KARA: "Describe your home - what took you and your family to Northern, Manitoba?"
KRISTI: "My current town is a Native Indian Reserve. We take a fairly small plane to get here and it seems farther out then it probably really is. (Though to me it seems like there sure is a lot of trees down there when I’m on the flight coming here!) You can only get here by plane OR in the winter time you can drive on the winter road which is only when the ice freezes enough to drive on it. I myself have not taken that long long trek. It is very different here then where I’m from. I grew up in Bridgewater Nova Scotia but spent almost ten years prior to moving to Manitoba, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. So it may be safe to say that I’m a city girl.
The scenery here is beautiful with gorgeous sunsets and we even can see the Northern Lights here.
Here there is only one small store.
There are no malls, movie theatres, cafés or restaurants. There’s no parks, museums or public libraries. There is next to nothing. My church is also not here, something that is a huge part of my life. (We actually do a little church from home, in our living room) The closest these things are available is a 1 hour plane ride.
My house sits in the middle of a compound with my husband's other co-workers and their spouses. Here you can see (sort of in the middle) an aerial shot of our compound. It’s the cluster of houses close to the water.
We don’t live right on the reserve. In that photo above is an island.
Just as we moved here two years ago they were finishing up this bridge.
Before this bridge was here the only way to get to the island was by boat, barge (with your car or four wheeler) or in the winter you could drive your skidoo’s or four wheelers across the lake when the water was frozen! People still use that as a way to get around. But now they have the bridge as well, which makes life so much easier up here, because everyone needs to get to the island at some point or another as this is where the store is and also where the airport is. We are VERY lucky to have this bridge.
We are here for just two years (which will be up this summer) for my husband’s work. He works for the Federal Government. Like I said there are gorgeous views, a small population and a life that is very different then what I’m used to. But we have a lot of fun here on our compound with many potlucks, stories and get togethers.
I say as respectfully as I can to my community, that the area is quite run down. Many have broken windows and doors and sometimes with spray paint on the siding. Many don’t have plumbing and their homes aren’t big enough to fit their whole family. Here you’ll see one of the worst houses…so not all are this bad but many are needing to be fixed up sorta like this.
We pray for this community to get some great leadership in the future in hopes of helping them to thrive. There are many things and people we’ll look back on fondly. That being said I’m ready to move on to a new adventure."
KARA: "I want to know about how you grocery shop! (do you really have to order off the internet or fly into Winnipeg, Manitoba to go shopping?!)"
KRISTI: "I really do shop on the Internet for groceries! Or yes - if we go to Winnipeg we tend to stock up! It’s a little bit of a process but I’m so glad for it. Just this past year Canada Post set up a program to send food to these areas at a cheaper price. Normal shipping price is about $1.49/lb. With this program it’s about $0.33/lb. That makes a BIG difference. We order through the Safeway Food Mail program. This allows me to fill out a form online and even type some specifics as to what I want. Then they get my order, fill it, and ship it up to me via airplane. This has been a lifesaver for me this year because last year we had a friend shop for us and I just hated to burden someone with that. AND it was expensive.
We do have our little store as well, which I spoke about before. It has anything from fresh (ish) produce to living room furniture. However it’s quite pricey (a gallon of milk is $11.00 and a bag of chips can run you up to $7.00), you can’t always get what you want or need and often times it’s expired. So we do the food mail to get our bigger items and have fresher food. We do buy our milk, eggs and bread at our little store most often. And if we are running low on food and waiting on a food mail order (it usually takes five days to get my food mail order) we just go ahead and do a grocery shop of what we need. Cereal, treats, yogurt, etc… I do however do ALL of my other shopping online…toiletries, laundry soap, clothes, toys, movies, books, etc…all online. Yes it is all more expensive but one day it just hit me – “Kristi – you must embrace living in isolation.” And since that moment I let go and just realized that we need what we need and paying the price is worth it and stressing about how “cheaper it is normally” isn’t worth it.
It will for sure be nice to be able to go to the store myself again. To be able to check out all the options and think of new ideas. Right now I just go from memory as to some things you can get. BUT I have a feeling when I’m at home with two small children I’ll be missing my food mail program where someone else goes up and down those isles for me…hee hee! So for now – I love me some food mail ordering :)
Come back tomorrow and we'll talk to Kristi about faith, trials, and her love story. Can't wait!