Every time you do something for the first time, it’s a learning process. Every time you do something with kids for the first time, it’s a recovery process. We consider ourselves pretty active individuals; Andrea runs, does yoga and plays ultimate while being the object of every girl’s dreams keeps Andrew on his toes. However we both agree that teaching kids can make even the most gruelling of physical activities seem like a stroll in the park. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. These nuclear reactor infused miniature humanoids are even more rewarding to teach than they are to handle.
For the last 3 days of the week we wrapped up our unit of physical health with the always entertaining lesson on nutrition. From teaching the 4 food groups to explaining the dangers of diabetes, the kids were all eyes and ears as we did our best to fill their insatiable appetite for knowledge. To give the kids a more tangible lesson we also took them to the local co-op store where we helped the kids read labels and pick healthy alternatives to the teeth rotting, artery clogging junk food that frequent their diet (to those reading we’d like to clear the fact that no matter how fruity a slushy, that is NOT a healthy alternative to a can of coke and that a can of coke has 13 packets of sugar (42g)). That however, wasn’t our secret weapon (refer to previous post). No, our secretest of secret nutrition weaponry in our arsenal of extraordinary spur of the moment ideas was something so out of the ordinary it came back full circle and made itself ordinary again. Yes gentleladies and gentleman, tonight we dine at Qarmartalik School!!!
It was a daunting task. Feeding 60 people is never easy. Having 2 people that don’t cook feed anybody is next to impossible (Andrew has a better shot at being the next Hollywood hulk than he does cooking a half decent meal). Our hours of planning were all for naught as we stared blankly at the short list of recipes we acquired and an even shorter list of available ingredients. As we were about to give up and diet Andrew make scrambled eggs for everyone (the only thing he can make “well”) a few of the older kids came through and offered to teach us how to make caribou stew! Not only that, one of the girls even offered a whole caribou leg! Imbued with new ingredients and some sense to not let Andrew serve 60 eggs worth of omelettes, we fashioned together a complete meal with all 4 food groups and specific dishes for each class to make. In the end we had the kindergartens to grade 3 kids making banana muffins, the grades 4 and 5’s making a veggie and cheese scrambler (yes Andrew got to have his eggs in the end), the grade 7 and 8 making pizza and bannock and the 8-12 making the caribou stew. In our attempt to keep the kids occupied, we had them chopping and dicing every vegetable they could find which made for some rather odd changes to the recipes (caribou stew became onion caribou stew and the veggie pizza became a cooked salad with bread dough, cheese and tomato sauce).
However, through sheer force of will and more blind luck, we and the kids pulled through and our feast at the end of the day was a huge success! The kids loved it and we were also able to try raw caribou meat (quite the delicacy I must say). All in all, it was a great way to end an excellent week!
We finally got a chance to talk to the local nurse who provided great insight on the needs of the community and projects which she thinks will be successful for us to implement. Not only that but the health center has a wealth of resources that will aid us greatly in teaching our remaining heath lessons such as posters and handouts. SCORE!
Over the weekend, the local RCMP officer Maria was kind enough to take us out on the land in her ski-doo which we graciously accepted. The weather was quite brisk (by northern standards that means buttocks tightening cold) but nothing could put out our burning desire to go out on the land and see the north for what it is; a mesmerizing oasis of white, untouched by the struggles of humanity and filled with nature’s purest intentions. It is a beauty unlike any other and gives a sense of peace no meditation can achieve.
Our first week comes to an end but a new week is just peeking around the horizon. Our unit on mental health this week will prove to see whether or not we can take the lessons we learned last week and apply them to teaching this week (hopefully!). While our plans may be many many (senior research project and community education session) we believe our strive for success is more.
Saving the world, one healthy meal at a time,