Roland Schoepf’s Musings

June 8, 2014

Correction: Voyageur Across North America in a Birchbark Canoe

Filed under: Uncategorized — schoepf @ 7:00 pm



In case you read or plan to read the book by Robert Twigger about his bold and adventurous Voyageur Canoe trip up and over the Rocky Mountains, I want to clarify the story Robert shares about me, my work with the Stoney Indians, and more-so my relationship with Frank Kaquitts (Sitting Wind).   I want to set the record straight.  Frank Kaquitts never did me wrong.  When I was referring to a breakdown in my relationship with someone whom I was working with on the reserve – I was talking about someone else.   Frank got somehow mixed into the story and it sounds like Frank let me down.  It was not like that at all.  Frank was great!  He was a jewel!

I had the privilege to meet Frank back in 1991.  I went down to the Stoney Reserve to speak to the man who was behind the book “The Song and the Silence – Sitting Wind” a book written by Peter Jonker and published by Lone Pine Publishing, 1988.  It is a book about the Life of Stoney Indian Chief Frank Kaquitts.

I might share some stories about that experience, but for now all I can say is that Frank was a good guy and he never let me down.  I would tell Robert himself that there was some confusion about the story I shared with him, but the book has already gone to print.


September 24, 2006

India in Perspective

Filed under: Travels — schoepf @ 8:25 pm

2 years ago I was in India, and happened to go to the orphanage that Mother Theresa started.  I even met “Lucy” (I’m not totally sure of her name but I think that is what her name was) the first handicapped girl that Mother Theresa had ever taken in off the street. I think she has cerebral palsy. She is severely disfigured and although she is now in her mid thirties she doesn’t look a day over 14. “Lucy” is well cared for and enjoys a life full of love and joy and happiness.  Her bed is crude.  There are pieces of board holding her from falling off the bed.  All around her are children of different disabilities and different ages laying down, touching each other, or laying with outstretched hands for a passing sister.  Some of the people in my group were crying, it was an emotional experience for all of us. 


And yet it only struck me later, that “Lucy” has been in that orphanage almost her entire life. To think that the goal of an orphanage is to find children loving homes. To think that no one in the entire world had come forward to adopt her made me realize just how profound Mother Theresa’s life and mission really was. To see her there laying on a bed surrounded by sisters who love and care for her demonstrated to me that “Lucy” had indeed found a home amongst the Sisters of Mercy. The experience of being there in the orphanage after touring some of the poorest places in India, demonstrated to me just how radical this Christian faith of ours really is.  That in the face of unimaginable need, Mother Theresa decided to hold fast to the people of India and attempted to make a difference in the face of staggering odds offering that which she could.  The warmth and affections of love and compassion.  What a contrast to the slum communities that we had toured where children were crying and begging for handouts and then beaten up or simply robbed by others around them as soon as one responded with some money or with the gift of a trinket.


The experience also brought to light the telling example of how we as Christians fail Christ daily.  Mother Theresa’s priorities were not to amass a fortune, nor have the Sisters of Mercy enjoyed much financial gain from Mother Theresa’s notoriety. The building they use is still overcrowded and falling apart in disrepair.  Some point to the Catholic church and suggest that they are skimming the money for other projects.  And yet from what I saw the orphanage wasn’t hindered by the dirty walls or the confined conditions because what I had experienced was the warmth and generousity of the sisters.  Yes the children had nothing, and yet there was joy there. 


The Sisters had asked us not to give the children any candy.  For an outsider (like the High Commissioner of Italy who toured the facility the same time we were there) this rule seemed cruel.  And so the delegation members started shoving candy into the children’s outstretched hands.  One of the sisters pointed out later that although giving candy to the children might seem like a nice thing to do, the lack of toothbrushes and toothpaste made for some pretty nasty cavities.  It’s funny how different the perspectives are between an outsider who simply steps into this environment to judge how the children are being cared for, and how that contrasts with the needs and concerns for the children from those who work with the children day in and day out.  The Sisters live out their mission in this world by bringing happiness into the lives of children who normally might not have ever known the gift of love.  Love isn’t found in clean sparkling walls or marble fountains; it is found in the heart, in the embrace, and in the gentle touches of affection.


And so through Mother Theresa I too was given a truly and profound gift. In the simple rubbing of my knuckle on the back of Lucy’s hand, (something that the Sisters told me to do), I received a lasting and enduring gift; the gift of a cackle, a squeal, and a smile from a person had once experienced the love of Mother Theresa.


July 22, 2006

Hello world!

Filed under: Travels — schoepf @ 5:55 pm

Hello Everyone! A considerable amount of time has passed since I was running Moon Shadow Adventures and working at Totem Outdoor Outfitters in Edmonton, Alberta. Although transitioning is always difficult I enjoy what I am doing. Working as a sales representative has given me opportunities to travel the world and see places here in Canada that few people have opportunities to see. It also has allowed me to maintain friendships and create new friendships of people all across Canada! Thanks for those of you who find yourselves stumbling onto my blog site! Welcome!

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