For ETS and Edmontonians
By A. C. Roberts
Arthur Bollo-Kamara, former MLA and past president of WEALA (Western Agro-Environmental Laboratory Association, 1985 - 1986), died in Edmonton a few weeks after we got acquainted.
He was of Sierra Leonean heritage, as I am.
I decided to attend a vigil in his memory, on the eve of his burial.
It was late in 2002 and I had just arrived in Canada a few months earlier.
I lived in the far north and on my way to the vigil I had to switch transit buses several times. The ceremony was held way in the south of Edmonton.
The driver of the last bus apparently sensed that I was new after I gave him the address of my destination. He graciously opted to give me a “courtesy ride” – markedly off the scheduled route of the bus.
He then called out to the other passengers (about 10 to 12 in all) and explained my situation and his intent to divert, to get me closer to the place of the vigil. It was freezing cold and the few buildings in the area were invariably far apart, making for poor lighting.
I was relieved to hear what seemed like a chorus of murmurs: "No problem, go ahead," from the other passengers.
That experience said more about the Edmonton Transit System (ETS) and the hospitality of Edmonton residents in general than any media advertisement or tourist brochure could have conveyed to me as a newcomer.
It simply reinforced my earlier resolve to stay in the City of Champions.