Fish, Bears, and the Great Big North

Hey everyone!

Long time, no blog, but we’re back and ready to tell you what we’ve been up to the last two weeks! We’ve finished off our third and fourth weeks of teaching, covering puberty, sexual health, and healthy relationships with the grades 4-8. This is always a fun time, as the kids are super interested in learning about changes going on in their own bodies as well as their peers of the opposite sex. With the younger grades, we’ve been doing character building, focusing on friendship and honesty, as well as the benefits of physical activity on our health. Every day is jam-packed with four full-hour blocks of teaching, sports at lunch, as well as hanging out at the community center after school on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. This past Thursday was an extra special and long day, as we had our Boys-to-Man-a-Thon! This consisted of sports like hockey, capture-the-flag, a last-man-standing balloon competition, and the most ridiculous, whip-cream, skittle, balloon, push-up, and arm-wrestling relay challenge of all time. The night was a bit hectic managing 21-boys from grades 2-8, but it was a ton of fun! A big shout out to all the teachers and the bus-driver Tommy who helped us keep those energetic boys under control and get them home safely. With such busy weeks, we always find some time to relax and unwind on the weekends.

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The craziest relay race ever.

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Arm-wrestling Elaine when none of the kids could beat Aaron.

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Enjoying the dinner and prizes.     

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Spaghetti, spaghetti, spaghetti!

Over the May long-weekend, we kept busy with some lesson-planning and baby-sitting for one night. One of our main contacts and a Crolancia teacher, Brent, took us camping and fishing for the rest of the weekend in Mud Lake. (You may or may not have noticed that we’ve mentioned Brent quite a few times so far in our blog posts! He has been an invaluable resource in both Pickle and Mish, and we’ve been so thankful for all of his help thus far on project.) Although we didn’t catch any fish, we definitely enjoyed the warm weather and the beautiful scenery. We were also quite adventurous and decided to jump in some quite literally freezing cold lake water!

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Standing on literally freezing water, crazy thing is, the ice was gone by the next day!

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Aaron trying his hand at fishing.

The following weekend was spent camping with the Junior Canadian Rangers in Lac Seul. The JCR’s mandate is to teach practical skills through activities which promote traditional cultures and lifestyles to youth living in remote and isolated communities, such as Pickle Lake and reserves like Mishkeegogamang. This weekend was spent fishing, playing capture-the-flag, learning how to fire a sling-shot, and getting sun-burnt. More importantly, Aaron caught a fish, well more like 5 fish (three walleye, and two pike). We also got the chance to see six bears on the drive to and from Lac Seul, so definitely a weekend well spent.

 

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Stunning view of Lac Seul, a community 3 hours northwest of Pickle Lake.

This week, school is cancelled from Monday to Wednesday, so we’re making visits during the day to the smaller communities surrounding the main reservation (Eric Lake and Ten Houses) to play sports and hang out at the playground. We can’t wait to see the kids again though at school. They’re definitely a rambunctious, fun group. Here are some of our favourite and funny experiences we’ve had with them thus far:

  1. After teaching the benefits of physical activity to the kindergarten and grade 1 classes, we couldn’t walk down the primary hall-way without seeing hoards of the little ones mouthing the words to our “heart, and muscles, bones, and brain” song. Definitely made our day that week!
  1. Our puberty lessons went over well, judging by the sets of wide-eyed, attentive boys and girls sitting in our classes. A fan-favourite was the “penis” game in which the boys got out their giggles as well as got comfortable with the topic by saying the word one-by-one, getting louder and louder as they go. Our question box gave us some unanimous positive feedback about this particular teaching activity.
  1. The kids are tough as nails! Within our last month of sports (which can get rough at times), we’ve seen little to no tears. They are definitely a strong bunch!

 

That’s it for now, Miigwetch (aka, thank you in Ojibway) for reading!

We’ll talk to you soon,

Aaron and Elaine

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