Large mamals, and fermented drinks...

I've had the privilege of being up in Port Hardy this past week, working with my new father in law at his Kayak shop. Apart from cleaning kayaks all day and taking reservations for the shop, I've had the opportunity to actually go out and kayak, couple times learning rescues and another time helping guide a tour.

If you have never been to Port Hardy it's a must, it's beautiful (well not so much the town itself, but its natural surrounding, the town itself is kinda a dive...anyyyyyways) it's quiet and you can enjoy a mostly unspoiled landscape and scenery.

On the first tour we did, we encountered, within the first 10 minutes of our 6 hour tour 3 humpback whales. I'm not talking sea world trained porpoises, I'm talking massive couple ton whales, wild, and feeding. As we were watching one of them came right in between our group of 12 people (safely away but close enough to scare a few of our UK tourists) and just breached 15-20 feet in front of us, fish flying everywhere as he (or maybe she I have no idea) scooped them up.

It was a most incredible sight, one I had never seen before and this went on for a good hour of us watching and it never got dull, we just wanted more. I was amazed and in awe of these gigantic animals so close to me, it just took your breath away.

On the flip side my wonderful amazingly patient wife has been at home taking care of 5 foster kids for her mom as she is away (the reason we really came up here). Now, having 5 kids is a chore in itself, but one in particular is difficult. This girl is about 6 years she poops herself, she doesn't talk well, she can't grasp simple concepts, like "Don't do a somersault when you're naked and have poo all over you in bath room cause Naomi will have to clean that up along with you."

The reason she is like this is because she has FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). For those who are unaware of what this is, it's not a genetic disease, it's not something that the doctor did by accident causing brain damage. It's when the mother of a baby drinks during her pregnancy. Alcohol has devastating effects, even in the smallest amounts on a growing fetus. Little is not what this girl had, to put it the best I can, she was pickled from conception to birth in alcohol. My father put it this way "I wouldn't be surprised if it smelt like someone was drinking when she was born."

It breaks my heart knowing that a child who most likely was never wanted in the first place, will not only go from foster home to foster home because her parents continue in there downward spiral, but also, because of her FAS she will never be able to function normally (or whatever we call normal).

The system will toss her around back and forth, she will continue to be abused and most likely by the time she is in her teen be placed in a home.

For something so preventable, something so trivial can change the outcome of a humans life for good or for bad.

So why write about two so unrelated topics, whales and alcohol. The reason is this just made me think of how fast life can change, in one moment I am in wonder, the next an anger burns in me because I get upset at a girl for doing something she can't help. Not because it's her fault, but because her parents are caught in a cycle of self destruction affecting everyone around them.

I am perplexed at my range of emotions through out the day, I am confused at my justification in myself that I can do nothing to help, I'll just go back to my whale watching and try to forget.


the Stewart said...

You're a good man, Geoff.

the Stewart said...

BTW, you need to shut off the word verification option for your comments. It annoys me. So do it.