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Setting up the clinic – Nicole Cummings & Shawn MacKenzie

A series of blog posts from the Chinook team of 2009. We didn’t have a website back then! Nicole Cummings (now Breda) and Shawn MacKenzie wrote a series of blog posts for

Originally published at

Monday, May 11, 2009 | Posted by Nicole Cummings & Shawn MacKenzie

What a long, and crazy day. We arrived in Kugluktuk, via Edmonton and Yellowknife, only a few hours ago, but we have already been hard at work. As we landed on the gravel tarmac, amidst a small snow storm and -15 C weather, we may have had a few second thoughts. Luckily, our hesitations quickly vanished when we were welcomed by the warm and friendly Kugluktuk-Chinook coordinator, Melissa Joy.

After setting up, the team was ready to start surgeries, using freezers as make shift surgery tables.

After a quick lunch at our host’s (Helen’s) house, we were off to discover what our “clinic” looked like. When we arrived at the Wild Life laboratory, it took a lot of imagination to turn it into a clinic; however, we believe it really will work great for us. We moved deep freezers, which will act at surgery tables, and we cleared bookshelves, that originally housed skulls, to provide places to store medications.

After the set up, we all bundled up and went for a walk around town, and to explore one of the few stores in town—the Kugluktuk Co-op. At the store, we quickly realized that the children of Kugluktuk are not shy! Within minutes, we were surrounded by swarms of children, bundled in fur and down jackets and armed with hugs. One member of our team almost could not make it out of the store because of the “children magnets”! They were great.

We are being called for supper, so we must sign off. Tonight is far from over, though; we still have a radio show and a local meet and greet. We will be sure to let you know how that goes tomorrow. With almost 24 hours of sunlight, we hope we can get a good night’s sleep before our first day at the clinic!

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