Jennifer Wyatt is a professional musician who, after (and during!) a wonderful career as a singer/songwriter Celtic harp player, and after raising two lovely daughters (Rachael and Rhiannon) with her husband Sean, decided to go back to school and get her education degree from Mount Saint Vincent University. She was fortunate enough to do one month of her practicum in Nunavut and this is her story...
Thursday, March 24, 2011
It was a really warm day today. Only -10 and very sunny. After dinner Frances and Lisa (the school tech teacher) asked me if I wanted to join them at "sewing night". "Why not?" I thought, so we headed downtown. I had to take a picture of Sheba, the high school principal's dog on the way by- she has the most incredible eyes!
On the way we took a short cut over the hill by some sled dogs. Frances assured me that they couldn't get over to the path, but I kept my distance anyway. They were absolutely gorgeous- Strong and proud.
As we walked through the town, lots of people were out and about. They all said hi and a few of the kids recognized me from the school. There is a constant hum of skidoo engines in town. It's much more likely to see a skidoo than a car on the road, and they go at ridiculously high speeds! Down by the store seems to be a local hangout and the boys try to impress by spinning doughnuts.
The children were all out playing. It was great to see them sledding, running, playing hide and go seek, tag etc. It made me realize again how important community is. I remember when our girls were little and we used to have community soccer games. Everyone played... parents, big kids, little kids. And no one kept score.
I think we could all learn something from Cape Dorset about community.
We walked past the store and the high school and came to the door of the community centre. As we entered I started thinking the whole community must be in there! They were having a "penny sale" to raise money for a community member who was in the hospital in Iqaluit. Lots of the kids from our school were there, and they all came over to give me a hug. I met many parents and sisters and brothers of my kids as I took a walk around the community hall. I could have stayed there all night, but the sewing club was about to begin, so I headed to the sewing room.
Inside were several elders (Hopi from schol included!) and they were helping people make traditional parkas. I settled in to learn how to do it and for the next two hours there was a steady stream of visitors and sewers. It was a wonderful night.
Reki and Hopi are sisters, and they seemed to be in charge. They helped people find patterns, cut out pieces, choose trim, and just generally have fun. I only caught the gist of what was going on, since everyone was speaking in Inuktitut, but they made me feel incredibly welcome.
Tomorrow we're having a fun fair at the school in the afternoon and on Saturday there is another penny sale to raise money for the school book fair.
It strikes me that here, in the middle of nowhere, with so few people, I have met more new friends and been involved in more community activities than I ever am at home. These folks sure know how to make people feel at home!