Story from Ittoqqortoormiit

In summer 2015 I spent four weeks volunteering with Greenlandic children in Ittoqortoormit. That village is very isolated and is located next to the Scoresby Sund fjord. Getting there is difficult, but adventurous. The group of volunteers first traveled from Reykjavik to Akureyri, from there to Constable Point and finally by helicopter to Ittoqqortoormiit.

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First moments in Greenland, Constable Point, 24 July 2015

That settlement is peaceful and quiet. Mountains, water and icebergs surround the village. There is polar day in summer.

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Ittoqqortoormiit by night, July 2015

We were a very nice and motivated team of volunteers. We worked well and had fun together (like swimming in ice-cold water!).

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Team-building activity, swimming in ice-cold water, July 2015

We regularly socialised with local people. We organised different indoor and outdoor activities for kids, teenagers and sometimes for all the community.

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In our free time on Sundays we hiked guided by Ivik, our Greenlandic camp leader, who had a gun (polar bears!!).  Once a polar bear came very close to the village!

IMG_0412.JPGPolar bear, August 2015

I would definitely say that workcamp was the biggest adventure of my life. I did not believe I was there. It seemed to be constant daydreaming. It was unforgettable!!

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One day a pack of Greenlandic Sledge Dogs befriended me. Volunteers were told not to approach and not to pet local dogs as it might have been dangerous. One day I was approached by the pack. They came to sniff me and then followed me. I could not resist playing with them. Pamsi and her pups were so sweet and friendly. Later they moved on my balcony and slept there. They gave me a lot of happiness.

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My Greenlandic pack, August 2015

That friendship motivated me to focus more on dogs in my life giving me a lot of positive power. One year after that workcamp I am the happy owner of three dogs. I finished my vocational education in Pet Therapy/Animal Assisted Intervention. I work in a nature-oriented afterschool care and on-call in a forest nursery assisted by my Labrador Jill. I will start some more projects in nurseries with my dogs soon.

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With my Greenlandic friends, August 2015

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Saying goodbye to my pack, 19 August 2015

Article written by a volunteer from SCI Switzerland about their workcamp experience in Ittoqortoormit, Greenland,  shared in August 2016

Want to have your own workcamp experience? There are plenty of short term voluntary projects you can still join, just check our workcamps database!

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