilomètre sera un souvenir incroyable que je pourrai apporter avec moi. J’ai appris beaucoup de trucs pour réduire mon impact sur la planète. J’ai appris à vivre dans une communauté qui partage et qui apprend ensemble. J’ai aussi appris à vivre un peu plus à la légère et à apprécier le moment présent. J’ose espérer que toutes ces leçons resteront avec moi, dans ma vie après Otesha – le monde réel. On vit dans un beau monde et si on veut continuer à en profiter, on doit le protéger, et surtout respecter les gens avec qui on le partage. Alors que nous entamons les derniers jours à Halifax, je suis simplement reconnaissant d’avoir eu l’occasion de vivre cette expérience et j’ai hâte aux prochains kilomètres devant moi.

***

 

 

Otesha's Cycling Thespians 

Tuesday, October 26

Following, is an excerpt and a photo courtesy of Enfield Weekly Press, Enfield, N.S.

'The Otesha Project uses theatre to spread the message of how individual and collective choices can make local and global change. The organization’s vision is to see sustainable consumption and lifestyle choices enter the Canadian cultural mainstream.'

Click here for more!

***

Desiderata

Saturday, October 23

By Shirley Manh

 

 

          Nova Scotia, another beautiful province! I feel so privileged to live in such an expanse of nature, and to be able to take advantage of it all! Biking through Stellarton, Truro, Maitland, Windsor. The roads wind and twist, rise and fall; surrounded by red, yellow, brown, and green. We've stopped to sink our toes into clay brown river banks and wildly run up hills of weeds and flowers. We've spotted the bright indigo of blue-jays, and pointed out several quaint old homes, crumbling but stoic against the passing of time.

          Many of the communities we pedal through are sleepy but full of character and charm. And what is most remarkable is the generosity we are greeted with wherever we go. Our stay at the fire hall in Kennetcook is a perfect example. Martin Walsh, the Volunteer Fire Chief of Kennetcook, visited the team while we were staying in his fire hall. He came with cookies, lemon loaf and a poem he had printed out for each of us. Later he returned having collected the town’s supplies of darts, knowing we had been eyeing the dart boards. And once again he came back, this time insisting that the team take his brand-new reversible safety jacket, a gift he thought would help keep us safe on the roads. Pure kindness! 

          The days are passing quickly and the tour is in full swing. Two weeks and it will be over! I am trying to live everything to the fullest. I thought I would share with you the last verses of the poem Martin brought for us, a poem calledDesiderata. 

'You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.



Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.


With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.'


***

On the Road Again 

Sunday, October 10

By Shirley Manh

It would be an understatement to say that our team was looking forward to getting back on our bikes, hitting the trails of Prince Edward Island and getting our groove back as an Otesha team. A week ago we left our cottage in Clinton, a home and haven to us, on a rainy Saturday morning and cycled to Barnyard Organics, home to island farmers Mark and Sally. It seemed appropriate that we were starting our tour again with a learning opportunity - one that put us in touch with the local community and with the food we eat. We learned about various types of grains and soybeans, what it takes to achieve organic certification, toured the grounds, and helped out in the barn shovelling a giant pile of woodchips into bags for winter storage - 15 pairs of hands makes for speedy work! We didn't leave before we tasted some of Mark's roasted soybeans and showed our support for the farm by purchasing two local, organic chickens which made for a delicious dinner the night after.

In the days that followed we found ourselves cycling all over the western end of the island, from Summerside to Alberton to O'Leary and back - we moved from Lion's Clubs to Arts & HeritageCentres and performed to hundreds of students in school gyms. As a team we endured the rain, enjoyed the sunshine, and rode our bikes together on the roads and trails alike. We kept each other on track in the mornings, pumped each other up before performances, and finally got the chance to do full kitchen crew rotations.

I was travelling with Kelsey and Guy one day and we had some shopping to do for dinner after a performance in St. Louis, just outside of Alberton. Guy had caught wind of Soy Hardy, a place where we could purchase organic tofu and we were tickled with delight at the thought of having such a delicious addition to our dinner that night. We pulled up, knocked on all the doors and were almost ready to give up and head back into the car when someone finally stepped out and asked what we wanted. We chatted with the man that processes the soybeans into tofu and discovered a serendipitous surprise - these blocks of tofu that we were holding were made with the organic soybeans from Mark's farm, Barnyard Organics! Local, organic tofu at such a great price (and with such a great personal connection) led to our purchasing of six large blocks which the team devoured over the next few meals.

