In Passing…

Day #52

It has been an interesting 48 hours here in Fort Hope. In that space of time, one community elder passed away at a hospital in Thunder Bay, another passed away here in the community and another is expected to leave us within the next few days. As a result, the town has gone into a little bit of a state of mourning. At this point it isn’t particularly obvious that mourning is occuring, but as of tomorrow it will become quite apparent. The most noticeable change has been the presence of live musicians at the local radio station during the day. People have been coming in with their guitars and voices to sing prayers and songs for the recently passed and sick.

There will be no literacy camp tomorrow, as the whole town is expected to shut down in order to pay respect to the deceased community members. We’re still not sure whether we or not we will be attending a service tomorrow or not…We don’t want to intrude on a private grieving process, but we also don’t want to neglect to pay our respects. We’re going to do our best to feel it out, and I’m sure that whatever we decide will be acceptable.

Nanajean told us that the deaths in the community were foretold by last week’s presence of a pack of wolves in town. The wolves had unexpectedly made their way from the bush to the main streets of Fort Hope. It is believed that animals that come to town always bring a message with them. The indicate that something is about to change. In many people’s opinion, this latest pack of wolves brought warnings of the current situation with them.

It is unfortunate that the end of our stay in the community is likely going to be marked by the passing of elders, but it will also be an opportunity to see how people deal with loss. It is quite possible that we will see a different perspective on the grieving process and the processing of death.

In other news…We received our Fort Hope departure information today from Frontier College. Courtney and Nanajean are flying out on a Frontier College charter at about 10:30 in the morning, but unfortunately have to take a rather convoluted route back to Thunder Bay. They won’t actually touch down at the Thunder Bay airport until about 4:30pm. Jenette, Esther and I will be flying on a regular commercial flight leaving Fort Hope at 6:30pm and arriving a direct flying time of 1 hour later in Thunder Bay.

The arrival of our flight info finally brought the reality of our departure into the light. We’re down to just over a week now, so I’ll be doing my best to absorb all of Fort Hope that I can over the next little while!

Camp today was a pretty laid back affair today…We had very few children, on account of the deaths in the community, so we just kind of went with the flow and did whatever the kids wanted. We unfortunately didn’t get our second video finished this afternoon, but at least we got the first one done. One of our cast members is leaving on Monday, so we’re not sure if we’ll have time to finish the latest one up, but we shall see!

The most exciting news that I have to report is that we are going to host a ‘guys night’ at the teacheridge on Saturday night. We have a rather devoted crew of 6 guys that have attended camp almost everyday this summer. They have been asking to come into our house, and to have a guys night since July. We’re finally going to give them their wish on Saturday! I’m glad that we’re doing it in the teacheridge. It allows us to control the situation much more easily! We’re going to make bannock dogs, play some card/board games and watch a James Bond movie. An ultimate night in male bonding!

Aside from that…Tonight Jenette, Courtney and I decided that we were going to go on a canoe ride out to one of the islands. We also decided that we would offer to take Nanajean’s two nephews, Nathanial and Tylar, along with us. Nathanial and Tylar have become two of our favourites over the course of the summer. They visit us at our house almost constantly, and are really appreciative of having us around. In Nathanial’s own words he ‘almost fainted when he found out it was his lucky day to go for a canoe ride!’ Nathanial is the oldest of the two, but his enthusiasm for our trip was as contagious as his 8 year old brother’s. We had a fantastic canoe ride, and the boys had a great time. They could barely contain their excitement! We canoed out to an island and went for a swim…I may have jumped in the water in my pink, with sun glass wearing penguins, boxers…;) It was a great swim and a great paddle!

We are now back inside the teacheridge enjoying an episode of ‘The Wire’.

Alright, I’m done for the night!

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