Friday, January 30, 2009

We're Busy!

Lots to do, so little time.
I'll update soon!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bienvenue a Vancouver!

Hey everyone!

Finally we are in Burnaby, got here nice and safe last Wednesday. And welll of course it wouldn't be a Katimavik rotation if our luggage didn't mysteriously disappear somewhere between Montreal and our final destination.

Anways, yes we did get our luggage two days later but it was all there safe and sound and hopefully it won't happen again (for the 3rd time, the first on our way up to Chisasibi, the second on our way from Chisasibi, and the third on the transfer from Montreal to Vancouver).

So our house is REALLY! cool and it's old and creaky and cold and the bathroom has cool lights and there's a closet with a toilet in it and we have a patio with a BBQ and cool rooms and like a billion closets in each room and it's warm here! There is snow but it's all melting away and it's raining it's fantastic I haven't needed my winter coat at all and there are mountains outside!

Well anyways we went to interviews for work placements on Friday and the work placements are:
Neil Squire
Burnaby Hospice
Windsor House Alternative School
The Summit

I can't explain them all cause I forgot what they are BUT they are all really cool and I got placed at BACI which helps people with special needs become more involved in the community. Today was my first day and I loved it. It's a really great environment and everyone, both workers and clients, are amazing people, so I'm really looking forward to working there for the next couple of months.

Anyways that's all I've got for now, hope you're all well.
Take care,

Friday, January 2, 2009

Merry Christmas Happy New Year


Happy New Year to everyone, I hope everyone's was great! We've been very busy at the Katima-house with lots of cleaning and activities and celebrations. The town of Chisasibi has had all these really fun nightly gatherings at the banquet hall and such since the 27th and we've gone to a lot of them. The prizes are really cool but the games are even better, it's so much fun just to play, my face usually hurts from laughing too hard.

So New Years Eve was a very quiet one...for a couple of minutes! The group all decided to go to the Banquet Hall for celebrations, however Kalleena and I were still trying to look pretty so they left without us. We finally left around 11:20 and got to the Hall a bit early, naturally no one was there, mostly at Church or still at home. We ended up not being able to find the rest of our group so our 12:00 consisted of us walking around saying "have you seen our family?" and hugging at 12:00 because we were alone in the middle of the road. So cute!

Well we went to the Hall the group showed up eventually and there was food and coffee and celebrations and games and prizes and dancing and laughing and the fun didn't stop till the morning. Then last night there was a Formal feast that some of us went to and we got all dresssed up with our long johns underneath because it was so cold and the feast was SO GOOD! There was moose and turkey and caribou and ham and beef and a few veggies hehe. Then there were some more games and a couple people even won a 42 inch flat screen t.v., a full stainless steel kitchen set, and a living room set.

Today was mostly spent packing, and finding many things we thought were lost. Ihave managed to pack completely and my suitcase does close. However I still have some stuff out, hopefully it fits in my backpack for camp.

Well that's about it for now. We're going to a Walking Out ceremony tomorrow, which is a traditional ceremony where the kids walk in their snow shoes for the first time and the community invited us to come so we're all excited to go.

Happy New Year!!!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Wow, ever busy!

I cannot believe it's two days until Christmas! Aunt Elaine told me it's about time for an update so here it is hehe

Okay so, it was everyone (except mine and Kayla's) last day of work last Thursday so everyone that had no where to go on Friday spread out throughout the three daycare centres. Unfortunaly, Niiduwashauu Centre only had 6 kids, Preston only had 8 and mine, Jenna Centre, had 13, so we merged and I got to enjoy the last day of work with Kayla Rachelle and Garret. I was very sad to know that it was the last time I would be working with the kids, but I've learned so much, including how to speak Cree, and all I can do is appreciate all of it. They even got me a cake! Ever nice!

This weekend was fairly relaxing, I've been working on a very detailed Dreamcatcher that has taken me about, oh around 5 hours already. It's almost done, yay! A few of the group took to building this AWESOME snow thing around a firepit. It's this big firepit with a huge circular bench of snow around it, and around that there's this huge snow wall to protect us from the wind so we can have a couple fires before we leave.

Johnny from work told me to be aware that on new years here, everyone goes outside and fires their guns to celebrate and apparently it sounds like a warzone, I'm so excited! I hope we can get some video footage of it.

Also, RAchelle and I are house managers this week. We decided to take on the HUGE task of Christmas week, and wow, ever tiring.

