They made the long journey by car; driving the almost 2,000 kilometers from Mishkeegogamang to Bradford; one principal and four teachers who face odds every day that most of us can't imagine. Daily they work to bring literacy, education and hope to the children of a people struggling to regain pride in their identity.
Paul worked hard, with our church missions committee; the agency we work for; Jack MacFadden and Coats for Kids in Bradford, as well as Holy Trinity High School, to organize a book fair. "Buy a Book--Share a Book" was the name of the book fair, intended to share the abundant blessings we enjoy, with a community who have much less by encouraging people to buy books for children they know here, and pair their purchases with a gift for a First Nations school.
Tori and Tippy were there with a friend from church, all of whom were permitted to miss a day from school to volunteer at the book fair.
There were readings, book signings by aboriginal authors, a puppet show; a presentation for the students of Holy Trinity, and excellent teaching materials on sale.
The group of teachers from Mish mistakenly ended up in Brantford instead of Bradford--an easy mistake, but when they did arrive they toured two schools in Bradford and held impromptu question and answer sessions for students.
One of our missions committee members and our friend, Jamie, spotted an excellent teaching kit and suggested that it would be wonderful if enough money could be raised to get the kit for the teachers of Mish. By the end of the afternoon, not only the $900 for the kit had been raised, but enough for some additional teaching aids. The group was thrilled and overwhelmed. '
Doug White, the Mayor of Bradford, and the principal of Holy Trinity, Mr. Heinrich Bebie, welcomed the northern teachers as honoured guests.
Something very special is happening in Bradford. The small town is leading by the heart; showing other communities how to come reach out to a community 2000 kilometers away.
MIshkeegogamang is becoming more and more well known to Bradford residents as articles about the community appear in local newspapers. As a result, young people in Bradford are learning about compassion, mistakes made in the past that we have a responsibility to try to make better, and the truth instead of misinformation.
What if every town in Canada took another less fortunate community under its wings, either in Canada or somewhere else in the world? How exciting would that be?