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Reports

Sunday, 30 March 2003
--> Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Canada (day 4)

I would join the Inuit parents Richard and Grace and their kids on a fishing trip today. But after waking up Becky and I discovered we had run out of water.
I learned another fascinating fact about living here. In the Canadian North water is brought to the house once or twice a week by a community truck and another truck removes the sewage in plastic bags known locally as honey bags. Becky explained this to me as it had struck me earlier: how do you get water from to all the houses when it’s -45 in wintertime? But now it was clear to me. And every house has a water tank with a heating system attached to it, so the water would never freeze.

Becky was still a bit tired, so I took the skidoo out for a drive. Becky told me I should find the water truck that drives around town. And I found it right at the water plant up the rocks and told the driver that Becky needed new water. “Becky in the red duplex house?” Yes.
Everybody knows each other pretty good in Kugluktuk.

I continued to cross around on Becky’s skidoo. She had decided to stay at home, lounge around a bit and do some preparations for tomorrow’s new week of school. I raced on the ice towards the black dot of people on the ice, very far away.

The family was just about to hit water. With big pointy sticks they were digging holes in the ice. It amazed me how thick the ice layer was. I have tried it too and it’s quite some hard work to finally touch the water and kneel down for some fishing. Digging that hole is the hardest part!

Fortunately Richard also took a motor drill with him to drill through the ice. Even Richard was amazed that the entire drill could fit into hole and still no water was coming up! After digging deep for more than two metres down, finally the broken ice and water came up the hole. And now the fishing could start. They lowered a hook with a fake fish on it and hold the wire onto a stick on the ice. And now it was just waiting. And waiting.

I heard stories about the family catching some forty fish within one hour, they just kept biting the bait. I got it quite clear that today won’t be a successful fishing day. After a few hours only, five small fish were hauled up, not even enough to feed the family.

And in the meantime it was still very cold. I was again packed in a warm parka with its fur-lined hood, ski goggles and totally covered up from top to toes. But while standing on the unprotected ice the Arctic wind was clamping around me. And pretty soon I got cold feet of the standing around this fishing hole.

And waiting. The kids were having the same problem, so the best way to get warm again is to get in a snowball fight, run around trying to catch each other, roll through the snow and then catch your breath again. Believe me, it worked! And you’d even stay young with it too!

But I would be an Inuit chicken (oh, they don’t have chicken here) as I pulled out of the game after a few ours on that icy ocean. It was getting too cold and I had troubles keeping my feet warm. My face mask was frozen of my breath and my hands started to tickle. Time to head back, Richard said.

Back at home, this afternoon, I found Becky sleeping on the couch. She’s been feeling a bit ill the last few days and probably needed the peace. I quietly settled myself behind my laptop and started to write this week’s reports and doing some research with the books Becky had provided for me.

Becky also just finished the book “Life Of Pi” by Yann Martel, an internationally published author and winner of various awards for his writing. So I took that book over from Becky and started reading it today. I have to worry, because the book should be finished by Tuesday.

What a long time ago it was that I could just sit down and let myself drown in the stories written by someone else!?

We had simple oat meal porridge and some sandwiches for dinner as we both didn’t feel like a big meal tonight. Becky still had to finish some work for school. Therefore she had to go to the school to and prepare stuff on this Sunday night. I don’t think I will find some more committed teachers around that much!

So I joined her along and connected my laptop on the Internet connection at school. The entire community of Kugluktuk has the opportunity to get online as the town is covered with a satellite connection onto the web. That only also meant that when everybody goes online, the connection is slow. It was just too slow to get daily updates or my photographs online or to even connect to my mailbox.

(This weeks reports about Kugluktuk have been posted collectively when I got back in Yellowknife on Tuesday)

With what I could do with my laptop and the barren connection, was to write and send out the chronicles I write for two Dutch newspapers back home. And I finished this week’s Letmestayforaday-in-Canada movie.

I kind of got addicted to the production of them, because I like to fool around with the cuts I made along the week and edit them into a movie and throw some good music with it. I hope you like them too, there is absolutely no other way to connect you even more closer to where I am at the moment. ;-)

It was pretty late, around 11pm when I warmed up the skidoo again and we left the school. Becky was tired and headed to bed. Tomorrow she had to be the teacher again. I continued reading my new book and totally relaxed towards another world.

Hey – should I really leave this place coming Tuesday? I think it will be getting hard!

Good night Kugluktuk!

Ramon