We went to get the groceries yesterday and we spent about $800. We were a far way over budget, and we even forgot some things. We spent most of the past two days cleaning and cooking and baking! And then we had a bread disaster (don't ask) taht we had to take care of this morning. We got a lot done, but we are both so exhausted now, I cannot wait to sleep.

Our Christmas tree is getting fuller and fuller. Packages have arrived in the mail and we're slowly but surely finishing our secret santa gifts, although I just walked upstairs a few moments ago and found mine being constructed but I'll pretend it's a surprise.

I think thats about it for now. Tomorrow we're eating a traditional Quebec tourtiere with carrot cake for dessert, and Thursday, well it's a full on Turkey and stuffing and gravy and potatoes and veggies and I can't remember the rest with homemade ice cream and apple pie it's very exciting!

Wish everyone happy holidays and a Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Busy Busy Busy

Top: It's sideways, but one of the Jenna Centre infants enjoying her time on Santa's lap hehe!Middle: Josie Cox's spot in the parade, he was promoting local business.
Bottom: Marc and Karine posing for a very cute picture at the parade. We all had our faces painted with little Christmas-like pictures.

Hey Hey Hey!

Sorry it's been quite a while. I've been fairly busy over the past couple of weeks. With what you may ask, well I'm not quite sure, but I have been. Christmas is fast approaching and there is a lot going on here in Chisasibi. The past week alone I had four Christmas parties to help out with so my days were full of wrapping presents and decorating and cooking and serving and seeing Santa Claus and making sure all of the kids got a present. The reason for the four parties is that there are four daycare facilities here and due to my volunteer status, well I was asked to volunteer at all of them, and it was such a blast to see all the different reactions when the children had to sit on Santa's lap.

So, a couple weekends ago, Karine, our Project Coordinator, flew up to have a visit and to have our mid-trimester assesment with the group. It was a lot of fun and she got to experience all of Chisasibi that she possibly could in four days. We were fortunate enough to take part in the annual Chisasibi Christmas Parade, which was TONNES of fun. There were quite a few floats and the whole town came out to see the parade. Of course, we didn't have a float, per say, but we decorated the Katima-van to the best of our abilities and played music as loud as we could. We also brought along lots of goodies to hand out to the kids (and some adults, Angela!). After a long parade route we were then invited to the Mitchuap (city hall) for some goodies and to see who got the prizes for the best floats (alas, we did not win!).

Karine left on the Sunday and we continued on with our Katima-lives until, SURPRISE! Santa Claus himself stopped by the next Tuesday with the fire department, collecting donations and handing out more goodies :). Naturally, myself and a couple others RAN outside to see him because we were so excited.

The next few days at work, our cook was sick so I was asked to fill in for him. Cooking for an entire hungry daycare is not as easy as it sounds hehe.

Sadly on Wednesday night, this would be the 3rd I believe, our dear group member Marjolaine announced to the group that for personal reasons she was quitting the program and heading home. This was a hard hit on the group, as we have all bonded really well and were very sad to hear that she was leaving. So we all made her a personalized DVD to take home to remember us by, and on Friday, the 5th, she hopped on her flight home, with Marc, who was also heading down to Montreal for a week for conferences and meetings.

That weekend was our "48 hours", in other words, free time. Unfortunately, our plans were cancelled so the group stayed home, for the most part, and relaxed. Rachelle and I stayed home the Friday night while everyone went to the school Christmas party and we (don't tell Marc) bought hot dogs and bacon and pigged out on normally banned food hehe. We then started a huge painting project which we're still working on but it is looking SO GOOD and it's going to be amazing when it's finished. I'll post a picture when it's complete.

So Monday was back to work and the house had an Asian inspired dinner, which was really good, then we all sat down and watched a documentary on Metal Music. Very educational, however it's still not my favourite kind of music. Tuesday night, Janie Cox, a Cree Culture teacher at the school came over for dinner for a Greece inspired dinner, for which Garret, Kalleena and myself dressed in togas, and the group worked on the mittens that they started, while I, who am not doing mittens, worked on another little side-project I had going.

Last night, was another regular Wednesday night, the group had a Mexican inspired dinner and then watched Tenacious D: Pic of Destiny, which was loads of fun.

Tonight was much like last night, but we ate perogies, and they was good. Another teacher from the school came for dinner and he brought his guitar, so he and Stephan played together for a bit and it was really nice.

