We flew out of Salluit 16 days ago, and it has been 15 and a half days since we started missing it. It is hard to believe such an incredible experience is over, and while 46 days does not seem like a long time in the grand scheme of things, it is one we will never forget. It was a priviledge to work with and get to know the students, teachers, elders, healthcare workers and community members of this beautiful community. It is hard to describe our appreciation, but we will try to do so in the following list. Here goes:
To the teachers and staff of Ikusik secondary school and Pigiurvik primary school: thank you for the encouragement, patience, freedom and feedback you gave us in and outside of the classroom, as we worked and re-worked things to make the project better (sometimes successfully, sometimes…not). We could not have accomplished anything without your support!
To the teachers and staff at Sapummivik Rehabilitation Center: thank you for the opportunity you gave us to deliver our material to a smaller, boys-only audience. We really appreciate that you participated in our lessons through thick and thin, good and bad, awkward and… more awkward. (Teaching sexual health to one 13 boy was certainly an experience)
To Marie-Helene and the students of the Qaunnaq Adult Education Center: thank you for giving us such a unique and challenging opportunity in developing a program for your students to teach the kids at the Tasiursivik daycare. We are so excited that this partnership will allow us to reach so many young children, and that it does so in a sustainable way. We are also very thankful for the bannock you managed to score us, all of which was devoured in a couple of days.
To the doctors, nurses, midwives and staff of the Nursing Center: thank you for all your support and guidance, as well as your generosity in lending us materials! Sexual Health Education would not have been the same without the…props…you lent us. Thank you as well to two people at Social Services and the Department of Youth Protection for giving us important insight, reality checks and help in or outside of the classroom.
To the staff of the Community Center: thank you for being so welcoming to two Qalunaq looking to organize events and play some floor hockey. We had a great time!
To the members of the Church: thank you for being so considerate, warm and welcoming to us during our Sunday visits. The songs and singing are truly beautiful, even though we didn’t understand a word.
Thank you as well to the various members of the community who took us out on the land (AMAZING), invited us for bbq’s, gave us directions or gave us a ride, and made us feel welcome and at home in Salluit.
To Barb and William: what can we say…great homestay hosts who turned into even better friends, we could not have asked for more.
Finally, thank you to all the students and kids of Salluit. We hope you guys learned half as much from us as what we learned from you. Thank you for listening and for speaking up, for asking questions, for coming to our events and for inviting us to yours, for teaching us Inuktitut (and lying about what half the words meant…nottttt eeeeveeeen) and the ways of the north. Thank you for playing hockey, basketball, dodgeball, volleyball, elimination and Saputiit (questionable spelling) with us. Thank you for making us smile and laugh every day (and for making us cry sometimes too). Thank you for making it worth our time. We are so happy and lucky that we met every single one of you. We will not forget you guys!!
Nakurmiik, thank you, for everything.
Blake & Liz