Haida Gwaii says goodbye to CWY

  • Jan. 17, 2015 2:00 p.m.

As the Canada World Youth group said thank you and farewell to their host communities with a cultural show and potluck on Saturday Jan. 3, participants got a very special parting gift.”What made the night even more perfect was that it was snowing like crazy outside,” said Haida Gwaii – Indonesia CWY Project Supervisor Yolanda Clatworthy. “For the Indonesians, one of the big appeals of coming to Canada was to see snow and we were worried that they would never see it. But, on the last night, their prayers were answered and it snowed for them. They went sledding down the Ijaaw Hill and it was so much fun to see them play in the snow for the first time.”Eighteen participants, nine from across Canada and nine from Indonesia, have been living and volunteering in Masset and Old Massett since early October. Despite the blizzard, many people were at the Old Massett Community Hall to celebrate with the youth, who are now overseas volunteering in Indonesia for three months.Many attending islanders brought dishes, which were added to a full Indonesian buffet. The feast was followed by cultural entertainment, with Haida dance group Tluu Xaada Naay and the Indonesian youth performing various songs and dances.”The program participants from Indonesia had been practicing these dances for weeks to get them ready for presentation. The audience was captivated by their dances, and they were extraordinary. The makeup, the regalia, the movement: every single person in the crowd was silent as they were mesmerized by the Indonesian dances,” said Ms. Clatworthy.The group finished with a grand finale, as all 18 Canada World Youth participants performed the Saman dance.”A detailed Indonesian dance from Aceh province in Sumatra, the Saman dance requires a lot of preparation because the movements all need to be in sync,” she said, “After a standing ovation from the audience, participants Pingkan and Wawan sang O Holy Night and You Raise Me Up to close a perfect night.” The youth, who are between the ages of 17 and 24, provided the islands with approximately 4,000 hours of volunteer work with a focus on health and the environment. The students created strong bonds with islanders, especially the host families who welcomed them into their homes.”I think that the culture show went very well and I was very happy to see the Indonesians perform their dances perfectly and I was happy to perform the Saman dance,” said Adam Stewart, a Masset youth participating in the program. “At the end of the night the goodbyes were very touching.”Ms. Clatworthy said the evening closed with hugs and teary goodbyes and she got a sense that the group had become an integral part of the community and will be sorely missed.The snowy weather complicated travel for the group who have finally arrived in Indonesia, said Ms. Clatworthy, albeit on separate flights and many without their luggage.”The important thing is that we will be a group together once again and we can reminisce about the wonderful times we shared in Haida Gwaii,” she said.

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