Week 31. Monday’s walk was amazing, because for the first time this year I took a different route. A much needed different route. I’m in Ottawa for the month, trying to heal and recover from the shock of some bad news – something someone told me that seemed to squash my hopes and dreams, and make me feel like everything I had been trying so hard to achieve was in vain. Ok maybe that’s a little dramatic, but the shock of it all sent me to the ER this week, so clearly it rattled me.

I woke up and had breakfast and went to meditate on the rock at the Beaver Pond that is a place that brings me peace, where I’ve sat in the past and watched the ducks go by. I remember recognizing how lonely I was one time when the ducks left and I felt utterly devastated. This time was a little different. I felt raw and a little crazy, but not devastated. The scenery was so beautiful, I almost couldn’t handle it.

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I went to tutor my cousin Aakanksha. I’ve been going each day since I’ve been here, splitting the session into Math and English. We are reviewing Data Management, for example stem leaf plots (who uses those anyway?!) and histograms and studying a book called The People of Sparks. It is interesting because it touches upon the situation of refugees and what it takes for a town to extend kindness and accept new people, recognizing the common humanity in others.

Walk In Her Shoes (the group walk) is only a couple weeks away, and I’m getting excited! I’m at the part in ‘Veiled Threat’ where Sally travels to Kandahar, which is the base for the Taliban. She goes through a lot of hoops to make her way in, as it is almost impossible for a foreign woman travelling alone to gain access. The city is war-torn and tragic, as reflected in this poem I came across on poemhunter.com by someone known as ‘spiritual seeker’.

On the treacherous road to Kandahar,
My heart bleeds for Afghanistan,
Though in its natural beauty,
It is a garden of death,
Where landmines laid awaits the unsuspecting,
Bringing death and suffering.

This land of history has never slept peacefully,
Where great armies had marched, shedding blood and misery,
Where conqueror became the conquered.
Lo, these drama of suffering never seems to end,
Where a child born in those times of difficulty,
is now a grown up man,
and the land is still bleeding,
as if the curse never want to leave,
sowing permanent torment and suffering.

As I travel the difficult road to Kandahar,
See me rocky desert and majestic mountains,
And rows and rows of silent graves, their old and new flags fluttered in the cool wind,
Empty villages, destroyed with no living souls,
Burned vehicles and broken bridges…bombed from the sky,
Guns and unsmiling faces…dirt covered children,
poorest of the poor,
In my journey to Kandahar,
I became witness to the cruelty of mankind at its fullest.

After tutoring, I walked the long way home, through beautiful paths and stopping along the way to ask strangers to take pictures of me. I was hoping to make it to the library, but it was closed by the time I got there. I miss Toronto a lot, I’m not going to lie. I have that feeling of homesickness shared by the people of Ember. How does one find home within themselves?

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Beaverbrook Library, Kanata

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