This time I had anticipated: a very clean port-hole and moreover I've already had a look on the topographic map of the area: it looks as if there are mountains... At the airport and after doing some phone calls, it's Joanna who is going to pick me in skidoo. Fortunately I have only two bags: they will stick on my back or in the sledge behind. I haven't expected that, but it's interesting as well. As we're starting to take on the skidoo's trails, I realized that the airport is very far from the village and it's as if it's perched in the mountains. We drive down in a tortuous valley and I can see the mountains... finally! Furthermore, at the very bottom of it, as if it's protected: Salluit, a small orderly village. The houses there are mostly built in line, but its charm is authentic, it's a very typical fishing harbour.
After a quick tour, Joanna drops me at the hotel. I have in theory not much time to stay here. I've to start working quickly. There are no more rooms left at the hotel... Finally, I will have a roommate the next night. The hotel is full: all the area is busy looking for a hunter missing whose trails have been searched for almost a month, without results. The army is present on the whole West coast and organizes a thorough search in all the North of Nunavik, alas without success until now.
I start to explore the village a little, to see where I should go. The Daycare like all the Daycare of the West coast is brand new and always full of activities. Children in general move a lot everywhere. After having lost my way, I rediscover this building to evaluate the work to be made. Then it will be the turn of the town hall, but I haven't had the possibility to meet the mayor yet.
The following day, I awake early, for in the North, now, the day starts to be very long. I have time to do my small usual tour in the village. I like to do so in general to know where I am. I found a boat solidified in the ice. This landscape of cold which seems as suspended out of the time is no more than an illusion. I venture among these blocks of strange shapes, and I hear some dull but powerful noises which scare me. I walk back quickly to the bank... no one ever knows: perhaps a thing I am not informed of! Finally, I will learn that, these are the consequences of the tide and that is at that time of the year very secure to walk on, even if that cracks everywhere! I walk further away from the village to embrace it and start climbing the mountain in order to view the whole fjord. It is already the time to return to the village to meet Michael Cameron, the mayor. He's a young and dynamic mayor, very involved in its community and he welcomes me warmly. After having evaluated the small and local problems, I begin my work. Then, it will be the turn of the Daycare.
The following day the sun appears: what a beautiful day! To be able to work at the Daycare, I'm lacking a software which will be hard to find. However, my experience in the field, and now at the Daycare community I met from the West coast, will enable me to transfer the software in question from Billy Tooktoo at Umiujaq to here. After having done the maximum what I could do here, and aware by experience that the nature doesn't wait and that is important to grasp the chance when it allows it, I decide to go for a walk on my own in order to see these small fascinating mountains. With some advices given by Joanna, I left my backpack in hand, with some food, and at least 6 sets of batteries for my camera...
While leaving the village, a dog follows me; it will be my travel companion for a bit of walk. The slope is becoming abrupt and that warms me up. It's windy, but the sun is bright. Joanna had told me that if I go far enough, I could see the sea at the bay entrance. After some time walking, I arrived at the top of the mountain, Salluit was really tiny... and I saw the sea in the far... there where the sea doesn't freeze and where there're just blocks floating. It was beautiful! While walking down again, I could see some persons doing paraski on ice: they were going quickly. That's a sport to practice in the North...
On my return to Salluit, my download done, and the neurons refreshed, I continue my work until late in the evening. Tomorrow I'm going to set out again for Puvirnituq, but the weather seems quite unstable. A storm apparently is heading. Here the climate is rather maritime, it should be worth seeing. Joanna tells me that usually the storms here are not fun. I realized it, when late that evening I try to return to the hotel through the wind, blowing so much, and the snow: I couldn't see three meters ahead of me. The following day it was worse; I started to have doubts regarding my departure scheduled that evening. Finally I discussed with the other hotel's mates who seemed to be there for a certain time. There were helicopters' pilots working for mining companies. They were checking the location in the area with an odd instrument resembling to a rocket which, I believe, functions like radar. The weather had not given them great opportunities to work. Others were there to transport heavy materials used to extract nickel. According to them it was sometimes necessary to cope with the means available and to adapt to the ground of the North.
I had the opportunity to discuss with Joanna during her training to her new computer on how and on why she had stayed in Salluit. From an English origin, she had been charmed by her father words who came here a long time ago. Then, as she saw the beauty of this place, she fell in love with Salluit and at the same time with her husband! That has been lasting already for many years and she wouldn't leave Salluit for nothing else in the world.
