Hello, all the way from Pilot Station, Alaska!
I’d like to start by apologizing for the lack of updates. I’ve faced a series of obstacles in connecting to the Internet, and since I’m in a remote location, the only thing to do is be patient. I’ll do my best to catch you up over the next few posts.
Note to Mom: I know how you feel about dead animal pics, so you might not wanna read this 🙂
Soon after our arrival in the village, we learned that Alaska Fish and Game leaves free fish by the dock twice a day. A little before 8:00 one evening, we hiked down to the Yukon River, bucket in tow.
It’s a beautiful river, by the way.
Then we waited for the boat.
Sometimes it brings lots of fish (60 one evening!), and sometimes it shows up empty. So we always make sure the locals get fish before we take any. Alaska Fish and Game will bring fish like this until the end of September.
I named my first salmon Loretta.
Then Eddie, the husband of another new teacher, showed me how to gut and fillet it.
I looked like I’d murdered someone by the time I finished.
But I had about 10 servings of salmon.
This past weekend, a student came to my door with a gift: all four legs of a moose!
His grandmother, one of the elders of the community, asked him to share his first moose of the season with the teachers. Jessica and I shared one leg.
It took us about an hour to cut up. After splitting this leg with Jessica, I gave about a third of my half to some teachers who didn’t get a leg. And STILL, I ended up with 9 bags of meat!
Eddie estimates that one leg of a moose is more meat than an entire deer.
I ordered a meat grinder so I can use the meat like hamburger this winter.
Our Assistant Instructional Leader (AKA Assistant Principal) cooked some up right away. Then he, another teacher, and I brought the meal to the home of the student and grandmother who gifted us with moose. This is the customary way of thanking people for sharing with us.
I feel blessed to have so much meat in my freezer for the long winter ahead. Even more so, I feel blessed to live in a sharing community. In such a harsh and remote climate, cooperation is the only way to survive. At new teacher orientation, we were even cautioned not to encourage competition in the classroom because it goes against the values of our students and their families. The sharing nature of these people is just one of many characteristics I’m learning to love about the Yup’ik culture.