sherilee harper

EcoHealth Research with Indigenous Communities

YYZ → YOW → YFB: Jen’s Adventures in Iqaluit

Reflections from Jenifer Truong, June 2014

IMG_1986Just last week I was sitting in the office, typing away, when Sheri came in to ask if I’d be interested in going to the IHACC results sharing meeting with her…in Iqaluit. Three days later, I packed my bags and headed onto my flight to Iqaluit!

I wasn’t sure what to expect on this trip, but what I’ve learned and experienced have been unlike anything I’ve ever done before! We arrived on Sunday afternoon to the bustling Iqaluit Airport. Although we were still in Canada, there were some very subtle differences that I noticed. For example, it was so cool to see signs at the airport in English but still mostly Inuktitut! Also, it turns out that the taxi’s in Iqaluit all had a flat rate of $6/person, no matter your destination. Pretty cool concept if you ask me!

I got settled into the student housing along with Anna, who had been here for the past couple of weeks doing research for her Masters. She became my personal tour guide (I know, I got pretty lucky!) and brought me to the Visitors Centre to see some amazing artifacts. We met up with Sheri and James that evening for dinner. We ended up at the Navigator Restaurant. It was a perplexing menu of Chinese food, country food, and Canadian classics! We parted ways and I was ready for bed in preparation for tomorrow’s meeting.

Anna and I both got up early to head off to the NRI to prepare for the IHACC Results Sharing meeting. There were about 20-24 people that came by for this meeting throughout the day. Listening to everyone speak out the research that is being done in Iqaluit and up North was incredible – from food security, to climate change adaption, gender, and AGI research, I was thoroughly impressed!

One of my favourite moments was meeting a surveyor named Tommy – he was always making jokes! From talks about ‘dumpcano’ to warning me about polar bear sightings, needless to say, it was always entertaining to talk to him!

After the meeting, Anna, Knut and I went to the museum to see a Norwegian exhibit on the Northern Lights. The photos were absolutely stunning – I can only imagine how beautiful the view must be in Iqaluit when those lights are visible in the night sky. I also bought my first souvenir there: a classic Inukshuk. We ended up going to the Gallery at the Frobisher hotel and the food was spectacular! Something that was extremely fascinating was seeing people come into the restaurants to sell carvings, jewelry or art work. It was such a relaxing and welcoming environment that I couldn’t imagine seeing elsewhere!

On the last day in Iqaluit, Anna and I got to witness Sheri make her first purchase of a souvenir here! And she chose a good one! We took a taxi up to Apex afterwards and although it was a nauseous and bumpy ride to get there, the view was magnificent. The peace and serenity at Apex was unparalleled.

Before I knew it, it was almost time to go back home! I will always remember how beautiful a place Iqaluit is, how friendly the people are, and how peaceful it was. I am so thankful for the opportunity to travel up to Iqaluit and experience everything that I did! Special thanks to Sheri, James, and Anna for making this trip so memorable. Next time, if anyone ever pops into the office asking if I’d like to leave in three days and get to travel for work – I will undoubtedly say, “YES! Of course!”

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