José Cruz: Um you uh, have had an interesting life, I- I would say.
Kanna Kai Jones: Did I? Ha ha.
José: Uh well I- I guess it’s hard for anyone to say, “Oh yes, I’ve had an interesting life.” But um, you- this was- this was so cool when I heard you say this, you were a helicopter pilot. (Right) How did- how did that- can you like tell me again, when you told me the story before, tell me again how you got that.
Kanna: Well, I wanted to go to Africa. That was the first- first, my dream I think. And then uh, I wanted to help people and animals um especially uh, um wild animals working in a national park,. And specially I was, I was- I grew up with the uh, uh Nat- uh what is it uh, “ ,” remember that TV show?
José: Oh I love that show! (Yeah) I love that show.
Kanna: Yeah I- I loved it. And then the part of the show usually showed how the poachers killed the animals (Right right) and sell the parts of the the animals and stuff. And then I said, oh my god, I can’t stand that. And someday, I wanted to work for the national park and then protect the animals. (Mm hmm) Anyway, so at the same- at the, at the time uh, there were manyto help people and you know the starvation, and all that stuff and then I wanted to go to Africa to do something. And then I thought maybe this is the time I can have some skills that I can use there, and I went to flight school and then became to be a, a helicopter pilot.
José: That’s just amazing, I mean it’s like, usually when people, when when people think, OK I want to help in developing countries they become a doctor or they become a nurse, (Yeah yeah yeah) or but you said, oh helicopter pilot.
Kanna: Well, ha ha, I was, I was already adult and then I went you know, I- I was in the art field, so I-
José: And then that was even more incredible. You- like what? Painting um sculpture?
Kanna: The uh- the the staging. (Staging?) Stage, the performance.
José: Oh so performing arts (Yeah performing arts) So you went from perform- you went from performing- blah- you went from performing arts to…
Kanna: Right well that’s- (helicopter piloting) Right. Well I didn’t want to go back to ha ha, university to become a- a doctor from that point (Yeah that’s a slog) So I said, well what can I do? OK, maybe I shoulda pilot. So easy thinking but you know, it was not easy- easy doing. And um, then when after I became to be a pilot um, back then nobody hired female pilots. (Yeah) Right now I- I’m sure there are plenty of female pilots flying in Africa, but back then there no uh female pilots and when I went to um, seeking job um, I think it was the chief pilot of the company or, at the time, he said, (Mm hmm) can you- can you, lift up that full uh the ba- the barrel of the the fuel if it’s rolling on the (A fu- full) on the ground. Can you…
José: A full barrel of fuel. (Yeah) Wow these are tongue twisters. (Exactly) A full barrel of fuel.
Kanna: Can you lift it up and then pump the fuel into the helicopter (Sure) by yourself (Right) in the middle of the field. (Right) I said, Well I can pump the fuel in, but I don’t think I can bring it, (Yeah) you know upright.
José: How big is this barrel?
Kanna: Well the barrel. You know…
José: You mean a big 200 litre barrel? (Yeah yeah yeah) No. I couldn’t.
Kanna: No. But that was- I think he was teasing me. (Yeah) That’s how he- he thinks the female are um, uh useless.
José: Or maybe it was just plain old sexism. (Exac-) You know, “I’ll find a way to keep her out of pilot school.”
Kanna: Exactly. Ha ha. But anyway I said, I- I don’t think so. Then he said, well that’s the reason we don’t hire female pilots. (Ha ha) That’s what he said. Ha ha. (Uh huh) Anyway, nowadays I’m sure he’s going to be sued. But (Yeah) back then it was- it was, it was like that.
Can you think of any fields where sexism still exists?
Are there any jobs that you think women can’t do?
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José Domingo Cruz
Vancouver, British Columbia
Kanna Kai Jones
Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture
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