101 Days, 101 Strangers, 101 Stories: Day 58

Almost every day at this camp, we each randomly select a slip of paper from a hat at the beginning of the day. The paper has on it the name of one camp participant or leader, and the task is to pay special attention to the person who’s name you draw, taking note of all of the kind actions and behaviors they exhibit throughout the day. In the evening, we hold “appreciation circles” around a fire, sharing what we noticed with the entire group and thanking the individual for their kindness.

Today, I drew the name “Patrisse”. I’m glad that I did, because I had somehow managed to overlook her obvious kindness, compassion, and constant willingness to lend a hand. I also realized that I hadn’t actually had a personal conversation with her yet, and so this activity was an interesting way to approach the stranger of the day project.

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Patrisse wasn’t feeling well, but she still remained optimistic, encouraging her peers throughout the canoe trip.

In her free time, she loves to read and volunteer in her community. A favourite quote of hers is by Dr. Seuss: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Her advice? “Self-degradation only exists if you choose for it to exist”.

She also loves writing poems. Before the camp, we asked the campers to write an “I am From” peom, and Patrisse was hoping I would share hers on my blog when I told her about my project. I think it’s a great idea, so here it is!

“I am from 30 degrees Celsius of warm humid air
And from populated streets
Confined by the presence of our neighbours.
I am from 66.79 million members of society
Revering Bhumibol Adulyadej,
I am from tourist attractions and crystal clear beaches
Occupied by those who find Home exotic.
I am from riding elephants in the suburbs
And Tuk Tuks in the city
I am from conical hats of the agricultural farmers
To roaring bargains of floating markets.

But I am also from early morning strolls on the dyke
Breath after breath of fresh air.
I am also from cosmopolitan diversity
Acceptance of all regardless of age, race, or gender.
I am also from novel innovations
Highlights including Insulin, Java Programming, and poutine.
I am also from Canada Day festivities at Steveston
Where the people unite in a time of celebration.
I am also from the luminosity of the Richmond Olympic Oval
And the interval humming of Translink Sky trains.
I am from seven of nine:
James, Jasper, Javis,
Penny, Phoebe, Justin,
Me, Joshua, and Prescilla
We are from Bangkok, Thailand
And Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Where our two cultures, experiences,
Past, present, and future meet and merge.

And that is where I am from.”

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