Friday, September 7, 2012

Sometimes Adventure Gives You a Surprise

       I was 23 years old in 1963 and at loose ends in my life. I had taught four years and had decided to leave the position I had. If I was going to stay teaching I had to get back to University and finish a degree. I wasn't ready for that. I was half heartedly looking for another position. I really didn't know what I wanted to do.

     Then I saw an ad in the paper "Teach in Canada's North land." I thought , "This sounds interesting." I applied . I got an interview and a week later they offered me a position. I thought, "What do I have to lose?" The position was 1650 km (1000miles) further north of what I had been thinking. 

     I thought this would be great adventure hunting, fishing, airplanes, boats and new people. Off I went. I found even more than what I imagined. Bonus! There were lots of girls who were unattached. They were adventure seekers too. What fun! One of them latched on to me for some reason and she wouldn't let go. 

    After three years I was ready to go back and finish my degree.

    I wasn't finished with adventure and neither was my wife. We found a position in a small isolated settlement. Again lots of the outdoor stuff. There were 180 Inuit and 12 others. Our transportation was by small bush plane only. There was a six week break in service in spring and fall for changing from skis to floats or floats to skis. So six weeks with out mail.

    Things went well until one Sunday morning when there was a knock on the door. My wife was the nurse and we were used to calls at any hour of the day or night. One of the elders was there and in his very limited English asked my wife to come. Pita said, " Alisi's baby not good." My wife asked him , "Was the baby sick?". He just said ,"Not good."

    My wife went down and found that the toddler was dead. From my wife's nursing back ground she had some experience with people dieing but she wasn't prepared for what she saw. The toddler had been murdered in a brutal way. 

     My wife came back to the house and then we conferenced with the provincial administrator. We called the police 450km (300 miles) away on a short wave radio with very poor transmission. The police told us the airplanes had gone south five days ago but he would try to find an airplane to get to our settlement. He also told us what to do. We were to pick up the body and put it in a cardboard box and keep it in the storage shed. We were to write up a description of the injuries and write a statement as  to what we found at the site.Fortunately it was early Oct. and cool.

    This was one thing that I hadn't thought about when I was seeking adventure. It was a sobering experience.

     The police came in five days later and took the body and the mother. It was a very stressful ten days in my adventure.