Spring has sprung here in Pond and we have traded in our Sorels for rainboots. This also means we have to actually walk on the roads as cutting across the fields and yards results in being swallowed by the melting slush which is thigh deep! It has been a very busy and eventful week, although it started off with a lovely long weekend. Last Friday we went out on the land for the first time with the teachers to meet the senior high students who were on a 5 day camping trip. We travelled two hours by Qamuttik to get there and it was completely white-out most of the way. It felt like we were in a snow globe because you could barely see 10 feet in front. Nevertheless, Emma managed to spot a giant seal on the way! At the campsite we found a real live igloo that the students had made which was the coolest thing of all time. On the way home the weather cleared so we got our fair share of wind/sun burn on our faces but it was beautiful all the same. When we stopped for lunch we discovered an amazing cave which was covered in ice crystals. They were yummy too!
The rest of the weekend was spent doing the usual: walking around town, lesson planning galore, hanging out with the fam, and eating loads. Highlights were going to brunch with Alice and Ely at the hotel and Ellie receiving the Justin Bieber (note to Webequie, careful with your spelling) movie in the mail which we enjoyed over a carton of Ben and Jerry’s. We are showing it at the school tonight, the girls are really excited! And by girls we mean Ellie.
This week we tackled mental health with the grade 7 and 8’s – taught bullying, anger management, conflict resolution, and peer pressure – which was challenging material, but we got some great questions and they loved our skits. We are glad we had the time to teach this unit as we could tell the kids really wanted to hear about these topics, especially bullying and peer pressure. Besides this we have been keeping up with girls basketball, art club, walking club, bracelet/nail polish club, hip hop and we’ve added a new one – fiddle practice! Emma discovered that a bunch of the kids can play the violin and since the teacher who usually runs the program is very pregnant (Julia!) she was happy to pass it over for the rest of the year. This was a great discovery and Emma was uber impressed with how good the kids were! The kids were pretty stoked with her skills too. In the mean time, Ellie wrestled boys for beads.
Our most exciting news this week is that we kicked off our leadership course with the senior students. For 9 days, 3 hours per day, we have 8 students ranging from grade 9-12 who we are teaching health leadership to, with a focus on confidence building and the importance of being a good role model. We are now three days in and although we were a bit nervous at first we are really happy with how it is going! Some of the kids are very shy but we have already seen a change in them as they slowly break out of their shell. Our lessons have covered leadership, role models, communication, cooperation, diversity, initiative, gossiping, and community issues. Alice’s granddaughter Alex came in one afternoon to speak to them as she is a great example of a young leader and positive role model in the community. Today we are going to start practicing lessons because on Monday we are going to the elementary school Ulaajuk to teach about smoking and bullying – mini-QHO right here in Pond! The pictures we included are of one game for cooperation in which we taped their wrists together in a circle. They loved this one! The other photo is of us playing the “laughing game” – ha ha ha ha. Emma and Ellie were obviously the worst at not laughing! Anyway, we are so pumped that we got the opportunity to work so closely with these older kids, and even more so when we realized how enthusiastic they were about wanting to make a difference with the younger kids in the community and help raise a healthy generation.
In other news, we have now tried a few more Arctic treats such as raw caribou and narwhal! Ommm num num. And Sarah and Emily will be proud to know we have only eaten one can of tuna (Emma) and no chickpeas as of yet! Just over two weeks to go now which is a very sad thought, so we’ll forget about that for now and continue to make the most of the time we have in this wonderful place!
6 lbs of trailmix down 2 lbs to go,
Erm & Eam