Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lots of changes

This week was quite eventful. I can truthfully say that the entire mood of the school changed. My roommate, Jennifer, was asked to resign and leave her position as the 1st/2nd grade teacher at our school. Sometimes a person's mouth can get them in plenty of trouble. We are now back to scrambling to find people to cover her classes. It's definitely hectic.

We also had a death in the community last weekend. He was an elder and one of my student's aapa (grandfather). It is really interesting to attend an Inupiat funeral. When there is a funeral in the community, the school is used instead of the church. People come from all over and the gym was full of people. School was dismissed at noon and there was a visitation from noon to 1:00. After that, the funeral begins. Anyone who wants to speak or sing is allowed to. They also have singing groups that go up to the front and sing in Inupiat. I couldn't believe the amount of emotion. It was such a wonderful, unsanitized grieving process. Funerals in the lower 48 always seem so regimented, whereas this was more of a celebration and a community event. All of the family contributes to burying their loved one. The sons and grandsons all work together to dig the grave, which isn't easy in the middle of winter. Everyone comes together in a massive effort of support. It was such a wonderful thing to be a part of.

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