I finally made it to Koliganek after six different flights starting in La Crosse, stopping in Minneapolis, Denver, Phoenix, Anchorage, Dillingham, and ending in Koliganek! Sophie (our cat) only threw up on two of the flights! She was doing great by the end of the trip. We left La Crosse on Saturday at 12:40 pm and arrived in Koliganek on Sunday at 3:00 pm (that's 6:00 pm WI time). Spending the night in the Anchorage airport was probably the least fun of the whole trip. To get to Koliganek, we took a plane that probably seated about six people including the pilot, but it was only me, Sophie, and the pilot and several boxes. We dropped the boxes off in another village first before arriving in Koliganek. On the way we saw four moose. The pilot even swooped down a little so that we could get a closer look!
When we landed at the airport, Brian was there waiting with our new snow machine (Alaskan name for the snow mobile other times called a snow go) and a sled that he borrowed to carry my luggage. It was a beautiful day!!! I think that it was about 34 degrees! We hurried to our apartment, I got a brief tour, and then we were off to see the village. Brian showed me where the school was, the stores, the post office, and even the dump! Then we went out with Brian's trapping friend to check some traps. By the way, this was my first time on a snow mobile, and it was a little scary but fun!
Later that night we visited the principal so that I could meet her, and we visited Ron, Brian's trapping friend, and his wife Rondee who is one of the elementary teachers. They have two cute kids! Ron and Rondee have lived in Koliganek for almost two years, but they have lived in bush Alaska for seven. They were telling us stories about different villages where their running water had gone out for a month! We talked about how lucky we were to be in Koliganek!
The next morning we discovered that we had actually jinxed ourselves by having the conversation about running water. There was no water! It had gone out the night before at about 9:30. The village well had dried up! I went to school with Brian to use the bathroom because the principal said that the school had a small supply of water for the toilets to flush. I had really hoped to take a shower that morning after all of the traveling that I had done, but that had to wait.
Later I found out that school had been canceled since there was no water, so I had lots of visitors. First three elementary girls stopped by. I let them in even though I had been advised not to. They really enjoyed my mp3 player and my cell phone (no service at all in Koliganek-big surprise!). It was pretty boring in my apartment, and the kids kept asking for candy, so I told them to go with me to the post office to mail a letter for Brian. We got all bundled up, and one of the girls grabbed the letter for me. As soon as we stepped outside, the letter flew out of the girl's hand in the 50 mph winds that we were getting yesterday! One of the kids chased after it and caught it, but when the other girl dropped a five dollar bill, she chased that and dropped the letter again. After that there was no way that we would ever find the white envelope in the white snow in that wind! It was gone forever! I went over to the school right away (Brian had stayed there for teacher in-service) to find out how important the letter was. When I got there, Brian told me that it was the paperwork to get the title for our snow machine. Oops. I think that he took care of it today, though.
Brian came home for lunch yesterday to eat with me, and he told me that he and the other teachers had spent their morning planning a schedule for me since the superintendent said that there was enough money to hire me full time for the rest of the year! I'm not really sure of all of the details yet, but I think that I will be teaching two art classes, a math class or two, and tutoring some first graders who need a little extra help. I'm really excited!
After Brian got done with his in-service day yesterday, we gathered our totes and took them on a sled over to another teacher's house. He has his own well, so we filled up our totes with his water (in the rain and wind) and delivered them to some of the teachers in town. So for the last couple of days our water supply has been housed in a tote in our bath tub, and bucket in the kitchen, and a tote outside. We were able to do dishes last night with it, and I washed my self this morning from a pot of water that I heated on the stove. I'm happy to be clean! We heard tonight that we might have water tomorrow morning. We'll see. There was no school again today because of the water situation. There will be school tomorrow no matter what; they are all prepared to go through the day without water.
Today was even windier than yesterday! It was 60-65 mph winds today, so you know what that meant...Brian and I had to go for a long walk toward the woods by the river! Once we got right outside of the village, the snow was soft and deep, so it was really hard to walk. We saw some enormous moose tracks and lots of moose poop! I was really scared that we would see a moose! There was no running in that snow! The walk back was horrible; it was straight into the wind. I had to walk backward most of the time because it was hard to breathe with it blowing into my face like that. It seemed to take forever to walk the quarter of a mile back to our house!
I've only been here for a couple of days, but a lot has happened! Sorry that this message was so long; I'm sure that not all of them will be so long. Right now I'm exhausted, but Brian is making me stay up late (10:00) so that I sleep longer in the morning.