On the way back to the Arts & Heritage Centre in Alberton I thought about the full-circle we had just found ourselves in - meeting Mark at his farm just days before, sampling his soybeans and then eating the tofu that they were made into... "This is the epitome of the local experience we were all waiting for," I thought. And as we cycle on, despite the rain and chill winds that are common at this time of year, I know we are destined to meet more people and connect with them somehow, and I think to myself, "Yes - this feels right. This is what we were meant to do."

 


***


 

Article in the Toronto Star

Saturday, October 9


Not long after the Highlands and Islands Tour got back onto the road, they were joined by Toronto Star reporter, Brendan Kennedy, for two days of life on the road with an Otesha tour.  It's entitled 'Determined activists ride on for fallen friend' and is especially interested in how the team is trying to honor the life of their lost team mate, Andrew, by continuing their tour.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

‘They use theatre to educate young people about how their everyday choices affect the environment and the world, performing to audiences from kindergarden to Grade 12.

They live out their environmental message with religious conviction, but they also know they are not going to convince anyone with pedantic lectures.

“Activists don’t have enough fun,” said Stefi Van Wijk, who at 18 is the group’s youngest member — and arguably the most energetic. “We’re trying to change that.”

They also recognize that in order to improve a community, a person has to lead by example — you must walk the talk.

The Ottawa-based charity is unique in its direct, local actions and global outlook.

Its members form an intense bond after only a few days of training and from then on refer to themselves as family.

“If we were not strong from the beginning,” said Marie-Hélène Beaudry, an animated and dreadlocked 23-year-old from Montreal, “we would not be here today.”

Click here to read the rest of the article. 


***

 

A Compilation of Highlands and Islands Short Stories

Thursday, October 7

Remembering Andrew
By Makeda Zook

Over the last three weeks our team has been mourning the loss of Andrew while honoring his spirit and celebrating his life. A part of this process has been sharing memories and stories about the ways in which he has affected our lives. One thread that weaves through all of our stories is the fact that Andrew inspired each one of us through his passion and dedication to cycling, social justice, environmental sustainability and community living. He reflected the world in which he wanted to live by making changes in his own life informed by all of his passions. The world we saw reflected in Andrew's personality and life choices was one of openness and curiosity, thoughtfulness and reflection, enthusiasm and engagement. Andrew was open to expressing his full self and through this openness invited others to do the same. He was curious about the different ways people around him experienced and envisioned the world and was not afraid to ask thoughtful questions. It was with this thoughtfulness and reflection that he was able to approach problems holistically and find sustainable solutions. Andrew was engaged with every new place and person he met as he saw the potential for learning something new and incorporating that new knowledge into the world he envisioned living in. The world that Andrew both reflected and hoped for is one that we can all share and be excited about. He has reignited our commitment to work towards change and reminded us that anything is possible.

Best Birthday Yet
By Li Keller

I woke up the morning of my birthday on a cushioned church pew in my sleeping bag, not really expecting much of the day. This comfort was enough. The team, myself included, was still really sad about the accident that had shook us just 2 days prior. I had other birthdays to look forward to and this one didn't have to be special, but in the end it was.

Breakfast had a certain magic to it. Then, we all hopped into the cars of generous community members who had volunteered to take us to town. We visited the Reversing Falls; not really falls, but a point in the Bay of Fundy where the tide stops going in and switches directions back out to the ocean. At the market, amongst fresh food smells and hand-made crafts, was a dude named Daniel. After telling us about his fired and painted local red clay jewelry and ornaments he makes entirely himself, he learned that we were fellow cyclists of Andrew, whom he had heard about on the news. He wouldn't let us go before having us freely pick out seventeen different colored turtles, representing longevity, and seventeen lighthouses to bring back to the rest of the group. Lighthouses guide you away from danger towards safety, and he wanted us to be safe. It touched my heart immensely.

