Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Part Four: Expanding the World

Part Four: Alison’s Journey/My Memories

For a short time Alison immersed herself in various religions, cultures, races, and rural and urban worlds;

The Peace and Friendship Gathering was an opportunity for Alison to witness the different ways people choose to honor the spiritual; whether it was through praising Grandmother moon, greeting the sun, gift giving ceremonies or through recognizing simple acts of kindness as a form of religion. Alison sat in circle during the four days and heard native and non native people speak from the heart as they spoke of sacredness, love and forgiveness, honoring and praising Mother Earth, and a deep respect for one self and others who share the same planet. She expereinced her Uncle Theo honored and respected for what he believed in and given the space and time to speak of his beliefs. She witnessed others respecting Rastafarianism and honoring this religion as one that speaks from the heart, the earth and the psalms. She witnessed her Uncle as a man to be respected for his beliefs; beliefs that are too often scoffed and belittled by European religions in Grenada. On the last evening Alison was wearing a bright unguarded smile while singing and dancing around the fire. I breathed deeply her open heart.

Another powerful experience and opportunity I believed enlarged Alison’s world view was her participation at the Tatamagouche Social Justice Youth Camp held yearly at the Centre. The camp began the day the Gathering ended and so we left Alison behind and imagined her being swept into another kind of gathering; a gathering of youths from various cultures, religions and race who shared five days together learning how to make a difference in the world. It was here that Alison made and wore with pride “YOUTH REVOLUTION BEGINS HERE” on the back of a tshirt.

For five days youth (ages 14 to 19) came together to practice strategies against racism, use arts against injustice, discuss gender relations and cultural contexts, build alliances, and have a whole lot of fun! The camp was facilitated by a diverse team of young adults from the region who actively live their lives working for social change. Alison met other youths like herself from different parts of the world Guatemala, India, Africa, Canada. She was the only youth from the Caribbean and the only youth who did not live full time in Canada and so she was able to bring a unique perspective to the group and share this uniqueness through leading and facilitating an activity about Grenada.

I can still see Alison on the last day of camp hugging her new friends, calling one another pet names, giving each other soft sliding quick moving special hand shakes, “you better write me girl” exchanged as others moved in and out of going home. Alison giggling in the back of the car sharing stories and gifts from the youth camp. “I going to miss those people for real. I can’t even begin to tell you all that I learned. It was intense! You feel those girls easy, they real sweet and genuine”.

Alison flew home to Grenada, home to Harford Village a day later.