Salt Spring I: Cody Goes to Syria

Young activist, Cody Bergerud was raised in a progressive idyllic paradise. But when he becomes disillusioned with local politics, he takes off for war-torn Syria. Can he keep his promise to help his Syrian friends?

Cody Bergerud

5 years ago
Duration 1:08
Cody Bergerud

Our second sleepover of Season 2 comes from the far reaches of Canada's Pacific coastline on an island so remote, you have to take two ferries to get there, and there's no cell phone service!

Salt Spring Island is rooted in 60s idealism.  It's an oasis of free thinkers living eco-friendly lives. At least, so it seems on the surface.

Sweet 'n innocent-looking Cody Bergerud was born and raised in this progressive, idyllic paradise. It was the perfect place to grow up, but as he got older and more politically aware, he became disillusioned with local politics that made it difficult to enact change. So Cody did what many frustrated young people do in search of meaning in the 21st century—he took off without telling his parents. Cody left for the war-zone in Syria to try to help people caught in conflict. 

Now he's back to the safety of Salt Spring with a heavy burden. He left his Syrian friends behind determined to help them immigrate to Canada, but it's a promise he's finding difficult to keep.

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We take two busses and two ferries and arrive at our next sleepover destination: Salt Spring Island! (Veronica Simmonds)
We’re staying at Stowel Lake Farm. For city slickers, the Sleepover Dream Team, it’s paradise. (Veronica Simmonds)
There are gardens, greenhouses, and lush meadows full of vegetables and animals living good lives. (Veronica Simmonds)
Healthy, smart back-to-the-landers cultivate organic produce. (Veronica Simmonds)
Sook-Yin smells the fresh air and waits for the strangers. (Veronica Simmonds)
The first one down the gravel path is Cathy Roland, a silver-haired Salt Spring born musician. (Veronica Simmonds)
Cody Bergerud is the next to arrive after doing his chores at his nearby farm. (Veronica Simmonds)
Cathy and Cody meet, and it turns out Cathy grew up on the farm across the street where Cody lives now! It’s a small Salt Spring World. (Veronica Simmonds)
A truck pulls up and a guy with a chainsaw appears. It’s Scott Nyuli, the arborist. (Veronica Simmonds)
In the field it appears a flying saucer that just landed. (Veronica Simmonds)
It’s a yurt, and where our sleepover begins! It’s usually full of children because it is the elementary school on the farm. (Veronica Simmonds)
We sit on the floor and get down to business. (Veronica Simmonds)
Cody goes quiet and tells us about his difficulty. (Veronica Simmonds)
Cody shows us a photo of his friends he met in Syria. (Veronica Simmonds)
We tackle a difficult conversation. (Veronica Simmonds)
Cody absorbs it all with a new perspective. (Veronica Simmonds)