The poor will always be my heart. And justice will always be my goal.
The poor will always be my heart. And justice will always be my goal. How can I accomplish this back in Canada? I am moving back after two years of being in Mexico. Honestly, from an open heart, I am tired and I need to surround myself with the things that refresh me. I know I am not broken in that way, just worn. I am counting the days until the possibility of having my own place becomes the reality. Living in the Hero Holiday house has presented me with many personal challenges, as well as given me more unique opportunities than a lot of people will encounter in their lifetime. I am grateful for my time here and grateful to be moving on. Which leaves me in this moment. Changed, different, a whole lot better, a little bit worse, and creating a future.I am going to have my own place, with things from the countries I have visited, a few of the treasured things and memories I kept throughout the last decade and of course, smattered here and there, affordable and slightly funky items from IKEA. I am going to go to hockey games, concerts, and read English newspapers in any coffee shop in any city that I might find myself in. I will be satisfied. That is my goal. At the same time, a tension exists, because there is something inside of me that is insatiable. I know that I am wrecked for living a ‘normal’ Western life. I know it, and embrace it. I am not in anyway rejecting a lifestyle in Canada, in fact, I am looking forward to being back and everything that entails. There are things about it though, that I find unacceptable. Apathy. Complaisance. Ignorance. I know that I will have to search and find out what I can do in Canada that will appease these inner pressures. I can not go home and turn a blind eye to the poor, to the people in the world who live in injustice. I can not forget. They haunt me, push me and drive me past any selfish apathy to action.I have friend here. Next week we are building my last project here, a building for a woman’s co-op that she and nine other indigenous women have put a lot of hard work into. This woman has experienced atrocities. She grew up in extreme poverty, was exploited into child labour in forestry, was raped under the age of 10 when the sexual abuse that would continue for the next 4 years began. She shares an infinity with other women who were forced into prostitution and knows first hand how drugs can numb the pain inside of you when your only survival tactic is denial. Injustice has gripped her life, often at the hands of her own family, for her entire life. Three or four years ago she went to a rally about the rights of women and children in her community. She came home to her husband, and told him that she had to learn more about the things she had just heard. In her words: “It was like I was blind, I didn’t know anything. But I knew I must learn more.” The world can learn so much from the strength, courage and determination this woman has. The night the purchase of the property for the coop was completed, I sat in their kitchen, in a house that was built for them by a Hero Holiday team. We were discussing the day, and our conversation was lit by the smallest light bulb I have ever seen, powered by the battery of the old beater car they own, there is no electricity in their community. Over and over again they were thanking me. I tried to explain to them that it wasn’t me, that they worked hard for this, and there is one woman particularily in the Okanagan in BC had grabbed onto the cause and fundraised… these were the people to be thanked. And my friend said to me: “Yes, but you are our voice to the people in Canada.” In a situation like that, a reaction of pride would be a disgrace. I was surrounded by basic human goodness. So in three weeks I head north. To another chapter with all of this now ingrained in my being. A life, that is for the time being, based in Canada. A life that is marked with action. The faces of poverty go with me. These faces are smiling, frowning, crying, suffering, laughing. They are faces of strangers and faces of friends. And I will be their voice. How? There is some excitement in knowing that I will find out.