New ‘Friends’ In Nuuk, Greenland’s Capital

Our host in Nuuk, Else Marie Jerimiassen, and her mother, Augusta.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited Nuuk, Greenland’s capital. Nuuk is a cruise destination and a fascinating port of call.

The old Colonial Harbor is immensely historic. There, you’ll find the home of Hans Egede, the Danish-Norwegian founder of Nuuk. Nearby, you’ll also find The National Museum, where the Qilakitsoq mummies are eerily well-preserved. Dating from the 1400s, the mummies were found in a bog.

The Qilakitsoq mummies at Nuuk's National Museum

But the highlight of my day in Nuuk was our guide Else Marie Jerimiassen and her mother Augusta. As you might gather from looking at their photo, the mother and daughter are delightful people. What has been particularly interesting for me since our visit is that the three of us have maintained our initial contact in a way that would not have been possible years ago, through Facebook.

In their home, the Jerimiassens speak Greenlandic, a dialect of the Inuit language, but they also speak Danish and English, making it easy for us to communicate.

On the day that we left Nuuk, Augusta told me she was going hunting with her husband the next day. About a week later, we “friended” one another on Facebook, and I asked how her hunting trip had gone.

She wrote: “Oh we got 2 caribou, 10 trout, and 16 kilograms of blueberries. It was a wonderful trip. We left on Thursday and returned home Saturday. Sunday we were out again, and my husband got six ptarmigans, and I got 3.5 kilograms blueberries. All of those blueberries to make smoothies and package and to eat.”

Reading her note, I was transported to a simpler life than we live in the busier parts of North America. I have always been intrigued with the Greenlandic people and their ability to survive in such harsh conditions. I asked Augusta if fishing and hunting for her and her husband was a bit like going to the grocery store for us.

“The sea is our big garden; the same with the nature. It is our garden too. You must have noticed when you were up here that we dont plant any salad or fruit or rice or other kinds of things that people plant in gardens. It is nearly impossible to raise any plant up here for our own consumption.”

Augusta and her husband often go to the sea and into the wild to catch what they will consume. Of course, they still visit the grocery store, but the sea and the wild provides the Jerimiassens with bountiful harvests, time and again.

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