Dear family, friends, and devoted readers: we are sad to report that this is our last blog post, but we have spent an incredible six weeks in Salluit that we will never forget. Here is an update on our last couple of days in this (still) snowy paradise.
After much preparation, we successfully pulled off our “Salluit Masters” game on Wednesday with the students and teachers at Ikusik. This was a modified version of a scavenger hunt, with “Masters” (ie. teachers) that students had to meet at each location to which their clues lead them. Classes competed against one another, and each had to perform an activity and answer a question for each master before they could receive a clue leading them to the next station. For example, at the Co-op (grocery store) they had to plan a healthy meal with shelf items, including something from each of the four food groups. At the municipality, they answered questions about Salluit’s history. In the culture room at Ikusik, the team had to sit in a circle and compliment the person to their left, and at the community center they had to make a human pyramid and answer two questions from our sexual health lessons. We had a surprisingly great turn out and it was amazing to see the classes working together and running all over town. Students and teachers alike became excited, and extremely competitive! As teachers panted running after their students they asked us if we knew we had spread out the masters all over Salluit intentionally – we joyfully answered that this had indeed been our plan, just to make the students run! To win the game a team had to visit every station, and then be the first team to the top of the hill where we stood waiting. The two winning teams (one primary class and one secondary) were awarded a pizza and ice-cream meal, which they enjoyed the next day with pride!
As for teaching, we taught the remainder of our substance abuse lessons at Ikusik (the high school) and taught an introduction to substances lesson at Pigiurvik (elementary). The lesson at Pigiurvik focused on cigarettes and inhalants, since these are substances that are often a problem for young children in Salluit (its been very difficult to see children as young as 8 years old smoking in town). We also taught a lesson on Substances at the rehab centre, and joined the boys for dinner and games afterwards. It was certainly tough to start saying our goodbyes, but comforting to know QHO Peer Ed’s will be returning next year to continue our lessons.
On Thursday after our last lessons we began preparing for our big thank you meal on Friday. Luckily, two of the teachers and one student gave us a hand; otherwise we would have been there until all hours of the night! On Friday all students, staff and teachers stopped by the school kitchen throughout the day and enjoyed delicious (if we may say so ourselves) macaroni and tomato and meat sauce, grilled-cheese, jello and juice! This was the first time we cooked a meal for approximately 100 people, so our estimates of the amount of food we would need were not quite right. We didn’t have enough grill cheeses, and had enough macaroni for triple the amount of people! Fortunately, we were able to give away all of our left-over food at the end of the day – we’re pretty sure most of Salluit had macaroni for dinner that night.
After an exhausting day of cooking we sat down with Kate (our main community contact) to have a final talk about our project, and the plans we have for the coming years. About 30 minutes into our meeting she told us we had to go to the staff room. When we got there, we were shocked and overwhelmed to see all the teachers and staff had gathered to thank us! We were not expecting this at all and had a hard time holding back our tears. A few spoke about their appreciation for the project and everyone thanked us for our hard work. We were so happy to know that the teachers liked our work and wanted to see it continue in the coming years. We also both received lovely hand made cards with a picture of Salluit, and hand made necklaces with inuksuk charms!
Later that evening, we organized our last official event: Justin Bieber Movie Night. Yes, that’s right Ellie, we were struck with the fever, and decided to show “Never Say Never”. For those of you who don’t know who this is or what this movie is about, where have you been for the past two years? (Just kidding, it’s the biography of a young teenage boy from Stratford who is now a very famous pop star.) After the movie, the kids helped us clean up, and then we joined them for some games outside. We walked around Salluit, played tag on the playground, and even swung a few rocks with the baseball bats as the kids often do here. We then made our way to the Pigiurvik gym to play volleyball and basketball with the older students.
On our last day, we headed back to Ikusik for one last task: putting together the epic QHO resource box that will remain in the library for teachers and future QHO PE’s to use when planning their lessons. Those who know us will not be surprised to hear that this box is a miracle of organization including labelled bags for each subject’s materials, a binder of lesson plans, and a master list describing everything in the box and how it should be used in lessons. We hope these resources will encourage some of the teachers to teach health lessons throughout the year!
Before we say goodbye, we’d like to thank all our blog readers- as without your donations and support we would never have had this incredible experience. We are still trying to process everything that we have done, seen, learned and experienced while in Salluit, but we can agree that this trip will stay in our minds and our hearts forever!
Sad but Satisfied Salluit Sistazz
10 Things we’ll miss about Salluit:
- Being able to walk anywhere and everywhere, but secretly wishing we had a QHO four-wheeler
- The adorable “Eee-lo” phrase that kids repeat constantly (translation: just kidding!)
- Hearing calls of “Hi Melanie!”, “Hi Kathryn!” coming from all directions as we walk through town
- Being asked “Do you have baby?”, “Are you married?” and “Est-ce que tu as amoureux?” on a daily basis (these aren’t typos, that’s how they say it!)
- Snow in June…okay maybe we won’t miss that one as much
- Enjoying seafood so fresh it may still be moving, with our Salluit family – Nathan and Barb
- The Salluit “School bus” that drives around but never seems to pick up any children, or go anywhere near the schools
- Being lost in translation, and wondering whether to greet someone in Inuktitut, French or English!?
- The incredible and untouched land, which we hope to return to someday
- Each and every one of the energetic, kind, funny and warm people we have met (We had to get cheesy, its our last blog!)