Our house, which has been tense with a gradually cresting wave of anxiety all week, was suddenly empty this morning.
The tension was about the details that needed to come together for Paul's latest trip north to the Mishkeegogamang First Nation.
As of Thursday he had a van (a bit beaten up in appearance, but in running order) and a camper trailer (fully equipped with everything the tiny team would need and generously loaned by Susan and Ron Stewart,) but no hitch; the one he had ordered hadn't arrived and he worried that it might not arrive on Friday. It came first thing in the morning on Friday, and by 8.30 a.m. was on the van to Paul's huge relief.
In the afternoon, Ron came over to give Paul a quick tutorial on how to work the hook up and other trailer details and then the anxiety turned to anticipation.
Each trip north has been unique. The difference this time is that Paul is leading a group of four females, three of them between 14 and 20. There is Joyce Marshall, a retired nurse from our church; our granddaughter Tippy, (14,) who plans to share her gift and love of art with the children of Mish; Kiki, (16) a brilliant international-baccalaureate student who is headed for political science, and Rebecca (20,) of Jewish background, who is studying social psychology.
Kiki arrived last night and spent the night with us and I met Rebecca and her grandmother this morning at a car pool in King. Paul had taken Tippy shopping for art supplies the evening before--the adventure was about to begin.
As Brenda and I talked with Kiki around our kitchen table last night, I learned so much from her. I should probably be embarrassed to admit this, but I had never heard the term micro aggression, although it has huge significance to the people I work to support (people with disabilities.) As we talked, I got goosebumps thinking of the deep significance of someone with Kiki's gifts witnessing the circumstances in which the aboriginal people of Canada live.
Rebecca, as the granddaughter of holocaust survivors, has a heritage that knows prejudice and discrimination. I felt a deep sense that these young people were going north in part, to bear witness and to be formed as well as informed.
The plans are loose--planning is one of the things that is hard to do with a people of a culture whose concept of time is different to that of ours. But God's agenda is sure and I can't wait to see how it unfolds!
I heard from Paul this evening. They made it as far as Cochrane and found a motel room with two rooms available. Joyce is sharing a room with the three young women. I hope she gets some sleep! :)
Tomorrow morning they are going to swim with Ganuk the polar bear before starting the 8 hour drive to Thunder Bay. On Monday they should arrive in Mish.
Kiki had an 8 week summer job as the leader of a government funded program for children of African background. She has sacrificed two weeks pay to be on this trip; no small thing.
As the five of them drove off, I waved goodbye and thought of the mark each of them will make on our world, these young people. It felt as though the future is in very good hands.