May I never loose the wonder.

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I have been back in Pikangikum for two weeks now. Yesterday I took my camera with me as I did work and errands. Since it was too cold to take time on one shot, it was pretty much point, shoot and keep walking 🙂

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Santa Claus is coming to town.

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It started off with my friend receiving a phone call from from an excited little girl Marlena, “Colleen please can you give us a ride to the airport, Santa is coming!” An hour later Colleen and I had 15 kids in her suburban and we made our way to the airport. Turns out the news had spread all over Facebook and many parents were busy dressing up their children warmly and hurriedly making their way to see Santa. No one was going to be late, the first 20 parents there would each get a turkey. Who misses an opportunity for free turkey?!

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By 4:30 the airport parking lot was filled and so was the road going into the airport. BTW the little blue building is the terminal 🙂

He was supposed to be there at 2:45. An hour later more than 100 children and patient parents were still waiting for him. Nobody was particularly upset about the delay, parents and friends, teachers and cousins, siblings and grandparents, police and nurses. We all just hang around waiting for him whilst the kids had a blast playing under the watchful eye of those that love them.

Then the plane arrived, there was much cheer and excitement as everyone made a mad dash for the plane. The joy was quickly dashed when the children reached the plane and found no Santa just the police telling everyone that it was a plane with inmates being flown in for court tomorrow. I could not help but chuckle, I am sure the inmates were confused at the warm greeting they were receiving from 100s of children.

Another 10 minutes and another flight came in, surely this HAD to be Santa, once again the children ran towards the flight with the same enthusiasm they had for the first flight. No, only cargo. By this time some parents were beginning to wonder if he was ever going to come.

Two hours after our arrival, he came with Mrs Santa and some helpers of course 🙂

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Oh my word, the exhilarating joy, the smiles, the awe. Almost all just wanted to touch him. It was crazy! The two bottom pictures were the only ones I could manage before I ran away from all the frenzy. Definitely worth waiting to see.

Only in the north do you see 100s of children on a runway expectantly waiting for Santa.

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Freeze up.

This year winter has been late.

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Last year by the first week of November, freeze up had began. This week is the first week were we have had consist negative Celsius.

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Since Pikangikum relies heavily on the winter road (driving over lake) to connect to the rest of the world some were concerned that it would take longer than usual for the lake to freeze.

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Well it surprised us cause when we went to bed last night the lake was not frozen and today when we woke it was.

Of course we need more ice on the lake for people to be able to drive on it. Last year some people started driving on the lake when the ice was 8 inches (20 cm). I hear its like a competition amongst some men to see who will be the first to drive on it. I would rather watch on the side lines and wait for it to be at least 12 inches(30 cm) 😀

 

Draped in white.

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For the first time in two weeks, the sun is out (albeit for a short time). It is hard to do any studies ( or edit photos) when all I want to do is stare at the sun! These pictures were taken this morning when I went for a walk. We had our first big snow fall yesterday, the last 3 weeks we have just had flurries. It made the land look so beautiful. It is my prayer that I never tire of finding and enjoying the beauty around me.

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Ice Fishing

My friend Lola invited me to join her and her family ice fishing this afternoon and I readily accepted. I said this to you during the summer, I have found I really enjoy fishing. I can close my eyes right now and feel the warm summer sun, the occasional gentle breeze, I can see those pesky mosquitoes desperately searching for a spot on my skin to bite, only finding I have lathered every part of my bare body with mosquito spray ( I don’t care if its toxic those little devils are not having a part of me!) Occasionally you see a Bald Eagle flying by, a beaver in his busyness and if its your lucky day, lots of fish. Yes, you guessed right, I am longing for summer. To top it off if you are fishing with local friends you have the added bonus of quiet companionship, there is no desperate need to fill the air with words.

Sunshine, Lolas daughter.

Sunshine, Lolas daughter.

With all that in mind, I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy ice fishing, after all we are still  knee high in snow. Just last week we had -43C!!! Friend, you won’t believe it, I enjoyed it immensely! I think what helped a lot was that every 10 mins I could go sit in my friends truck and warm my fingers and toes. I even managed to doze off once as I sat out on the frozen lake, not sure if its just a sign of how tired I am or if that’s because I was so relaxed … The weather forecast said today’s temperature in the afternoon was -19C but felt like -26C because of the windshield. How I managed to doze off in such conditions is a mystery, I woke up with two men looking at me and then chuckling to each other. I must have looked hilarious to them!!

Enough talk here are the pictures of today’s escapades.

Fishing derbys happen all the time in Pik, and since today was a public holiday in Canada (Family Day) this is what some people did this afternoon.

Fishing derbys happen all the time in Pik, and since today was a public holiday in Canada (Family Day) this is what some people did this afternoon.

First you find a spot, shovel the snow away and then drill a hole.

First you find a spot, shovel the snow away and then drill a hole.

I don't know what Stevies' hands are made of but thats him scooping out ice from the hole he made for his daughter.

I don’t know what Stevies’ hands are made of but thats him scooping out ice from the hole he made for his daughter.

My spot, I only got a nibble today, silly fish ate my minnow and didn't get hooked.

My spot, I only got a nibble today, silly fish ate my minnow and didn’t get hooked.

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Ashanti. Stevie and Lolas’ oldest daughter.

Stevie at his spot. The ice on the lake is about 31 inches thick. Some people in Pik started driving on the lake when it was only 8 inches!!

Stevie at his spot. The ice on the lake is about 31 inches thick. Some people in Pik started driving on the lake when it was only 8 inches!!

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Lola and Stevie are pretty good at fishing.

Stevies' catch. Waleye.

Stevies’ catch. Waleye.

its been nine months since I left home and I still have days when I marvel at where I find myself living, today is one of those days. Me Shula Mulenga living on a northern reserve in Ontario Canada, remind me again, how did that happen?

Leaving the lake after a wonderful afternoon :) FYI we are driving on frozen lake.

Leaving the lake after a wonderful afternoon 🙂 FYI we are driving on frozen lake.

Sunrise

January was a month of way too much grief in Pikangikum, according to locals its been awhile since so much saddeness happened in a space of 10 days. I will not delve into the details of what went on. In the process of being there for those who had lost so much I am filled with countless questions as I observe the different faces that suffering takes. I watch how people choose to embrace it or shun it, talk about it or pretend the elephant is not in the room.  I take note of the people who want to fix suffering and those who just stare at it angrily. I notice how the children don’t fully understand it and yet understand it way more than the average Canadian child. Always, always, I wonder about the children, what are they thinking? I notice too that the heaviness that faithfully accompanies suffering is competing within me with my desire to bring comfort to my friends. I wonder what to do with it . Even though I worked and at times lived in the midst of  much pain and suffering back home, this heaviness  I am experiencing here is new to me. An uninvited clingy guest, the kind you wish will get an unexpected call and leave as suddenly as he arrived. One cannot be of good company when this unwanted companion won’t take a hint when you have had enough.

In time I will figure out what works for me when dealing with this strange heaviness.

I took these pictures with my iphone so I don’t know if the quality is that great when looking at them with a laptop or computer ( I don’t have a laptop just a tablet) Sunsets and Sunrises in Pik are epic. Today these pictures reminded me that just as January had to come to an end so will this heaviness that I and so many others in Pik are grappling with.

You wouldnt know that a beautiful sunrise was just around the corner,

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till we went around the bend.

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