Damien, April 28, 2004

We finally met Ali Novalinga, the mayor, whom we had not been introduced to before. This is a good time, because we would like to train him as well to the new tools of his town hall. We have also the chance to have Jusipi who will translate my semi-Inuktitut, semi-English, semi-French training session! The session is not finished with our "US English" standardized keyboard.

In parallel and in a very good synergy with Andrew, we will train Guylain Mathieu, the director of the Daycare, who has been in Puvirnituq since already many years, and who has recently moved to the most "high tech" Daycare of the West coast. Since the sun lies down later now, we take a moment to have a walk. The weather is not fine, but that's good. The village has disappeared behind us, but it isn't very far. Some small islands let us foresee and discover some fishermen's houses as well as a boat solidified there, as if it was awaiting the thaw to return to the sea. That might be the case.

On our return to the hotel there are 24h remaining before our departure. This is with nostalgia that we begin to share our data, our work, and our photographs. All that we have collected together for six weeks. The D-day arrives, the weather seems fine so that the planes can land and take off. Andrew will train Guylain to the Web while I solve some credit card problems of last minute. I will take over the email, while we will check in our luggage and get our tickets. The time is running short, and already Andrew must leave to his flight. A "big hug", a good sincere handshake. I will miss him for sure. That was a pleasure to work with him... and now he's gone to Kuujjuaraapik.

In one hour it will be me. Last bits of information to share and I'm on Jusipi's skidoo heading to the airport: 15 minutes later, the plane will take off to Montreal. But the North being what it is, we will do an unexpected stopover at Kuujjuaraapik, which will delay us for few hours before finding back hold-ups, the subway, and the billboards, so easily forgotten in the North.

Damien, April 22,2004

Here I am, back to Puvirnituq. Andrew picks me in skidoo to continue the work they have begun at the Daycare. A quick meeting will enable us to plan the weekend and to keep on working on things that remains to be done before our return to Montreal. The weekend passes as we're working on the final improvements on the computers, every here and there at our customers, with the intention to begin the training as of Monday. It will be done under the well appreciated assistance of Jusipi, our new local agent who will be here "our eyes" for the support tasks coming from Montreal or elsewhere. But the week is likely to be loaded with work and we'll have obviously to perform to be able to grant each person some time to train her/him to the Web and her/his new email.

It is spring for everyone and the nature doesn't wait. Those who can hunt will hunt, those who must help for the research and rescue will go. Ha yes! I forgot to tell you that since almost the beginning of my stay, all the area is busy, in the search of another hunter who has disappeared for a month now. All the area was criss-crossed in skidoo or in helicopter but without much success. Tracks were found, we know where the person has been seen for the last time. All the day new skidoos stop in front of the town hall and leave for a few days to search, with a sledge full with food. The community system is made this way: when somebody is missing in the village, the others must go to search her/him in turns and according to their capacity.

Monday arrives bringing still some trouble on computers which could be repaired during the official business hours. The training starts also right during business hours, which will enable us to relax a little, or to take time to fill the activities reports and to write to you, of course!

The general introduction to Internet that I usually do seems to be better understood, because I now, have some questions as of the end of the matter. I can foresee more easily the level of each one in the very heterogeneous audience. It will be necessary to be patient and adapt but that should be ok.

The training goes smoothly through some research of satellite images of caribous' migrations, to the Nunatsiaq News or to the weather: these are very useful sites for the spring coming and which predicts good hunting moments. In this respect, two snow geese have been seen already: it will be soon time to collect feathers.

Damien, April 16, 2004

Arrived close to the new one, we will only find the entry after few minutes searching, by digging around... I found it!!! A wooden plate is hiding it and after having dug a small hole I crawl with difficulty inside. What a surprise! I discover two caribou skins used as carpets. I can see that the igloo has not remained inhabited for a long time. All is frozen, but it's well arranged with ice benches and a table on the edge. Andrew tells me that often people would bring two caribou skins. One for the top and the other used as the lower part. No need for a sleeping bag and it is said that it is very warm. One day I will try that! We don't even hear the wind blowing outside.

The construction is rather special, especially the keystone, which seems to hold the all building; we see the light passing through the joints of the ice blocks. This is really curious. Once thawed out, we must return outside. It's not that we don't want to stay here, but I must go back to my duties and our belly is also noisy! The entry being stopped, the return will be face to the wind and at that moment it's ice cold.

Arrived at the hotel and after a good shower, a good meal, and a good nap, we will be ready for a new day. We were happy to enjoy that time, for the next day the weather was stormy and we can't even see our feet. I acknowledge that I have a task to do for someone in Salluit. The NV has to be repaired and Joanna's new computer to be installed... but that's another story. To be continued...

Damien, April 15, 2004

After two exhausting days and, by looking at the two small hillocks in the far between two blizzards, we decide to go and see these small snow clops that we've noticed on our arrival. This is not very far, but there is a strong wind. The snow is cracking under our feet and the wind immediately masks our footprints. I'm wondering, while thinking of the missing person, how somebody can survive one week outside in these conditions. Finally we reach the igloos, two of them are already much shrivelled, but we can guess that the snow which they are made of, has progressively turned into ice with the time and with the use. The igloo of ice snow is transformed inside in an unbreakable ice shell.

Damien, April 13, 2004

Even Christophe Colomb would have found the earth flat in Puvirnituq! The blizzard did not give us much the opportunity to see the neighbourhoods. However, here, it's a village of 1300 people and it begins to be a lot! And it also continues to increase if we take into account the new nursery and its 80 places!

Arrived at the airport, it's Camille from the Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau who, on his way, will give us a lift, with our numerous boxes, to our hotel. He's been living here for a while and he begins to enjoy it a lot. As I've always being looking for someone to show me how to build an igloo, a true "made in Inuit", he might be the one to show me! Anyhow, there're some which are built close to a small island that we see through the snow gusts blowing in our back.

The diner and the hotel set, it is time to tour our customers i.e. the Daycare and the Northern Village and in these cases everything has to be done. But at first we have to know where Internet arrives, and if it really arrives. That leads us to the Earth station which is located on the other part of the city, in a small house which is also used as a radio transmitter.

The village is particularly busy, the rangers are there, a helicopter from the army too, because one person from the village has been missing for one week and people are organising themselves to search all the surroundings, up to the villages in the neighbourhood. The poor weather adds to the difficulty.

Arrived at the Earth station the Internet doesn't work. That will have to be set with Kativik Regional Government... apparently it's a cable problem. Ryan Spink will come with us for the wireless part for help. I will probably meet him tomorrow.

hopitalOnce the small details set, Antoine must go back to Montreal, but some bad weather conditions will delay his return for two days. As for us, we have already started; the number of hours is increasing and time passes at work without surprise. I learn quickly, as I'm crawling in the basements and on the roofs while passing network cable, how houses are built here. To be true, one really should not be too thick at all otherwise it wedges!

Once the small details set, Antoine must go back to Montreal, but some bad weather conditions will delay his return for two days. As for us, we have already started; the number of hours is increasing and time passes at work without surprise. I learn quickly, as I'm crawling in the basements and on the roofs while passing network cable, how houses are built here. To be true, one really should not be too thick at all otherwise it wedges!