Saturday, June 6, 2009

Somewhere on Hwy 9 between Hanna and Youngstown, Alberta

Saturday, June 6, 2009
The morning brought more of the same weather we've experienced for a few days – more cold , more overcast skies, more threats of rain and more wind, and more wind, and more strong headwinds. Somewhere along the road – as beautiful and striking as this part of the country is, it all pretty much looks the same - Lindsay and I pulled over to wait for Mel. Coming from the other direction we noticed a cyclist laden with side packs, traveling on his own. Curious, he approached the RV and we greeted him. Thien is a nursing student at George Brown College and Ryerson University in Toronto and is riding across Canada to Jasper and “we’ll see how it goes. Maybe down through the mountains to Mexico. I’ll be back in time for school.”
“So why did you pick mental health?” he asked. We gave him the short version. “I come from a culture where no one talks about these issues – it’s swept under the table.”
So we told him the good news: that 80% of people with a diagnosable mental illness who seek help are able to recover and return to being able to lead a full and contributing life. The trick is to raise awareness about mental health in all cultures and to reduce the stigma so people are able to speak up and seek the treatments that are available.
As we were talking a car passed us,came to an abrupt stop, backed up to where we were talking and out lept the driver. “Hey Little Man” he addressed Thien. “we meet again." Thien introduced us to “Newfie” who had been his host last night. "I saw you all here, I thought it was a fruit stand or something.” Newfie told us that Thien had needed a place to stay last night and he offered his place. Today they are both headed west - different modes of transportation.
You sure meet some interesting people on the road.

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