Most of Megan Dicker’s graduating class at Jens Haven Memorial School are leaving the community to pursue a post-secondary education, but she’s confident most will come back to live in Nain.
Dicker’s plans align with that: after working with the Nunatsiavut Government for the summer, she’s heading to MUN in September to start working toward a bachelor of arts, with a focus on geography and linguistics.
While Dicker and her classmates are likely to return to Northern Labrador, she says she’s not surprised that about two-thirds of the survey respondents said they want to leave the province in the long term.
“I am fairly confident in saying that we as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians love our homes, but as graduating students, I believe most of us want to travel and explore at this point in our lives,” she says.
She says her classmates want to do not only what is best for themselves, but for the people who look up to them.
“We want to set a good example for the younger youth to pursue post-secondary education and, of course, we want higher levels of education for ourselves. In the long term, I believe most students will return to Nain or to Nunatsiavut in general so we can work at home and do all that we can in our community,” she says.
What is it about Nain that makes people want to stay? She says comfort is one of the main things.
“When you have so many connections and know the community inside and out, it may seem trying to leave and to make a home at another place,” she says.
“On the flip side, I also think comfort would make a young person want to leave. The familiarity could make a person want to see what else the world has to offer. Living in a small town has its benefits, but the idea of starting new in another place seems super enticing.”
Another thing that Dicker figures would make people want to leave Northern Labrador is the cost of living.
“The wild food prices and the expensive costs of travelling to and from our communities in addition to normal costs of living is enough to make one want to live an easier (financial) life elsewhere,” she says.
But that’s not enough to make her want to stay away. Her long-term goal is to work with Parks Canada out of the Torngat Mountains National Park.
In an anonymous survey, we asked: What are some things you don’t like about living in your community? Here are some of the answers we received.
• “It’s very isolated and there’s not much to do. I miss many opportunities because of where I live.” (Labrador)
• “Very small and expensive. More difficult to live in when compared to all over provinces.” (Central)
• “Sometimes you’re too close to people, and they gossip about you.” (Western)
• “Very small, close-minded people all around, not much access to safe places for teens to hang out and have a good time.” (Central)
• “The lack of a decent mental health system. Yes, it exists, but it isn’t sufficiently funded and many people are told they don’t need help for their problems.” (Eastern)
• “Not a lot of green spaces, public transport. Food security problems.” (Eastern)
• “Too much litter/pollution, potholes, not much to do.” (Western)
• “That it’s hard to find a job that pays good and a lot of coke heads.” (Eastern)