The countdown begins

Canada celebrates it’s 150th anniversary of Confederation in July, there are a ton of events planned to mark the celebration.

canada-150The Vancouver Courier put a callout asking it’s readers to share our favourite memory of Canada.  Mine made it to print, more because the Editor is a friend!  Check it out  Canada Day Countdown: 146

It’s not surprising my memory involves reading, I can’t remember all the books I read on that train journey but these were the ones that stood out for me.

As I shunted across Canada by train, observing the dramatic changes to the landscapes outside my window, I was drawn to books that showed me the land through the eyes of another, and I remember being particularly in awe of the work of Roy Henry Vickers.  I later attended a storytelling session of his at a long hall in Tofino and was mesmerized by the pictures he could conjure up in my head, but also the similarities to Irish folklore.

On this same train journey, I witnessed my first ever whistle stop.  Granny was visiting her family somewhere on the Prairies – a vastness so flat, you could see the truck leaving it’s trail of dust for miles and miles.  The train ground to a halt at the one spot where the road met the train tracks and soon the truck arrived with banners and balloons and two very excited kids to welcome their Granny.  With the 6-foot jump between the train and the ground, the Conductor had to help her down to terra firma.  As soon as she was safely deposited with her family, the train chugged off into the flatness.  I remember watching the spitting dust of the truck for ages afterwards.

What’s your memory of Canada?

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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