A friend sends a thank you email from her school. She helped organize a benefit featuring Thompson Highway, for Chief Poundmaker School in Cut Knife, west of the Battlefords. She received the donations, a spray painting and novel, and there are kind words for good friends. The school raised over 3,000 for literacy.
Through a headset and computer APTN Investigates* brings voices and images of Indian Residential School and the Independent Assessment Process while intern, Ms. Jade, teaches period two students with literature circles: The Bite of the Mango by Mariatu Karmara with Susan McClelland; The Crazy Man by Pamela Porter; I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui; A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah; and Nobody's Child by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch.
Steps are short, stop to breathe, up, up, up the coulee trail. A warm house waiting with children watching cartoons or on the phone to friends and a bag of unshelled, roasted peanuts ask, "Do you know just how blessed you truly are?"
Over onion rings and diet pepsi the lists write themselves for Outreach's Christmas Dinner, December 20th. turkeys, hams, potatoes, carrots, turnips, yams, squash, pies, perogies, cabbage rolls, salads, pickles, cranberry, oranges, candies, margarine, buns, gravy, stuffing fixings, gloves, coffee, tea, sugar, juice, whitener, zip lock bags, garbage bags, saran wrap, tinfoil, utensils, plates, invitations, decorating, setting up, serving, elder seating, elder plates, clean up, prep work, sound system, caroling, greeting, thank you's, Santa, Santa's helpers, thank you cards, poster, and advertising.
"Remember how stressed out you used to get," says Keitha. "Everything always comes together."
Keitha knows a thing or two about blessings, about stress, about life, about Residential School and the IAP, but she shares only bits and pieces. She dips a chicken strip in honey mustard. Sips real pepsi through the straw. Her eyes are fires of kindness. Her smile is summer sunshine.
"I'll call Kelly tomorrow," she says. "It always comes together, doesn't it."
* see APTN Investigates below: