Meet Karna, a Dartmouth resident for 51 years now. We were lucky enough to stumble upon each other at Sullivan’s Pond. My curiosity was piqued while she was moving and organizing her few belongings at a nearby bench overlooking the beautiful public gardens, now in full bloom.

A member of the Mohawk tribe of Nova Scotia and a ‘product of the system’ since infancy, she speaks to the trials and tribulations felt by many in these uncertain economic times. Feeling the brunt of growing up in a string of less than savory Foster Homes in a time where individual cases often flew under the radar, she reflects on the lives of her own 6 children, where they are now, and hope they someday return to find her. Being between homes and visibly anxious about it, she states so matter-of-factly, “I’ll get in somewhere, something usually comes up,” referencing the few housing opportunities available to those in situations like hers. She talks about often being misunderstood by the organizations she approaches for help, and the need for herself and many of her acquaintances for not only medical care in terms of coverage, but medical supervision as well.

Throughout the conversation, the one thing she kept coming back to, and longing for, was family and a sense of community. Isolation is the most troubling aspect of her seemingly ongoing plight. “If I’m out of butter but have eggs, and you’re out of eggs but have butter, why can’t we help each other out?” She expressed a need to belong and a need to feel, well, needed and wanted. “Family, remember when families were big, and stayed together, and took care of one another?” Her eyes sparkle at the thought. And while regaling me with tales of ailments, lost pets, and troubled friends she spies a mother out walking with her baby and recites a blessing to the child, “Welcome, new life, to the universe! May your stay here be blessed with happiness and success!”

Her smile glowed as she stated the one thought that keeps her going daily, that everyday that she awakes, she knows the Universe has already planned out her day. It’s up to her to discover what that plan is, and to undertake the journey.