Tuesday, 28 April 2015

It is a soft morning...

It is a soft morning and I walked to work - it really only takes me about 14 minutes unless I stop to take photos. I brought my camera today but didn't take one. If I don't take it I might see Snow Buntings or a bear (as if I'd take a photo of it if I were on my own).

Today I will be talking to my group of parents about the roots of family violence in First Nations and Inuit communities. Family violence, alcohol and drug abuse, poverty, physical and mental disease, high suicide counts, self-harm,  - all of these are symptoms of a much bigger problem - that of trauma. The communities I am working with have been traumatized by colonization. It is a deep spiral downward and it starts with a group of people who, in all probability, were also oppressed. The Innu and Inuit of Labrador were told in no uncertain terms that they were not worthy - their spirituality was ridiculed, their language and way of life taken away. This was reinforced by the residential school program across Canada and now it continues with the constant apprehension of children by social service agencies. Generations of families have been wounded in such a way that the only legacy being passed down is that of no-hope disease and all its attendants.

And I will sit with them and we'll talk about this and what is to be done. No-hope disease is highly contagious but despite feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the force of it I have not succumbed.  The families I meet are cheerful, matter of fact and intent on healing and repairing themselves, their families and their community. I'm in awe of them.

Friday, 24 April 2015

A different but still engaging life in Labrador

I am not the same person who started this blog when I moved to Labrador a year and a half ago. That first year was about the land and being mostly solitary. I walked sometimes two or three times a day. I had a few friends and lots of visitors from home. Ron was gone all day all week and I was lonely but I kind of like myself so basically good. It was strange not to work but I was busy - I learned to quilt, wrote daily, took zillions of photographs and drew. I meditated and cooked and read.

Now what? Since October I've worked. At first just filling in here and there but now full-time. I work at a treatment centre in Sheshatshiu - the Innu reserve across the bridge from where we live. I work with aboriginal families and help them get their lives together so they can maintain a family. I work with lots and lots of children in the community. I hang out at the school (k-12) on the reserve and am available so kids can chill out if they need to.  I bloody love my job! It is so brilliant that I get to do this. It is like a distillation of all my 63 years of learning and growing. I get to play and teach and draw and listen and meet them where they are instead of where anyone thinks they should be.

And the rest? Well, my walking has taken a big hit - this winter with its incredibly deep snow and constant -40 C temp would have done that anyway but I have missed it. I'm getting fat because although I'm not walking I'm still cooking and eating! I still take photographs (on my walk to work - where I'm fitting some walking in) and on the weekends. I've not been writing much - but I'm teeming with ideas and awaiting my YA manuscript back from a fella who has had it too long. I am not meditating enough and am making a commitment to change that as of May 1st.  So it's a mixed bag I guess but definitely worth it. Yesterday I was walking from the school to a group home to see some kids and I looked across the village at the Mealy Mountains (they look even closer from Sheshatshui) and I thrilled to be there doing what I was doing. Thrilled. I could be Jane Goodall or Stephen Lewis or any of those people who found their groove. The dream I had as a kid to join the Peace Corp or something like that - finally! I always thought I was living my life backwards and this proves it.

So I'll be by to comment on how it is going but this blog isn't my priority now - warning - to those of you who love consistency - this ain't it! I will come by though so check in now and then - there is nothing time-sensitive in my blog so ...