Thankful. That’s how we were feeling today.
Last night, we were greeted in Carman, Manitoba by our billet families. A proud group of people who obviously love their community and value a sense of volunteerism. Carman is ideally situated about 45km from Winnipeg so its citizens enjoy the lifestyle of a small town while having the conviences of the city a short distance away.
We spread out across Carman with our families to enjoy a home-stay evening. Some of us explored farms and greenhouses while others enjoyed the quite streets of Carman.
Today, we said goodbye to our host families (with homemade muffins!) thankful that we had the opportunity to spend time getting to know them and their community.
Assiniboine College was our first stop of the day and we learned about their tech and trades programs that are preparing young people for jobs across the province. We then had a presentation on Manitoba’s public insurance program that ensures everyone has affordable auto insurance.
Our next stop was CFB Shilo for an army lunch in the mess hall. With our tummies full, it was time to tour the artillery battalion. We were shown the guns and vehicles the army deploys in combat and peacekeeping missions around the world. We had the opportunity to ride in a light armored vehicle (LAV)…helmets and all! We also had the chance to try a C7 simulator where we attempted to take out targets on screen while laying on our stomachs with an automatic weapon. Those guns are heavy!
We then learned about Canada’s role in Afganistan and three soldiers’ personal experiences. We were all incredibly moved by the bravery these soliders displayed and their stories of both combat and reconstruction. We were thankful for their time and for working to keep us and the world safe.
Our last presentation shared the vision and determination of the emergency response team in Brandon who responded to the 2011 flood. Their long-term planning and ‘can-do’ attitude ensured that Brandon’s citizens were safe even during a high water event.
Overall, it was another full and exciting day. We began to start to think out our presentation and our key objective. Over the next few days, we’ll explore our themes and ideas further…but I’m sure that thankfulness for the many things we’ve learned and experienced will be part of our story.