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Reisverslag Hi from Katl'odeeche
23 september 2014
Hi from Katl'odeeche
Yo ho hello dear friends and family. Methinks it is about time for an update. I never expected I would say this but time flies here in Hay River, or at least is has flown like an eagle so far. I have done some cultural things, some school things, lots of soccer things, and my housemate has arrived now too.
So I guess I will try to tell you about this in chronological order whilst leaving out the elevator bits that I am saving for a separate story. LOL
Last week Monday there was a comedian at the school from Edmonton who goes by the name Howie Miller, and together with some story tellers and a musician they did a performance about the importance of stories (in particular: stories of the North). One man told us a story about the importance of naming things. In the Northwest Territories, and I’m sure all over Canada, the native people have not always been treated nicely (understatement I know but I am not trying to make this into a political blame Canada story). They are left out of history and many cruelties done to these people (so indigenous folk such as the Dene, Cree, Metis, Inuit) are not really talked about either. And people were ‘robbed’ of their names and given different names. And place names changed, too, into English names such as Simpson and Smith. And by taking away someone’s name you also take away (at least part of their) identity. And just recently they have been trying to rename things here in the Territories, such as Luselk’e, which was Snowdrift, and people are changing their personal names back now too, to what their family name used to be. Their talk at the school was rather short but in the evening, at the town’s cinema (the cutest cinema ever) they had another performance which I went to see. There was an old lady there (her grandson is in grade 11 here) who was a nurse in the Territories and told us amazing stories about her experiences in the North. For example, one day she received a baby seal as a thank you for healing somebody and she was like ????. Then the comedian talked as well as joked about being the only native boy in his Edmonton neighbourhood and how he was often discriminated against, and how the kids in the neighbourhood wanted to play cowboys and Indians all the time (which resulted in every kid chasing him around the block). So in sum this was an educational and fun day/evening.
In Northern Studies, where unfortunately I can no longer be this semester (because the teacher made no use of me at all and my help is more needed in grade 8 and English and science), I learned quite a bit about the history of the Territories and how the natives were treated. If this interests you too I recommend thee this amazing website with a history timeline and lots of fun facts:
I have a different schedule now where I help out in grade 8 English and Science all the time, and also in grade 11 English (where the kids had to watch Freedom Writers – a movie I think every English teacher must have seen). My Improv Comedy classes are on the Wednesdays after school and I greatly enjoy those. I have three very enthusiastic kids and had three others who did not show up the second time, but I do not despair. I think as soon as the “Lights On” nights will start (Saturday evenings where the kids can come cook and have fun – because some do not like to be home at all) the Improv group could perform a little and get more people interested, because the kids just do not know what it is and also the school focuses a lot on sports (there is sports every day after school and I just find it really hard to get my head around the amount of kids into sports here because in high school I absolutely loathed PE) not culture. I keep being asked to help with sports related things but I definitely do not think I am cut out as a volleyball coach. But I will be in the gym every Tuesday evening now to help out there and I will also help when there are events, such as the soccer tournament last weekend.
So let’s talk about soccer just real quick. I know this it should be really quick but I careth not. There were teams from different towns here in Hay River competing on different fields, and I was at one of the fields for three days making sure the matches started on time and everything was there, keeping scores, and cheering my teams on. I guess my title would be WHIP which sounds a bit painful but it really was not painful it was a lot of fun. Getting up at six on weekend days has, I admit, its downsides, but I was being fed and I enjoy watching soccer so the weekend was fun for me. Most fun was seeing a kid drop his glasses and then picking them up, running like that and scoring by accident and then he went: I WAS NOT EVEN WEARING MY GLASSES!!! And also the Sir John cheer was fun and is still on repeat in my head. “Sir John is hot to go, H-O-T-T-O-G-O, awooo!!!!”. I also got to meet some nice people (referees) (but I mean, contrary to popular belief, they are people too) from Yellowknife. One thing I thought was odd was that many cars showed up to the matches but the people would not come out. Because if your kid is playing a match and you are in town then the thing to do is to be out there and cheer them on, right? So I did not understand why people would drive all the way up here and then not get out of the car. Then the ref was like “not all parents are very nice. They should stay in their car” and I wonder if that meant that some parents are not allowed to be there for having a history of insulting the refs??? I remain puzzled.
So my housemate Kate has arrived at last and she is pretty cool. She helps out the older kids with math and last weekend she was helping out in the kitchen and handing me ziplock bags full of cookies on my washroom breaks. We had a nice dinner last week when she arrived with all the volunteers there (apart from Jen and Kate there are 4 other volunteers here who work at the primary schools of Hay River) and we all decided to attend the free aerobix classes whenever we can (they are three times a week at the primary school gym. Something to keep us all active and happy during the winter). After aerobix last Wednesday I finally witnessed what Wings Wednesday at the pub is like – chicken wings in all sorts of weird flavours and raw broccoli with ranch dip. Well why not. And on Saturday the aurora came out and it was just so pretty, like a rainbow of green… so actually not a rainbow but a greenbow… over the town and it danced and moved into three of four separate lines. My attempts to capture this on camera failed so I shall try again in October on the ice (when it is dark all around me). Sat by a few fires too, met some dogs that were pretty decent canine beings so I kind of take the things I said last blog back. Jen is actually dog sitting next week and we will walk the dog together, and the dog hotel here needs people to walk dogs too (for free but it could be fun?).
Also, trying to wrap this up here, last weekend, or last last weekend actually (so I apologize for losing the chronological order completely. I guess I started off wrongly by talking about last weekend’s football. Oh well) we thought we were going to a dance, because it was advertised in the paper as a dance, but then we (me and some other volunteers) arrived and it turned out to be a wedding, which was awkward and random. I was awkward and random in particular because I still try to shake hands and/or kiss people when the thing to do here is hug. Some more random things: Hay River in Dene (or perhaps the term here is South Slavey) is called Katl'odeeche. The library has no fees for returning books late. Plastic goo is also referred to as cheese in this country. :P The students frequent the chips shop for poutine during lunch. Poutine is actually not that bad when you order it from the local Chinese restaurant. Also, I ate some rainbow trout. The weather is pretty decent atm. But I hate the sand flies that come with it. Till next time.
Foto's bij verslag (1)
23 september 2014 17:37 | Door: Christine Harris
"Plastic cheese" ha ha ha. I've called it that for years. The popular name is American cheese, and it's nothing like Hollandse kaas.
23 september 2014 18:38 | Door: Marjet
They keep you pretty busy over there, which is good because otherwise you'll miss us too much. I'm back in Camminghaburen with my amazing 4 and 5-year olds =), they keep me busy aswell ;).
Are you out of Stroopwafels yet?
I hope you get to catch the greenbow one day so we can enjoy it too.
Lots of love!
24 september 2014 15:16 | Door: Aartos
Hahaha awesome, scoren zonder bril, de kids lijken me misschien anders dan anders, maar nog steeds heel leuk! :)
Hopelijk wordt het gezellig met je huisgenootje! :D
enjoyyy :D (niet te vroeg opstaan in de weekends ;) ) xxxxxxxx
25 september 2014 12:20 | Door: oma van heereveld
Hi Mathilde, bedankt voor je mail!! Wat een lang en interessant verhaal heb ik zojuist gelezen, Gelukkig dat je van voetballen houdt. FC Groningen, ging een tijd heel goed, nu minder. Bye,Bye, Oma