Damien, Avril 20, 2004

On Tuesday, the trucks have taken on their usual routine. However, there are very few roads in Inukjuaq: one is going to the airport, one to the water tank, one to the open air dumpster, the other to the septic tank partly in the open air as well... This is far from the concept of recycling and I wonder whether nature will be able to absorb for a long time, the waste of this small northern city. The work ends and time passes. I must already say goodbye to those I have just met.

Inukjuak computmanI leave in the afternoon for Puvernituk. Passing at the NV, some people ask me whether I've appreciated the fishing of the previous day. Apparently, I have not remained unnoticed.

Damien, Avril 17, 2004

Going from discovery to discovery, I expressed the wish to take part in a fishing on the ice activity. By chance, two days later I am invited by Clément to a fishing contest! But the fishing contests here are serious ones. Dressed with my warmest clothes to remain static for hours ... (actually that is what I believed)... we left.

The sun shines; it is not too windy, it should be terrific. We all meet of us at the bottom of the village. A very impressive number of skidoos are gathering together. Almost all of them have a sledge in which I take a seat... The suspension is terrible! I travel with the fishing material that I will have the opportunity to discover a little later, and I am wondering where the fishing rods could be... because I don't see any, at least those I'm used to.

Inukjuak pecheThe coordinator set the rules: 3 hours of fishing, 10 people in each team and the price for the winner. The fishing limits are clearly defined and relatively close to the village for the gasoline could not be fetched this morning. After the sound of the whistle, it begins: the skidoo in full speed, we arrive at the fishing location. Quickly we take out the ice driller. Actually, it's a lawn mower motor which drags a 15 cm diameter wick of 1 m 50 length. We have to be two to hold the machine and to bring it up regularly to prevent the ice from trapping the wick.

Inukjuak pecheThe technique is not really easy, but after the 15th hole, I can tell you that one can master it. Today the ice is thicker than the length of the wick, and it is thus necessary to use the "chessel" in the end (it's a long wooden handle with metal at the end that allows to break the ice at the bottom of the hole). Thereafter, we use a kind of strainer to remove the ice pieces coming up in the hole, so that we can have a better feel when fishing. According to everyone, it is very unusual to have such a thick ice at this period of the year. People have noticed other phenomena: the winter seems shorter. Could the warming up of our planet be the cause of all that? No one knows, but it's not overnight that we will see palm trees growing in Inukjuak I can reassure you!!! Once this physical task is over, fishing can begin with a 20 cm rod, a plumb line, a hook and of course a piece of plastic bag from the coop, used as a bait!!! It's what works best, I've been told.

Inukjuak trouLet's talk about the technique itself. Sitting, with the wind in our back, just like a marble statue, I hold my rod looking at my hole in a quasi yogic posture. The only thing that moves is the hand in which I hold my rod. The movement of back and forth is continuous. I was skeptic on why a fish would bite a plastic bag, and I try to improve my technique by imitating my neighbor of a certain age and who has visible expertise, and nods with a big smile when I ask her for the strainer to remove the ice fallen in my hole. Finally, incredible, it starts to bite. One after the other, everyone will take out a fish, and two for the most skillful. Woaw, it has worked! The sea depths also reserve us some surprises with the odd fishes we have caught. One with its horns, seems to be coming straight from the prehistoric age.

The contest finished, we have lost with our 19 fishes against another team who has fished 30. It doesn't matter, at least we know what we'll be eating this evening, and I've learned plenty of things.

Damien, Avril 12, 2004

The week begins for some, it continues for us. The group of Avataq is very happy to be able to be connected to Internet. After some additional configurations, we will leave them a few days with their new tools in their hands. They are not beginners: for the majority they are already hooked up to Internet at home, but obviously it is much slower. Other groups wait to be connected, but before that, we must meet the mayor again, Andy Moorhouse, to have his approval. This because, with exception of the computer network with which we are the kings, the human network of this village is very complex and full of potential obstacles, with which we will learn to juggle in a very precarious balance.

Inukjuak festinFinally, we shall install the Internet to the municipal garage; needless to say, the advanced technology settles down everywhere. Then, we meet Sarah Ruptash, the director of Inukjuak's Daycare. She is very satisfied with her new computer's speed and with the training she will receive. We do not see the end of the tunnel yet and we work hard. Once in a while, we take a few moments to admire the sunset, which one cannot get tired of.