Next week is our last week of work. The daycares are having the Staff Christmas Party on Tuesday night so I am looking forward to that. It's going to be sad to leave the daycare because I have grown really attatched to all the staff and children and they hold a special place in my heart. I hope the next Katimavik group has as much fun as we did here.

Anyways, that's all I've got for tonight. Wish you all the best, take care!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hey Hey Hey

Gooooood afternoon everyone!

Sorry for taking so long but I get a little lazy every now and then. Well that and I haven't been around much lately either.

So work is work. It's daycare like and some of the kids are getting a little too attatched to me. I can't go into the young toddler room sometimes because if Boubacar sees me he'll start crying when I leave, then I have to carry him around everywhere then he cries again when I send him back :) The kids are so cute!

Alors, every trimester we have a thing called 'billeting' where all of the participants are separated and sent to live with a family in the area so that they can better discover the culture blah blah blah. Welllll seeing as we're here in Chisasibi, Katimavik couldn't find 11 families that wanted us however there was one guy who was willing to take all of us which ended up being SOOOOOO cool!

So on the 10th, we all packed up our stuff (10 days worth, so of course the van was packed full) and headed out to Radisson, a small town abouuuut 85km east (?) from Chisasibi. It's where LG 1 or 2 is located I can't remember. Either way, it came to be when they were building the Dam's as a place for them construction workers to stay and ended up becoming a small community. That could be wrong, feel free to correct me if you know.

Anyways about 40 km from Radisson is the Cox family farm it's huge and they don't stay there all the time but this really cool guy named Sylvain stays there and maintains the place and there are 19 dogs mostly huskies and they are so cute and one is half wolf and there was no running water or electricity i.e. we had to flush the toilets with a bucket and drink from a natural spring.

While there we helped building a traditional Mitagin (like a teepee but not a teepee cause teepees are really different), I'm pretty sure the Cree's working on it were laughing at us but it's okay cause we had a moss fight and it was fun. Then, we collected Spruce Bows for the floor othe non-traditional Mitagin and we 'installed' the floor, horribly but it worked, then we got to sleep out there for the rest of the nights. It was all fun until the fire went out (it happened every night because no one wanted to get up to tend it) and then it would be freezing cold in our Mitagin.

We also mapped trails, heard wolves howling, saw a bunch of animal tracks, and peed in the forrest. It was very educational heha.

Sooo we came back to Chisasibi and everyone fought for the showers and we all stank like sweat poop and dog but eventually everyone was clean and missed the bush.

This week, Charles and I are house managers so we've been cleaning and making bread and singing our hearts out. I got to sleep in until 10:30 this morning, it was so nice, but then i had to clean the bathrooms, which isn't too bad I just prefer sleeping.

Coming up soon in this wonderful town of Chisasibi, the annual Christmas parade, in which we are registered as 11 reindeer pulling a sleigh. Here's how it works.
The 10 participants are the reindeer, and our PC Karine Gravel will be here that weekend because she has to check on us so she will be Rudolph (she doesn't know this yet, shh) and Marc, our PL, will be an elf because he looks like an elf driving the sleigh :)

Also....I can't remember right now, but there's snow and probably gingerbread houses and french movie nights and lots of fun.

I'm out for the night, bon soiree/journee whatever time it is where you are,

p.s.-my french is coming along quite lovely, a nurse at the hospital actually thought I was bilingual and my french teacher says I am quite knowledgable, however not modest. bye!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In Loving Memory

(my apologies, this is the only picture I had)
I am writing a blog this evening dedicated to a young boy named Matteo Riopel.

Matteo was a child at the daycare that I am currently doing my volunteer work at. He was in the toddler room, taken care of every day by Nathalie Orr and Bessie House. Although I never worked closely with him, I did visit his room almost every day and had the chance to see him running around and playing with the other children.

Matteo was born with a sickness that caused many complications as he was growing. A few weeks ago he also underwent an intensive surgery which he appeared to have recovered from fully. He returned to the daycare playful and happy, the only difference being the type and amount of food he was allowed to eat.

On the morning of November 03, 2008, Matteo was Med-Evac'd to Montreal's children's hospital where he was put into intensive care. The following day news reached the daycare from Matteo's aunt that he was not doing too well and the chances seemed slim. By the night of Tuesday November 04, 208, Matteo silently passed, in the company of his closest family.

A parent should never have to experience the pain and agony of outliving their child. My deepest condolences go out to the Riopel family on this sad occasion.

Rest In Peace,

Matteo Riopel

December 29, 2005-November 04, 2008