Later at dinner I was surprised with a chocolate cake that Lois and David had rushed home to bake after driving us around town. I was so overwhelmed by this completely unexpected gesture that I could hardly keep myself together cutting slices for the table. Then as if that wasn't incredible enough, we started finding Canadian coins in the cake, for good luck, which was new for me. Three rounds of Happy Birthday throughout the day, a card, a fair-trade organic chocolate bar, and many warm wishes later, I felt I had one of the best birthdays of my life. Maybe the timing wasn't so bad after all, since like the reversing tides, our mood had temporarily shifted to a more festive one. The thoughtfulness and generosity of the Grand Bay-Westfield and Saint John communities that day were not an exception; we were treated this warmly during our entire stay there and none of us will ever forget the love with which a bunch of strangers embraced us. 


The Adventures of Team Hardcore
By Kelsey Walsh and Leah Goldie

On a foggy morning in Saint John, New Brunswick, five young women also known as Team Hardcore set off. Their goal: to ride their bikes to Clinton, Prince Edward Island instead of driving there with rest of the team. These slightly foolish but very keen girls believed that cycling 350km would be a lovely way to spend their four days of rest and healing, given to the Highlands and Islands Tour.

The first day progressed without too much fuss; a flat repaired in the blink of an eye by Amber's nimble fingers. 

Unzipping tents on the second morning, the sun was a welcome surprise. This, however, was shortly followed by hills, hills, hills and the wheezing and crude muttering of our dear Shirley. We conquered each hill with encouragement, determination, and really loud singing.

Our long day ended perfectly in Moncton with a delicious feast cooked by Michelle, another teammate, home for the period of rest. The simple comforts of food, hot showers, Disney's Mulanand seeing our friend were especially appreciated after two days on the road.

Day three and munching on fresh apples picked along the way by long-limbed Alysha, we came upon ‘The Great Mud Lake’. Leah's tires played joyfully in the muck, but the others were not so keen and pushed though begrudgingly. The last hour of the day was spent along the Northumberland Straight; soft sun, cold hands, an endless tapestry of field, farm, and blue water.

On the last morning, the young women crossed Confederation Bridge waving goodbye to New Brunswick and greeting Prince Edward Island with excitement.

Sweaty and smelly, huge smiles on their faces, Team Hardcore completed their journey just before sunset and were welcomed back with hoots, hollers and hugs from the rest of the team. The girls had never been to Clinton, Prince Edward Island before and yet they felt like they had come home.

 

 

***


Training Week - From Strangers to Family

Wednesday, October 6

By Makeda Zook and Douglas Logan
Translation by Marie-Hélène Beaudry and Guy Marsan

One week ago today we arrived in Fredericton, New Brunswick; each of us coming with our own stories, experiences and expectations of what the next two months will bring. When I joined the Otesha Highlands and Islands team, I made a commitment to enter into the unknown and was comforted by the fact that seventeen other people had made the same commitment with me. Whether we knew it or not, that was the first consensus decision we made as a team.

Il y a une semaine, nous sommes arrivés à Fredericton, au Nouveau-Brunswick. Chacun d’entre nous est arrivé avec ses propres histoires, ses expériences et ses attentes au sujet des deux prochains mois. Lorsque j’ai joint l’équipe Highlands and Islands d’Otesha, j’ai choisi d’avancer vers l’inconnu et j’étais rassuré de penser que dix-sept autres personnes avaient fait la même choix que moi. Sans le réaliser complètement, c’était en fait avec cette décision que nous devenions une équipe.

Throughout the week, we have made many more consensus based decisions and have been building the foundations of trust that are necessary in creating not only a team, but a community of friends who are able to support and care for one another. Within this first week, I have heard stories from seventeen different people with a diversity of life experiences, and have shared the fears, expectations and excitements of the next two months with all of them. I already feel that I have not only been welcomed into a new community, but also a new family.

Au cours de la semaine, nous avons pris de nombreuses autres décisions sur par accord general et nous avons travaillé à construire les fondations de la confiance qui sont nécessaire pour créer non seulement une équipe, mais aussi une communauté d’amis qui sont capables de se supporter. Pendant cette semaine, j’ai entendu les histoires de dix-sept différentes personnes, dotées d’une diversité d’expérience de vie. J’ai aussi partagé mes peurs, attentes et enthousiasmes pour les deux prochains mois que nous allons passer ensemble. Je me sens déjà inclu non seulement dans une nouvelle communauté, mais aussi dans une nouvelle famille.

