Since 2014, The Greenlandic Children Association has organized summer camps in smaller cities in Greenland. The short, intense periods with arranged activities makes a big difference in the long term. Children that spend time together open their eyes for all the possibilities in this great world. Through fun activities and by exploring and learning, new communities are born.

This summer I was working as a photographer for the association together with other volunteers from all over the world. I had this amazing opportunity to get closer, experience the people, and the greenlandic culture from a completely different perspective.

We spent four weeks in Paamiut, South-West Greenland. It is the eighth-largest town in Greenland with 1,515 inhabitants. The sea is free of ice during the winter, while fishing is the primary occupation of the inhabitants of this region.

Every year, the summer camp brings activities and experiences to the small town. Here the summer can be long, while the opportunity to travel on holidays are quite small.

We were open for everyone who wanted to join our camp. All children from the city were welcome. Some days we were visited by 150 kids at the same time, other days "just" 50. We also provided activities for teens, and sometimes even the parents showed up to give a helping hand.

We worked every day with the kids, and once a week, the whole city was invited to create a special day together with children and us. We had an international evening, where we cooked our traditional meals. We did a dancing night where we mixed greenlandic polka with pop and disco music. Those days were intense and required lots of preparations. However, the result was a joyfull time spent together that brought us closer, not just to the children, but also us, the adults.

Our days at the camp consisted of a mix of creative activities such as drawing, jewelry design, baking, stone painting and physical activities like ball games, running gymnastics, dance and motorics, along with common activities like football and treasure hunting.

We included serious topics in the program, such as plastic pollution, first aid and the importance of teeth brushing, and we visited a home for the eldery.

I'm really glad that I had the opportunity to experience Greenland in this unique way. We were not just tourists or random visitors, we truly became a part of the community, and a part of their lives.

We had hard days as well... both personally and as a group. We had to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner for 14 persons every day - which is not done in 5 minutes. In addition to preparing snacks for all the kids and cleaning both the school after classes and the apartment where we lived. We also had to plan and prepare for the next day, and all this was done in between activities which were running from 12-6 pm, shopping, and cooking for the whole city on saturdays.

We were sometimes tired and the kids were challenging us all the time. They bite, they fight, they scream, they don't want to talk… And all this is nothing more than a shout out for love, attention, or one more hug.

This city, as many others in Greenland, have it's own problems. You can often spot drunk parents in the morning, really young mothers, homeless people and hungry people. But there is also rays of light and goodness to be found here.

When you walk in the city and you hear your name shouted from the other part of the town, you turn to take a look at who it is, and you end up with a warm hug from a smiling child, that´s when you realise you are here for a good reason!

When the guy from the airport gives you a hug just before you enter your plane... then you know that you did a good job.

And when the parents come to you and say «I have never seen my child this happy» Then you know that it was all worth it!



© Dagmara Wojtanowicz

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