The sinful hama beads

Nowadays, it seems like you have to qualify for almost anything you do. Want to drive a car? Study, take tests, get a license. Want to get a job? Study, take tests, get a degree. Want to buy a house? Fill in forms, apply for a loan, get approved. Want to work with children and teenagers? … Actually, it seems no qualification is needed for that.

The gay that didn’t get ironed

At a christian summer camp in Northern Iceland, teenagers were told that the staff would not iron their hama beads because the artwork had the word „gay“ written across it. After a bit of fumbling about, the staff explained to the teenagers that God doesn‘t like homosexuals, and that homosexuality is a sin. Therefore – no hama beads.

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“Watch out for the gays children, they’re trying to make sin seem in.”

It should be noted that the summer camp is run by a small religious group, not connected to the state church of Iceland (who has in the very last years become somewhat tolerant towards queers). Even so, news of the sinful hama beads led to an army of online commenters agreeing with the staff.

I often wonder if the Internet is the best thing that ever happened to humanity, or the worst thing. I think about this when I read comments that can only be categorized as hate speech – sprung from ignorance that is next to incomprehensible at the peak of the information age. Where is all the tolerance we boast about? Where is the progress?

Even though it is very relevant, I won‘t go into all the other things the Bible says it‘s followers must or must not do, and they choose to ignore. After all, the teenagers were not writing things like „education for women“ or „disagree with your parents“ in hama beads. I guess that could have gone ugly.

But I digress.

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It’s amazing how much havoc one hama bed can cause.

The positive thing about the „big hama bead case“ is that according to news, the teenagers argued against the staff‘s perspective. Homosexuality became a hot topic during the camp. Árni Grétar Jóhannsson, the director of Samtökin ’78 (e.The National Queer Organization), said in an interview that it seemed heterosexual teenagers had in the end stood up to defend gays right to exist, against the staff.

And that is a very positive thing. If this is something to expect from most teenagers today, that could just be enough to restore my faith in the human species, every time I accidentally read the comment-section below an article about queer matters. If anything symbolizes progress, it is the voices of these teenagers.

Times are changing and kids are too

„Kids today are kinder than they were,“ my friend Signý said to me a few days ago. Many years ago we had been working together at a different summer camp (we didn‘t have any hama beads at all, as I recall) and she had taken a job there this summer, after going back to school to earn more degrees. I lent her a hand for a couple of days and told her I found it harder now to keep the kids attention, than it was almost 20 years ago.

She pointed out she thought other changes outweighed that one. „They are much more accepting to anyone that‘s different from them. It doesn‘t matter how different someone is, they look past it. That was not the case when we used to work here before. They would outcast anyone they didn‘t identify with immediately.“

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Itn’t it enough to tell kids crazy campire-stories, when they’re at summer camp?

This gave me even more hope.

It later dawned on me that we (me and Signý) didn‘t really have any qualifications to mentor kids at a summer camp. Sure, we‘d both worked with kids before – she had even taught at school – but there wasn‘t a single test we had to take to make sure we weren‘t filling their minds with all kinds of nonsense.

Not that I think we would, but the same goes with the staff that wouldn‘t iron the hama beads. They had no-one to answer to. If they thought they should tell their campers that homosexuality is wrong – nobody would stop them.

(At this point I must say that every staff member at „my“ summer-camp must agree to have their criminal record made accessible, and undergo a state-mandatory seminar that teaches protocol if they suspect a child is exposed to any kind of violence or neglect. I would like to think that the staff at Hama-bead camp has to undergo at least the same routine.)

I don‘t know if the case of the hama beads will affect the summer camp in question. Will the demand for staying there go down next summer? Or will this make the camp more attractive for some? I doubt the religious group will change their believes overnight, so if the camp is still running next year and the subject of homosexuality comes up – perhaps in pottery or woodcarving this time – I think we can predict the staff‘s opinion.

So … and I know I‘m speaking from one side of the table … I guess it‘s up to us parents to get to know the agenda of every institution we consider having our children come in contact with.

Making the difference clear

After being fed up with news in the Icelandic media about how homosexuals are not welcomed in the scouts, another friend of mine, Inga Auðbjörg, had to act. Even thought the news were about Boy scouts of America, she felt it reflected badly on scouts in Iceland, as she felt most outsiders wouldn‘t know the difference.

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The Icelandic Boy and Girl Scout Association stressed its non-discrimination policy by taking part in this years Reykjavík Pride.

While Boy scouts of America is run by a religious group, more or less, the Icelandic Boy and Girl Scout Association (first scout association in the world to include both) has it written in it‘s law that it does not discriminate against anyone, based on „race, skin color, gender, language, religion, political views or other views, nationality, origin, wealth, family, sexual orientation or other reasons.“

„First and most I want it to be absolutely clear that we welcome everybody, unlike Boy scouts of America,“ Inga said in an interview. She used Facebook to get together a group of scouts, borrowed a trailer from a rescue team, got permission from the Association and had an entry in this years Gay Pride, with scouts waving rainbow flags and signs that all pointed to the same message: We do not discriminate.

„Everyone brought a lot to the table and used their talent for the whole thing to work. It was also beautiful to see the consensus for this project within the Icelandic scout movement,“ she added.

Young minds

So, there you have it. Two recent examples where young people have stood their grounds and spoke up when they felt it was the right thing to do.

In the beginning, I meant to write about how a young mind is a fragile thing, and how we should all try to shield our young people from exposure with discrimination, like queer-phobia, racism, etc.

But, the more I look at these two examples, I realize I got it the wrong way around. I probably don‘t even need to worry about the future. Our young are not in the back, being guarded by an army of us (as Björk would put it). It‘s them guarding the fortress. It‘s them at the front lines, convincing the opponent it‘s time to end the war.
.. With hama beads.

Top that!

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Maybe its not the younger generation we need to worry about.

 

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us


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