Help!!! We arrived in “total desolation” not knowing what to expect. It was a “barren wasteland”. The waiver we signed said “not responsible for death caused by wild animals and parasites”. Oh-oh! They said this was going to be fun. They said we were going to learn to partner, to build relationships, and to experience the “T” (tourism) word in a funky value-added format. This was going to be new, fun, interactive, exciting and ultimately beneficial to the bottom line. Ok…sure..whatever… We had our doubts initially…but now we’re believers!!
The next day was looking up…a bit, at least. Breakfast was great…generally a good sign, so all was not lost. Our group was obviously in the same frame of mind. They didn’t know what to expect either. However, after a little tongue-wagging we soon learned that their trepidations and expectations were quite similar to our own.
Earth Rhythms was phenomenal!! The experiential outings were enlightening. We were drawn to the local customs and traditions. We were absorbed in the uniqueness of a distinct culture and way of life, feeling as if we belonged to it ourselves and that it had always been our own. That’s the power of experience and it’s something that everyone can benefit from. We never dreamed we would dance a traditional Ukrainian jig that looked so amazing in its natural state…until it was utterly destroyed by a couple of rookie bluenosers. Fortunately for us, we weren’t alone. The others in our group were as equally “talented” and forgiving. We felt much better!
It all boils down to this…no matter who you are, or where you go, everyone is the same. We’re all interdependent and herein lies our strength as human beings. Together, we can tap into a vast supply of resources that, with a little ingenuity, can benefit one and all. Together, we can experience, learn, adapt, grow, and profit from each other’s experiences, perceptions and opinions.
We’ve learned to look in our own backyards for the plethora of valuable resources that go un-utilized every day. These do exist and they’re there for the taking, but sometimes they aren’t revealed until another point of view is expressed. The full value of those hidden treasures then manifest in a flash of insight, and the hidden economic potential that lies just under our noses is finally revealed.
Our backyards, like the Manitoba “wilderness” may at times seem barren, cold and forbidding, but they can also be warm and inviting. A cozy bonfire, starting with a tiny glowing ember of warmth – friendship, camaraderie, revelation, and knowledge – eventually grows into a fiery, consuming blaze. That’s the power of “experiencing” over “observing”. That’s the power of networking, building solid relationships and lasting partnerships. That’s the power of Best Practices Missions in Manitoba.
Thank you Earth Rhythms!
Blog post by Gem Johnson & Dave Hovey,
Participants on the Nova Scotia Best Practices Mission to Manitoba, February 2010