We just received news that due to the severity of the forest fires in northern Ontario, all remaining camps for the summer will be cancelled. This means I will be coming home as early as this Sunday.
Our team was originally scheduled to fly from Kingfisher to Webequie on Saturday for another month of camp. Even though conditions in Webequie are not as bad, precautions need to be taken for all communities.
As nobody expected the conditions to be like this, I fully respect the decision that was made.
But it honestly breaks my heart to say goodbye to this experience so early.
I can’t help having thoughts of “what could’ve been”, but I also feel so blessed at the same time to have had this opportunity to live in and learn about the First Nations community I am in now for this past few weeks.
Whether they’re aware of it or not, the people here have taught me lessons I know will stay with me for the rest of my life. And the kids – I came here expecting to learn mostly from the elders and the adults of the community; but I can honestly say that I’ve learned the most from these kids. Every one of them is so warm and open and intelligent. From time to time they can express their thoughts and emotions in different ways, and it’s been challenging at times to deal with these situations. But in the end, they have beautiful souls that you know are carrying the biggest potential.
I don’t feel like the end of camp is an end to my journey by any means. Just because I won’t be physically in the Aboriginal communities, it doesn’t mean this experience has to stop. I wrote in my first entry that I’m not the biggest expert in Aboriginal issues, and I did not become one in the past month. The best lesson that has stuck with me is this: our job is to listen; anything we learn is a privilege.
So my challenge to everyone, including myself, is to listen. To go forward in life with an open ear and an open heart. And when you learn something, take it in and know that it is something to be cherished.
Thank you to everyone who’s been following my blog so far. It really means a lot to have your constant support and feedback. It’s a goodbye for now, but I hope to blog some of my other experiences in the future.