After dropping our exciting surprise news at the end of our last blog post, we figure we should follow up and let you in on what we’ve been up to in Fort Simpson!
We embarked on our 3.5 hour road trip to Fort Simpson with Terry and her husband Brian (who also works at the Dehcho Divisional Education Council as the Teacher Consultant) on Friday afternoon. The Jaffray’s also made sure we were prepared for any emergency situation by teaching us how to use the satellite phone. Brian even tested us on our satellite phone skills by having us call home (our moms can vouch for us on that one). Brian took the role as our tour guide and made sure we had plenty of stops to stretch our legs, or in other words, soak up the beautiful scenery of the territory. We explored a few hidden creeks and a beautiful waterfall and rapids at Trout River. We even saw some new wildlife friends: Mrs. Mama bear and her two baby cubs!
When we arrived in Fort Simpson, we received a quick tour of the village. Fort Simpson is a regional Centre and has a population of 1,200 – almost double that of Fort Providence! We felt like we were in the big city! We got dropped off at the Sunrise House, where we would be staying for the next 6 nights. We met the house parents, Phoebe and Clinton, and got settled in.
Since most services are closed on weekends, we took Saturday and Sunday to get settled, finish up some documents for Fort Providence, and prepare for the week ahead. Terry had us over to sit in her garden, where we discussed room for potential future program development. She was very enthusiastic and supportive of QHO and helped us come up with some contacts and services that we should contact during the upcoming week to make a community profile. We were also given access to an office in the Education Council building, where we’ve been doing our work and reporting. Brian even helped us print and bind our Fort Providence Program and Resource Manual – a huge milestone! We are excited to bring these back to our contacts in Fort Providence for one final look-through before the program is implemented next spring.
During the week, our goal was to create a community profile that outlines community resources, programs, and health and social issues. We have been very busy these past few days meeting many people and services in Fort Simpson. We met with an officer at the RCMP, the Nurse in Charge and the Health Promotion Officer at the Health Centre, the Community Wellness Worker at the Mental Health and Social Services Centre, the Executive Director of the Friendship Center, and Nancy the Student Support Worker. We also attended a staff meeting at the Thomas Simpson School and had the teachers fill out a survey to gather information about their perspectives on health issues that students face. Although we were here for a very short period of time, we learned a lot about the community. Thank you to all of the people that we had the opportunity to meet!
We were invited to Fort Simpson to seek potential for further expansion of the QHO NWT Initiative and were able to meet many wonderful, hard working individuals who are now important contacts. We are leaving with many new ideas and valuable input and are excited about potential expansion and to see what will be developed in the future!
We are heading back to our home base in Fort Providence for our final two days. While we are looking forward to seeing the familiar faces of our friends, we wish we could post-pone the final goodbyes.
Allie and Lauren