Wednesday, 08 October 2019

Dark clouds may hover, but the sun always shines at Institut L’Albatros. How could it not with such happy students/residents and attentive, patient, creative teachers?

The topiary of Albatros to greet us

A stained glass Albatros greets us

Even a stainless steel bench greets us.

Annie Labruyere, who introduced L’Albatros to The 70273 Project over a year ago, unpacks the quilts She made from the blocks created by the people at L’Albatros. Students/residents form a circle with their chairs, and each person applauds, flashes a big smile, and waves to me as their name is called from the label of a quilt that contains their block. There are many quilts, and every one is beautiful, magnificent.

Betty, a now-retired teacher who continues to come and teach, shows the Middling she made. Betty knows Annie Labruyère’s mother as they once taught together.

Next is the tour of workshops where I am treated to see the fruits of the creativity that blooms at L’Albatros. There is this picture made of wire and fabric and yarns. It is an entire story in itself.

There are sequin boxes – such tedious, time-consuming effort!

Blocks made from 33 rpm vinyl records. Do you see the silhouette?

A doggie bed made from an old tire

A chair has been given festive new attire

They make jewelry, too, and when they offer, I accept with a huge smile of gratitude and delight. I take home with me 2 new pairs of earrings, a new necklace, a Christmas ornament (that makes a snow storm, as one resident showed me), a person made of a spool of thread, and the most sparkly ring you ever did see.

Holiday trees are being made from recycled wood. Preparations for the annual Christmas Bazaar are well underway, so mark your calendar and go there to do your holiday shopping. You’ll be really glad you did.

Every workshop is filled with necessary tools and ample supplies for creativity. The residents make their own choices.

I even spied a sew in machine!

After the tour, it is time for refreshments. “Do you like orange or apple juice?” I am asked. I choose apple juice, and they smile and tell me it is made from apples grown at L’Albatros. In other words, they know and I know after I taste it, that I have made the right choice.

Then I am offered an apple tart, though it doesn’t taste tarty at all. It, too, is made from apples grown at L’Albatros. When I am offered a second one, I eagerly accept and am given two more! (Yes, I ate them both.) I wish to get this recipe, though I’ll never be able to slice the apples so thinly as this.

Then it’s time for pictures! Say “frommage!”

Teachers and Administrators who are so caring and kind and creative themselves. They hold a Middling made by one of the female students of L’Albatros.

And in the wink of an eye, it is time to leave. It was a wonderful visit to a wonderful place, a place that the world needs more of. Thank you people of L’Albatros. You are now permanently in my heart. And thank you, Annie, for the work you continue to do with L’Albatros. It was a delightful visit, an afternoon I will never forget.