Letter from the road: Week 3 – October 25th

Week3Each week as I write these entries I find myself looking forward to the week to come. I don’t often find myself reflecting on what was; but, today as I write this letter from the road, I can’t shake the previous week spent in Eriksdale and Lundar.

During our time in these communities there were two events that were defining moments. The first was the Lundar community dance. This dance had people of varying ages: the elders, the youth, even the school principal was there! This inter-generational connection summed up much of our touring so far- being able to collaborate with, and bring together all ages.

The dance was also a ceremony of dares. As I sat off to the side and tried my best not to be noticed, I was danced up to and guided on to the floor. It was because of this act that I understood the willingness of the community to jump in. Each community has embraced us and welcomed the Chautauqua.

The second story comes from the rug braiding workshop. This workshop is special because it ties all four weeks of our programming together. Every community we travel to will complete a portion of a single rug. Our workshop leader, Claire, made it very clear that each braid, every piece of material, and all the time spent on the rugs, represents a story. At the end of this tour we will have collected “stories” from eight different Interlake communities. Before the rug braiding began we went around the circle. Each participant shared where we came from, their outlook on creativity, and what brought them to the gathering. The stories were beautiful: personal and heartfelt. One of the participants suggested creating a tree shaped rug to demonstrate a rooted community of people in Eriksdale. The decision was made and work began on the trunk and roots!

Both of these communities opened their hearts to us and left us with a feeling of longing to come back. Each person we worked with, each student we taught, and each billet who housed us became our family for that week and because of that, we will never forget them.

This week we are in Riverton and Arborg. So far there have been many stories shared. On our first day local farmer and historian Joel took us on a tour of the area. On this tour we explored the mythology of New Iceland. The connection to history in these communities is strong, and I look forward to discovering what other mysteries these communities hold. Until next time Winnipeg!

-Chris Sousa