Saturday, April 23, 2011
Never again will I take for granted the infrastructure that delivers clean water and removes sewage. In the brief time I’ve worked here the Learning Centre has had to be shut down due to a lack of running water/plumbing. The cause, as I later learned, was that the water reservoir for the school ran low and this in turn burned out the water pump. It’s now a week after the problem was fixed and our sewage hasn’t been pumped out since. Too much sewage is not only malodorous but it affects the water from being a) pumped into the school from the delivery truck and b) running when turning on the faucets/ flushing the toilet. If it’s not rectified soon the Learning Centre will have to close down again. A call to the Hamlet office was received by a rather cranky woman telling me the problem was due to a recent blizzard. She didn’t seem receptive to the idea that the lack of delivery predated the blizzard; she did however take the time to reiterate that the blizzard was the cause of the problem.
Showering at the mission house (where I live) is never a sure thing either. I’ve come back from running only to find out that water wasn’t delivered and that conservation measures are now in effect. It’s not a nice feeling to go to bed knowing that you’re mostly covered in dried sweat.
Interestingly the delivery/ removal systems are two of the few job options available to residents of the hamlet. My housemate told me that the unemployment rate in Tuk is at 80% (I will endeavour to back this up). The students at the Learning Centre certainly seem to reflect this as they do not (at this point) seem to have any clear idea of what they’d like to do with their academic upgrading. If anything the school provides a break from online gambling, movies, and video games for some of the students. I’ve had people show up after missing a day saying they were absent because they were gambling at a friend’s house (definitely an inexcusable absence). One student had a particularly bleak attitude about his future prospects. “You live to die,” he said during class. He went on to say that there is no hope of anything better up here when it comes to employment or having more to do. I countered that there is hope – that his being at the Learning Centre meant something and would lead to something if worked for it.
Friday, April 08, 2011
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Sunday, April 03, 2011
View Tuk in a larger map
I've only been here for a day but I feel comfortable saying that life in Tuk is remarkably different than Inuvik. For starters, I feel like I'm living at the edge of the world (in a way I guess I am). As well, there's something unsettling about living in a climate where trees can't grow. I took my camera out this morning and it was so cold that it stopped being able to function (it was fine after being inside for a minute). There are two grocery stores (one deals mainly in dry bulk goods and frozen goods). Food prices are steep -$12.00 for 2 litres of milk and that's with the ice road open. Produce is, unsurprisingly, not in great shape (it's like it tried to go a few rounds with Mohamed Ali); the diminished state doesn't translate into cheaper prices. In a bigger city I'm pretty sure most grocers wouldn't even try selling what's available up here.