My plane still doesn't take off; it will leave maybe tomorrow if the weather conditions are better and if the road is cleared. Anyway, there is no one at the airport, for no one answer. On the next day the bad weather front had passed, but it still blew terribly. Due to the research and rescue, the flights were postponed, and as a consequence, that of Midday is full; there is only that of this evening left to me if the weather turns better!
I decided despite the difficulty and after doing the tour of all the customers, to have a walk on the West side of Salluit, for the weather was not so cold for me at last... but still too cold for my camera! It was a well appreciated walk that relaxes me. On my return at the hotel, no good news for the flight. Michael, the mayor, tells me not to worry: if there is one, I will take it... All the sudden, at 6 p.m. a plane is going to take off in 20 minutes! Quickly, I'm in the car heading for the airport. I take a few minutes to discuss with the mayor about the activities around Salluit... I've been looking for walls to climb... he tells me that this is not the national sport here, but that there is apparently a guy who teaches children how to practise it in the summer. His hobby is diving: he possesses all the possible and unbelievable qualifications! However, one should not be too sensitive to dive in this area.
While entering the small twin-engine aircraft with 8 seats and unheated, the pilots welcome us. Me, I look at the wind on the beam: almost at 60 degrees compared to the orientation of the track; it will shake on takeoff, I'm positive.... Finally, at the end of the track, the pilot pushes the engines in full speed and raises the nose of the plane quickly up and says at the end " that's not that worse! " the stopovers are succeeding each other. I see during a short moment the villages from the top that the following Soleica's staff will discover. Then it's the much expected arrival in Puvirnituq. It is windy, and the pilot, thanks a perfect manoeuvre, makes us land without too much trouble. Anyway, the pilots of this small plane are good...
It has been a week since Jusipi and Kathy Padlayat have been offering me board and lodging. On Sunday, Jusipi took me with him to gather mussels, on a location where currents are too strong for the ice pack to form. As a result the ground is plain. I was astonished by the abundant life in a water so close to being ice: mussels, shrimps, fishes, worms... A whole watery world in full effervescence whereas on earth, animals wait patiently for spring to arrive.
Following the adventures experienced in Kangiqsujuaq, I finally arrived at Salluit on Friday, February 13th. TNI would like me to repair the computer which is their only access to Internet and to e-mails, and that I make their radiophonic production system operationable. The computer would finally be completely repaired 3 days later. The mission is, from now onwards, to train the employees on how to use e-mail and how to navigate on Internet. The training is, in my opinion, much more important than the tool. The following days, I expect to work at the KMHB and at the municipality in order to do some usual maintenance and more specific tasks that I will be required to accomplish.
Finally, the radio signal breakdown which was frequently occurring during evening show is repaired. The renewal of a part of the satellite dish, at the top of a ladder with some wind, is an experience pretty refreshing. We hope that TNI auditors will be now able to listen the evening show without interruptions.
Here we are! The training is accomplished. While thinking about my departure, TNI employees were wondering how they will figure out ho to use the system in case of technical problems. I then explained to them that they could contact me for every technical assistance. More, in case of serious difficulties, I even can remotely take the control of the system and show on their screen how to perform the required tasks. They looked relieved.
Again today I could train TNI employees to the new system. Their first reluctance is now weaker and their interest regarding what functionalities Dalet offer to them is growing.
My travel back to Montréal previously scheduled on Sunday was postponed to Thursday, the 13th, to give me enough time to complete the training. Indeed we have underestimated the required technical work and due to other factors it was not possible to spent more than 2 hours per day in group courses. Hopefully, individuals courses were more numerous.
In addition to the lack of time reserved for courses a new technical problem has arised: the radio signal broadcasted by TNI to the Satellite is to weak for the evening show. Consequently, the auditors were listening CBC-North instead. So, with the help of TeleSat, we had to troubleshoot the problem.
Julie and Dominique left Salluit after having completed their tasks. The new radiophonic system is now technically installed. I'm training TNI employees on Dalet giving theoretical and practical courses in group and individually. The program is based on the production process of a radio show: ingest, editing, scheduling, broadcast and finally archiving.
Meanwhile I'm personalizing Dalet parameters regarding to the specific needs. These needs become more accurate and specific while people get used to the system. Also each evening since I am here I spent some time while I'm alone in the studio to achieve the audio files transfer from the old system to the new one.
