I leave for Rankin Inlet a week today! There’s still a LOT to do before I go, but my “to do” list is definitely shrinking, and I am grateful!
Many people have asked: Do you have any fears about going?
People tell me I’m brave to consider going to such a cold, remote climate and perhaps that’s true! I love adventures, and learning about new cultures and ways of life and am really looking forward to this one.
I also have a lot of fears, which I’ll list here so you can watch how they change over time.
Of course, fear and excitement feel the same in the body, so I’m trying to focus on the excitement!
Having said that, here are the things I’d really appreciate prayers for!
Keeping my food frozen en route: If all goes well, I’ll pick up my frozen food in Huntsville, check it right through, and 24 hours later I’ll arrive in Rankin Inlet. The worst case scenario is that I won’t be able to check it right through – will have to take it to the hotel in Thunder Bay and there won’t be anywhere cold to store it. There will be a blizzard in Nunavut keeping me grounded in Winnipeg with my food and nowhere to keep it cold; or because it’s overweight, it will be shipped as cargo and arrive sometime later, all thawed out!
Food insecurity: In a community where food comes in by supply boats in the summer; and is so expensive to buy, I’m told that there are a lot of people who go hungry in the community. I’m a “new” white person, coming in to their community with food; not knowing the culture; storing the food on the porch. In the face of my own life-long battle with food insecurity, will I be generous or fearful and stingy?
Boundaries: When I was in Labrador, there was an aboriginal couple who came into my house, went through my drawers, asked what everything cost and took things without asking. I didn’t know how to react! On the one hand, they came from a culture where everything was shared; and in the grand scheme of things, they may have been poorer than I. On the other hand, it was MINE. I wanted it; thought I needed it; felt violated and my hospitality betrayed. I didn’t want to continue the friendship because I didn’t know how to set clear boundaries. I’m still not sure how to handle situations such as these!
SAD: I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder – depression caused from a lack of sunlight. My light box is too big and bulky to bring with me (it’s that or grocieries!). I’m taking some daylight light bulbs and hope that will be enough. With only 4 hours of daylight a day, I’m worried that my depression will prevent me from getting involved in the community.
Getting to know people: I’m an introvert by nature, with a finger in many pies. I’m eager to use this time away from my normal routine to be able to get a lot of work done, on things that I never seem to have time to do in my normal life. My fear is that it will be easier to stay home where it’s bright and warm, and inside my comfort zone, than it will be to get out and meet people.
Cultural insensitivity: It’s not uncommon for me to feel guilty for the sins of my forefathers, and I worry about being a privileged white woman coming in to a community whose way of life changed rapidly because of the influence of white people. As a Bahá’í my goal is to see only our oneness. My fear is that my misplaced feelings of guilt and shame will prevent me from integrating into the community.
Helpful reminders from people who’ve been there:
People who understand the Inuit culture have given me some good advice:
- Don’t isolate yourself from the Inuit residents
- Assess their culture through their standards and not your own
- People are the same everywhere you go