Partially Frozen Bananas and Hopeful Hooligans

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January, 2006

Over the last few weeks Ontario and Quebec residents have witnessed a harrowing cycle of thawing and freezing, along with a confusing combination of rain, sleet, ice pellets and snow. And we’ve got a confession to make, folks. We think it has to do with our throw away bananas.

You see, in order to avoid participating in the unfairly traded bananas market, we wait until there are some bananas on the throw away rack before buying them. Then we toss them in the freezer and use ‘em in all kinds of vegan baking creations. Yet, for some reason, one bag of bananas keeps migrating into the fridge, then back to the freezer, then on to a kitchen counter, then back into the freezer, and so on. With each new thawing and freezing, the weather outside seems to follow suit. Now that the bananas have been eaten, we expect that good, consistent, freezing weather will return.

Inclement weather conditions, however, haven’t stopped us from charging full force into Hopeful Highschool Hooliganheadwinds. Two more Highly Intensive Training Weekends (in Peterborough and Cobourg) have come and gone since our last journal entry and we’ve got five more coming up.

The three schools that participated in the last two HITWs are returning teams and it has been incredible to see the impact on students who are involved for a second year. We’ve also souped up the program based on last year’s experiences. The wealth of exciting susty info in the Otesha Book has become a key resource both in preparation and during the weekends. A Creativity e-Council of past Triple-Hers has provided feedback on content changes and schedule adjustments. We’ve also added in media training sessions, pre-meal debriefs explaining how all food has been chosen taking sustainability, nutrition and price into consideration, and an in-depth sustainability trivia game. When combined with the team building energizers and intensive theatre training, these teams finish the weekend ready to perform Otesha presentations all around their communities. The HITW recipe is nearing perfection and the empowerment juice is leaking everywhere.

The fabled teacher insert for The Otesha Book: From Junk to Funk has also emerged from the fog. This 50 page insert, written as a curriculum-linked Teacher’s Menu, outlines ice-breaker activities (hors d’oeuvres), lesson plans (entrées), and ideas for homework assignments and term papers (desserts). The insert is a great resource for teachers who want to use the Otesha Book in their classroom, and other students, camp counsellors, or youth educators who want to run workshops based on the issues in the Otesha Book. A downloadable copy of the Teacher Menu will be available on our website in short order, as well as information on how to order it. A big shout out to Ed and all the educators out there who made it possible, and to Kevin and John at LOki Design for magically transforming the bare text into a fabulous looking guide!

Other than that, we’ve spent some quality time over the last month resting up from the hectic-icity of 2005, reflecting on how far Otesha has come, and spending lots of time plotting, dreaming, and scheming about where we would like to go in the future. Lots to think about! More details on potential plans will hopefully be coming in next month’s journal.

And now the uber-exciting “…of the month” section:

Postcard of the Month: “Buy fair trade coffee all the time!!” – Michelle, 14, Calgary

Susty Website of the Month: – if you’re going to consume, check this new site out first. They’ve got loads of listings for ethical investment, sweatshop free clothing, fair trade chocolate, and much more.