Julie Grenier, TNI's Information/Public relation agent, Dominique Guay, audio technician and I arrived in Salluit late in the afternoon. We were welcomed by Joanasie Koperqualuk. Our mission is to finalize TNI's studio migration to Dalet, a radiophonic media management system. This system was previously pre-installed by Duane, Antoine and I. Now, we have to connect the mixing desks to the computers, and most of all to train the employees to the Dalet system.
As soon as we registered at the hotel, Dominique left to begin his work at TNI studio. Later in the night I joined him after a super which help me to regain the energy spent during the travel. In the studio, we started to unplug the old computers so that Dominique could work on the connection between the mixing desks and new computers. Meanwhile I was transferring the audio files from the old system to the new one.
The network speed is as we expected it to be: as fast as Ilagi's network. Later in the year, the speed will be increased by a larger satellite bandwidth. Consequently, the quality of our service will be even better.
It's now time to leave. We did our best to satisfy each client. And while we said goodbye to them, it appears that we met this objective.
This is the end of this adventure, or at least nearly. Today's weather is too bad to travel by plane. However, others team members are already at work in Kangirsuq. We gratefully thank everyone for the time and energy they spent amongst us to make this project a reality.
The network speed has increased since last week, when our virus containment effort succeeded. It's getting more comfortable for users who can now run their Internet applications more efficiently.
Last week, we had connected the Police Station. Today, we finished the configuration of their local network. All policemen now have access to the Internet and their emails.
Duane will leave tomorrow for Kangirsuq to prepare this village for the connection. So Benoit remains alone to finish all the work here, in Salluit.
Nearly all our clients are now connected to the Internet through KRG's network, except the Police Station, which hasn't yet received its new computers.
Duane and I had begun the week following our schedule, but Wednesday we noticed that the network was unusually slow. With the help of Denis, we discovered that the network's bandwidth was filled by a virus activity. Since this day, we have been struggling against this virus and spending a lot of time installing anti-virus software and updates on all the computers.
We worked until late in the evening and then we walked back to rest under the spectacle of beautiful northern lights. Yesterday, we were also able to see Mars who showed us its beautiful orange circle.
The trip is now close to the end for me. I will fly back to Montreal next Monday, with Duane and Benoit left behind me with a full list of things to do. Most of the organizations are now connected or will be soon. We were even able to start the Landholding connection yesterday afternoon. The KRG office is now disconnected from the Ilagi Internet network.
The Police Station is also connected since yesterday. Policemen were looking forward to being connected because they came and forced us to come and set up their connection.
Yesterday was the 24th anniversary of Salluit municipality. As a consequence, offices were all closed. A number of activities were also organized all along the day. In the afternoon, I took some pictures of kids' races.
In the evening, I tried to gather some mussels, but in vain because I got to the spot too late.
A special supper was supposed to start at 7 pm in the Gymnasium. We were welcome by the Mayor, who asked us to sit down at a table to his left. We then assisted to the prayer and numerous speeches, all translated into a perfect French by Charlie, a Municipal Purchaser.
I was especially moved by a speech from the Mayor regarding the Franco-Inuit collaboration for this special Internet project.
The meal was a very simple and interesting moment. I had the marvelous impression of sharing this special moment with all Salluit Inhabitants.
After supper, it was time for games and square dance music. A band from Puvirnituq came for this special event. Then, we assisted to a big firework on the bay. We were all impressed by the quality of the firework.
Then I went to bed with a feeling of harmony and simplicity, with all those kids' faces astonished by the firework lights on the bay.
After a short break in Kuujjuaq, here we are again on the road of the Internet project. We are now in the Far Northern village of Salluit. We noticed a dramatic change of weather. The windy, foggy and rainy fall is now installed in Nunavik.
The LAN team is now composed of Duane, Benoit and myself. We had a very friendly arrival in Salluit thanks to Paul Okituk from KRG and Paulusi Saviadjuk, Municipal Manager. Monday evening, we made a full inventory of all the sites we have to install and I predicted a very long site installation (approximately 3 weeks) to complete Salluit. As I have to be in Montreal next Monday, Duane and Benoit will have to finish the site without me, carefully following all the indications.
We then decided to set up the Daycare and the KMHB office. We also made the design for the new NV network. In the meantime, I noticed that Paulusi was paying attention to every single job we were doing there.
We spent Wednesday installing the new radio system in TNI's office.
After a brief discussion with Joe, we learnt that George River was still down without the Internet. SSI micro does not seem to be really willing to fix this issue. Denis, on his side, decided to go on vacation. As Duane was also extremely tired tonight, I gave him the option to take a rest while we finished off the TNI office.
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