May 28th, 2018 - La Loche & Buffalo Narrows
Today we woke up and left our hotel in Buffalo Narrows at 7:40AM for a two show day. The sky was blue and beautiful. The birds were chirping. The cold breeze would hit us and give us the chills. As the tour bus departed the hotel, we looked back at the lakefront and remembered how peaceful and beautiful it was when we arrived there yesterday: the long walks some of us took in the perfect weather, the bald eagle we saw, the ducks, the beaver, tadpoles, the breath-taking sunset.
On the bus-ride to La Loche, we just took in the beautiful scenery of Saskatchewan. Throughout the drive we saw so many different types of trees, and on almost every travel day, we also saw burned trees. The burned trees gave us perspective about nature; how Mother Nature sometimes naturally burns, but then grows back beautifully. To get absolute beauty, one has to go through some hardships in life, just like a phoenix burning and then shining brightly like nothing else ever did.
The drive from Buffalo Narrows to Dene High School in La Loche took us an hour and half. La Loche was very peaceful and wonderful. We entered the school and saw so many inspirational and beautiful posters everywhere. There was a shooting in this school not too long ago, and we were moved by the resilience of the students and how welcoming everyone was. Especially since due to a miscommunication, the school wasn't expecting us ... oops!
The show was great and the audience just loved the cast. A kid came to us and gave us bunch of drawings and comics which he drew for us which said "Welcome to La Longe, thanks for coming!" He was the most adorable and cutest kid and he really really loved the show.
A girl came up to Thuriga and told her how much she loved the show and how she still dances in memory of her grandfather who had recently passed away. She also said that's the reason why the cultural dance was her favourite scene, as it gives her inspiration to dance even more for her grandfather's memory and to stick to her cultural roots.
Afterwards, one of the teachers showed us a life-size replica of a traditional trapper's cabin in the school library as part of Dene Studies. It was beautiful!
Before we boarded the bus to head to our next schoool, a teacher came to take pictures with us and told us how much he loved the show and how important it was for their community. Then we boarded the bus and headed back to Buffalo Narrows for our second show of the day.
The drive back to Buffalo Narrows was just gorgeous. It smelled like a typical country side: fresh air, bright green trees, birds chirping, wildlife everywhere, and empty lonely roads ahead of us.
We arrived at Twin Lakes Community School at 1:30pm and performed for about 150 students. The audience were just awesome. They learned a lot and had the time of their life. They were so into the show that when the bell rang during our Q&A and the teachers dismissed all the students for the day, every kid stayed in their seat and kept asking really interesting questions to the cast.
One of the questions they asked was, "Did anyone in the cast bully in school?" And after that they asked, "If the cast did get bullied, was that the reason they joined?". Not everyone in the cast was a bully or got bullied. Some of us may have joined this program because we got bullied, but if you are being bullied, there are people who are here for you. Don't feel alone. Hardships like these will pass away and you'll be stronger than ever.
After that we talked to the kids privately one-on-one and found out what they liked in the show and how our show is helping them make better choices in life. One of the students showed us some of the basketball trophies he had won for the school and told us how he was the one who took the initiative to start basketball in his school. Now, he's graduating this year and will be leaving behind that legacy. Another student gave Aleef a pen as a gift. These students were really welcoming and special. Their hospitality towards us was mind blowing. The students stayed for over half an hour after the show and we finished everything off with a group dance party (of course!)
After that we went to eat food and bumped into some of the students around the town. These kids were truly brilliant and adorable at the same time. Then we drove to our next destination, Île à la Crosse, which was about hour away. The weather changed to rain and we could hear each and every drop splattering on the ground. We decided to sing rest of our trip and enjoy the company of each other.
- Post by Isfandyar Virani, O.G. SExT Cast Member, Stage Manager & Co-Producer
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