Inukjuak festinWe do not see the end of the tunnel yet and we work hard. Once in a while, we take a few moments to admire the sunset, which one cannot get tired of. Days are passing and finally, it is Easter's week end in Inukjuak. This small city awaits 300 additional people coming from the region, to spend this religious event here. I realize that Inukjuak's inhabitants are very faithful. Going to mass enable us to meet more of Andrew's friends. It appears to be forbidden to work on holy days... which allows us to take a well-deserved break and to immortalize shadow games in a superb sunset.

Passing at the "Recreation Center", we could take part in the big traditional meal held at Easter and to taste some Arctic Char and raw and frozen caribou. I have also been able to see the very special way, which a ulu is used (which is a kind of knife to cut frozen meat). Several people were dressed with traditional clothes: a costume, generally of one color, decorated with very fine embroideries. Many women carry their child in the back, maintained by a very particular piece of clothes with a hood, which covers both at the same time. I wonder how it is sawn. This is one more mystery which I hope to elucidate before the end of my trip.

Damien, Avril 10, 2004

But the week end is already here. We have to double our efforts if we want to finish the Avataq's wiring phase. We are getting the keys back and we present ourselves to Nancy Palliser who is delighted to see us, for we shall install for them the top 10 of Internet technologies. This phase finished, we, Andrew and I, irresistibly attracted by the fabulous sunshine outside, decide to rent a skidoo for the afternoon to see the sea.

Inukjuak skidooTo tell the truth, the skidoos and I, it's a great first, and it's fabulous to be able to take a start here. From the very first moment, I understand that to go on a skidoo ride, it is necessary to be well-dressed, from head to foot, and that the most tiny spot end looking out, freezes.

Secondly, I have also come to understand why the suspension and the seat are so comfortable!!! The frozen sea part between the village and the islands make us believe that it is completely flat, but it is far from being true! The wind and snow have carved the surface in very original shapes, which sometimes surprise us.

We stop once in a while to thaw out a little and to take photographs when my camera is ready to thaw as well... A skidoo passes everywhere, I can confirm. We drove to the uttermost point we could reach; a splendid view awaiting us: on one side the frozen sea as far as the eyes could see, on the other, far away, Inukjuak. In the middle of this immensity of ice, we see two people, who are probably fishing. One wonders how they arrived there!

Inukjuak glaconsWhile resting a little, the cold takes advantage to gain ground on us. I feel the end of my fingers gently freezing. In this respect, it is time to set off again. We decide on our next objective: some small cliffs which seem very interesting. We will approach them from the bottom. In the summer, it must be very impressive to see the ice they're made of, falling directly into the water. We feel privileged to be able to reach them from the bottom on the frozen water. It is less cold on the skidoo; we have the wind blowing in our back. But the wind seems to be getting stronger. Our next objective is to reach the top of a mountain, at the far East of a village. We have reached it walking, nearly on our all fours, for the wind has turned snow into ice on the stones. However, I still remain impressed by what can be done with this kind of engine: cheer to the pilot!

At the top, once again, Mother Nature delights us with a fabulous landscape. As we are looking at our feet, we discover a bit of grass that seems frozen in the ice for eternity. After having put away our cameras, we decide to go back down to Inukjuak. Our tour is finished, but it has done us a lot of good: it was essential to our neurons to take some fresh air!

Damien, April 8, 2004

The port-hole is being too dirty to be able to see the whole city, we land at Inukjuak airport. It seems larger than the one we were at before. People are also much more in a hurry. We await all our luggage and numerous boxes... This time we are really heavily loaded, just like camels.

Inukjuak villageAfter doing some telephone calls, it appears that Annie from the KRG will be the one to pick us up. She welcomes us warmly and we sense immediately that we can count on her. The car is running and at the turning of a curve, we discover Inukjuak community. It is a rather large city, located at the intersection of a river and the sea. But one cannot see it at first because it's hidden by islands, which are, I must admit, rather impressive. Our curiosity will undoubtedly lead us to discover it, if the weather allows it.

The hotel is perched at the top of the village; from all sides we have a dominant view. The bedroom is also very luxurious compared to what we've had before, but that is not the best thing. The best is that it's orientated to the East. Thus, what a delight to awake with a sunbeam around 6 a.m.! ...instead of the shrieking noise of my alarm clock.

