Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Rupertite returns from an African adventure, Christmas isn't always a season of joy and the School District releases some of its assessment findings on education in the region, some of the items of note for Tuesday.

Daily News, front page, headline story
A LOCAL INSIGHT INTO AFRICA -- The travels of Nicole Boileau were reviewed, Boileau is a 22 year old UVIC graduate who recently returned from a region of the Congo considered to have be an area of one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world. She recounts her observations in the region and how some of the money she raised in Prince Rupert has been used to lend assistance there.

The other side of the joy of the Christmas season is examined, as the United Church prepares to open its doors on December 16th to observe those that have suffered loss in the last years. With a number of high profile economic losses in the region, many are suffering across the northwest. Wednesday's service gets underway at 7 pm at the United Church.

The School District reviews some of its assessment findings for the Daily News, as Superintendent Lynn Hauptman outlines some of the details of the study. One of the interesting findings of the study is that as the economy locally has declined, the number of vulnerable students in the district has gone up, partly due to the demographic swing which has seen many of the less vulnerable students having moved away with their families in search of better opportunities, increasing the percentage number of vulnerable children in the system. The study reviewed all grades from Kindergarten to Secondary school results, though both School Board Chair Tina Last and PRDTU president Gabrielle Bureau said that the findings should be taken with a grain of salt.

The sports section features a look back at the weekend trip to Smithers of the Prince Rupert Secondary Schools Rainmakers basketball squad where controversy was raised when the Terrace team requested a schedule change as the play day was set to get underway. The Daily also examines the Grade 8 girls program at PRSS.

(Daily News Archive Articles links for December 15th )

The Northern View
Tourism Prince Rupert, city councillor blast BC Ferries over consultation meeting on new route-- A post mortem on the David Hahn show recently held in Prince Rupert, where the BC Ferries Chairman and his team offered more of a seminar than a consultation on their proposed Prince Rupert to Vancouver ferry plans, much to the annoyance of many who gathered. (see article here)

The Northern View
Superintendent outlines district’s successes, challenges -- The Northern View offers up its impressions of Superintendent Lynn Hauptman's report on the District's assessment findings (see article here)

The Northern View
Port Ed mayor reacts to closure bylaw -- With School District 52 introducing its closure order for Port Edward School earlier this month, the District of Port Ed once again makes its preparations to plead its case to keep the school in the community open (see article here)

The Northern View
Winter Games help urgently needed -- Port Edward council heard details from BC Northern Winter Games officials, who outlined the challenges ahead for the organizers of February's games in Prince Rupert. (see article here)

The Northern View
H1N1 vaccination clinics are coming to an end on Friday -- The long line ups must be dwindling as Northern Health announces that their mass vaccination program for the H1N1 virus will come to an end on December 18 (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Visit from Federal Fisheries Minister -- CFTK TV offers up a review of Fisheries Minister Gail Shea's short stop over in Prince Rupert on Monday (see article here)

CBC British Columbia, Daybreak North
Daybreak is on Christmas break, a notice on their website advises that no new items are to be posted to their Daybreak site until January 4, 2010

Daily News, Front page, headline story
A local insight into Africa
By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Daily News
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Children ran up to stroke her hair and arms, sometimes staring back with wide eyes, and often giggling.

Prince Rupert resident Nicole Boileau, 22, is a tall blonde with big blue eyes and when she visited Africa last year for 14 months, she drew a lot of attention.

Boileau, a UVIC graduate in social sciences, spent part of her travels volunteering in the eastern region of the Congo in Goma at a place called Heal Africa where women heal from fistula surgeries resulting from rape or complicated births.

“At Heal Africa, they heal physically and mentally before the women can go home,” Boileau said.
Congo has been called the “worst humanitarian disaster since World War II” by the International Rescue Committee, with an estimated five million people killed due to conflict since 1998.

According to Heal Africa’s website, the eastern region of the Congo is characterized by extreme violence, mass population displacements, widespread rape, and a collapse of public health services. Boileau and a university friend tutored French and English and helped teach computers at the school every day.

Goma is gated and protected by the UN and Boileau quickly learned that trying to take pictures of anything related to UN’s presence wasn’t an easy thing.

She did manage a few photographs, one showing a woman walking by a truck.

Last week Boileau shared a slide presentation about her trip to Africa with family and friends.
The photos indicated the expected signs of poverty, many malnourished children, some with extensive burns, but there are signs of contentment. In one of the photographs, two of the children dancing in a circle have casts. In another, one of the boys happily displays a new pair of shoes.

She had a donation jar set aside on a table because she is hoping to raise some funds to purchase more supplies.

With the help of people in Prince Rupert she was able to purchase backpacks, sewing machines, toys, oil, rice, flour and shoes for street kids in Camme at a program called Grounds for Hope.
Boileau is hoping to return again soon and said she is drawn to travel to place she knows nothing about. While in Africa, she had a connection with a friend whose mother has worked there.

“We studied the Africa Lonely Planet book, and often lived on Nutella, chapatis and bananas,” she added smiling.

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