I tried writing this on Saturday night, right after the Tractor Trek but I was so tired, it just didn’t work. Trying again. This was my second time as navigator. Look. I think I should’ve at least tried to find a tractor to drive. I see that now. So, I’m just putting it out there — sometime over the next ten months I need to find someone with a spare tractor that needs driving, I need to take driving lessons, and I need to raise a minimum of $300 (once the 2024 fundraising commences, that is).
Of course, I just jumped right in here thinking or assuming you already know about the Tractor Trek to raise funds in support of the Eden Foundation and the Mennonite Heritage Village. But maybe you don’t.
First I’ll explain Eden for a second. They support Eden Health Care Services — mental health care services specifically. Eden has a lot of different programs available to help people with various mental health challenges and these are important services, so they need our support. They’re located in Winkler, Steinbach, Portage, Winnipeg, and Altona. Learn more, here!
Next, well, does the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach need explaining? I mean, probably. Just in case there’s someone new here. It’s a museum in Steinbach that tells the Russian Mennonite story. It’s an actual street village with Mennonite housebarns and businesses and a very amazing windmill but also there are also fascinating curated exhibits in the indoor galleries — one permanent and one temporary. I’d say the MHV helps my mental health because it gives me a sense of where my ancestors came from. A sense of identity and connection. And that’s important for mental health, I’d say.
And then I should explain the Tractor Trek. I’ve written other posts about how I’ve interacted with the event over the years. I wanted this one to be different. (And, I think it’s turning out to be exactly that. Heh.)
I wish I’d genuinely tried to locate a tractor to drive. I mean, as a farm girl, I grew up around exactly these kinds of tractors. And, I drove the Massey Ferguson one time. If I could do it as a kid, I’m sure I could do it as a 46-year-old.
I don’t really know what happened to all my dad’s tractors when he sold the farm in 2003, but I like to imagine some went to tractor collectors who perhaps participate in the Tractor Trek. Some of these tractors look very familiar. They feel familiar. And… they smell familiar. Grease and diesel, I guess. It’s a big part of why I want to do this. Just another way to connect to where I come from.
I also like that the Trek is very slow. About 11 km/hr. You get to really see the countryside in detail. The route is thoughtful and interesting. And I imagine it’s almost meditative. I also like the idea of confronting the elements in this way.
And it means a lot to me to know these people participating in the Tractor Trek have been working to raise money for two very worthy causes I care about.
So, yesterday, I started my day with breakfast alongside the Trekkers. Then out onto the village street to see all the tractors lined up on display. It looks so cool! Then we had an opening ceremony and we were on our way. Very slowly.
Once again, I saw parts of the area where I live, that I’ve never seen before. A new experience for me was lunch in Ste. Anne. The Ste. Anne Lion’s Club was very welcoming to the Tractor Trek in the midst of the town, in the beautiful Redemptoriste Park, and many community members appeared to show their support and interest. It was a highlight for sure. We even drove down Centrale Avenue! People waved. It was great!
As some first-time Trekkers told me, they felt very well taken care of, with lots of stops for food and snacks.
This was the first year I’d attended the banquet at the end. A good way to wind down at the end of the event! And then I went home and fell asleep… dreaming of driving a tractor on my own next year. (If I can find someone with an available tractor, that is!)