NUNAVUT – A significant number of our kababayan are adventurous enough and dared to thread where others are stymied to try. I am presently residing in the land that others just talk about—in the land that is known to some as the place of the Polar Bears, the Arctic Char, Walrus, Seals, Caribou, Ravens, and Igloo living, which material is made of snow. The vast land claimed by the Queen of the British Empire as Crown Lands, is rich in mineral resources and “rare earth metals” critically need to make cellphones and other electronic devices operational.
There are no trees, neither green grass that grow. But boulders of rocks and sea pebbles abound. Nonetheless, one can make a bed out from the hard surface since the rock is covered with mosses that soften its stiffness. The oldest rock in the world is found in this place. There is no garden soil to plant vegetable, or fruit garden. But blue and black berries sprouts all over the place where one could recline and pick the berries singly, or scoop it with fingers and eat it without fear of contamination.
To others the place maybe bland; but, in Spring, wild flowers abound in rainbow colours that leaves the beholder speechless to describe how wonderfully the land was made. One can feast with their eyes the rainbow of colours from Lavender, to Rose, to Yellow, and Lily White Daisies that makes a curious soul wonder how could these delicate flowers grow on hard rocks?
Gold, Diamond, Silver—name the minerals found in our body, it is found too in the Arctic. Even fossil oil is found under the seabed of the Circumpolar Region that is bounded by Russia, Denmark, and, yes, the Territory of Nunavut. Seventy-five percent (75%) of the world’s source of fresh water is in this place. Century old Glacier Mountains—solid pure fresh water—float over the salty sea at the Arctic Ocean.
The land is twice bigger than Australia, or as big as the geographical size of Western Europe. It has three time zones if you travel from point to point—-East to West. But, the number of people inhabiting the land is far less than the number of Filipinos doing window shopping at the Mall of Asia during the weekend. Imagine the land is several times bigger than the birth land, yet, its population is only about 35,000? The Capital City, where I am appointed by City Hall as member of the newly created Public Safety Committee to help draft the Community Safety Plan, have no buses that ply around, except school buses. But in the homes of the Inuit’s, all sorts of vehicles are parked in their yards: four wheel drive trucks, Snowmobiles, ATV (All Terrain Vehicle), speed boats mounted in car trailers and many more.
From the jaundiced eyes of people who grew up in busy metropolis down South, the land looks barren. But, if one spends time to climb up the perch of the mountains and view the vastness of the Northwest Passage, one could not help it, but kneel in humility before the presence of the unseen GOD to ponder how wonderfully He made the land, but forsaken by many.
When I wake up in the morning, I could see the rising of the sun from the Tundra that by the sheer glorious beauty of the morning mist I am constrained to utter silent prayers, but exultant how grateful I am the Author of Life granted me another new lease of life. Somehow, when dusk comes and in the pitch darkness of the night sets in, before creeping on my bed, I look towards the wide pane window longingly looking toward the East and murmur a prayer with moist eyes, “Tomorrow, the Philippines”.
Home is where our heart is.
(Editor’s Note: Bob Gabuna resumes his column writing commencing this issue. Bob, is an active contributor since 1988, but was interrupted momentarily when he resettled back in the Philippines to fully recover from Leukemia. He was diagnosed to die in six months; providentially, however, he survived. While in the Philippines, Bob pursued the commercial cultivation of cassava for various industrial uses, i.e., feeds for livestock, food for human consumption, and fuel for the transportation industry. His five year stint in the old homeland resulted in the creation of GMA Cassava Program under the Department of Agriculture to oversee the propagation of the sunshine industry, formation of the Philippine Tapioca Board to act as the single voice for cassava stakeholders, and the erection of a PhP250 Million Pesos distillery plant to process cassava chips into ethanol. In July 2010, Bob, returned to Canada, but chose to settle in the North of 60 to join his wife, Judy Grace. Bob worked for a while with the newly created Territorial Crown Corporation assisting the head of the organization in the area of organizational transition, change and management).