But, back to work! We are introduced to the whole KRG team which welcomes us warmly. We can tell that Antoine has paved our way already. This will be our headquarters in Inukjuak.

Inukjuak FormationWe also meet Clement, a new of Antoine's recruit who will be our resource person here. Our mission is also to train him to Soleica's habits and customs and furthermore, to a bit of techniques as well.

After a small trip in the city in order to locate the various institutions where we'll have to work, we make a quick evaluation. This city seems to me quite complex, it will take us some time before being able to understand it completely.

Antoine, March 28, 2004

Upon arriving in Inukjuak last Thursday, I hardly had any time to hang around because I had so many things to accomplish. After seeing my pals again, I ran from one building to another to inventory the work to be done. At the municipal office, I met up with Elisapee Williams again who I had not seen since she started working with us in Kuujjuaq for KMHB. Andy Moorhouse, the mayor of Inukjuak, also gave me some instructions concerning the new sites to be connected to the Internet.

Inukjuak en hiver IThe first task Luc told me to carry out involved changing a router in the satellite ground station that we share with CBC North and located next to our satellite dome. At nightfall, I decided to make my way over there to terminate this task as soon as possible. After falling down several times in powdery snow, which had piled up on the hill, I finally found myself back at the front door of the highly secured CBC building. Although I had been warned that the locker was really difficult to open, I did not figure it would be that hard. Having difficulties in finding the right key, starving and being very tired, I finally lost my temper with the locker and broke the key inside. The violent wind blowing snow with the glowing moon and the sled dogs resting nearby gave this scenery an even sadder tone. Because I was in a really bad mood and completely depressed, I made my way to the hotel where I finally went to bed without even asking for dinner.

Inukjuak en hiver, satellitesThe very next morning, fresh as a daisy, I was really convinced that the bloody locker would stop defying me and that it would not take longer than one hour. With the help of a maintenance employee, I finally managed to enter the premises. A few hours later, Luc and I realised that we could not carry out the planned work which involved replacing the router. On Friday night, I decided to reconsider my itinerary as a whole because I felt more discouraged than the day before at the same time.Awakened very early by a gorgeous sunny morning, I got down to work on connecting the two new sites to the Internet during the same day (Avataq and the municipal garage). In the evening, I felt exhausted but also happy to have reached my goal. So, I could find my smile again and get back to the initial schedule. The same day, I met Clément Rousseau, a computer specialist during his off hours. I immediately appointed this local villager to assist Damien and Andrew on their imminent arrival in Inukjuak. He would also serve as a local contact person in case problems or questions arise in one of the largest villages of Nunavik.

Inukjuak en hiver, satellites 2Today with the storm, we have been out of luck once again as the satellite ground station has not been working for most of the day. After spending hours searching for the problem, in the blizzard, perched on top of the antenna with a stepladder, the connection of the site finally worked again at around 4 in the afternoon. However, we could not explain how we did it.

Tomorrow, if I am lucky and if the weather allows, I might set out for Kuujjuak. As lucky would have it, the flight of the day could not take off. As a consequence, the hotel was full of passengers stuck in Inukjuak because of bad weather conditions. To add to these circumstances, there was no more running water in the hotel since Friday.

Éric, Dec. 5, 2003

After rain comes sunshine. Well... That's what the saying tells us. By looking at the weather of the past two days, I come to the conclusion that only sayings can tackle the beast of weather's whimses. Not that I'd like to argue, but it looks like even the best experts in meteorology don't have this valuable skill...

We continued the installation of both the NV and KRPF under the aegis of an obvious weather improvement. The job we did last week at the NV seems to be more than popular : everyone is happy with their new email account and the training that came with it. So much so, that we had to create three more accounts this week (Johnny Williams, Lisa Nulukie et Kimberly Weetaluktuk). Every training session is a privileged moment during which the "teacher" has the opportunity to better know his/her "student". You noticed the quotes.

Though weird as it may sound, I am convinced that a trainer's main task is to listen, not to speak. Just to make a quick analogy, a training session is very similar to a surgical operation: one has to carefully listen to the "patient", know about his/her past and current state, make sure one understands his/her expectations, proceed rigorously, step-by-step, and let him/her go only when the operation is a total success. We are glad to let you know that this week's patients are in an outstanding shape: Andy Moorhouse, Caroline Naktialuk, Johnny Naktialuk, Charlie Kowcharlie, Annie Naluktuk, Lisa Nulukie, Kimberly Weetaluktuk et Davidee Inukpuk.

