About East Greenland

The east of Greenland is in many ways different than the north, south or west.

First of all the east coast has a dialect which is not very similar to the national west Greenlandic language. On this side of Greenland live approximately 3.500 people in 6 villages, whereof Tasiilaq is the biggest village with 1.950 inhabitants. From Iceland and the west coast you can reach the village Kulusuk by plane. All other villages can only be reached by helicopter. Between June and November the pack ice is gone and ships can reach the villages again. Several times during summer a cargo ship comes to Tasiilaq to bring supplies for the rest of the year.

These things make the east coast an isolated place which can also be noticed in other areas: it is for example not possible to study on the east coast and in winter time there are sometime no new food supplies for weeks. But also in the area of lecture there is almost nothing available in the local language, which also affects the topic of theology. Luckily there is a west Greenlandic bible available, which we happy use in our work.

More serious facts are the following. This area of Greenland knows proportionally the most suicides, whereby Greenland is leading the world wide statistics. The problematic concentrates on the east coast. There is almost no family that has not been hit by this. Speaking more concrete, there is in average one suicide every 3 weeks in an area with 3.500 people.

Besides this problem there is a high percentage of abortion, meaning that 50-80% of all pregnancies are being stopped. It is horrific how many young women have already had several abortions, with all consequences thereof.

Other problems the area has to deal with are alcoholism, abuse and partly through that many neglected children. There are about 400 children here that cannot live with their family and suitable foster families are few.

So far there is no living church here that believes in the fact that Jesus really brought healing, especially in this life with so many bondages. There is a Lutheran church here, like in the whole of Greenland. The fact that faith in Jesus is the basis of Christian believe is however not or little proclaimed there. On the other hand there is a strong living hope in the people we have come to know so far and that are beginning to experience the healing message of Gods love.