Baffin Island at 63.45N and 68.31W lies the town of Iqaluit in Nunawit Canada. A cold, white landscape, the home of the Inuit, in the frozen tundra of the Arctic where the old adage rings true: “Watch out where the Huskies go, but please don’t eat the yellow snow!” Inuits are allowed by the Canadian Government to hunt in the original tribal manner, with harpoon in their kayaks and dogsleds (but recently the mode of transportation has changed to snowmobiles). Around 1999, PP Joseph Steinbok organized, through a Canadian Rotary Club – a trip to Barbados for an Inuit family – father, mother, son and daughter. PP Kevin Watson chaired the committee.
On arrival at the airport, they were accorded a VIP reception and then transported to their hotel. The ride to the hotel took over two hours because the children were so enthralled with everything they saw along the way. The temperature was around 30°C, a far cry from their cold wintry environment. The entire family (especially the children) loved the warm tropical beach and sea.
This was culture shock to the extreme, but there was more to come. Sherbourne Centre was the venue for the school children of Barbados to meet the Inuits. Schools from all over the Island were invited to meet the family and treated to a sample of their way of living. The exhibition was highlighted by videos of the topography of Baffin Island, kayaks, polar bears, igloos, ice filled lakes, seals, etc. Additionally, the Inuits displayed their traditional garb, (anoraks, sealskin boots) which were extremely hot to put on for their fashion show. For such an innovative International Service project, RCOBW was rewarded with a citation from Rotary International.