AfriGrand Caravan: Reflections from the road — Snow Junior

Joanna Henry, Grandmothers Campaign Coordinator with the Stephen Lewis Foundation, brings us her latest reflection on her time on the AfriGrand Caravan. (You can read her previous dispatches here.)

Some of the crew pose for a photo next to the AfriGrand Caravan vehicle in Northern Ontario. L-R: Foundation staff member Moni, Maness, Rosemary, and Ruth.

This story was written during our stay in Sudbury:

Today after a wonderful and eventful day – the team was definitely experiencing a moment of flagging energy levels as we were returning to our hotel for a quick break before our final dinner with the event organizers of Sudbury.

We were rolling down the road in a quiet stupor when suddenly Johanne (our driver) jarred us all awake by slamming on the brakes and swinging the Caravan into a parking lot all the while yelling “snow snow SNOW!!!!”

Sure enough – there was a pile of snow outside of an arena.

She pulled the van up to the snow bank, we piled out of the van and Ruth and Rosemary had just leaned in for a look at this substance when Moni beaned them with a snowball.

It was game on! After much screaming and snow-flinging (Maness went racing in the van to hide) we then turned to the serious task of building a snowman. There wasn’t a lot of snow – so he was pretty small. We called him “Snow Junior”.

We used little pebbles for eyes, a pointy rock for a nose, leaves for hair and a broken bat for his broomstick…the whole time Rosemary was providing the running commentary along the lines of: ”Now what is this happening here? Can this be a man? Oh…look…oh…now eyes…now I am seeing something new. Oh…very smart nose. This strange fellow! “

At this point, one of the grandmothers from the event saw us from the highway and also pulled her car over and came running up with sticks for arms – much to the screaming delight of Ruth and Rosemary – and bringing Maness out of the van at last!

Rosemary was deeply concerned that “this little man is a bit sad though” so we gave him a stone smile and stone buttons and a little belt of twigs and everyone crowded around for a photo with our newest member of the Caravan.

We took a peek in the arena (again at the suggestion of Johanne who is quickly taking on the role of “Fun Guide” as much as driver) and there was a group of kids practicing hockey.

Maness and Ruth just stood there shaking their heads while Rosemary gasped, pointed, ducked when the puck hit the glass, yelled at passing kids if they played this game too…finally announcing she had to leave because she was feeling “so hot and worked up” that she needed a break. She commented as we left “it is as if I was on the ice playing that game”

As the van pulled out of the parking lot and continued on to the hotel the entire atmosphere in the Caravan was so charged. We were definitely riding a high…until we passed Snow Junior and Rosemary remarked sadly “how can we just go and abandon him like that?”

I pointed out that his smile was made of rocks so he was stuck with being happy.

I’m gonna get me one of those rock smiles for the road some day – but for now feeling pretty good.

Onward…

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