Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mistissini - Day 5


I wish we had been able to accomplish a lot more this week but when I reflect on it we did cover a lot of ground. The set-up of the administration has been hard because none of the teachers have computers yet, but that is the hope. We have made some progress with the secondary but it has not been without frustration. It will take at least a year before they begin to understand the potential of their computers. At least five of them do not have computers. I have only had two good sessions with the elementary. I hope I can get caught up with them next week.

We have had a small taste of the challenges that face Kathy and Steve but I like their attitude. They are not here to change the culture but to help develop an educational system that fits the culture. It demands a great deal of individualized plans and flexability due to the life-style of the people. There are not too many families in the city that would disappear into the bush for a week or two every now and then, but they do here. Often they disappear for a week to visit family in Montreal. Family isn't just a word, it is everything up here. So it has to be a system that is able to make allowances for these disappearances.

The incredible thing about it is if a child does not want to go to school the parents will not force them. At the same time when a child wants to go to school the parents will remove any blockage that may prevent it. Everyone of the students in this school desire to be here and attend every day because they want to. Kathy has to force them home at lunch time. She has had families move to Mistissini from communities four and five hours away just because their child wanted to attend this school. These are educated parents. One child's dad, who moved here from a community five hours away is now the chief of the fire department.

Ian has managed to win a number of the teens over but he is a lot older than all of them. He will be going ski-dooing on Saturday. We have been told many people are curious about Ian and are wanting to invite us over for some meals. Apparently the Babptist church wanted me to come and speak there on Sunday but I haven't heard from them. The school has been invited to the Pentecostal church on Sunday morning so we will go there with the school.

No comments: