Monday, May 31, 2010

The FGH Little Ballerinas, rehearsing for the Show

Who knew that a tiny town way up in the North of Canada had such artistic talent! What a great time last night at the Fort Good Hope Ice-Breaker Variety Show!! The house was full, the acts were on, and everyone seemed to have a really good time. In addition to dancing and acting in the Show, I ended up emceeing the event which, unfortunately, means I was not able to get a lot of pictures. Here are a few though, of some of the talented artists up here in Fort Good Hope:

Jayda. She sang, played the guitar and did a fiddle solo!

Angus playing the flute.

Kenny Jr. doin a kick-ass drum solo

Chad. One of the visual artists who displayed work.

I was so proud to be part of this event! A big Congratulations to all the artists in Fort Good Hope.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Almost Showtime!

Wow, this week has flown by!! Anouk and I have been so busy preparing for "The Ice-Breaker Variety Show" which hits the Fort Good Hope Band Hall stage on Sunday. It's a show featuring artists from the community. Anouk started preparing for it before I was even up here, but since the Arts are right up my alley I totally jumped on the Show bandwagon. Performance wise I'm involved with two small theatre pieces and a modern dance...and then there's all the decorating, organizing, stage managing and such. It's going to be a fun time and I'm looking forward to it. Pictures will be posted after the event on Sunday. Break a leg to everyone!! :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Weekend Recap

It was a very busy long weekend here in Fort Good Hope. The annual Sylvia Kelly Memorial Volleyball Tournament took place, and the whole town, as well as many neighbouring communities, came out to have fun, play, and compete for prizes.

Anouk and I were tasked with planning some activities for the kids who were a bit too young to play volleyball, to give them something else to do. It was pretty fun (surprisingly, considering my lukewarm feelings towards children!) We had a couple movie nights; climbed Old Baldy - the largest hill in town - and roasted marshmallows; did some arts & crafts; and although we did not have a chance to watch much of the volleyball, we still had a great time. The photo above is me and some of the girls who climbed Old Baldy!

But...the hilight of the weekend for me was the Fiddle and Drum Dancing on Sunday night/early morning (it ended at 3am!!) It was the first time I have ever seen and danced at a party like that. The drumming was my favorite though. So powerful and wonderful.

The musicians

The dancers

The drummers

Oh, and regarding my last post...we got water!! Friday afternoon. Thanks for sending those prayers to the water gods :) Have a great day.

Friday, May 21, 2010

H Two O No

On Wednesday afternoon Anouk and I ran out of water. Up here, water is delivered to everyone's house every couple of days via water truck. Each house has a big tank, connected to all the taps, that the truck pumps water into, and it's usually more than enough to last two or three days...well, Anouk happened to do umpteen loads of laundry last weekend, and we're thinking that's why we ran out. Today is Friday. In theory the water truck is supposed to come to our house today. In theory. We do have a large plastic jug of filtered water that we use for drinking and cooking. But this, too, is starting to dwindle. All I can say is, thank goodness for awesome friends and their showers! But the huge pile of dishes in our kitchen sink is starting to unnerve me...please cross your fingers and send some prayers to the water gods who, in our case, are the water truck drivers!! 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I just need a moment to vent about one of my biggest pet peeves up here. Nothing ever, EVER starts on time. For example, yesterday a meeting that was "scheduled" for 1:15pm didn't start till after 1:30. A rehearsal that was set to begin at 7pm didn't get going till 7:40pm! It usually doesn't bother me too much, but yesterday it got to me. I really don't know why people even bother to set start times here. They should just say, "we'll start somewhere between 7 and 8pm, and even then we may not get going till 9pm...depending on if anyone shows up." Okay. I'm done now :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Random Bits

Didn't feel too well on the weekend - I think I was just physically and mentally run down. But a bit of solitude and re-focus helped a lot. I decided to remind myself of the two main reasons I'm here:
1) To learn. I am a firm believer in the old cliche, "Knowledge is Power". The more one knows the better choices one can make and, in turn, the better human being one can become (at least that's what I think!).
2) To help in any way I can. I never expect to change the world, but if I can pitch in here or there in the community, then my hope is that someone, somehow can benefit. Perhaps it's a bit of a random way to think, but it's working for now!

