Travelogue part 1
"If you've only been to Nuuk, you haven't been in Greenland"
"Nature is so beautiful that I almost start to cry when we sail in a zigzag between the icebergs"
IlulissatThe Atuarfik Mathias Storch school building is only 4 years old and has the best view in the world! In the ceiling hang large daylight lamps that provide good light in the dark, but now it is midnight sun and the light flows in from large windows everywhere. We have an interesting and educational day with both teachers and students, and we are repeatedly impressed by the young people’s skills and ambitions. On our journey, we also talk about the opportunities that exist to apply for funding from Nordplus and Atuarfik Mathias Storch has in fact just been granted funds from Nordplus for teacher exchanges in the Nordic and Baltic countries. Later in the day we have a very exciting conversation with Elisabeth Momme, the new leader of the Ilulissat Icefjord Center. The World Heritage Site has a fantastic newly built center which unfortunately opens on July 3, so on this trip we have to content ourselves with seeing it from the outside. Instead we go for a 10 km long walk in the mountains along the icefjord. Once again I feel how the greatness of nature touches and moves me. Ilulissat has a rich cultural life. In the Culture House Sermermiut we meet the municipality’s School and Culture Department: Aka Grønvold, Aviaq S. Henson, Rigmor Villadsen, Nukannquaq Mathiessen and Lars Rasmussen. They tell us about how they work for an increased collaboration between culture and school. The locals are very happy with the Culture House which contains a meeting room, cinema hall and fitness center.
In the Culture House Sermermiut we meet with Aka Grønvold, Aviaq S. Henson, Rigmor Villadsen, Nukannquaq Mathiessen og Lars Rasmussen.
Early Sunday morning we arrive at Qasigiannguit. Hotel director Jooriina Zeeb picks us up at the pier and serves a delicious homemade breakfast. At the breakfast table we meet the pastor and we stroll up to the church and participate in both baptism and communion. And I get to see my first whale here in Greenland!
On Monday, we meet both teachers and students at Efterskole Villads Villadsen. A very pleasant experience at a school characterized by good relations between teachers and students. It is interesting to hear what the young people dream about and what future plans they have. It was a good lunch too 🙂
Later in the day, we hold an open counseling, Tamassa, in the town hall and get to know many committed people and exciting project ideas. Nivé and Frank have interesting plans for collaboration between schools that have sled dogs as their subject line, and we propose a collaboration with Alta Folk High School.
At Qasigiannguit Local Museum, we get to see an old house built in Norwegian log technique and follow in archeological footsteps after more than 4000 years old settlements. It is always nice to see good cooperation between culture and education. I am passionate about schools that manage to be part of the local community and that work interdisciplinary. The museum arranges courses in old hunting techniques, sews leather clothes according to old drawings and the young students can participate in archery courses every week. Our project manager Malin happily participates in the training with the youths, and they were happy to finally be able to shoot with a bow and arrow outdoors after training indoors all winter. Unfortunately, Malin steps over and she hobbles home with a heavily sprained ankle.
In the evening, we get fresh ammassat caught by the hotel director’s father and fried in the Greenlandic manner by our communications officer Bula.
After a beautiful boat trip to Aasiaat where we stop in two villages, we arrive at The Seaman’s Home early Tuesday morning. In Aasiaat we are invited to meet teachers in the school Gammeqarfik and the next day we will work with the students in 8.L and 8.K. Our first Greenlandic video for “We are the West Nordics” was uploaded! Malin sits in the room with her foot high and is in continuous contact with Norden i Skolen. At the same time, we change NAPAs email server, and it boils in my head – but all technical challenges are expertly monitored by our bedridden colleague.
At Tamassa, open counseling, we meet Aasiaat’s mayor, Ane Hansen. The next day, she was to celebrate her 60th birthday in the town hall, which is decorated with art worth more than 40 million Danish kroner. The visual artist Per Kirkeby had given the pictures to the city as a gift, and they cannot be sold. I think the Assembly House really has the best location in town. It sits high above the church and has wonderful views of the harbour and city.
For 15 years, Bula’s father was a priest in Aasiaat, and wherever we go in the city, Bula meets old acquaintances. The father was a well-loved priest who himself said that he was a hunter by profession, and a priest in his spare time.
In the evening we host another round of open counseling, Tamassa at GUX and have a nice meeting with the principal, Dorthie Siegstad. An exciting lady with ambitions on behalf of her school. Her little sister is ordained bishop in June – pretty impressive sisters! NAPA has in fact provided project support for composing a new organ piece for the bishop’s dedication.
Next week we will meet again on our way back from Qeqertarsuaq and before we move on to Kangaatsiaq.
Right now we are still sitting at The Seaman’s Home and waiting for departure. Our departure was moved to tonight and today’s appointments in Qeqertarsuaq had to be rebooked. This is how it is to travel in Greenland, ajunngilaq. Then you get time to write a travel letter 🙂
By Anne Mette Gangsøy.