“Stewart Valley, don’t get that one very often…”
…said the STC (Saskatchewan Transportation Company) bus driver as I showed him my ticket. I smiled cheerfully and boarded the bus. I was only three hours away from getting to see my family again, getting to live for a week in the comfort of our farm, and I felt a mixture of relief and extreme happiness. Stewart Valley, SK is the population:100 town located seven miles north of our farm that I was bussed to every school morning until the end of eighth grade, and I still feel some fondness for its small-town quaintness. The day had been gloomy and drizzly all day, but I didn’t really mind. Rain has always held some intrigue for me, because throughout my growing up it has meant many things. It has created the excitement that we were going to have a fantastic crop that year, and even just something as simple as that mom and dad would be home in the house because it was too wet to seed, spray, or haul grain was a cause for happy thoughts when I got off the bus. Right now, it is a mixed blessing because it is delaying the start of seeding but providing the fields with much needed moisture. I don’t usually bother with umbrellas, because there is something so connecting about becoming drenched in water straight from the sky.
I settled into my seat on the bus, and noticed that there was free WiFi on board. This was new, and I had both my laptop and a borrowed netbook from our EWB chapter with me. I thought about it for a minute, and decided that I had spent enough time on the Internet. I wanted to use this time to do absolutely nothing, for the first time in about a year. I thought about the term I had just finished the day before, about the six exams I had written, the friends that I had just said good-bye to at res, the five school outreach workshops I had helped to facilitate at a neighboring town that day on two hours of sleep because I was packing the night before. I thought about the other people on the bus. Where are they going? What are they worried about? What are they looking forward to? I thought about the week ahead in preparation for a whole summer in Ghana…
I was suddenly a little anxious. I had made a whole list of things that I need to do, want to do, and should do in the week before I leave for Toronto, but I hadn’t really had time to think about what this all really means. I am going to be living and working in the Upper East region of Ghana, but am I really prepared? Have I had to take enough responsibility in my life to be able to handle it? Deep down I know that it will be fine, and I will grow immensely, but sometimes it just hits me. I am on the brink of something more powerful and definitive than I have ever encountered before, and to carry that around with me this week is a feeling like I have never experienced.
Before long, the bus was climbing out of the Saskatchewan Landing valley, rounding the curve and signaling to let me off on the side of the road by the “Stewart Valley Junction” where my brother was waiting in our little black “running around” car. I thanked the bus driver and stepped onto the wet pavement in the headlights. Only five more minutes ’till I see my wet dog!