Sunday, November 23, 2014

Why I love Carlene Paquette

Do you know Carlene Paquette?  She is someone you need on your team.  Here is a typical conversation that I have with Carlene:

Carlene: "Anita I think we should"… (start a Facebook page), (contact the CBC), (make fliers), (ask the knitters if they could…)

Anita: "Let's think about it…sounds risky…I don't think anyone will…."

Carlene: "No we should do it."

Then we do it.  Three months later:

Anita: "Whose idea was it that we…?  What a great idea that was!  That really took off!".

Carlene (doesn't even sigh): "Yeah that worked out great, so next we should…"

Here is a picture of Carlene and I at First Air Cargo dropping off the Christmas presents and overflow to Igloolik.  First Air Cargo is actually a hoot.  You get to see the inside of a cargo bay which, for a desk jockey is awesome.  Right now they are shipping Christmas trees up north (never really thought about that but yeah, its too cold for Christmas trees in some places.  The best part is that the guys at First Air kind of know the Warm Hands story now, and they are very sweet to us.  Which includes coming out and letting us take pictures of them beside a truck, and not laughing too much about it.:

All that to say, Carlene got the CBC thing going and the fall-out has been amazing.  For the first time ever, communities are contacting us.

So we've got to get some projects going.  Here is an excerpt from an email from a teacher in Arviat:

I listened to a clip on CBC out of Ottawa yesterday morning on your Warm Hands project.  I am a teacher at Levi Angmak Elementary, Arviat, NU and I was wondering if your group would consider sending a donation (whatever size) to our school.  The weather now is quite cold (minus 15 and lower with wind chill minus 30 and lower) and I have observed  little children in the primary grades coming to school in the morning without any mitts/gloves, hat or scarf.  The same is true of some of my grade 5 students in the elementary.  I observe the children shiver and shake when they enter school in the morning, their little hands red and their faces red from lack of protection from the wind and cold. 

The children are aged 5 - 11. There are 375 students in the school - I would say about 20% percent currently lack hats, mitts, scarves - that sort of thing.  The phenomenal work you and your group do will make a huge impact to the children of Arviat, NU.

I  think we have to do something on this one.

We got another one from Cape Dorset which is similar.  There we will also be hooking up with the school as well as the local Justice Committee (a community of elders and respected community members).  The are looking for hats, neck warmers, socks and mittens for kids of all ages.  In addition the Cape Dorset connection will organize to get our items to 5 other communities if we want to.  I dropped off a box at First Air today of items to go up to Cape Dorset - I am hoping to hear back from them this week or next.

Also, do you know Kara (kalyle on Rav)?

Kara is one of our Rav contacts and a true maven in the Malcolm Gladwell definition of the word.

Kara put us in touch with a 35 year resident of Iqaluit who is connected all over the North.  We had some AWESOME conversations, and have identified a bunch of new projects.  Will blog more about those soon.

But here is serendipity:

Kara put us in touch with her friend who can put us in touch with someone travelling to Arviat PLUS "friend of Kara" is coming to Ottawa on December 9th.

So bottom line: if you've got stuff that you think would work for Arviat and you can get it to us by December 8th, please don't be shy…if not, no worries, we'll get it to a community in January - the doctors are going to Iqaluit at the end of January so Jan 15th is another deadline to get stuff up.


Oh and here are some small pics:

Here I am wearing Eric's hat.  We sealed the boxes before we realized that Eric's hat had not been packed.  Given the fact that I am not, shall we say, a star knitter, he was getting that hat if it killed me.  So I reopened the boxes, unpacked everything, found Eric's bag, inserted the hat and cursed myself (not in that order).

When I was unpacking a repacking, I noticed that I did not take a closeup of this adorable mermaid on a hat from California.  Is it me, or does this mermaid even look like my vision of a California girl?  Cute!


Kate said...

The First Air crew understand how special these boxes are, I think.

kalyle said...

Kudos to you Anita, Carlene, Amy, and everyone else who makes this all hum. Amazing. And thank you for the kindest compliment :)