Of all the stories I read by Munro, this has to be my favorite.
When I lived in Negresti there were students from the town and students from the surrounding villages. At that time there weren’t buses or an organized transportation option for the students in the villages to travel to the school. Some students lived in the dorm (where I lived) and some walked over hills, some hitchhiked, and some jumped on the train that arrived in the town crazy early in the morning. I could always tell the commuter students by their shoes. The town students had cleaner shoes and the girls would wear shoes that could only be used for walking on pavement. I felt sorry for the commuter students. I knew that they came from poorer communities…water from a well – limited electricity. Their pants were spattered with dried mud from walking over the hills. I admired their dedication.
I can’t begin to imagine the other difficulties and situations they faced as they walked to and from school. Animals, cars nearly killing them, the elements and of course other people.