Thursday, July 20, 2006

Home for a Rest

Well I’ve returned back to Maputo after an amazing two weeks back in Canada. It was quite a whirlwind visit as I tried to pack in as many activities and visits with friends and family as possible. 10 months was the longest that I had ever been away from home and I was eagerly looking forward to the chance to soak in some Canadiana once again. July really is the best time to visit Winnipeg as the weather is optimal and the people are all out in full force trying to take advantage of the prairie summer glory.

In between family BBQs (those two wild ladies on my arm are my mother and my aunt), golf trips (shot an 85 at Niakwa, the best round of my life, and beat my dad for the first time…by 15 strokes!!!) and countless drinks on Corydon Ave. (the best place to take in Winnipeg’s patio culture), I was able to make it out to the scenic Bird’s Hill Provincial Park for the 31st Annual Winnipeg Folk Fest. Now of course I did everything I could to time my visit home so that it coincided with the Festival, a Winnipeg institution that my friends and I have been going to since we were 16 years old. In fact, my parents used to come to this festival together back before they were married making us one of the numerous Manitoban families whose generations have been united by this fantastic event.

This year my parents once again came out for the Saturday and Sunday concerts, complete with their rainbow coloured chairs that my mother picked up to add a splash of pizzazz to their festival experience. I was also overjoyed to have my good friends Peter and Caitlin, the Canadians I met in Maputo who are now working back at home, join me at the festival on Saturday. Since I had raved so much about the event to them in Mozambique they figured that they had to come out and see it for themselves. It was an amazing reunion with these wonderful friends of mine and I hope the festival got into their veins enough to come back for years to come.

One of the things that I like the most about the festival is the incredible musicians that you discover. Folk Fest doesn’t bring in many big name acts but the performers are unbelievably talented and I am always surprised by the richness and the diversity of the music. Musical highlights for me this year were: Crooked Still, Steve Earle, Bedouin Soundclash, Ruthie Foster and the Refugee Allstars of Sierra Leone (check these guys out...unbeleivable story!!). Of course the other highlight for me is the Folk Fest Campground which becomes this bohemian community of over 5000 people living together in blissful harmony for four days. The times that I have spent in this campground, and the music and friendships that have carried me through many Folk Fests, have provided me with some of my greatest Manitoba summer memories.

One of the questions that I was repeatedly asked when I was back home was whether I felt any reverse culture shock, coming back to Canada after almost a year in Africa. I think the things that hit me the most were once again being in such large crowds of white people, being surrounded by green trees and green grass lawns and of course the huge box stores that define our rampant North American consumer culture. Those were the biggest “shocks” I found.

Other than that I was shocked to discover that Manitoba had changed its provincial motto from “Friendly Manitoba” to “Manitoba: Spirited Energy.” This has been quite a controversial change, not least because of the confusion around what “spirited energy” actually entails but also due to the fact that our provincial government paid an American advertising firm upwards of 4 Million dollars to come up with our new provincial identity. I like the acknowledgement of the spiritual dimension to my home province but I don’t like how we had to contract ourselves out to the Americans to come up with our new motto. I am curious to hear what you all think about “Spirited Energy,” do you like it/think it’s lame, I’d love to get some of your thoughts.

Well I guess that is all I have to say about my trip back home. A huge thank you to everyone that I was able to spend time with…our time together, even the briefest of encounters, meant so very much to me. You are all such wonderfully good people and I love you all deeply. Sending you all good vibes from Mozambique!!

Ate logo,



Anonymous Anonymous said...

As much as I like to think of myself as "spirited" and "energetic", I kinda liked the "Friendly Manitoba" license plates. Overwhelming emotion? sadness...


1:02 p.m.  
Anonymous Erin S. said...

Good to hear you made it back safely, and that my sarong will be VERY worldly!! Awesome to see you around the festival!!

5:33 p.m.  
Blogger jpmozambique said...

hey erin yeah i figured i'd give the sarong some african flavour, actually i just absentmindedly threw it in my suitcase (d'oh!!) I'll bring you a christmas gift wrapped in it in December how's that?

And i agree with you Jolene, our license plates were the best in the land. But as for the sadness, think of trees and parks and warm summer rain and that should put a smile back on your face. It does for me at least.

5:15 a.m.  
Blogger jfunk said...

I really can't even begin to tell you how upset I am with "Spirited Energy" If I actually start talking about it my hands start making horrific gesticulations and the expletives that flow forth from my mouth would make everyone's grandma turn green roll up and die. I think... no. I'm just gonna shut up now and say that it's... well.. it's. So bad I wanted to cry when I heard it. Actually I have cried about it I have also been not so nice to alot of young teenagers around town wearing "spirited energy" shirts and promoting tourism Manitoba. Yuck, yuck, yuck.
Hey Jared on a different note. get your guitar and a mic and record that song we talked about you writing and send it to me. I'm intrigued!

11:32 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like warm summer rain ... fun things happen in warm summer rain... *sigh* *blush*

9:44 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jared

Sorry I couldn't make it out from Edmonton to see you when you were home....I had to pick a time for my holidays before I knew you were coming out. But I'll definitely try to come down next time you're home.

As for the "spirited energy" motto, I think all that the advertisers did for their $4 million was look up "friendly" in a thesaurus...I would have done that for a mere $2 million ;)

Have fun over there in Africa,
your coz, Tara

4:36 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Jared,
If you would like the opinion of one of the 'elderly' crowd concerning our new Manitoba motto, "No, no,no!!" was my first reaction.....and it hasn't changed!
If they felt the need to take away 'Friendly Manitoba' then WHY did they not consult ANY of our extremely talented high school or university students? It boggles the mind!! I am NOT happy about it.
Louise L.

9:27 p.m.  
Blogger rash said...

Jaderrr!!! (as Ana would say)
happy belated birthday for saturday, looks like a good ole maputo-style riotous one... yayyyy!!!
love and bestest summer greetings to mozambique from us - it's heatwave here in england now... think of africa often and miss the friendly crowds!
say hi to mondli and founder won't you if you see them...


12:47 p.m.  
Anonymous Darci said...

I'm really sad that no one told me that you were bakc until AFTER you were gone already. Would have been nice to see you. Anyway, take care ttys

9:30 p.m.  

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