And it hurts! 🙂 The end of school tradition in Greenland (and in this case, Uummannaq) involves the school leavers – fifteen year olds – staying up all night. Now, that’s not hard as they do that all the time anyway. And why not? It’s light!
However, they get dressed up and they visit the town dump to find scrap metal.
Perhaps you’re wondering why?
Well, the scrap is for the teachers. They “pick us up” – shorthand for air horns, kicking the walls, and banging on the windows – at home. Why Jane decided to open the kitchen window, I’ll never know. Anyway, they come and get us between 4 and 5 am. Then we drag the scrap metal around town as we “pick up” the other teachers. This particular year I had a car door. The year before it was an oil drum. (If I had to choose the lesser of the two evils, the door was definitely preferable.) Of course, the pupils have to drag the scrap to our houses to begin with, but apparently it’s worth it.
If you’ve read my books you might recall there are a lot of hills in Uummannaq. We lived on a mountain. It’s hard work. Blisters ensue, but that’s just the beginning.
There is a brief reprieve when we have breakfast with the pupils. It’s fun. Then there’s the traditional football match in the sports hall.
This is when various teachers slip away, leaving a handful of us, about five, to play against about fifty crazy teens! (One year it was double that, following a school reform phasing out one year, while graduating both.) However, we get help from the cops, swelling our team to about eight, with one police constable in goal. He wore an old flak vest, and frustrated the kids no end with his goalkeeping skills.
But it’s not over yet.
My first year, I noticed several teachers slipping away before the match was over.
Hmm… as Maratse would say!
Which is when the teenagers grab the teachers for a cold shower, carrying us to the showers and holding us under the water.
And then… then it’s over.
Yep, I really do miss Greenland! Best kids in the world! And I actually mean that! 🙂
P.S. I don’t usually post photos of people from Greenland, but it’s several years ago, and they were in disguise.