Travelling in the north. Good lord. You never quite know what you’ll end up with, or where. We were lucky for the most part, as all three of us did make it to Good Hope without much trouble. Unfortunately not all our luggage did. Somehow, when we changed flights in Norman Wells, our beloved giant red suitcase did not manage to make the connection and ended up in Inuvik or somewhere, we’re still not too sure. This isn’t any suitcase. This is Ruby, THE Ruby, who weighs about 2½ bajillion pounds and holds everything we need for our workshop, from paper and pens to our props and costumes. When we found out she wouldn’t be joining us we were forced to start making alternative plans, rearranging our schedule for the workshop and finding materials to improvise with.
Later when we were settling into our B&B, we got a phone call saying Ruby had been spotted. Relief sank in, but it didn’t last. A knock on the door revealed a guy who apologized and said there was no red suitcase at the airport, that there had been a mistake. Candice, Nancy and I all vocally wailed our despair at him. The poor man looked thoroughly confused when he left, and we were forced to return to our reworking of the workshop. AND THEN. Not twenty minutes later, a different man showed up on our doorstep, WITH Ruby. Where exactly Ruby’s adventures took her, and how she found her way back we’ll never know. But we were all incredibly relieved to have her for the workshop, all 2 ½ bajillion pounds of her.
The next day workshop itself went well, with only a few minor bumps and hiccups. The girls proved to know quite a lot about healthy sex and sex education, but slut shaming seemed to be a thing. This got Nancy, Candice and I thinking about creating some kind of icebreaker or exercise we could do in the future to properly address the issue, because it comes up time and time again and is so prominent in teenage girls’ lives.
One of my favorite exercises we do is “Healthy Hands”. This is where the girls trace their hands and tape it to their backs, and everyone goes around and writes a few positive words about that person on their traced hand. We stress non-physical characteristics. On one girl someone had written, “I don’t know you, but you seem awesome!” on her back. This whole exercise usually creates a feel-good environment and is an overall confidence booster for the girls.
The highlight of the day was during lunch a handful of the girls stuck around in the kitchen with us to eat chili and hang out. The topic of ghost stories came up and the girls narrated the tale of “Granny Moose-Legs”. From what I gathered it was a story about a creepy old grandma who had long skinny moose legs instead of human ones. She liked to gallop alongside vehicles driving at night to freak people out. The ghost tales continued and everyone had a story to tell. Even the girls who were shy during the workshop opened up and threw some input into our lunchtime conversation.
The day we left we had a few hours to kill in the morning and we were lucky enough to be allowed in the national historic site known as the Church of Our Lady of Good Hope. It’s a little church with a simple exterior (covered in snow at the time) that belies the incredible interior of hand painted bible scenes and a stunning electric blue ceiling with gold stars. The place holds a certain magic to it that makes this wintery community unexpectedly extraordinary.
– Sophie Grogono, FOXY Peer Leader