Sunday, August 22, 2010


I know it would sound cool to start this off with an anecdote about me fighting a bear. I’m uncomfortable with that, because I’m not sure how that scenario would play out. I’m thinking less fighting and more running and screaming.
I landed in Nunam Iqua, AK Thursday at noon. It was a nice flight from Bethel to Kotlik to Emmonak and then to Nunam. There are no international airports for these villages, just gravel runways. I sat in the co-pilot seat of the small Cessna from Emmonak to Nunam. The pilot looked nervously at me while I pretended to fly the plane before take-off. Apparently, it was the airplane sounds I was making, so I took my hands off the instruments and pretended to be asleep.

The walk from the airport to the school is about a quarter mile. There are no cars or pickups in town, because of no roads. There are boardwalks that run throughout town, which are used for walking and for ATVs. In the quarter mile walk, I was greeted by a half-dozen children asking me “Are you my teacher? Are you Clayton?” News travels fast around here. I’m just wondering what other information they have on me.

Stanley keeps me company on my walks from my house to the school. The weather has been nice since I arrived, no rain and about 60 during the day, so the kids are all outside. Stanley isn’t sure what grade he’ll be in next year, but he told me he’s ten and he wants to be in my class. I said, “I bet you tell all the teachers that”, and he smiles and says “Yeah”.

I have a two-bedroom house that is mostly furnished. I was told that I had to bring my own kitchenwares, but the teacher who lived here last year didn’t take much with him. He even left a big TV for me so I’m set. I have satellite TV and internet access here at my house, so it’s kind of like living in WA. Except it is illegal to possess alcohol and I can’t order a pizza.

The custodians, Joe and his wife Dominica, have hauled all of my boxes of food and other things to my house. All told, it must have been at least 500 lbs. We have no store in town, so everything I eat has to be shipped in here. I bought a cooler, filled it full of meat, and checked it on as luggage so I have some frozen meat. Without Joe and Dominica, I’d still be dragging my stuff from the school to my house. In case I have not mentioned it, it’s a half mile away.

I start work on Monday and the students show up on Thursday. I guess I should get started figuring out what I’m supposed to be doing in the classroom. I have 3/4/5 grades, so I hope they’re not too hard on me. Maybe Stanley will know what to do and I can sit in the co-pilot’s seat and make teacher noises. I hope he doesn’t mind.


  1. Teacher noises? Like on Charlie Brown? "Whahn-whahn, whahn-whahn-whahn"?

  2. This may explain why you were making your pilot nervous. ;)