I was walking by the Salvation Army Hostel on Monday and saw a young woman looking at a map printed out from a computer. “Can you help me?” she asked. “I’m not a city girl. I feel like a lost tourist.”
She wanted to find the Salvation Army Thrift Shop in St. Boniface. I told her she could walk with me and once we got to my street I’d show her the direction to go. I told her I volunteered at a Mennonite Thrift Shop.
“I’m a Mennonite,” she said. She told me her name. Her first name was Biblical and her surname definitely Mennonite. “Where are you from?” I asked. She named my hometown and as we talked she told me about the schools there she had attended. I had attended all three myself and taught at one of them. When I asked about her parents she described her father with an expletive and said she never wanted to see him again. Her Mom had left her Dad and moved to a distant Manitoba town.
I asked her what she was going to buy at the Thrift Shop. “Clothes,” she said. “I just got out of prison and all I have are the clothes on my back.” I asked how she’d landed up in jail. “I assaulted someone,” she told me and then quickly added, “you don’t have to worry, I am not a violent person. I was attacked and just defended myself.”
We kept talking till we reached my street. I found out she’d been kicked out of high school, had no one in the city she knew, and had no money. There was a limited amount of time she could stay at the Salvation Army. “I’ll have to find a way to make Winnipeg my home,” she said.
When we reached my street I pointed her in the direction of St. Boniface, gave her some money to buy clothes, wished her well and waved good-bye. I can’t stop thinking about her. I know there is probably lots more to her story than she told me. But………what will happen to her? What chance does she have?
My Husband and the Pope Are On The Same Page
Called to Court
Filed under People, Winnipeg
I’ve walked down Main Street from Bannatyne to Selkirk literally a hundred times since I moved to Winnipeg. Yesterday I decided to REALLY look and take some photos of the street I’ve walked so often.
Aren’t You Scared to Live in the Exchange District?
Haunted By Ghosts
I am just wrapping up a month of visiting Winnipeg schools in my role as a supervisor for education students practicing their craft in the classroom. This year I had the privilege of spending time in three different mixed grade one and two classrooms. I saw amazing things happening in all of them.
My student teacher was doing math problems with her six and seven-year olds that involved addition. These kids didn’t have pencil and paper. They were adding three digit numbers to three digit numbers in their heads! They had been taught ten different strategies for figuring out addition problems and not only could they complete the calculations mentally they could tell you which strategy they had used and why they had used it. Different kids used different strategies and that was applauded. It was amazing. They got it!
My student teacher had introduced her six and seven-year olds to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid. First they made a pyramid for themselves. What did they need to feel healthy, safe, loved, good about themselves, to be learners and have fun? Then the teacher read them stories and showed them videos about joeys (baby kangaroos) and they made a pyramid for them. One day I watched them work together as a class to make a pyramid for baby emperor penguins after seeing videos and reading books about them. It was amazing! They got it!
My student teacher is Metis and she did a social studies unit introducing her six and seven-year olds to her culture. She used a medicine wheel with them. A medicine wheel has four sections emotional, mental, physical, spiritual. I watched one day while the children took special items they had brought from home or had drawn pictures of and they placed them in the “correct” spoke on their own personal medicine wheel. They could explain why they had made the choices they did. A book might go in the mental section because it made them think. A feather might be placed into the spiritual spoke because it reminded them of creation. A picture of a favorite food might go in physical because it filled them up and a photo of a grandmother in emotional because they loved her. It was amazing! They got it!
Our schools are often criticized because they aren’t deemed to be doing a good enough job. I wonder how many people who criticize actually visit to see the great needs as well as potential particularly in Winnipeg’s inner city schools, to see the great work being done by so many teachers and to see the great kids who are being stretched and challenged to be the best they can be.
Teachers of Their Own
Rap, Reimagining Winnipeg and Fish Nets
That’s a former student of mine! Mike Koop was my grade one student many, many years ago. I remember how full of energy he was and how he often had something very important to tell me. Mike, who is a professional musician was featured on the front page of Saturday’s Winnipeg Free Press to illustrate a great story about the history of the West End Cultural Centre. It was so interesting to read about all the people who have given selflessly of their time and energy and money to found and then keep this cultural hub of Winnipeg’s music industry growing.
