Trip Start Aug 14, 2005
Trip End Dec 16, 2005

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Hi Everyone and Merry Christmas
It's good to be home! The trip home was not without it's hassles. My flights were delayed right through and I missed connecting flights including the last leg to Kamloops. However, it worked out as I was able to stay over in Vancouver with Shelaigh and Fauve and see Fauve's Christmas play on Saturday.
When the plane was circling Toronto airport and I looked down and saw the ground in a blanket of white I thought, am I ready for this!? I did feel that the warmth had settled into my bones. At no time in Suriname did I ever feel even chilly never mind cold. In fact there wasn't a day or night that I needed long sleeves. However, when I stepped out of the terminal in Toronto to catch the transit bus between terminals and the blast of cold air hit me my first reaction was shock, quickly followed by a sense of absolute delight. I stood for several minutes feeling the cold on my face and drinking in the crisp, cold, refreshing air. I smiled to myself and thought, Yes! I'm home.
I spent time on the plane reflecting on this experience and what it has meant to me. I've learned tons, about Suriname, the struggle of small nations with economic colonialism, about Canada's part in that. I experienced the heart of people striving for autonomy, proud of their country and tireless in their hope. I am more aware firsthand of the roots of HIV/AIDS in an environment of poverty and ignorance. I am more certain than I've ever been that people the world over are more the same than they are different. I know the frustrations of doing development work in a country whose NGO's lack effective organizational structures and tracking systems. And the frustration of working with people who, indoctrinated with the learned helplessness of dependent nations, give lip service to capacity building and yet want things done for them. I know the challenges facing people who are caught in the unprecedented demands for planning and visioning in rapidly changing world while needing to deal constantly with the realities of lack of money, resources and skills. Yes, I've learned a lot, experienced a lot and even in my senior years have learned things about myself. There is nothing like working outside your own environment to have mirrors for reflection pop up in your face.
I want to thank those of you who supported my work with Canadian Crossroads in Suriname. It is always difficult to see the impact of your work when you leave feeling that you could have done more. However, I realize that that is the usual nature of work in the developing world.
I've enjoyed sharing my travel adventures with this travel log. It's been fun and I know that many of you have enjoyed coming along with me.
Have a special and peaceful Christmas Season and many blessings in the New Year.
Thanks again
p.s. Sorry no Pictures this time
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