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Playing Baseball in Greenland


"Hey, batter, batter, batter . . . saa-weeeeng!" doesn't translate directly, but the Greenlandic word for it is Anaasilluni, meaning to swing or to hit.

When I saw these kids batting around in the schoolyard, I smiled and thought, "Hey, isn't that cool? They're playing baseball!"--but actually no, it's not baseball. The game is called Anaalerooq, or "hit ball" and it's played all across Greenland. It might look and feel like baseball-here they're using an aluminum bat and a yellow tennis ball-but the rules are a little different. For one, there are only two bases, or "points".

I happened upon this outdoor gym class right at the start of the school season in a village so remote it took me three flights, two helicopters and a two-hour boat ride to get there.

When you arrive, Tasiusaq feels like it's the last village in the world. In fact, it's not even a village, but rather a "settlement" at the edge of Tasermuit ("small fjord"). A single dirt path runs between two lines of compact wooden homes, all brightly colored and with steep roofs. There were fish drying out on the clotheslines next to the clothes, and a few perky dogs tied up. Beyond that, the world was just bright blue sea and the grey granite pinnacles of a million unnamed mountains. In the far distance, there was a hint of white and the coolness sweeping off the ice cap.

I was told that only 67 people live in Tasiusaq and that 13 of them were students in this bright red schoolhouse. It's impossible for me to fathom what life is like in such an isolated place, but I do know that the inhabitants of Tasiusaq can't ever complain about the view.

Filed under: North America, Video

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