A luncheon was held recently in the playground area of the Esketemc First Nation Day Care & Headstart to introduce a new book titled; Who Am I? to the parents and elders of the children who attend the Esketemc First Nation Headstart and Daycare facility/programs.
Irene Johnson (Esketemc First Nation/Health) proudly showed the first copy to the crowd, then introduced the woman who put forward the original idea to make the book.
Cathy Johnson, is the head of the Esketemc Headstart/Daycare program and facility and she was the person who acquired the necessary funding to print the book.
Then she narrated the whole book which was written to enhance the cultural and language aspects of the Shuswap people and to introduce character building traits to a young audience.
The beautiful soft-cover book was illustrated wonderfully well by Jacinta Sampson who used her talent and drawings to convey the spirit of her people with each chapter lesson (Honesty — Wenecwemtsin; Giving — Kecmentsut, for example).
During the book launch Catherine Belleau was also surprised as she unfolded a beautiful Pendleton blanket that was presented to her by Irene Johnson and Cathy Johnson in appreciation of her 30 years of child-care work for the Esketemc First Nation Band.
Belleau has nurtured and loved a couple of generations of children in her 30-plus years as a childcare worker there; it is to her that the book is dedicated in appreciation for her caring.
Bealleau has now worked 12 years past retirement age and says it is love for the children that keeps her going, but the people who work with Belleau everyday believe that it is her continual going that keeps her going.
Belleau continues to work full time at the day care and takes courses and seminars.
Now 72, Belleau smiles and says quietly, “maybe when I’m 80, I might not be working here.”