Rebel Mountain Press

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What's in it for Me?

Chapter 9 -Nick (Thailand)

"Bringing home strays again, hey Mum?" The girl who greeted us at the compound had a booming voice. "Who's this bloke, then?" She was hosing down a young elephant. The saggy, grey skin around his face and shoulders was splattered with faint patches of red, blue, green, and yellow, and he had his trunk wrapped loosely around her waist.

"That's my daughter, Camila," Anna said to me, then raised her voice to answer her daughter. "This is Nick, from Canada. He'll be staying with us for a few days before I take him with me to Chiang Mai."

Compared to her mother's milk-white skin, Camila's skin was brown and she had shoulder-length dark hair, razor-sharp cheekbones, and big, dark brown eyes. I guessed her father might be Latino. When she sauntered toward us, the elephant made a noise like a trumpet in protest of her leaving. Her gaze was direct and serious, as if daring you to try and cross her--it made me feel uncomfortable and want to look away.

"Canada, eh?" Camila eyed me up and down as if she were taking measurements. "It's been a while since we've had a Canuck here."

"Oh, you like hockey?" I said, referring to a Canadian hockey team--the Vancouver Canucks.

I guess she wasn't a hockey fan because she curled her top lip into a sour face, like I'd just said something really stupid.

"Watch your back!" Camila suddenly pushed me to swing around.

Behind me a very large elephant lumbered past with a Thai man astride it like a horse--except there was no saddle, and the man straddled its neck, not its back. On its two long tusks were speared several large bales of hay.

"Never turn your back to an elephant," Camila said, "especially not to the males."

"What's wrong with the males?"

"Nothing's wrong with the males." The tone of her voice was beginning to bug me.

"Many of them have been mistreated and learned to be quite aggressive and unpredictable." She pointed to the elephant that had just passed. "That one killed his abusive owner. If it wasn't for us, he would have been shot by the authorities."

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Cancer is a C Word

Cancer is a C Word

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But how do people get this word that starts with a C?
Wait a minute! Can they spread their cancer to me?!

Don't worry, cancer isn't contagious: It doesn't spread.
It's not like a cold, so put that out of your head.

Our bodies are made up of very tiny things called cells.
Cancer happens when these cells are not working very well.

Bad cells stop healthy ones from doing what they should do.
They join together and may form a lump that causes problems too.

This is a lot of information, but please don't worry.
Instead, let us tell you of some other words that also start with C.

There is a special one called community.
A community forms when people come together in times of need.
They are kind to one another, helpful, and do lots of good deeds.

Cooking is another C word and a good way to help boost someone's mood.
If someone is feeling sick you can help by bringing their family some food.

Coming together also starts with C and is so important, son.
Making sure people know you are there for them, they are not alone and not the only one.

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Disabled Voices Anthology

Disabled Voices Anthology

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Dear Wheels: A Letter of Thanks to My Wheelchair, by Rebecca Johnson

Dear Wheels,

You help me move freely in this world and soar to the highest peaks, but why can't others see how you help me fly? Instead, they see a woman in a chair who needs help with every single thing in her life. In reality, you give me the independence to rise above that ignorance and know that I am capable and eager to live my life to the fullest.

While other parents taught their infants to walk, mine patiently taught me how to use my hand to direct you. I would win races against other children who did not see the difference between their running and my moving. My childhood friends didn't even notice you. They only saw a girl who was fun to play games and dolls with.

As a teenager, I started to hate you for you scaring the boys away. They would only pay attention to the wheels, not the girl who had a crush on them. I hated you for pushing them away, making them disgusted at how different I was from all the other girls. If only I was not tethered to you, if only I could walk then I would have a boyfriend too and the rest of my life would be easy, right? Even though I directed all my hatred at you, you still rolled me forward and never left me helpless. You took me across the stage to graduate high school and then rolled me into adulthood.

I liked you again in college. You waited patiently as I was stationary at the computer desk with my studies. You understood that we would not go anywhere in this country as a Disabled woman without an secondary education. So, we went across stage together again twice more, shocking the crowds and receiving loud cheers because we inspired them. But we didn't do it to inspire others. We did it out of necessity to survive in a world that looks only at the aid, not the person sitting in it.

We became one during those years, ignoring crushes and doing what was cool. I was never ashamed of you as people stared at us in public, prayed over us without approval, or took pity on my life. You empowered me to ignore those who didn't understand and to keep going forward in life.

Now, we live a full life. You get me to work where I counsel those who are able but discouraged by their normal struggles. Then, you get me to the classroom to teach freshmen in college. They say, "those who can't, teach," but I definitely can because of you!

After work, you bring me home to a man who loves me, wheels and all, and parents who would give their lives so my own would flourish. I love my life and it is only possible because of how you move me.

Thank you, Your loving passenger

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In Our Own Aboriginal Voice 2

In Our Own Aboriginal Voice 2

A collection of Indigenous authors & artists in Canada
edited by Michael Calvert
introduction by Edmund Metatawabin
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The Aboriginal Identity, by Jeremy Ratt

Being raised in alienation of your own culture is a very strange experience, to say the least, and the coming together of many individuals to celebrate their culture's history was something I could never feel truly ingrained with. There was a sense of dissociation throughout my childhood, where I found myself in a position that belonged to neither side, but somewhere in the middle. And with more and more birthday candles being placed on the cake, I developed an askew perspective of my own people and the people around my people.

New Ways, by Connie Fife

now as a grown woman
I have passed through the brief solitudes
brought on by the changing of another season

the slow movement of shifting colours
and the loping arrival of winter
your absence has been replaced
by the warmth of full bellied poems
who have slept nestled against my spine
their tongues peeling back on old skin

I am trying to find new ways to live
original means by which to feel alive
the breathing in and out of a
politic by which to free a heart
that the stars have already caught in their throats.

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Ghost's Journey

Ghost's Journey

A Refugee Story
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When friends came over,
Ghost played with everyone.

But when strangers came to the door,
Rainer and Eka turned off the lights and pretended no one was home.

Ghost wanted to help.
She fetched them toys to play with.

She snuggled close and licked their tears.
"People don't like us, Ghost," Rainer whispered, "just because Eka and I love each other."

Over and over they had to move.
Ghost did not like moving.

She hid behind the curtains,
and on top of book shelves where she felt safe

She hid beneath the bed, inside a paper bag.
Over and over, Rainer said, "Sorry Ghost. It isn't safe for us here."

Ghost knew that they couldn't keel hiding.
If her dads were in danger, she would be a guard cat.
Ghost listened for footsteps in the hallway.

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Nootka Sound In Harmony

Nootka Sound In Harmony

Aboriginal Connections
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Aboriginal Connections:


Red laver is seaweed that looks a bit red and is found on the shoreline. It can be boiled with oolichan grease, fish, and clams to make a tasty soup.

The First Nations people also spread red laver on rocks in the sun to dry. When it was completely dried, it was chopped into pieces and eaten as a snack, like potato chips or cornflakes. Sometimes these dried pieces would be pounded into a fine powder, mixed with water and whipped until it was a foamy dessert treat.

You probably eat seaweed without knowing it. Agar, which comes from red laver, goes into candy, ice cream, and sherbet.

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