Today we travel to the village of Lolito at last. After baited breath we arrive to a welcoming choir rejoicing in our arrival. To most of us, it is a scene completely novel and sets us back on our heels. Our tiring travels of the morning are forgotten instantly when we hear the loud drums being played by students of Smile Child Academy. The master of ceremony, a French teacher at the school, introduces the students and teachers to us, the visitors from Canada. One of the elders in the village who sat as the chair of the school remembered his time with Canadian travellers from long ago and sang a few lines of the Canadian national anthem to welcome us. As each teacher gives a quick introduction and the students sing songs, Jeremy is also asked to speak to the audience. With that, students come dressed in cultural attire and perform an amazing dance for us. The smiles and joy on their faces is difficult to describe in words.
While we unpack the van, children from the neighbourhood are very quick to assist. With that, we waste no time playing a game of frisbee and touring the school with them. We are relieved to see that although there is a language barrier that we are able to interact and engage with them. We have been dreaming about the interactions we would be having with these children and now finally getting here at the village, we are ready to eat, sing, and dance with the children!