Saturday, October 14, 2006


Last night Fule and I were in Kichener at the Trinity United Church on Frederick Street for a volunteers appreciation night. The se volunteers had served only months ago to bring Lori-Ann Livingstone's dream to life: KW's own cross cultural (Latitudes) storyfest. We had performed at this remarkably well organized festival in April with a host of other performers. Now at last the tireless volunteers who had missed the fun were going to enjoy a bit of it.

The evening began with the tastiest finger foods from samosas to bite size sausage rolls, spring rolls and meat balls, pita bread and assorted dips, crackers and cheese and a delightful tray of cheesecake and other sweet squares. We were so intent on eating, we started five minutes later than the start time, with me rushing to settle my food in the belly. Spirits were high and we felt cosy, relaxed and like we were among friends. There was the welcoming address and an explanation of the night's agenda. Then I was given the microphone. We sang Fanga for a welcome and a blessing. My theme for the night was "Community". I told one story from Uganda and another from among the Soninke and those went down really well. We sang again to end my halfhour piece with Fule's accompaniment on the djembe.

The next few minutes were used to explain the needs and plans for the next festival including community initiatives supporting kids learning ESL and new immigrants. Lori-Ann received a surprise appreciation gift, a wall piece which read: "Home is where the story begins." James Gordon then regaled us with songs and stories connected to Kitchener and his other travels. It was altogether funny and very pleasant. So the evening ended and we braved the harsh October wind to return to our cars for the return journey home. I wish Latitudes the very best. It has had a good start and it promises to do much for the KW community.

For myself, I took a couple of business cues from the organization and also from James.
Dr. Mohammed Yunus has won the Nobel peace Prize for his tireless work against poverty through his Grameen (micro finance) Bank. We salute him!

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