This was our final Fun Friday of the 2009-2010 exchanges, and we went out with a bang at Wasauksing sharing in the school’s annual Pow Wow. Many of the students proudly wore their formal regalia as they circled the drums that sang out the beats to many traditional First Nation dances – including the Grand Entry Song, the Veteran’s Honor Dance, and the crowd favorite, the Potato Dance. We smiled and laughed with the kids as they danced and twirled, face to face, in pairs, while trying to keep a potato balanced, precariously, in between their foreheads, cheeks, and chins. The children were united in their focus and the joy that they took in this challenging, but fun task was written all over their faces; everyone – participant and observer – grinned from ear to ear. We danced, along with the students and teachers from other area schools who were also invited to attend, during the Intertribal Dances. We moved with the sounds of jingle dresses, followed the pathways of the grass dancers, and whirled alongside those wearing feathers and fancy shawls. The theme of this Pow Wow was Dancing Into the Future, a fitting theme that matched up with our journey
When we weren’t dancing our hearts out at the Pow Wow, we were welcomed as guests into Deina Bomberry’s Grade 2 classroom. We shared our videos, pictures, and beads with the students and were moved by their request to see and hold these items again and again. Deina’s students crowded around the tables where we displayed the valentines their friends in Ghana at EP Primary Sokode-Bagble made for them. The students eagerly picked up paper heart after paper heart. Some kids quietly read and admired the pictures, while others happily shared their valentine with a teacher or nearby friend. Our hearts swelled as we watched a child place her hand over top of the one her Ghanaian friend had carefully traced and colored.
Although we had a wonderful experience sharing in the joy of the classroom reconnection and the excitement of the Pow Wow, our hearts were heavy with the passing of a cherished CIH family member. We were disappointed that our visit was cut short, but we were humbled by the songs and prayers that went out from this classroom and soulful community on the day of the memorial service. The sincerity and power of their thoughts were a genuine testament to the connection of these spiritual people and their heart connection to CIH.