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Remembering Bethaney

Last week, horribly and with such shock and deep sadness, I lost a precious friend to cerebral malaria. Over the past few days as I've been remembering my friend Bethaney, I've been recalling memories of her as a PNG meri tru. In Tok Pisin that means that she was a true Papua New Guinean woman. Since returning to Canada when I graduated from high school it has become habitual to say that Canada is my passport country. In recent years I feel increasingly at home in calling myself Canadian but the title still feels so inadequate and lacking as my childhood and youth were uniquely not Canadian, and I actually treasure that about those experiences. I hadn’t been in contact with Bethaney for a few years but I have wondered this week if she knew and felt the personal complexities of ‘belonging’ to a country whose blood and marrow were not a part of who you are, at least on a deeper level. Bethaney was born and raised in a stunningly rugged country that is a lot like she was: humble…

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