In the early morning of January 18th many of us were hit with jetlag. We were lying awake half of the night not able to sleep. However, our day quickly turned around when we returned to the Västerbotten Museum to bake traditional Sami bread. We went into an unheated cabin with a brick oven which sufficiently heated up the room! We baked with a Sami couple named Carl and Sylvia (which happen to be the names of the king and queen of Sweden). This couple was not married but Sambo which is the Swedish term for what we would call Common- law marriage. At first we watched Carl and Sylvia prepare and bake the bread and then we actually got to make it ourselves which was a really cool experience for everyone.
The bread was compact and slightly chewy so that when the Sami brought it with them on their trips it would be easy to carry and if it sat for a few days it wouldn’t go bad. Sometimes raisons were added to the bread to help add flavor and nutrition.
After the bread baking we had some free time for lunch before our next activity of the day. In the afternoon we went to the Sami Culture Center in Umeå where we met with a lady who told us a little about Sami Parliament and problems the Sami face politically and socially. She talked about different organizations the Sami have to help with social problems such as gender equality. She also talked about how in any election each Sami household gets one vote for every hundred reindeer they own. Also, only the male gets to vote so if the wife has a different opinion she does not get to voice it. She also said that the Sami don’t trust the Swedish government because they have different views on most things because the cultures are completely different. Overall the presentation was informative and a good overview of the Sami lifestyle.
The rest of the day was free time so we took advantage of it to explore the city of Umeå. We got a taste of Swedish culture and got to interact with some Swedes. Then we went back to the hostel to unwind and start to enjoy our first weekend in Sweden.