Cold weather, but warm people – Nicole Cummings

A series of posts from the trip of 2009, not published on the website before. 

Originally posted at http://www.cbc.ca/pei/features/chinookproject/posts/cold_weather.html

Sunday, May 17, 2009 | Posted by Nicole Cummings

As I sit down to write my final blog from Kugluktuk, I am reminded not only of the beautiful landscape and wonderful animals, but also of the amazing and warm people we have met. When I get back home, I will have many pictures to glance at and funny stories to talk about, but the people are what I hope will stay with me.

Out on the land with sled dogs

I hope I never forget the way our Kugluktuk coordinator, Melissa Joy, always strolled into the clinic with a “HEY GUYS!” and never-ending encouraging words—no matter how exhausted she was from working her many jobs. I hope I remember Luigi’s (the Kugluktuk wildlife technician) inquisitive face over my shoulder, covered by a surgery cap and mask, and interjecting now and then with, “I am so glad I am not the one doing these surgeries.” I hope I remember the pleasant smell of Mathieu’s (the Kugluktuk biology technician) pipe as he somehow both smoked it and drove the snowmobile.

I will not forget the image of Jerry driving our sled with a polar bear rifle on his back to protect us, or Dustin launching me from a sitting position on the snowmobile to flipped over in the basket in 2.2 seconds. I can’t forget our “food fairy,” Gladys, who always arrived with a warm smile and delicious food when we needed it the most. And I won’t forget Helen, who, despite our late, loud nights, and the minor flooding of her second floor, never got annoyed with us or changed the locks when we tried to come home at night.

There are too many people here in Kugluktuk to thank individually, because the entire community made us feel welcome. Every single thing we needed was given to us—and then some. Dinner was warm and waiting for us, no matter when we got home every night. And when we needed extra hands in the clinic, they were there. It makes me very sad to leave Kugluktuk, and I am proud to say I have been here, and I have fallen in love with the community. If I could have the chance to come back here, I would start packing today. The weather might seem like the coldest place on earth, but the people are what truly kept us warm. Thank you to everyone!

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