As per Ajagudak School tradition, we – the students and teachers of Tasiujaq – piled together onto the school bus, the pickup truck and a handful of Hondas, to make the bouncy journey to Mairaaluk for a day of berry picking and a picnic.
This time of year, the land abounds with a variety of berries – aqpik berries, blue berries, black berries, red berries and cranberries, to name just some. In some spots, the berries are so abundant and concentrated that all you have to do is rake your hand through the bush and it’ll come out near-full of the succulent balls of sweetness. They’re so abundant that, even with approximately 20 teachers and 60 students picking them simultaneously, there were still plenty to go around. I could realistically (had I the time) spend days on end out on the land picking them.
Save for the black flies, it was an awesome and (pardon the cliché) fruitful day berry picking at Mairaaluk. I came home with 2 Ziplock bags full of blue and black berries, and 1 full of aqpiks. It was a day of bonding with each other and savouring the land, and a beautiful conclusion to the first week of school.