So, here's a pic of one of the students I tutor. He is Trouble with a capitol "T"!! But he tries...sometimes. :)

And here are some handmade slippers I purchased from a local lady named Marsella. I absolutely adore them!!

And lastly...I have never before done anything in the kitchen...other than eat! I don't cook. I don't bake. And I certainly don't measure cups of flour! Well, I decided I would attempt to make bannock. And here are the results, and it actually tasted good!! I was quite proud of myself and might even try something else sometime...maybe something where I'll have to crack an egg! 

smells good!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Chicken Hunting

The weather cooperated, the trail beckoned, but alas, the chickens foiled us. I ventured into the bush with my buddy Arthur in search of wild chickens...we didn't catch any, but I did get to try Spruce Gum for the first time! Tastes just like it sounds - like gum from a spruce tree, go figure.

It's the Mad Trapper of Rat River!!!

Spruce Gum

Arthur getting us Spruce Gum. Thanks for the hunt Arthur!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Yesterday I had one of those, 'I can't believe I'm here and doing this' moments.
I've been working a lot with the Chief lately. Once he found out my professional background is in communications and writing he kinda nabbed me to do some writing projects for him. Yesterday he called, told me to get my camera and notepad ready because we were heading out on a charter flight to document the status of the ice jams on the river. Also, to check up on local people who are living on the land right now who may be at risk of flooding. Fort Good Hope flooded once a few years ago, so checking the ice jams is a way to prepare if and when there is another flood. The experience went something like this:

1) climb into this tiny propeller plane

2) squeeze in behind the pilot, yes I really was this close to him so I could tap him on the shoulder if I wanted him to turn the plane around for a better shot

3) click away with my camera when we reached the big ice jams

4) check up on people who are living on the land right now

5) return to earth and post our results for the community


Monday, May 10, 2010

I had the opportunity to photograph the Lady of Good Hope Church the other day. I dare say it rivals anything that I've seen in Europe. The brilliant colours are impossible to capture fully in photos, but I wanted to post some anyway. The church is older than the country of Canada, and the man who built it (Father Petitot) used berries and other natural elements to create the paint for the interior. So stunning. Definitely the second most beautiful thing in Fort Good Hope...the first, for me, is the Mackenzie River!

I am so enjoying my time here. So far, any negatives are far outweighed by the positives. Plus I would have to say that I have learned more in a month - not only about the Dene people, but about myself - than I did my entire year in Edmonton! Hope all is well down south!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Herd

It's amazing to me how quickly I've formed friendships up here. "The Herd" as we are known, see each other pretty much every day whether at work or play. I guess it's inevitable in such a small community, but I feel very, very lucky to have been so accepted by these peeps...including the four legged ones!


Last night we decided to have a "Mexican Night". As a Northern newcomer, it's sure helped to have a such an awesome group of people to hang with!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

News from Down South

I've been published!!! Yippee!!

In Avenue Edmonton Magazine. Some awesome pics too!! Please check it out. Any and all feedback welcome. :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tea and Bannock

It's customary in the community to have tea and bannock at the ready for unexpected guests. Yesterday evening we had our first "official" uninvited guest. Afterward, Anouk and I had a good talk about if, when you move to a new community, you should or are expected to follow all the customs and practices of that community? At home (or "down south") neither of us would ever dream of stopping by someone's place unannounced, expecting to be served tea and food, and then staying for an indefinite period of time. We would feel too intrusive!...Not so up here. :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hail to the Chief

I spent Friday doing some admin work with "The Chief". Pondering that term, I still picture the grade school textbook images of an elderly First Nations man wearing a feathered head piece, sitting cross-legged before a fire and smoking a pipe. Our chief is not like that at all! He is fairly young and very open and intelligent. He told me that he hopes to be a bridge between the traditional older generation and the modern younger one. He is very dedicated to his people, but I sense he is hampered by a system that is, right now, a non-system, and he needs people with fire and passion to assist him with the goals he has for this community...

In other news: The ice is moving, there's still tons of daylight at midnight, and I just finished "The White Queen" by Phillipa Gregory. I really enjoy her stuff!