So, today the phone rang, and it was my mom, sounding a little shaky, and she said “I’m homeless.”Â I had visions of the roof of the house in Chilliwack collapsing or something.Â We had a conversation like this once years ago when the University building she was staying in caught fire and she (while still not really awake yet) figured she needed to buy a computer, now, this instant.Â I could hear the sirens in the background.Â So when a conversation with my mom starts with “I’m homeless,” you take notice.
Turns out she was just between hotel stays with a checkout at Noon and the next checkin at 5 or somehing (geez, don’t DO that), and was looking for a place to kill a few hours, so we all got a free random visit, and a slideshow of elephants, giraffes, and South Sudanese folks in combat fatigues.Â Yeah, really.
My mom’s become this total globetrotter, and she’s not doing the jetsetting “what a lovely hotel” thing, at least, she’s not setting out to do that during any of her trips.Â Instead, she’s going to places like the South Sudan (Juba) and Bangladesh.Â Who’da thunk it?Â This teacher from Chilliwack zooming around the world.Â Parents can be pretty surprising, given the chance, I guess.Â I wonder if my kids’ll ever find me that surprising.Â I sure hope so.
Her job now also means that instead of teaching some of BC’s natives to be teachers (so kids stop getting squeezed out before grade 12 because nobody understands why the spirit dancers get a little jumpy at certain times of the year), or teaching basic life skills to guys in prison (she had to convince herself they were all there for cheque fraud) she’s out teaching guys who have been soldiers for most of their adult lives.
That’s using the term “adult” loosely, as many of these guys were in their mid-teens when they were handed a gun (or had to get one because destabilizing forces were terrorizing their villages).Â The stories she brings back home are beautiful and sad and uplifting and near-painful when you realize how much more work there is to do there, and that you can’t just throw money at the problems there, ’cause it’ll just be taken away from them.
You can’t take an education away from people, though, so that’s what she’s trying to help them do.Â Educate themselves, and rebuild.Â Civil war is totally alien to us here in a place like Canada.Â Like North America.Â Like a decent education and health system.
Like not being shot at, or threatened with death of your entire village.Â Like not losing siblings and parents to violence before you’re old enough to go to a school, even if there was one to go to.
On a lighter note…
Nope.Â Not so much with the lighter notes tonight.
2 thoughts on “Oh hai.”
Your mom is a really interesting woman. I don’t know if I could do what she’s doing.