Nunavik students enjoy trip to the Dominican Republic


Special to Nunatsiaq News

INUKJUAK — It’s a long way from the snowy tundra of Nunavik to the always green lush foliage of the Dominican Republic.

Fourteen adult students from Nunavik, along with three escorts, went on a trip of a lifetime for seven days in late May to take in the culture and life of the tropical island and its people.

The students had to have an exemplary school attendance record and be hard-working to qualify for the trip.

A plane load of travelers, including us, arrived at night via Airbus at the city of Puerto Plata (pop. 65,OOO), and were immediately struck by the hot tropical “fire- woodsy” air the minute we left the terminal building after our passports had been processed.

There we saw palm trees for the first time and were met by local people who made us feel welcome and who looked at every opportunity to provide services for us for payment.

The bus ride took us to our host resort hotel, the Playa Naco complex. It was strange see that the hotel lobby is exposed to the outside — there are no walls on two sides — with iron chandeliers hanging trom the ceiling.

The students saw thai it was an easy, laid back life style, where the weather and c!imate always seemed enjoyable, and where their dreams were realized on the warm beach where you could relax to your heart’s content lazing in the sun and swimming In the cool salt water.

One of the students dared to go parasailing to find out for himself the stuff that movies and TV shows are made of.

Most of the students said they enjoyed swimming and cooling off in the ocean whenever they felt hot. There were no sharks to worry about in the surf.

The students also took a Jeep safari tour to the countryside to experience the jungle and to see the real Dominican people.

One of the students, Lydia Kudluk from Kangirsuk, said that she was touched to see kids with hardly any decent clothing living in rundown shacks, which moved her to tears.

Some students brought household items to give to needy families, who received them with gratitude. But the other good thing about the people was that they could grow their own food crops to get by, even though they lacked general amenities.

On the tour, the students received lectures on all kinds of plants native to their country, like the prized mahogany tree, protected under law for its uniqueness as a sought-after wood.

Suzie Quananack of Salluit said she enjoyed the Jeep safari tour for its trip to the country, seeing the real Dominican people and handling native wild animals such as snakes and parrots, while Peter Samisack from Inukjuak enjoyed horseback riding on the hilly countryside.

One of the co-coordinators of the trip, French teacher Real Martin, said that it was a successtul trip and a good educational one

There was some “work” the students had to do, a fact-finding assignment to interview the hotel personnel as a part of their excurrion.

Everyon came back happy that they were a part of this vacation and will now know about a part of the world where people can enjoy a tropical paradise again in the future.

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