July 12, 2023
Cortney Chadbourne, AVC 2024, traveled to Sheshatshiu in 2023 as one of the student participants on the Chinook Project. As part of the experience, the students craft various pieces of reflective writing. In this piece, Cortney journals about the initial travel to Labrador and setting up the clinic.
DAY ONE — 9:44 AM — Friday June 16th, 2023 — I have just finished packing, and things are getting real! I am about to embark with The Chinook Project, heading to Sheshatshiu, Labrador for a week to provide free veterinary care to a community. I currently have a few anxious jitters, so I decided to take a moment to be mindful of the experience I am about to have. I know that anytime I serve a community, I finish the experience with my heart being filled beyond capacity with a new appreciation for life.. I am preparing to open my heart and mind to see how another part of the world lives, to see the value inherently within that way of life, and to become a person with a greater understanding of the many ways of the world. This trip is to provide veterinary care, but it is more largely encompasses a One Health initiative. While we will serve the animals of the Sheshatshiu community, we are helping their people and community at the same time. Learning and experiencing their way of life will help us grow as humans and will serve us more than they know.
DAY TWO — 3:45 PM — Saturday, June 17th, 2023 — Last night our flight was cancelled, and we had to wait in Halifax for the night. Now we are at the airport for our flight to Sheshatshiu, Labrador. We have all maintained high hopes. We just want to get there and get started! It is mentally a game- being so close from an exciting experience but still unable to get there and begin.
DAY TWO — 11:40 PM — Saturday, June 17th, 2023 — We made it!!! We are in Sheshatshiu at the cottage where we are staying. We were met at the airport by a local coordinator, Greg, who had a van waiting for us. He brought us to the clinic, and we proceeded to turn an old school gymnasium into a complete clinic. The local people from the community had cleaned the entire facility and even constructed a surgery suite with excellent lighting. Our team worked so hard and effectively to get everything done. I am incredibly proud of us; while we could have been upset from missing our flight the night before, we all looked for the positive and persevered. I am just so grateful for the support that the community has already provided us, and now I am just eager to get started in the morning!!!
DAY THREE — 8:20 AM — Sunday, June 18th, 2023 — We are settled into our cottage and all had a restful sleep. Now, I’m drinking my morning coffee, and the warmth of the drink is comforting. I am feeling apprehensive but excited. We open the doors to the clinic at 10 AM, and I can’t wait to see our first patient walk in the door. That will be an incredible experience. I am going to dwell on that thought and let that excitement power me through any bit of anxiety I’m currently feeling.