We take a chance to solve specific issues whenever they show up (or at least... Whenever people let us know about them!). X wants to be able to send his documents to printer "A", Y needs to connect her camera to the PC to promote her department, whereas Z desperately wants to learn the magic formula that'll get him a table like this and like that, with the total, down there, on the right of the bottom... Plus I did my good action of the week by replacing Charlie's overused keyboard. He is in charge of translating a bunch of documents and I thought he deserved a perfectly functional keyboard. That's done.

Ryan did a great job on reinstalling a long-time whimsical XP machine. As far as the KRPF, we started by installing an Ethernet cable from the wireless router to the local router. We love those removable tiles on the ceiling. The thing is... Some rooms don't have such tiles. Some rooms even don't have ANY tiles. There's supposedly a solution to each problem. Our solution is pretty close to a sewing technique: in the tiled rooms, we'd slip the cable ABOVE the ceiling, in untiled rooms, we'd slip it UNDERNEATH. Much closer to made-to-measure than to ready-to-wear, is it not

Éric, Nov. 30, 2003

Bizzare blizzard buzzing... Our stay in Inukjuak continues, in a pretty windy environment. Eole is doing an amazing job here. How amazing that this Greek divinity is still in business, and this far from his native country! He literally blows cold and heat over the village. Thermal amplitude is at least 20 degrees, between the coldest and the warmest days. Never mind. Those meteorological whims definitely don't affect our morale.

Minnie and Tillikasak, the friendly employees of KMHB in Inukjuak, now enjoy a new connection to the KRG Internet network. Their training to the Web applications took place in an efficient and friendly atmosphere. I am just amazed by the fact that, while chatting about Inuit traditions (like hole-fishing techniques or white-fox tracking), we are putting at their disposal a technology that allows them to send a message over to Kuujjuaq (or to Southern Patagonia) in no time. This is cultural exchange.

The whole installation at the NV proceeds according to plan. That's a pretty "big" organisation in terms of computer equipment. That's why switching them over to the KRG network required us to take a couple of precautions. We worked hard during the whole weekend, in order to eliminate any bother to the users. First, it's tricky to do the switching on a per-user basis. Second, sequencing repetitive operations all in a row is more efficient technically and makes more sense from a financial perspective. So, the switching went as smooth as expected. Our weekend schedule was as realistic as feasible. By chance, my friend Ryan and I had been somewhat conservative: we anticipated several problems (which, of course, occurred). But, as they say here: "Gone with the wind"...

Antoine, Nov. 25, 2003

The airplane (the one and only way of travelling from Kuujjuaq to Inukjuak) got delayed by three days due to a whimsical weather on the Hudson Coast. Richard Oaxley, a very skilled pilot with Air Atai, finally took us on board the tiny six-seat Navaho Monday at 9 AM.

We filled up the baggage hold with our gear. We were supposed to pick up Tim (SSI Micro) at Umiujaq and drop him off at Puvirnituq. However, as we were flying above Umiujaq, Richard told us that fifty-knots cross-winds wouldn't let us land in safe conditions. As a matter of fact, we saw pretty clearly that the wind was sweeping off powder snow towards the raging sea. That was quite a nice spectacle. I wondered how things would look like above Inukjuak: shall we have to fly back, or maybe further north to Puvirnituq ? We eventually got luck (and nice weather), and our aircraft landed at Inukjuak at around 12:30.

Richard was probably pressured by a tight schedule. So much so that he had already taken his plane to the take-off track, forgetting that Jean-François (KRG) was to get on board as well! I decided to run on the track, shout and jump so that he would stop. After a Haddock-style (should I say "Duane-style") fit of anger, Richard stopped the engines, grumbled and let Jean-François get on board.

Le soleil après la tempête We are now ready to start working in the pretty large community of Inukjuak. I hadn't visited this village for two years, and its size impressed me. We were able to connect KRG E&T's building pretty quickly, thanks to Ryan's experience with this place, who travels there on a regular basis. By the way, people warmly welcomed us! As we were back at the Coop Hotel, a strong wind led us to forecast a blizzard for the whole night.

On Tuesday, we successfully connected the NV to KRG's Internet, and started setting up KMHB (located in the Municipal Office). We also toured all the sites that have to be connected. I believe there is quite a lot of work to do here. Maybe over two weeks.