Day 15: Wapella

75 to go.

Another day completed in eastern Saskatchewan. We got going at 7:45AM right at the main Moosomin turnoff and made our way west. A warm start to the day with very little wind. We were joined by officer Con Lerat who is from the Indigenous Policing Bureau here in Saskatchewan. Our policing contact as we move through the province. Officer Lerat provided support vehicle assistance which allowed Mitchell to join me walking. We moved and had several laughs throughout the morning. The wind picked up and offered a supportive push in the afternoon session and we completed a total of 30.5 kms to end our day west of Wapella. Thank you Officer Lerat for stopping in to check on us. Talk to you more in the coming weeks.

A big thank you to Doris Nabess-Flett who had reached out earlier in the day wanting to come and meet with us. She brought with her a box of goodies and gifted us a walking stick. We talked briefly and shared stories relating to mental health. A great conversation on the side of the highway. Thank you Doris for sharing your story, the nutritious box of goodies and for the gift. Very much appreciated.

As I walked alone in the afternoon session I reflected on the walk and thought back to the early days of the walk in Newfoundland in 2018. That was a difficult time as we were often alone with little support, considering we were just starting the Hope walk. In those alone times, there was often prayer and thoughts about the young people back home and across this country who are struggling. I thought mostly of the struggles young people face, the root causes of those struggles and the lack of resources available for them. I thought of how I could relate to the struggle when thinking of my own childhood and adolescent experiences.
I thought of my profession and how we are often counted on to be the answer when we ourselves are often not trained properly to deal with mental health crisis. They say what’s needed now are more deescalation techniques, we do get trained in those areas but it is still not enough. The best we could do, and most important thing to do was simply listen. I thought of their stories and compared them to mine and I was able to understand them. I thought of how the cycles of trauma are passed down from generation to generation and we continue them in our relationships with each other, through things like avoidance, mistrust, anger. It is hard work to heal relationships and to break these cycles for our kids. But it is important that we do and it is necessary if we want these cycles to stop. Again these were my thoughts in Newfoundland that I was thinking about today and I can truly say that there was healing in that province for me personally. In order to help others we need to heal ourselves. We are not doing anybody any good if we don’t first look after ourselves and create the necessary boundaries to protect ourselves and our families. It’s okay to talk. It’s okay to share as a kid and it’s okay to share as an adult. Something I look back to is that I spent way too many years trying to hide. Realizing this fully in Newfoundland has helped me to make changes in myself so I can be a stronger helper. It’s okay to talk.

Lots to think about when we are alone out here but it’s also learning. I am proud to be out here as we are working hard for young people and thinking about all of them across this country.

We move on the highway tomorrow morning before entering the community of Cowessess First Nation in the afternoon. Looking forward to some community engagement and the company.

By the way, the body is craving treats again. So happy to see that there was a Dairy Queen last evening.

Have a good night everyone.

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