The Hot Spring, BC village has a very nice new school, called the Hesquiaht First Nation Place of Learning. According to Carly the teacher it would really be nice with forty kids, but for now it has ten; and, by the looks of it ten very well looked-after kids. Upon arriving in the Hesquiaht village we arranged to visit the school just before the doors closed, and we made it to class. The school includes beautiful wood building with a great gym, library and computer lab. It’s an incredible community resource.
Carly said the students would be shy, considering the unplanned nature of the visit and little time to learn about what we were doing. When five large rowers randomly crash your school day, these feelings are understandable. We met in what I can only describe as the story circle in the center of the building. Adam introduced us and began describing some of the wildlife we had seen on our trip around the island. We talked about the biolumincence, the whales, and the sealions.
I thought these observations were all pretty cool. However, when we asked the same question of the kids, they came back with bears, wolves, and a pod of twelve orcas! Kids 1, OAR Northwest 0. This comes with the territory of growing up on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. I have not yet seen a bear or a wolf outside of a zoo and have only had a distance glance of an orca in the wild. The rest of my life experience with orcas is Sea World. Sigh… at least we have some more to row.
After our interview with Bob Rivers the day before, a gentleman named Kit left a public comment asking “What can we do (sic) to help clean our oceans from the debris that’s collecting?” He followed it with this: “You guys have some power I would think!” I think by rowing around the island, we get a soap box for a bit. I have not come up with an overarching solution that each and every person on earth would agree and act upon. However, maybe I have the nugget of an idea that might be a bit more flexible. Even to me it sounds a bit cheesy, but hear me out.
If you want to help clear the ocean of debris, protect our coasts, save or wildlife there is a first step that everyone can take: Love it first. If you love something you will learn about it, and from this you can learn how to care and protect it. How do you love the sea? Like anything you love you spend time with it first, get to know it. The best answer I can come up with that bridges all political and social spectrums is to take a kid to the beach. Have a great time, have an adventure and make memories.
The sea covers most of this planet, but unless you live right on the shore you probably don’t see it every day. Out of sight means out of mind and without the memories none of us will care enough to take the time to learn what affects the sea and make the personal choices we can to protect it. Will the kids at the school grow up and make choices to protect the sea? I don’t know. However, it’s likely that by having these experiences at a young age will make them more likely to care about it as adults.
School ended. Not even a bell. Don’t need one with ten kids. They scattered. Carly was heading to Victoria for the weekend and generously let us stay at her place.
Keith, one of the community fathers brought us snacks and invited us to a basketball game that night. Every day on the VHF the calls goes out for basketball and almost every night. At six thirty we convened and joined some kids to play some three on three with one of us subbing. Not having shoes we played barefoot on the rubber green floor. We will be feeling this for days. At nine the adults start to show up and shed rain gear for shiny black air Jordan’s, basketball shorts and various jerseys from pro ball to first nation’s tournaments. Adam and I sat back and watched Greg, rick and Markus sub in and out as the bare feet began to catch up with them. Greg later told me it was one of the best pickup games he had ever played.