There were no borders within me This morning I wake up and the word that comes to me is "border." For those who dream of a world without borders, I would invite you to be patient. I was born 24 kilometers from Ontario. On Rural Road 7, which is now Route 388 in Duparquet, the last village before the border. Men came and went from lumber or mining jobs. We never talked about borders. The word was not [...]

By |2020-01-23T07:01:19-05:00November 3rd, 2019|Caucase, Reflecting|Comments Off on Borders

First week

  My life unrolls before me  I am settled in this city already. I live near the market, I make my breakfast, tea. No coffee maker. I have to learn to make a good Turkish coffee. They still offer Nescafe. I had forgotten it existed. I also forgot about cigarettes and men and women smoke in important quantity.  A busy week. I have had meetings all week. 3 x at the UN, 1 x at the University, 1 [...]

By |2020-01-13T04:13:04-05:00October 29th, 2019|Caucase, Georgian|Comments Off on First week

No walls in Kiribati

A house without walls when all houses have no walls In Kiribati I lived in a house without walls and it was such a moving act to lie down on a mat next to the others with the full moon as our blanket. For those who live in cold countries, this exercise might be difficult but, by closing our eyes, we can imagine life in a house without walls, then life in a country where all [...]

By |2017-06-20T15:33:36-04:00June 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on No walls in Kiribati

Searching for a family – Karanataka

Mysore, I was advised to look for a family who cultivated sugar cane. As India is still 70% rural, I needed to know who cultivated what, where and when, before making my choice of a family. I could choose Karnataka, known for its sugar cane farming or if preferred, visit a family growing rice in Tamil Nadu. "Yes, yes there will be families who grow sugar cane in this village," I was assured at the Farmer's Science Center, "we know [...]

By |2017-01-27T10:23:27-05:00January 15th, 2016|India|Comments Off on Searching for a family – Karanataka

Picking Tobacco in Moldova

Picking Tobacco in Moldova The earlier they reach the tobacco fields the more tobacco will be picked and the more money they will earn for their family. Three quarters of the Leka family’s income will be earned during the next two months. Eugenia does not make it onto the first bus this morning, as she usually does. She waits, knowing she will have to work faster in order to come home with her usual harvest of 450 [...]

Preserving Sami Culture

Josef and Laila Buljo, reindeer herders, raise their children, (Anne Laila, Risten and Aslak) in Norway.  They are serious about educating them within Sami culture. They are raising them to be free and teaching them to discuss everything. In Sami society male and female roles are clearly defined to make sure the families can be self-sufficient. During the summers, when the sun never sets, the women work hard to ready their familes for winter. Laila scrapes reindeer hides clean; she [...]

By |2017-01-27T10:23:34-05:00June 11th, 2015|Blog, Blog, Blog, Blog, Blog, Blog, Blog, Blog, Blog|Comments Off on Preserving Sami Culture

Thinking of you in Solomons

This morning my mind is in The Solomon Islands as there has been a tsunami alert after an strong earthquakes.  I look to the map and hope Isabel Island is far enough form the Santa Cruz islands for my family to be safe.Like if it was yesterday: A day in Nareabu... 6:00 The church keeper beats on an empty gas canister hanging from a breadfruit tree. The Fihu family rise quickly, put on their church clothes and quietly join the [...]

By |2017-01-27T10:23:34-05:00February 6th, 2014|Reflecting|Comments Off on Thinking of you in Solomons


I have lived with families in 116 countries in the last 30 years. Here is a first outlook on my comparative research: Families of the world:   Houses of the world:   Going IN: Note:  There are scripts, statistics, other photos and I am now looking for computer experts to help me bring to life these research. If you would like to get involved  in web design and web content, please contact me (Helene tremblay)  at  It would [...]

By |2017-01-27T10:23:34-05:00November 19th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Families

Communal house

Democracy “Ritang, take the baby,” says Grandmother. She goes to sit in front of her old rotting house and starts weaving pandanu leaves. Her own house badly needs repairs, but the leaves she weaves this morning are for the maneaba, the village’s large meeting house, where all decisions are made, in the presence of the elders. 10 am – Bakea goes to the maneaba with her neighbour, both women pulling their piece of leaf work for the roof repairs. [...]

By |2017-06-20T14:30:08-04:00October 25th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Communal house


   Back in 1986, in the Matsuo family…   Takako,  feels responsible for her children’s future, and she measures her worth by their success.  She believes her nurturing and encouraging them will instil in her children the confidence and self-worth necessary to survive the rigors of their educational life.   That day, at 7h30, after dinner, Takako removes the cover from the bathtub.  The water she ran one hour before is still hot.  After she and the two children shower, they [...]

By |2017-01-27T10:23:35-05:00March 19th, 2011|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Yokohama
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