About East Greenland

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

First of all the eastcoast 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 2.100 inhabitants. From Iceland and the westcoast you can reach the nearby village Kulusuk by plane. All other villages, like Tasiilaq, 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 eastcoast an isolated place which can also be noticed in other areas: it is for example not possible to study on the eastcoast and in winter time there are sometimes 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 happily use in our work.

More serious facts are the following. This area of Greenland knows proportionally the most suicides, whereby Greenland itself is the number 1 on the list of most suicides in the world. The problem concentrates itself on the east coast. There is almost no family that has not been hit by this. Speaking more concrete, there is an average of one suicide every 3 weeks in this area of 3.500 people.

Besides this problem there is a high percentage of abortion, meaning that around 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, there are 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 strong established living church here that believes in Jesus Christ. There is a Lutheran church here, like in the whole of Greenland. However, the fact that faith in Jesus is the basis of Christian belief is not or little proclaimed. On the other hand, people are hungry for God and want to learn what Jesus has taught. A tiny community has been established over the few years now.