Hannah Martin recounts experiences with young cancer victims in Mexico

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Tatamagouche & Area Notebook, By Ellen Millard

North Shore celebrates slow food

NCHS student Hannah Martin recently spent two weeks as a member of Camp Campeche, helping orphaned children in Mexico cope with their cancer treatments.

The experience, made possible by the Nova Scotia International Student Program, saw her fly to Mexico with 20 other Grade 11 students from Nova Scotia. There were 16 host families from Mexico involved in the program and Martin says they were all quite well-to-do families in the community.

Martin had learned some Spanish before she left for the trip. She also says her Mexican brother spoke quite a bit of English, so they were able to communicate. English is often a second language in Mexico. Martin also said  she really enjoyed the Mexican food, especially the tacos.

Most of the homes where they stayed had both beds and hammocks to sleep in, and the houses were all made of concrete. Her host family also had indoor plumbing, something not all the others did. There was no glass in the windows only screens and metal bars. They did have fans and a few places had air conditioners.

In her foster family, the mother was a chemistry teacher and the father worked for the government.

“We all felt very safe with our families and it was a safe community,” Martin said.

In order to be in the project, students had to fundraise $4,000 to cover their own expenses. Martin earned funds by selling scarfs that she and her mother made, as well as selling tickets on a Valentines gift basket.

While in Mexico, the students worked on an athletic centre for children, donated a washer and dryer for the centre, and supported two orphans for a year.

“I enjoyed meeting all the children and I felt we really accomplished something with the project that had been started by other groups several years ago," Martin said.

The big smiles on all the children's faces also show how much they appreciated having the Canadian students helping them.

Although this particular program is only for Grade 11 students, Martin said that '”on the way home we all talked of trying to make another trip back to visit the kids and see how the project we worked on was progressing.”

When completed, the athletic centre will be similar to the Ronald McDonald houses here in Canada for children going through cancer treatment.

Martin’s last comment was that it made her realize how fortunate we are to live in Canada. And we’re very lucky to have young people like Martin in our community who work so hard to help other children in need in far away countries.

***** 

The North Shore Community Development Association is busy organizing public events associated with the national meeting of Slow Food in Canada. The major sponsors for this area include the County of Colchester, the Wild Blueberry Association and Cumberland Municipality.

The events begin on Apr. 22 and continue to May 3. North Shore celebrations include an art exhibit and sale, film screening, breakfast discussion, Maritime kitchen party, cooking demonstrations, cooking classes and a river walk.

There are a wide variety of events, so there should be something of interest for people of all ages, so be sure to attend.

On Apr. 30 the Tatamagouche Centre will screen and discuss the documentary Island Green with filmmaker Milliefiore Clarks. The event starts at 7 p.m. and a suggested donation to cover costs is $5.

On May 1 be sure you get on board the Sunrise Trail Excursion that leaves the Tatamagouche Centre at 10 a.m. and returns by 4 p.m. Get set to visit four producers in three counties and have a traditional Maritime lunch. A fee of $75 includes the transportation, lunch, samples and $10 to spend at the producers’ farms.

On May 2 there are three scheduled events. The first, held at the Tatamagouche Centre, is a free breakfast discussion on food sovereignty starting at 7.30 a.m.

Wallace is the place to be in the evening as the Whirlgigs Café (in the former Grant’s store on Main Street) is hosting a Kitchen Party Supper at 5.p.m. For just $45 you can enjoy lobster rolls, baked beans, brown bread and a wild blueberry dessert.

The final event is a kitchen party in Wallace at 8.p.m. at the Wallace Community Hall (now the Millard Community Hall). Come out to enjoy live music by some of the best performers in the area, followed by ECMA winners Ten Strings and a Goatskin. More than 10 craft beers from around Nova Scotia will be on tap. Admission  at the door is $20. (must be 19 or over).

Watch for the schedule of more events for the rest of the weekend.

Ellen Millard is a historian, author and longtime resident of Sand Point, near Tatamagouche. Email her at millards@nncweb.ca.

Organizations: Tatamagouche Centre, The North Shore Community Development Association, Wild Blueberry Association Kitchen Party Supper Wallace Community Hall

Geographic location: Mexico, Tatamagouche, Canada Colchester North Shore Nova Scotia Sand Point

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