Fabienne Macé

It was still dark when we heard the ukelele, and the smells of the mouth-watering bagels Charles was warming on the woodfire wafted toward us. Once we polished them off, we converged to the beach for a last photo session. It was the staff’s turn! This amazing team was made up of volunteers and facilitators that were consistently cheerful, available and extremely efficient. Many thanks for your heartfelt commitment to making the adventure a wonderful one for each and every participant. This was my first experience as a blogger and I felt very fortunate to be part of this expedition and to have your support. I felt that I was in at the right place. Together, we certainly were stronger. And even better, we were happy.

We only have two kilometres to go this morning! Good thing, too, as the wind has gained strength. And so have we! Our manoeuvres have become second nature and our resolve is like steel. When the rabaskas reached the shore, we paid special attention to the newly-acquired moves that we have practised as a team, and that we are performing for the last time. They, and the superb panorama of the Reservoir, have become a part of us.

Nice and clean for the ceremony

The terms are clear: “You bring all of your materials back, you can take a shower… Something missing? No shower.”

The inn was alive with the comings and goings between bedrooms and bathroom, barrels being emptied and then filled up again, the tinkle of the piano and songs – not necessarily in harmony. Comfortably seated on the sofas were the participants who had already donned their street clothes. They, who smelled good and clean, awaited Anne-Sophie’s services. Anso depleted all her remaining strength by massaging 7 aching backs and 14 shoulders.

What followed was the “best graduation ceremony ever!” according to Marie-Michelle. Wild sprints to receive their certificates, to the cheers and hurrays of all, the 9 participants and 2 new volunteers – Lysiane and myself – everyone had their moment of glory. Congratulations, Jimmy, for the initiative and thanks to everyone who added a little spice of their own to the pot. Virginie for her candour, Momo for the gentleness, Féno for the astonishing moves, Manon, who was there any time someone needed a helping hand, etc.

73rd logbook

This was the 73rd On the Tip of the Toes expedition. In keeping with our tradition, the participants filled out a logbook. Kaylee was the keeper during the entire adventure. Over the course of our journey, the logbook pages have been filled with poems, souvenirs, spontaneous messages, alphabetical lists, etc. It is now part of the foundation’s history, alongside the 72 earlier logbooks.

Anecdotes and thanks. Sincerely, thanks.

  • Kylie, who sang out Bonne fête tu moi chienne, during the telephone game, convinced she was saying Happy birthday to my dog.
  • Momo, headlamp technician extraordinaire, who came to our rescue with his toolkit.
  • Féno, who tasted pouding chômeur for the first time ever at St. Hubert restaurant.
  • Lysiane, who wore a wacky hat every day and hid her tears behind it when we said our goodbyes.
  • Scoop! One of the logistics specialists has been exposed. Apparently, Louis, alias Luigi, is the secret brother of Mario Bil, a swell fellow and co-founder of the foundation.
  • Charles, another logistics specialist, who weaved his way through our chairs to hand out his dark chocolate fondant or his charbroiled burgers… yum!
  • Manon, psychoeducator and tireless listener, who looked after everyone and asked the right questions.

New millionnaires

Without a doubt, participants and staff all came out of this adventure wealthier than they were before. A wealth that is not tangible but rather spiritual, and priceless… a wealth that can be seen in our sparkly eyes, but might be hard to express with words when we’re back home. No matter, the main thing is that what we’ve gained will remain etched within ourselves, deep in our hearts and our memories. If ever we forget or are feeling down, our new bracelets can be used to remind us of the messages shared around the fire. Each bracelet is an anchor for one and all, made stronger by each individual.

On this last day, no one is losing a friend. On the contrary, we are several new friends richer as we head back home.

Fabienne Macé, photographer and blogger

Translated by Sylvie Lemelin