More Toronto Tour news

Had a terrific day yesterday. We started quite a bit later so everyone was more rested. We headed down to the distillery district where there was an artisan fair, including a woman selling beads from Ghana. There was a little rain but it didn’t last long. Fantastic chocolate shop, cheese shop and many cool old buildings. We then piled into vans and headed to the Eaton Centre which was a huge draw for many of them. A few of us decided to walk instead…heading along Queen to the City Hall, Queen West up to see the new AGO and then back to the Eaton Centre, a pretty hectic place! Some kept shopping and one van went down to the CN Tower area to poke around.

Then we all met up in the east end at Kwasi Dunyo‘s house. I think most of you know Kwasi is the teacher I studied with on my first trip to Ghana, 20 years ago this summer. He now lives in Toronto most of the year. Last year he brought his youngest four children to Canada (there is a limit as to age of dependents allowed). The boys Andrew, Kwasi jr. Kofi and Kwabla range in age from 17-25 and are terrific and engaging guys and apparently not bad looking so say some of our group :). They were all home and helped Kwasi host a wonderful party, with traditional Ghanaian food and much fun, impromptu drumming. This is one of the things we enjoy in preparation for our upcoming tour to Ghana in July 2011. Some of our kids were hypnotized by a small percussion rattle called Kitibo which is an additive game/instrument that they were trying to master all night. By Ghana time they should be pretty good at it. I think everyone had an amazing time trying goat stew, fried plantain, and other soups.

We left there, dropped various kids at their billets and then headed back to our main host Jodi’s, where some of the kids hung out a but more and then went to bed. A great trip in more ways than one! Thanks to all the parent drivers and Hayley the drum roadie!

A note to our Toronto Hosts….
A big Thank You for having us in your homes. And on the long weekend to boot! We had a terrific time and the kids were appreciative and impressed with the housing arrangements. I know more than one youth changed their view of what Toronto was like…..instead of just seeing a big city, they saw (and commented on) the neighbourhood feel and the friendly people. We have always enjoyed billeting the kids on our tours…its not always possible but it actually makes for a more fun and successful trip. I think only one tour to Banff we stayed in a hotel and it was not high on the list of the kids favourite trips. What they learn from staying in people’s homes, meeting new people, managing their belongings and schedules is definitely part of our leadership goals for the kids. AND it was a perfect warm up to our tour to Ghana next year where they will be with each other for 2+ weeks. We were able to spot some things on this trip that need addressing in preparation for that trip.

Thanks for taking the leap with us. These kinds of experiences don’t happen all that much so we appreciate it all the more.

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