My husband is one of those people since he volunteers regularly at the West End Cultural Centre helping to take tickets, usher or sell merchandise at events. We attend concerts there often and I love the different ways the venue is used to showcase all kinds of musical experiences.
Just a few weeks ago we were there to see jazz musician Amber Epp (a former student of my husband’s) perform her versions of all the songs on Joni Mitchell’s album Blue.
Last December our son’s band Royal Canoe provided the music for an intriguing version of Shakespeare’s Richard II called Am I Not King? It was performed at the West End Cultural Centre. The production is nominated for six awards at the upcoming Winnipeg Theatre Awards event taking place at The West End Cultural Centre on November 12.
Garden City Collegiate Jazz Vocal Group directed by my daughter-in-law
Last June within one week I heard a concert by 70-year-old Canadian musician Valdy at the West End Cultural Centre and attended a wonderful show of jazz music performed by teenagers from the Seven Oaks School Division.
One of my favorite shows at the West End was The Last Waltz A Celebration of The Band. I could sing along with almost every number.
As the headline in the Winnipeg Free Press said…. the music really does live on at the West End Cultural Centre.
Young and Old At the West End Cultural Centre
Nathan Rogers A Story That Tugs At Your Heart Strings
The Last Waltz
Filed under Music, Winnipeg
I often walk through the Higgins underpass in downtown Winnipeg on my way to various volunteer and work commitments. So I was surprised the other day to discover what seemed like a new mural on the underpass walls. I had never seen it before. I’ve found out now that it was recently discovered while the wall of the underpass was being pressure washed to prepare it for repainting. Apparently the mural is a couple of decades old and there are plans to try to find the original artist and fix the mural. The mural of the bison presents a glimpse into the city’s past. Almost every time I walk through Point Douglas and into the North End I see something new. I love that.
The Guess Who on the Wall
A Musical Mural
Kornelson School Memories
Filed under Art, Winnipeg
Just in case you haven’t already heard it is Burger Week in Winnipeg. Nearly a hundred restaurants in our city have custom designed burgers for their patrons. We decided to try a burger at Shawarma Khan. It’s a restaurant near our home owned by Obby Khan a retired professional football player who used to be on the roster of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. My husband Dave had read about their burger in the newspaper and it sounded delicious. It was made with lamb, beef and flafel and served on a sweet potato-poppyseed egg bun lined with melted mozzarella cheese. The meat patty was topped with roasted red pepper, seven-bean hummus, pickled turnips, sriracha coleslaw, caramelized onions and garlic sauce. The burger was fabulous as you can see from these photos. I needed lots of napkins to clean all that juicy goodness off my fingers while I ate. I LOVED the fries that came with the burger. They were crispy and spicy and hot. Owner Obby Khan came over to check how we were enjoying our burgers and Dave asked him to pose for a photo with me. Obby was happy to oblige.
We may try another burger in the coming days since Burger Week lasts till Thursday. But the next time we are going to share a burger. I was so full after that Shawarma Khan burger I could barely walk.
Burgers and Blokus
Home Grown in Newfoundland
We were invited to the new home of friends who recently moved to the St. James area of the city. The only bus I could take arrived a good forty minutes before our dinner date time. Walking towards our friends’ home from the bus stop I came upon a lovely little park I didn’t even know existed. As I wandered into Benjaminson Park I came upon a sign that explained the park had been named after Skuli Benjaminson (1879-1970) a pioneer who had owned one of the first homes in the area. He helped chop down trees so Portage Avenue could be built and was instrumental in bringing power lines into the area. He was the only owner of a car and telephone in the neighborhood’s early days and he generously provided communication and transportation services to his neighbors.
Benjaminson Park is lovely. There’s a bench under a tree which is the perfect place to read. You have a lovely view of the river. I sat reading my book for a good half hour enjoying the beautiful purple flowers around me, the birds swooping down to the river and the leafy greenery. I was almost sorry to leave but a fabulous meal with great friends awaited me.
Winnipeg is full of little parks like the Benjaminson. It would be neat someday to do a pilgrimage and try to visit them all.
The Grand Canyon For Free
Exploring Gros Morne National Park
Walking in A Haunted Forest
Filed under Nature, Winnipeg