I had heard the night before in the bar (the only place to get supper) that some of the kids were into anime. I was eager to meet these young men.
It turns out Henry Gordon Academy is the oldest school on the Labrador coast. It's a nice place with lots of stairs. (all the schools seem to have lots of stairs). Out my motel window I saw some of the kids biking to school along the dirt road. This is a great time of year for them because it's warm enough to be outside and too cool for the black flies.
At Henry Gordon we made up a story about two ladies who loved to hunt and who were looking for the biggest duck. The bald Madam from Iran was stalking them and trying to take the biggest duck for herself. When that didn't work she hired ninjas. We got one of the students to come on stage and do translations from Japanese and Iranian to English. It was super hilarious. The kids talked in gibberish and the translator had to make up what they were saying. The best part was when one of the kids said, "Ahhh!" and the translator, translated it as "Ahhh!"
The kids also liked my comparison of a character with a goal and motive but no conflict to one with a goal, motive, and conflict. In fact they liked that so much they made me do it again at the end of the presentation. During question period we didn't talk so much about writing as anime, which was so much fun. They asked me what kind of anime I liked and I told them I liked Shonen more than Shojo. I think they were impressed I knew the right words (and could pronounce manga properly). And of course the kids asked to see Red Robin. I think that guy is more popular than I am!
Also after my presentation I was invited back to the staff room for some lunch. They had subs and cupcakes and tea. They also had
Bakeapple tarts. I had one and couldn't identify the apple flavour so I asked what kind of apples they used. Well, it turns out Bakeapple is actually a type of berry that grows here. It's also called a cloud berry. Boy did I feel uneducated! The tarts are quite delicious. I was glad I got to try them. It's a real Labrador dish!
Labrador Huskies are a species at risk. The government ordered a cull on them when the snowmobile came in. There was also breeding with the Siberian husky and the Malamute. Now there are very few Labrador Huskies left. These puppies are pure bred though. I really hope the species survives.
With contacting home out of the way I headed over to a town meeting. The people here are so accepting. They had no problem with me observing as the Metis council (most of the people here are metis, Innu, Inuit, or another aboriginal nation) as they discussed their on going negotiations with Parks Canada as they open their newest National Park right near here. The Metis (and other nations) are worried that their traditional way of life is going to be ruined or unable to continue. At the same time they do want part of the wilds preserved. It turns out that the Metis council has done a phenomenal job of working with the government to not only allow the Metis and aboriginal people to continue on with their berry picking, fishing, trapping, medicine finding, etc. And also find a way to take advantage of the increase in tourist traffic. I wish them all the luck in the world with all their new projects.
Now, it's almost midnight. I can smell the wood smoke in the air even in my motel room. It's a great smell. I can hear the people leaving the bar. They had a barbecue there tonight for one of the social groups. It's nice not to have to worry as people pass by. The crime rate here is almost non existent. I can hear seagulls and crows. This really is quite an amazing place.
During this journey I've been trying to figure out why people live in such a harsh and isolated place. One teacher summed it up nicely. He said he doesn't think of the place as isolated so much as insulated. The kids are kept safe from the pressures of the outside world. Everyone knows everyone else. They learn their culture. They make lasting friendships. And really, in a place where you're always going to run into the same people day in and day out, there's no point in staying angry.
I've decided that Labrador is the Jamaica of Canada. It's just so chill here.
Tomorrow I hit the road bright and early - looking out for moose and that one polar bear someone saw to day on the highway. I have a couple more days in Labrador before I fly back to my bustling city of Calgary. It's going to be different. I think Labrador has actually taught me to relax. It's the weirdest thing in the world.