The ABC’s of Salluit

A is for Annie Alaku – On Tuesday we invited Annie, a community elder and past principal, to return to Ikusik School and talk to the students about physical and sexual abuse. First, she spoke to the older students, and then to the grade 5 & 6 students. Thanks to the translations by an Inuk teacher sitting next to us, we were very lucky to be a part of this moving presentation. She spoke from personal experience and from the heart when she talked to the students about these subjects. Given the cultural differences, these were difficult subjects for us to approach and to teach, so we were fortunate that she accepted our invitation, and gave such an incredible talk. It is one of our goals to connect students to community members who can support them long after we have left Salluit, so we feel this presentation was a great success!

With Annie after her amazing presentations.

B is for Bannock – Following Annie’s presentation we had planned to cook Bannock with the cooking class, but our Bannock expert (the school guidance counsellor) was nowhere to be found! We asked the students if any of them knew how to make the bread, and a couple reluctantly shrugged, so we figured we would give it a try. As the kids started pilling ingredients into the bowl we became more and more horrified. These ingredients included: half a pack of lard, loads of flour, tons of baking powder and WAY too much salt (note: it seems to be a somewhat adaptable recipe, so it may be that the kids were just feeling particularly creative that day). We also added cinnamon and raisins to one batch – the students really looked at us funny when we did that! I don’t think it was up to their standards, as they didn’t eat much of it and laughed a lot. Meanwhile, we couldn’t stop eating our somewhat delicious creation!

C is for Climb (number two!) –  After our dance on Saturday (see D below) that lasted until 2am, we had a much needed sleep in, followed by another hike in the Salluit tundra. Although we were quite tired, we thought it was a great opportunity to accomplish our hiking goal: to conquer the second of the two mountains that enclose Salluit in a valley. In our 4.5 hour hike we saw two gorgeous hawks, some geese and the ever incredible landscape. In some places the snow was still solid and untouched, and in others we could start to see the tundra flora. By the end of the day we were quite exhausted, but glad we’d dragged ourselves out of bed!

D is for Dance – Our dance this Saturday was a great success! We had the grade 5 and 6 students’ dance from 8:30 to 10:30pm, and then the older students from 10:30 to 1:30am. In total we had about 90 students attend! Throughout the night, the IPL class from Ikusik graciously prepared and sold food – including homemade donuts and cinnamon buns. It was a good thing we were dancing the whole night! We were also very lucky to have Charlie, a recent graduate of Ikusik, as our DJ for the night. In both dances, the Macarena, the beach balls we brought, and a game called Jack/Queen/King were a big hit. It was surprising to see that a lot of the kids did not know how to do the Macarena, and they clearly liked it as they kept asking to play it again. We were especially happy when they asked to the play the song for the hip hop dance we have been teaching them in our weekly hip hop classes, and some of them even joined us in doing the dance. In the Jack/Queen/King game the music plays and when it stops I would scream “Jack”, “Queen” or “King”. From there the paired students need to get into a certain position – jack is piggy-back, queen is sit on the other’s knee while they are on one knee and king is sit on the other’s back while the other is on all fours. It’s a competition therefore they have to get into the position as fast as possible and the last pair is eliminated. It was quite a funny show to see! We gave out Queen’s t-shirts and lanyards as prizes. As mentioned in our last post, it is true that although everyone loves “discos” as they are called, very few actually dance. They mostly walked in circles around the gymnasium and played with the beach balls. But as most of you know, Kathryn and I love to dance, so we ended up dancing alone and trying to convince the kids to dance for most of the night. We did manage to get a few dancing – and by dancing we mean they usually just laughed and imitated how we danced (great!). All in all we had a great time and think the kids did too, as they kept asking us when the next one was going to be! In other dance related news, we had our third hip hop class today and are very proud of our dedicated dancers! 

Sweaty but happy at the end of the dance!          

We have run out of letter ideas, but other activities this week include our Nutrition lessons at Pigiurvik, a second girls night, and a second lesson at the Rehab Centre! At Pigiurvik we taught several classes on nutrition with the help of various translators. These lessons included a game to sort out foods into the four food groups, having the kids draw their favourite meals including something from each group, and making delicious trail mix! Our Monday ended with girl’s night which we had planned for the high school girls. We couldn’t help but feel a little down when only four girls showed up, but we still had a great time. We watched “Stick It”, made muffins and popcorn, and painted our nails! On Tuesday our second lesson at the Rehab Centre focused on puberty, sex, pregnancy and condoms. The boys were all smirks and giggles at first, but calmed down and participated intently afterwards. From there, we went back to Ikusik to join in on a staff meeting. This was a great opportunity, as we were able to outline our long term goals for the QHO project in Salluit, and some of our ideas for future initiatives at Ikusik (these include a leadership program, and a QHO resource box in the library). We finished off the day with a great work out in the gymnasium, and a delicious dinner cooked by the IPL students!

This week we are also starting Substance Abuse lessons. Valuable advice from community members has allowed us to focus on the substances most relevant in Salluit, including Alcohol and Inhalants. As the weekend approaches we are beginning to make plans for our final week, which has come far too quickly! 

Northern Love, 

Salsa-ing Sistazz 


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