My Little Corner of Canada

A day in the life of Pauloosie



Pauloosie awoke as usual at 7:00 am. He crawled out of bed and got dressed. The temperature in their small house was well below freezing. He put some scrap pieces of paper in the wood stove and piled some wood on top of it. He lit the paper and waited for the wood to start burning. In a few minutes, the house started to warm up.

He woke his little sister and told her to get dressed. He got the tea kettle and went to the water bucket. Ice had formed in the bucket overnight and he had to use a knife to break it up. He filled the kettle and put it on the stove.

After some tea and bannock, Pauloosie and his sister put on their winter clothing and went out. It was still very dark and the temperature was around minus 35. They would walk two miles to school and walk back again that afternoon The year is 1959. Pauloosie is fifteen years old and his little sister Novoya, is eight.

Pauloosie saw two figures going up the hill and they ran to catch up with them. It was their neighbours, Joanasie and Pudluq. Together, they went over the hill and South Camp came into view. It took them about half an hour to get to school. They were lucky it wasn’t too windy this morning.

After school, Pauloosie and Novoya walked back to the village with their cousin Naulaq. They walked against the wind and Pauloosie had to hold Novoya’s hand to help her. The short period of twilight had already passed and it was very dark. He was also carrying his homework under one arm.

When they arrived home, their mother gave them some hot tea and biscuits. After his tea, Pauloosie went outside to chop some wood for the stove. He gathered the wood in his arms and took them inside.

His next chore was to get some ice for drinking water. He went outside with a large wooden box. He lashed the box onto his small qamutik and put the axe in the box. He started out towards the sea ice pulling his qamutik. The iceberg was about half a mile offshore and he followed a well worn path. He had a flashlight whose batteries were getting pretty weak.

He got to the iceberg and started chopping ice and putting it into his box. He filled the box in about ten minutes and started back towards home.

The qamutik with its load of ice was pretty heavy and it took him almost an hour to get back to shore. Naulaq came running down to meet him and they pulled the qamutik the rest of the way.

After a supper of seal meat, tea, and bannock, Pauloosie went next door to visit his cousin. He took his homework with him and they studied and did their assignments together.

After he got home, the family said their evening prayers and Pauloosie went to bed. He went to sleep quickly. For him, it had been a pretty ordinary day. Tomorrow would be another one.

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