02 September 2007

Toksook Bay visit

Toksook Bay, a village of about 600 (220 are students, not including Head Start), is on Nelson Island, NW of Bethel & Nunapitchuk by about 100 miles. There once was volcanic activity here; Imagine rolling green & blonde hills, hugged by the crisp bay, an occasional herd of Muskox snacking on the berries, I'm sure. The island is relatively small, so on the flight in I could see Tununak on the other side too. Remember the 'stone people' photos from spring 2 years ago?

I'm here in Toksook with a couple of boys for the cross-country meet. (Despite 19 odd kids coming to practice here & there, 2 have been committed enough to do double practices for almost a week, hence the 2 traveling.) Three other teams from villages have extended their stay an extra night with us. The village is also having the black berry festival, so there have been fiddle dances, Yurraq (Eskimo dancing by several different villages), arts & crafts sales (couldn't find it). Contests for qaspaqs (Eskimo shirt), a paddle boat race (supposed to be announced over the vhf, no vhf), bike (no word about when or where), "fun run" for anyone who wanted to run 5K, berry picking contest. It's been rather nice, with a lot of breaks from the overcast or night showers with sunny skies & a nice breeze. The hill-side is just littered with berries everywhere. I expected the water at the beach to be frigid, but it was semi-cold to the touch; I could keep my hand in there for a little bit anyway. It's so energizing.

It's also been nice to see some folks I haven't seen in a while (other coaches-Amanda from Goodnews, Ox & Marty - NYO coaches, Deanna & Vikki from Akiuk 2.5 m. away from Nunap.) & meeting new people from the Toksook staff & Bethel. There's a huge movie screen w/ projector, almost as big as Quin's & the kids have been playing an x-box using that screen. What a dream that is!

So now I'm off to bed because we're getting up early to go on a hike to the ridge of the hill where the 'stone people' (stone carrions) are.

Photos to come...

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