Thursday, November 22, 2007


When I agreed to come to this remote section of the world I knew that I would have to adjust to the culture of the Naskapi people. Lately these adaptations have included my desensitization to red snow. The caribou have arrived, and it is custom to go hunting in skidoo and throw your catch into a large sleigh that you drag behind. Of course these sleds develop holes and create smears of red bloody snow. But these quickly disappear as they are eaten local packs of dogs (no word of a lie, packs of dogs).

But little did I expect that I would also have to become accustomed to the ways of the Newfie. The Newfies make up the majority of teachers in the school, and so they have become natural allies. In fact, it has become custom to meet on Fridays for a few beverages and live East coast music (guitar and accordion). This brings me to last Friday, when I arrived at 7:00, the boisterous Newfies were already three sheets to the wind, and one of the youngens had a little to much to fast. I quickly suggested that we get him some food. Agreeing with my diagnosis, the host sprang to work frying up what smelled like dark meet chicken. And so I sat and talked with the inebriated fellow, when the plate of food was sat before him.

Smelling delicious, I took a gander at the plate to see what looked like oval meatballs in gravy on a slice of home made bread. My gut wrenched when one of the pieces rolled from atop the pile towards me and I noticed a ventricle. Closing my eyes, I quickly asked the Chief what he had prepared. His response was "Chicken Hearts!", and I broke into uncontrollable hysterics of laughter as I leapt to my feet and turned my back to the plate.

I sat, claming my laughter and apologizing to the unphased crowd. The thought then stuck me, if I can bring myself to eat Caribou... why not? Before loosing my cool I asked "Can I try one?". Offering me a place, I had to reaffirm the ONE! But it was too late, the laughter and anxiousness had returned. I sat curled in a chair, and finally went for it. I popped the small, warm piece of meat into my mouth. It was firm and slightly fibrous. I concentrated on two things, chewing and not gagging. And it was down. It tasted like chicken, but the idea was haunting. Still, writing about it nearly a week later has caused my to loose my appetite.

But it is strange how new experiences are all around us. The most recent is the insane obsession to cut my hair. It has been 9 weeks since my last haircut, and each day drives me a little closer to madness as the ends curl and shift independently. There had been a plan for a group of us to have our hair trimmed last week, but the
woman was a no show. Tomorrow brings yet another opportunity, that if unsuccessful, will drive me to the brink and cause me to take drastic action. The local store does not sell trimmers, so I fear that I will be forced to take scissors to my own head-- ever cautious of my inherited big ears.

1 comment:

Kennie said...

Joe Joe - nice to see that we are starting to get more adventurous! Up here I've been privy to Newfoundland Bottled Pig and Moose from one of our Newfie teachers up here. And it also seem as though you are beginning to enjoy yourself?