Damien, April 5, 2004

On Monday, training continues. People are asking us more and more questions. I have a long discussion with Claude Martel which rapidly overpasses the framework of our training. Finally she explains to me that she and her husband have found paradise in Quebec 10 years ago and it still lasts. They are absolutely not ready to leave. Their decision to come here, was taken almost overnight. It took them two years to feel completely integrated. And they are now part of the big family of Umiujaq.

umiujaqIn the course of our training, we tackle subjects which are likely to interest all people, in order to show them how Internet can be useful. During the training with Eddie, we have had the chance to talk about the odd items that decorate his office. His explanations are simple: they are for the majority used to work on skins and to cut and transform them. I would have liked to see how they are used, but we won't have enough time for that.

Days are passing by and we are almost finished. Our departure for Inukjuaq is due next Thursday. We do not know what Inukjuaq has in waiting for us ! Our mission as ambassadors of the Internet is finalized as we distribute Soleica mouse carpets. We say: "bye! Bye!" with a certain sadness to the people we have lived with during several days. We quickly give some last tricks to Noah Inakpuk for the use of his new "thin customer". Our plane is due in half an hour. We arrive at the airport first. Our overweight luggage will come with us. In no time, we are in the small plane leading us to Inukjuaq. We have already lost sight of the gulf. Another adventure begins, despite some nostalgia we feel towards the new friends we have just met.

Damien, April 4, 2004

Richmond GulfOn Sunday, after we have looked at the weather forecasts on three different Internet sites, we conclude that the anticyclone will pass along us, that the weather won't be very good and that it will be windy. But we need a break and to get some fresh air. So, dressed like Michelin men, we begin walking in direction of the Richmond Gulf with the wind in our face. But the weather is not cold, it's a southernly wind. While in Montreal the temperature reaches +10, here it must be around +3.

We walk one and half hours among ice and snow patches until we arrive in front of a fabulous scenery which makes us feel infinitely small. That is, the spectacular view of the gulf surrounded by its abrupt cliffs. According to Andrew, there are trees below. Here is also the place where the tarmaganes that we have eaten the day before, are hiding... real meat which tastes of something!!! As we arrive in Linuksouk, which we had scheduled to be 2 hours later, the sun begins to redden and we understand that despite the enchanted landscape, it is time to return home, if one does not want to arrive too late. The return should be easier, because of the wind in our backs and we will use the light flashing from the airport as a landmark. Well, this small outing will have done us great.

Damien, April 1, 2004

Quick, quick: those are the watchwords before Antoine's departure. In good shape, Andrew and I are now ready to go our own way... at least that's what we believe! The last preparations finished, the last CDs duplicated, the last boxes done, and the game is over. We know what we are supposed to do, we need to keep a diplomatic and effective approach in mind. The computer part is almost finished; I would say that what is left is the more humane part and also the most interesting as far as human relations are concerned: training. The various persons present at the Northern Village have very different levels of computering. This is why I decide to gather everybody in the same room and introduce them to Internet, to what is an email, how much it costs, according to its use. Everyone is very interested and the questions are numerous at the end of my speech. This introduction is also made to be informative regarding the support and the strategy they will adopt when we won't be here anymore.

The wind has started to blow again, and the flags of the NV are flapping on the masts, but the weather is nice and the atmosphere is good. However, the weather forecasts are forever changing here, so that one cannot foresee what the following hours will be. Andrew begins the training here. As for me, I have to go and see Billy Tooktoo at the Daycare to make the last updates. His welcome is always so cordial; his sense of humor and his mood are very particular. I realize with surprise how much contrast there is between the small village where everything seems so harmonious, calm and serene and the horrendous technical support, which proves to be stressful and impolite, given by the customers service of a software company located in the US, which we seek a serial number from!!!

tooktooThe training sessions continue, people confide more and more to us: the ice is broken. Finally, two small interventions at Billy's and Jack's enable us to have a look in the house interiors, which look disconcertingly alike. There are only three streets in Umiujaq. Finally, in order to gain time, I will be in charge of Eddie's support training, and Andrew will take care of Billy's. We find ourselves all together on Saturday night, eating sandwiches at the Daycare. I learn that the water quality here is not very good and, that snow has been melted for the children in order to have water of better quality. Regarding that topic, I must admit that my belly has already told me about it!

Antoine, March 24, 2004

As what people here call the "White out" is happening outside, a colorful expression describing a heavy storm with winds blowing in gusts as well as snow, I am getting ready to leave for Inukjuak, if the weather allows it tomorrow.

Umiujaq is a very beautiful and small community, with a lot of charm, along a coast spangled with protective islands. The size of the village and the relationship between inhabitants reminds me of a big Inuit family where each individual has his/her very well defined place.




Charlie et les rangersWork advances efficiently in a good atmosphere and without trouble. We even received five Ptarmigans (Partridges) as a gift, freshly killed, which we moulted, emptied and ate almost raw, for we were truly starving, while Andrew watched us amused.

Our trip also coincided with the arrival of two soldiers, who came here to train the notorious rangers of Nunavik on how to locate at night on the Richmond Gulf. The floating red flag fixed on a spruce, chocked at the back of the ski-doo, the team displayed great looks on its return yesterday, under a bright spring sun. Part of the team were Charlie Tooktoo (a local employee at KMHB) as well as Noah Inukpuk (a local employee at KRG E&T), both dressed in red. Noah, with a smily and happy face recounted the 3 days journey he much appreciated, even though it seemed to him, that the soldiers were quite demanding as for the precision of the locating exercise which would take place at night, under great wind. Very much interested, I asked him whether he had had time to hunt a little and he answered affirmatively: -"Yes of course, we were able to hunt before 8 in the morning"

After the numerous political and technical events that occurred in the course of the previous trip, I was a little apprehensive when I returned to the village of Kuujjuaraapik, two days earlier. However, the sun was shining brillantly, the atmosphere was good and Andrew, our new employee from Whapmagoostui, was there with a delay of few minutes and in good shape.

Antoine, March 19, 2004

The two days spent at Kuujjuaraapik were particularly busy, mostly with the meeting we had at the Cree Band Office in Whapmagoostui. A project of setting up a network connected to KRG Internet at the Cree village brings good propects for the growth of our small company. In the event that a contract is signed with the Band Office, there is no doubt that Soleica Inc will open up an office at Kuujjuaraapik with Andrew and Jalal that I met following his hospitalization in Montreal. He also was in good shape.

umiujaq sunsetHowever, no later than this morning, the Internet projet was back to its routine, in an interesting however new atmosphere. After the old captain Duane had left, it is a brand new team that arrived this morning at the Umiujaq airport after an approximatively 25 minutes flight from Kuujjuaraapik.

My first idea that consists in creating with Damien and Andrew a team which combines technical know how and pratical knowledge, seems to me especially promising.

In fact, there were only few people who didn't know Andrew at Umiujaq when we arrived. "Some persons whom I had not seen for 20 years", Andrew told us. Indeed, the village of Umiujaq was created 20 years ago for the Inuits from Kuujjuaraapik who were to move there after the James Bay agreements.