A guest post by Dawn Bazely aboard Greenland & Wild Labrador 2018. Photos by Michelle Valberg.
Today was a big day, as we anticipated our landing in Canada, after crossing the Davis Strait from Greenland.
Nine years ago, expedition photographer Michelle Valberg founded Project North, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in Canada’s North through sport and education. Project North delivers sports equipment to northern communities. Adventure Canada is a sponsor, and this year helped with delivering hockey gear to the village of Kangiqsualujjuaq in Nunavik, Quebec.
Our day began with an early Packing Party. Guests and staff filled twenty-five hockey bags with new skates, helmets, pads, and shirts. Part of the donation included 150 hockey sticks, collected by CIBC as part of their memorial to the Humboldt Broncos.
Zodiacs brought guests ashore to a warm welcome from the community. Bannock and tea prepared by Sarah and Susie, friends of culturalist Maria Merkuratsuk was served in sheltering tents. Along with other Inuit staff, Maria was delighted to reunite with family and friends!
The hockey equipment was delivered to delighted young members of the community. An exciting, fast-paced ball hockey game followed the presentation ceremony, in which the Adventure Canada team, was “narrowly” defeated by a score of 7 to 1 by the young Kangiqsualujjuaq team (who had, by all accounts, been asked to “take it easy”).
In this day filled with many highlights, we were truly thankful to be welcomed to Qarmaapik Family House by coordinator Minimaali Sinuupa, and a wonderful team of staff and volunteers. Qarmaapik is a unique and inspiring model of family support, designed and delivered by Inuit in the local dialect of Inuktitut. The staff help parents and caregivers feel confident and competent in raising their children in a healthy and supportive family environment.
Qarmaapik provides Inuit-specific counseling services, interventions, and a safe place for children and families in crisis. In 2016, Qarmaapik won the Arctic Inspiration Prize. This prestigious award provided $700,000 in funding to complement support from Kativik Regional Government and the Makivik Corporation, and community donations, including Adventure Canada’s Discovery Fund.
We were sad to leave Kangiqsualujjuaq, even as we stood on the ramp waiting for Zodiacs in the twilight, and it started to sleet, because we were dancing to music being played for us by our hosts who came to say goodbye!