When I say we have gone off grid and spent the last few days in the Canadian Wilderness, I really truely mean that! Without having opened our home to an exchange student, we never would have had the opportunity to see wild Canada in the way we just experienced.
Our exchange ‘daughter’s’ family has welcomed us with open arms and introduced us to the culture and beauty of the First Nation Ojibway people. They took us to their camp on Manitoulin Island (it is worth looking up the location on google maps!) for two nights of mind broadening fun. I am quite sure that at the end of this trip, if you ask my kids what they remember most, this will be high, if not top of the list.
The fun started with actually getting there…….
Thank goodness we hired a Jeep! My head was still in my hands at several spots though!!
On arrival, we were all blown away by the beauty and isolation.
What followed were two days of swimming, quad biking, rock climbing, cooking, eating and great conversation around the camp fire. We saw frogs, butterflies, fireflies, turtles, chipmunks, snakes and lots (and lots) of mosquitoes! We ate fish fresh from the lake. We met Papa, grandma, aunties and cousins, each adding their snippet of information on both our beloved exchange student as well as their way of living.
Like many native communities around the world, the Ojibway people are fighting to keep their traditions, ceremonies and language alive; To prevent it from being swallowed up by the fast paced digital life we all lead. I wish we could all appreciate the wild and the land as these people do. I feel honoured that my children have been lucky to have some exposure to this and to see……life really can be fun and fulfilling without an iPad or Xbox.
The sense of family in these communities is overwhelming. They are all so close, even though the family is 4 or 5 times the size we are used to. They band together in times of need and always know someone has their back in any situation. The stories they told, of taking in children and friends in need was truely heart warming.
I only hope my kids walk away having learnt a few lessons on human kind as I have.
As I footnote………. I was constantly expecting it……. but, no we did not see a bear!! Thank goodness.