14 March 2008
Since the season has been over, I've decided it's about time to get out and see some more of this special little town and its surroundings! Thanks to Frida's mother, I now have a bike to get around on. I've been skipping the bus when its not too rainy, and using two wheels to get into Jonkoping and around town here in Huskvarna. There are many paths through nature. I specifically love the one that rides along the border of Lake Vatten. Sometimes a bit windy with waves actually crashing against the shore; on calmer days, the ride proves to be quite peaceful with a welcome sense of majesty.
On Thursday I visited the Match Stick Museum... Sweden is the proud inventor of the first safety match. Back in the 1800s and early 1900s, Jonkoping was home to the most bustling match-making factories in the world! They supplied matches for millions of people and continue to make matches today (though with the advent of electricity, the demand for matches greatly decreased). Within this museum, a bonus exhibit was displayed: "China Girl." China Girl is an exhibit completed by a Swedish artist that serves to reveal and heighten awareness about today's problem of disappearing girls in China. Due to a number of contributing factors, millions of girls are lost by abortions, abandonment, or murder. Across the planet, the normal ratio of boys to girls is 105-to-100; however, in certain provinces of China, the ratio is 130-to-100. Wow! A Chinese saying goes like this, "Having a girl is like watering your neighbor's garden." What?! This is crazy sexism, and it is not stuff of the past. This is happening now. TODAY. Much much much life is lost. How can this be? If you link through the title of this post, you can reach some photos, one of which captures the text of the "China Girl" exhibit. Worth a read. Please.
I also had the chance to explore the Husqvarna Fabriksmuseum (http://www.hkv-hbf.f.se/husqvarna/inf_sv.html). Beginning in 1689 and continuing successfully to this day, Husqvarna produces or has produced a diverse range of items including firearms, ovens, motorcycles, chainsaws, bicycles, mopeds, boat motors, sewing machines, and more. The 160m tall waterfall outside the factory and museum was one of the original reasons why Huskvarna was chosen to be location of the factory. Using the great force from this water, the water power enabled great productivity. Today the company has over 16,000 employees, though the majority of the manufacturing is actually now completed in the U.S. On my way out of the museum I met a man that has worked with Husqvarna for over 50 years. He is now retired, but provides factory tours to interested groups. When he was young he worked in the manufacturing division of the company and then eventually moved over to help direct buying and selling; his father worked at the factory too. A really nice guy full of lots of Husqvarna stories. He has a trip planned to Nashville, TN - he loves country music!
Well, that's a little recap of my most recent adventures around town. In a few more days I will be headed to Ireland! I cannot wait to reunite with some of my fellow counselors I worked with this past summer, but I too am enjoying my last few days in Huskvarna, Sweden. Gimme a shout and have a super weekend!!