Janice's journey

This biography is made based on the diary of a young woman who lived in many years in Denmark before she went on a holiday at her birthmother’s county. Her values and morale is based on her upbringing in Denmark which some might consider offending. However in order to truly understand how she experienced her stay in the United States the cultural influences has to be considered a major contributor to her choices both before, under and after her stay.

Second the names of individual youth transport firms, wilderness programs and boarding schools are not mentioned. It is not a question about being for or against various companies offering emotional growth. It is strictly a story about how Janice as she has chosen to call herself experienced a number of incidents which left life changing marks on her adult life.

This biography is co-authored because Janice wanted to have her story published in both Danish and English.


14. The girl they called horse

Mormon handcart? What is it?


The many years ago the Mormons moved to Utah. Actually, they had settled in Ohio and Missouri, but a bank failure forced them to Illinois. Here they were not very fond of the free press and destroyed a printing machine because a journalist had written critically about them. Missing their morning paper local people became angry and lynched the leader. Soon after the Mormons took the big step and literally walked to Utah. They did not use animals, but pulled wagons with their outings. There are lots of pictures of these carts on the internet if you search for them.


All this took place around year 1850, but in 2006 I stood in front of such a vehicle without quite understanding why it would be an idea to throw all our backpacks up on the wagon in order to pull it all which were weighing more than twice as much as the backpacks together. That would triple the weight to be moved.


But the order was given. Because I had the lowest status on the team it was me who had to pull the wagon and the others who were pushing. It was difficult to estimate how the weight should be distributed. I didn’t take long before I hung up in the air without grounding.


They managed to adjust the location of the backpacks and my feet touched the ground again. We counted to 3 and I pulled while the other students pushed. The cart moved very slightly. Peter and Leslie also pushed on and the carriage increased its speed. The trick was to keep it running. But it was also constant concentration on keeping the weight evenly distributed. I had people behind the wilderness program suspected of having been made a special version of the car which was unstable. I also believe that they hadn’t lubricated greased the wheel hubs because the cart whined constantly.


Sweat almost blinded me when it ran down over my face. Leslie walked up beside me and held a water bottle so I could get something to drink while I pulled the thing. An hour maybe two went by. Watches were banned so it was difficult to tell. It felt like an eternity.


When I finally was allowed to let go of the cart I almost collapsed on the spot. It had been hard work. Everything hurt. Everything!


When lunch was over they wanted me to pull the wagon again. I refused. The guides approached me with the intention twisting my arms. I could see it in their faces. Suddenly Peter stopped and might have decided that dialogue might be a better approach than a confrontation. "Janice. Why you fail team? Can you not see that we are all trying to back you up pushing the cart? We provide our part; I believe that you should think about why you don’t do your part of the job.” 


It was not how I saw it. I pulled the damn car. But Leslie reminded me that I am not able to get the vehicle going by myself. It was the group including the guides who had given the vehicle the final push. I was selfish when I just kind of resigned from the group because I was a bit sore. I could get fifteen minutes to think about it in. If I didn’t reconsider they may have to use harsher methods. May an individual treatment for some days would do the trick.


I did not want to pull the wagon forward, but on the other side then I remembered the last time they angry my wrist joints and I had only heard awful things about individual treatment. So I went back to the cart. I could hardly walk, but the group pushed and after some pushing and pulling the cart moved again.


We continued throughout the day until it was time to camp. After the meal Leslie would let the group evaluate the day. She spoke highly of the value in understanding that we all are individual beings, but we are also parts of communities in school, sports and family. We need to think about how we relate to each other. Do we offer the community something or do we have constant have No-hat on.


Without any of us had noticed Brad popped up. It was somehow annoying to know that there virtually out of nowhere could show people, drinking bottles, supplies and vehicles up. Were we a part of a reality show? Were there in fact plenty of cameras out there? Sad people in their living room and voted on whether we would be allowed to leave the wilderness program?


Brad spoke. "Janice. Today you have shown that you can do more than you think possible. Here on the wilderness program, all students are given Indian name because this place used to be blog to native Indians who travelled these wide landscapes. Your Native American name is “The Untamed Horse”. You are strong, very strong but you are also stubborn. Congratulations; You are now one step closer getting voted up to the Eagle level ".


The others in the group stood up and applauded me. I did not understand the name. Was I untamed? I didn’t consider me headstrong? Had I not been a part of their dirty games when I attacked Robert? Had not agreed to pull the wagon forward simply because I did not want to risk getting hurt by the guides?


Although I had gotten a tormentor of my back and allegedly learned something about teamwork, I was still unable to leave the wilderness program. For that I had to rely on help from above.

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