Trying times often bring forth reflections and memories of more rewarding and happier times.
I feel thankful and proud of how Canadian leaders and citizens have handled the current coronavirus. The government leadership and the courage of health workers and caregivers have been inspiring.
It brings back memories.
I grew up in Saskatchewan. When electricity became an option, our provincial government headed by Tommy Douglas insisted it would be provided to all, including farmers across the province. I recall feeling so proud.
We were a family of six. My sister at a young age had a brain aneurism. A brain rupture occurred every once in a while requiring expensive trips to distant provincial hospitals.
Finally, it was only with the help of the Red Cross and family that she was able to get the lifesaving surgery in Montreal. Our mother accompanied her. Our mother worked in housekeeping in the hospital in Montreal to help pay her living expenses. Family members from far away came to help.
I was enabled to become a teacher by our government who provided student loans for further education. I would enroll in study for a year, and then work the following year to pay off the student loan. During the teaching year, my teacher friend and I would limit our entertainment costs to one movie a week. No popcorn!
I travelled around the world through books, with one exception. My aunt and I visited Ireland. My husband’s family has Irish roots. Once upon a time an Irish youth worked at a wealthy estate. He and a daughter of the owner fell in love and they hustled off the Canada.
Books are a rewarding and inexpensive way to see the world from the perspective of individual people and actual events.
I have a better understanding of the reality in Afghanistan after reading the story of the American, a mountain climber, who spent years helping and finding funds from U.S.A. supporters, to build schools. The native tribes were active participants. The wife of the mountain climber kept the family together at home in the states during her husband’s long absences. The success of this true story gives such hope in the midst of the war which seems to be unsolvable at this point in time.
Reading a biography of growing up in China during the growth of control by the communist government was shocking beyond belief. How leaders could be so cruel yet how the strength of individuals to endure and survive is a message of courage and hope.
Equally mind-shocking were the two books I recently read about the reality of life in India. For examples, the two-tier structure of wealth and poverty along with the wide spread corruption. Picture a delivery man who rides a bike with the load to deliver on his head in heavy traffic… hour after hour, day after day, month after month, until he loses his strength and health.
Boy babies were valued as better sources of future money earners. Girl babies were often taken to orphanages. But what was amazing was the individual strength and family bonds of these poverty-ridden families. The motto of “never give up” has never been more tested.
Reality stories from Africa bring shock to one’s brain and tears to one’s eyes.
The more I learn about other countries, the more I appreciate being a Canadian! Oh Canada! Of all the big countries in the world, we can stand proud!
Alice Thomas, Langley