This morning we woke in the familiar bay of Clyde River where a thick layer of fog had settled over the remote community. Today was dedicated to our cultural exchange and interaction with the Inuit members of this community. As we rehearsed the slide show presentation that we would give, Mike taught us many valuable public speaking skills. To be able to speak well in front of people is a skill that we will be able to use in all the aspects of our lives and a skill that we can continuously improve on.
Our expedition doctor, Gaynor Prince, ran through a basic First Aid Course with us. A brief description reminded us of what we had learnt at the Selection Camp. We went over triangular bandages, CPR and using different dressings to heal wounds. We would later give this brief course to interested members of the community so we kept it simple, but informative and effective.
After a delicious lunch on board we left for shore to start a part of our expedition’s project that we have been planning since before the Selection Camp. We walked the muddy streets to round up many people we may find.
We gathered an interested audience and set up in the Community Centre. We briefly introduced ourselves and gave the presentation which told them about what we have been up to over the past 10 days and explained the YEP. We discussed how through our studies of the Arctic environment we have learnt about the effects of climate change and this is a topic that they can relate to as their lives have been directly impacted by the warming climate. They were particularly interested in the sailing vessel and what life is like on the boat.
We then split up into two groups to give the First Aid course. Thanks to Rici and Valentin we were able to hand out 11 kits to the interested Inuit teenagers. We also had the chance to learn more about their own traditional medicines and methods. It was fascinating to hear that in the Inuit culture when someone is passed out you may not cross their body from their shoulders up. This is considered as killing the person. It is important that the Inuit keep these traditions and we emphasized that we were there to share what we know but also to learn from them.
Our next social interaction activity was a game with the elders of the community. We rushed to the Family Resource Centre to find the friendly senior citizens who welcomed us warmly. It was a great feeling to see that our appearance was truly appreciated. We joined in a favourite game called Aturat. Everyone kneels in a circle with 4 circulating die. In the middle of the circle is a heap of goodies. These are considered the prizes and consist of anything from a roll of toilet paper to a square of cheese. If when you roll the die you roll the number 2 you may leap into the middle and claim a prize. The game continues until all of the prizes in the middle are finished, then the real fun starts. You could now take the prizes away from other people. It was incredibly fast and even competitive but we had many laughs and enjoyed it immensely. We added three Wenger knives and a Petzl Headlamp to the prize heap which gave the game greater meaning and just added to the pressure. You could actually see the excitement in the eyes of the elders as they jumped around to make sure they get a good prize. It was fun to interact with the experienced generation of the community in this unusual way and definitely a new and memorable experience for us.
We then had the opportunity to learn about a few other traditional games, played by Inuit women and children while the men are out hunting. A very sweet elderly lady explained the games to us. One of the games was pulling seal bones out of a bag to build an igloo and another was using a rabbit skull, you had to try and catch it on a thin long bone. To be able to learn about these games from a woman who played them while she was a child is an incredible concept, one that we really appreciate.
This evening’s entertainment was a teenage disco party that we went to. It was loads of fun and we danced the night away with the new friends we made throughout the day. We recognized most of the music and were the centre of attention for the teenagers of the community. It was a great evening but now to get some needed shut eye!