Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas To The Elders

I am finding myself missing Iqaluit a bit this Christmas. I especially miss some of the Christmas activities that I would help organize at work, with my favourite being the Elder's Christmas Party we would throw. Even though I worked (and managed for a time) the Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre, part of our mandate was to serve the local community. Every year we apply for a cultural program grant from one of the government departments and we would organize a year long program - one part focused towards the youth of the community, the other focused towards the elders. But, not just any elders, we focused our program specifically towards the elders who were residing in the constant care facility. Unfortunately these elders do not get to socialize all that often simply because of their state of health and their immobility - especially during the winter months. Although elders are reveered in Inuit Society, sadly it is quite often that once entering this facility, some elders are forgotten....

So every Christmas, we would take a huge chunk of our funding and spend it on our elders. We would buy each elder at the facility Christmas gifts, mixing well needed stuff with fun stuff. We would have food brought in by a local catering company and we would spend the afternoon with them - usually Christmas Eve. It has to be one of the most heart touching experiences I have ever had, especially at Christmas. To see the look of pure joy on the elders faces as they opened their gifts, shared their meal, and shared their stories (even in a different language) is something that I will never forget and will always look back on fondly whenever I think of Christmas in Iqaluit.

Quote of the Day:
"Christmas gift suggestions: To you enemy - forgiveness. To an opponent - tolerance. To a friend - your heart. To a customer - service. To all - charity. To every child - a good example. To yourself - respect." Oren Arnold


Quirky Christa said...

Just continue you're own little tradtion now in NL for any shut-ins you might know of there :)

Myrna Hynes said...

That sounds so awesome, what a great memory of Iqaluit and a wonderful show of respect for the elders of that community. I agree with Christa - I'm sure there are elderly in Rocky Hbr that would be very grateful to have you continue your tradition, even if it's more low-key from lack of funding.