Day #10

From Peanuts to the Point…

So today was the start of the first of our 7 weekends in Fort Hope. I will be away for 8 weekends total, but only 7 of them will take place here in Eabametoong. Last night we stayed up rather late watching the movie Simon Birch. I know that I`ve heard of it before, but I`d never actually seen it. It was alright I suppose, nothing to write home about really, but I guess worthy of a blog mention. While watching the movie we were introduced to Sauce n`Cake by our housemate Courtney. I guess this boxed cake was some sort of comfort food for her and she was pretty excited to make it. The cake was alright I suppose, but again, nothing to write home about! 🙂

So after our late night we were able to sleep in because today was our first official òff`day of the summer. The way our pay works is that we are generally supposed to work a minimum of 35 hours a week. We are only paid up to this minimum. Anything extra that we work is considered community service. We woke up around 10am and headed out to the airport to pick up our first shipment of snack food for camp. Again it came in from the Northern Store in Nakina…I should also just quickly mention that it was freezing cold again today…I mean, by freezing we`re talking about 7-9 degrees, but still, it was cold enough to see your breath. We had the cutests little dog follow us all the way up to the airport…I`ll do my best to get a picture of it next time I see it. After collecting our shipment we took it back to the school with the help of one of our community councillors, Esther and her mom. They have been amazing to us so far, picking us up in their truck, driving us around and just being a friendly face in the community. I`ve been pretty reckless (for me) over the last week or so, I`ve ridden three times now in the bed of a pickup truck like it`s nobody`s business and traveled in the back of the NAPs police truck. Pretty intense transport if you ask me…

After collecting and storing the food order in the school we headed back to our house for a little lunch before we went over to the school in the afternoon to keep prepping for Monday`s start of camp. We finally broke into our big supply of food from the Northern store today and I had my first fried egg sandwich in Fort Hope. I`m thinking that I`ll be eating a lot of them before the end of the summer. It`s kind of a comfort food for me, and well, eggs are cheap!

After lunch we departed for the school and headed into our classrooms to work on getting activities ready for camp. Together as a team we worked out details for our first week. We selected books, started planning our scavenger hunt and established snack. Now here`s where we hit our first snag…We have two peanut allergies in our camp, so according to Frontier College`s peanut policy and common sense we clearly would not be providing peanut products for snack. Unfortunately our order of granola bars was not specific enough with the Northern Store and we received a mixture of Nature Valley bars that all contained peanuts or peanut oils. I think more out of frustration than anything else we had a brief tense moment over what to do with the granola bars. Some wondered if we could get away with serving them to the kids that didn`t have allergies (only briefly did they think this), but given my deep background in peanut issues on the John Dearness Health School Committee I stood strongly in opposition of this idea. It is playing with fire in my opinion to split hairs when it comes to anaphalactic allergies to peanuts. I suggested that it was not life or death to lose money on the purchase of excess granola bars (if we can`t send them back), but it could be life and death if someone were to accidentally be exposed to peanuts. Things were a little tense for a moment or two…I`m pretty sure people thought that I was being overly cautious, but I was willing to dig my heels in a bit on the peanut issue. Happily we got over this tension pretty quickly and moved on.

This evening we made ourselves a dinner of chicken, carrots, celery, onions and potatoes (quasi stew I would say) that tasted pretty good to me. I`m not a big fan of eating chicken with the bone in, but my two teammates were both fine with boned chicken so I took one for the team when we ordered it. I suppose boneless chicken is a luxury and boned chicken is considerably cheaper up here. It`s just way to much work though to get all the chicken off the bone…It`s like a workout and a meal at the same time!

After our meal we headed out to witness the weight in portion of the fishing derby that was going on today. It was a very casual event, so we just kind of stood around and watched the boats come in…No one really made much fanfare about their catch (it wasn`t anything particularly interesting to watch…not going to lie) so we took off after a few minutes of standing at the end of the cold, windy main dock. We decided to do a little bit of exploring next and headed out to the west, the only direction we hadn`t really been yet. I`m really excited to be in such a small town, because knowing your compass points is super easy! The lake is south, the airport is north and east and west kinda look after themselves…Usually I am hopeless with my directions…Anyway, we headed out to the west towards what is known as `the point.`Walking out this way really gave us a sense of just how in the middle of nowhere we are. To be honest it was kind of incredible. I was half expecting to feel isolated, but I just kind of felt awestruck. Standing out at the edge of the water looking across the water towards inlets and scores of forested hills just gives you this feeling of peace and historical reverence. My mind flashed back to every single Eurocentric history lesson that I have had in my life and imagined hopeless crews of European `adventurers`bumbling their way into unknown territory. I don`t think that you can appreciate just how much land is out here without being in the middle of it. You also realize that out in this part of Canada you must be patient, wise and above all else observatory to survive. There are no roadsigns pointing you towards home, no major roads to find when you`ve lost your way and no cell phone to call for directions. It`s just you and the trees, and the water, and the air. If you don`t respect the balance between what nature gives you (or how much you seek to take from it) and what it gives back, it is quite likely that life will be very short for you.

Anyway, I`m currently uploading some new pictures to my flickr account, so if anyone wants to take a look at those, hopefully they will be ready to go by tomorrow afternoon. My internet connection is so bloody slow that it takes about 4 hours to upload 50 pictures, so I`m going to get started on that right now!

That`s all for me tonight, so until tomorrow…

–Be kind to each other and don`t fall down…

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