28 August, 2000

It was snowing during breakfast. The flakes were large and dusted the hills. There was a light fog to the south and the clear band that had been evident at the northern horizon was getting lower. There is a little concern about being able to fly out on Wednesday. John will be calling Jack about the weather predictions. Another option is to go by boat along the coast to catch our flight to the USA on Thursday.

Today I was invited by the principal to visit the school. I arrived around 11AM and went to the office where I met Axel Lund Olsen, the Principal of Qaanaaq School. Axel right away established a friendly atmosphere and we talked easily while we toured the facilities. Axel was raised further south along the coast, but has lived here for 14 years and enjoys the lifestyle of the north. He is short some teachers for the school year and so has been busy interviewing by phone to Nuuk and hoped to have everything in place within the next few weeks of this new school year. There usually are twenty teachers total for 176 students; ten of these students were boarders. Classes 1 through 11, equivalent to our K through 10th grade, are taught a curriculum building upon the basics of Science, Greenlandic and Danish History, Geography, crafts, and Physical Education. Upon finishing the 10th grade they are given an examination. If they do well and elect to take a course at the post secondary level it is paid for by the Kommune; this would require the students to travel to Nuuk to further their studies. Most students take a vocational course, others go to the university, and some become hunters.

I found it interesting that teachers as part of their curriculum can and do take their class out for weeks to camp and study in the environment. Axel hopes to have a new school in the year 2002. The school has a computer lab that will be hooked up to the internet in October. This led us into discussing how education is changing with the global community via the internet. A new recreation center is also being created in the community by the Crown Prince of Denmark for the children to have a place to remain active during the winter months. The Crown Prince traveled across the northern part of Greenland last year with Frank Angmalortok', our hunter guide at Lake Taserssuit, as one of the hunter guides on one leg of the journey.

Axel himself was anxious to go hunting reindeer in Washington Land. He said they will travel by boat. I mentioned how well trained the dogs seemed not to bark. He said the dogs are work animals and trained for the hunt. If a female comes into heat during a hunting trek she would probably be shot because the males would not be able to focus on their job of pulling the sled. It is a rugged life for the 14 to 21 dog teams that pull the heavy wooden Inuit sleds.

I returned to the Alderhous to find John and Anderson busy with the last samples to dissect. They were pleased to be able to finish before leaving Qaanaaq.

Snow on the hills behind the Alderhous.

Axel Lund Olsen, the Principal on the right, with one of his teachers.

Qaanaaq Students.

More students of Qaanaaq.

And more smiling faces from the students at Qaanaaq.

The computer lab, notice the ABC's on the wall. How are they different from ours?

Some dogs in training.

A grown sled dog. Notice the runners of the wooden sled leaning up against the shed.

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