October 07, 2004

11. No Mail This Week.

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~~On Saturday, I decided to stake out the airport to take pictures of planes as they landed. It was a cold day, and I was determined to get some good shots in.

At about 1:30PM, I bundled up, loaded my thermos, and headed to the S.E. corner of the runway. I didn't realize it at the time, but on my way there, I saw the last plane take off. Flights have been grounded out of Bethel all week- I guess due to fog. I waited for about four hours, and I probably would have waited longer, but the people waiting for their plane were leaving, so I figured it was time to go.

~~Since there haven't been any flights, there also hasn't been any mail. I ordered a bunch of live materials from a biological supply company earlier this month. If they've been sitting in some airport warehouse all week, I've got this feeling I won't be getting exactly what I ordered. "Nor rain, nor snow, nor..." Do they mention fog in that saying? Apparently, it's
not an uncommon problem, so it seems to me they could deliver parcels via boat when it gets this bad. The river isn't even frozen up yet…

~~Yesterday, David Enoch, President of the Native Village of Tuntutuliak (the local governing body),
came to talk to the students for a second time about a few topics- including the pressing issue of litter. I think his talks are helping the situation; he’s doing a good job of getting the kids to see just how important it is. The intrinsic value of not being a litterbug seems to get a little distorted by adolescence, so we are coming up with ideas to goad their interest. One thing that is being done is a contest for whoever gathers the most bags of trash each month. I’m going to have an anti-litter poster contest. If you’re reading this and you have any suggestions, I’d like to hear them.

~~After Mr. Enoch’s presentation, Frank Cook, our principal, spoke about a special meeting he is going to hold about the school rules. He told the students that they were invited to participate in the meeting, and that if they didn’t show up, he would just assume that whatever rules he decided would be OK with them.
You could tell that the kids really liked that. In teacher training, it’s often purported that the children will be more likely to respect the classroom rules if they have a part in making them. Frank is taking that to another level by applying it to the entire school. This is one thing that I know for certain would be absolutely impossible at a public school in Philadelphia. It’s also probably the best illustration of the difference I see between here and back home.

~~Today I took my class outside to search for bugs for a science project.
Another difference between here and Philly: you can take your class out of the building without worrying about permission slips, and more importantly, without worrying about anyone getting lost (or going AWOL).


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