We invited people to join us at Odell Park Lodge at our premier performance for one and all. Beyond all expectation, we packed the house; no chairs were left and some audience members were standing! Each and every Otesha member who'd met someone along their way to Fredericton had invited them to come and watch. I think they brought their friends and families too! With only eight hours of practice, our first performance was met with cheers, applause and an audience bursting with questions.

Nous avons invité la communauté à nous joindre au centre du Parc Odell pour notre première représentation ouverte au grand public. Au-dessus de nos attentes, la salle était si comblée, que certains membres de l’auditoire ont dû rester debout! Chacun des membres de notre groupe qui avait rencontré quelqu’un à Fredericton l'avait invité à venir voir la pièce de théâtre. Je crois que les gens ont emmené leurs amis et leurs familles aussi! Après seulement huit heures de répétitions, notre premier spectacle a été submergé d’encouragement, d’applaudissements et de questions de l’auditoire.

Also in the audience was a new group of Canada World Youth (CWY) volunteers - an international volunteer exchange program based in Canada. The nine Canadian volunteers were partnered with nine volunteers from the country of Ghana. What an amazing feeling, to have people in attendance who also just met each other a week ago and are embarking on a journey into the unknown, together. Our Otesha team, as well as the CWY volunteers, will be learning how to build a community with people who have similar passions and a diversity of experiences, while connecting with, and making a difference in, the various cultures and communities that will host us. To hear that some of the Ghanaians wanted to take Otesha back to Ghana when they return was like music to the ears of our team! With only our first performance out of the way, who knows what's in store for us next...

En plus, dans la salle il y avait un nouveau groupe de bénévoles de Jeunesse Canada Monde (JCM); un programme d’échange international des bénévoles basé au Canada. Les neuf participants Canadiens étaient jumelés avec neuf participants du Ghana. Quel incroyable sentimentd’avoir dans l’auditoire des gens qui venaient de se rencontrer et qui entreprenaient ensemble, comme nous, une incroyable aventure. Notre équipe d’Otesha, tout comme les participants de JCM, apprendrait à construire une communauté avec des gens qui ont des passions semblables et une diversité d’expériences. Nous aurions l’occasion d’entrer en contact avec plusieurs communautés et de faire une différence chez ceux qui nous accueillent. Entendre certains Ghanéens dirent qu’ils souhaitaient commencer un projet avec Otesha au Ghana à leur retour a sonné comme la musique aux reilles de notre équipe! Avec seulement notre première spectacle lancé, qui sait quoi nous attend dans les prochaines semaines…


***

Blogs from Training Week

Sunday, September 12

By Tania Cheng

I am alive! Right now, I am sitting in the University of New Brunswick Library, enjoying my rest day after a busy and intense week of training at Odell Park Lodge in Fredericton, NB. It’s hard to believe that it’s been less than a week since I flew out of Pearson Airport Monday afternoon on a teeny airplane with only 13 rows with my tour-mate Lisi, and arrived at the little airport in Fredericton. My bike and my gear all arrived safely, and I even managed to put my bike back together at the hostel that night. The hostel was interesting. I wound up meeting a bunch of tour-mates there and bunking in a room with four of them.

Tuesday morning, we biked to the lighthouse (our meeting place), and then as a team biked to Odell Park Lodge. There are 17 tour members. In no particular order: me, Lisi, Amber, Anna, Leah, Alysha, Makeda, Douglas, Guy, Andrew, Seb, Marie-Helene, Kelsey, Michelle, Li, Stefi, and Shirley. There are 2 training staff from the Otesha office (Kelly and Katrina), and 3 volunteer cooks (Luc-George, Andi, and Kelsey). I can’t even begin to describe how cool and interesting everyone is, and that would simply take forever so I’m not even going to try right now since I don’t have a lot of time.

Training week has been a blur. It has been so busy that we haven’t actually spent a lot of time biking at all, save for one morning ride along the river. It’s been six full days so far of play practice, team building, media training, health and safety training, games and activities, etc. We have been setting our community standards, our sustainability mandate and food mandate. We have a system now for decision-making, and hand signals we use during discussions so that we’re not all talking over each other.