It’s our last day in Bethel…cue the tears. The list of things I will miss about this place is much longer than the list of things I won’t miss (i.e. the excessive mud and the lack of available showers).

Eskimo ice cream
Eskimo ice cream

Last night we all tried Eskimo ice cream. It  sounds yummy…but it wasn’t made from actual ice cream. The only three ingredients in said “ice cream” were Crisco, sugar, and blueberries. It wasn’t bad, but one spoonful was definitely plenty.

The generous gift of a King Salmon
The generous gift of a King Salmon

Also, this morning we were given two salmon by this sweet lady on the left. One King Salmon, and one Red Salmon..YUMMY.

So today we had our last two interviews, which means we are officially DONE recording interviews. Tomorrow we leave early in the morning to fly to Anchorage, then onto Seward. Once we get there we’ll be able to see some more mountainous Alaskan landscape, rather than the flat tundra. We’ll also get to do some tourist activities (such as hike a glacier, woohoo).

Speaking of interviews, I compiled a few of my favorite quotes from various interviews that we’ve conducted throughout these past 11 days.

-“Cut through the bullshit and live intentionally”: Dr. O’Keefe’s daughter told us she learned that during her time here as a Jesuit Volunteer. Everything people do here has a purpose, they don’t waste time or resources.

-“What you share you’ll get back even more of.”: John Active, a Yup’ik we interviewed said this of the philosophy of his people. We’ve seen that firsthand here in Bethel, so many people have shown us kindness and have share with us precious fish and food to make us feel welcome.

-“You must face the pain to overcome it.”: A native Yup’ik, Rose Domnick, focused on that idea during her lecture to us about cultural trauma and the repercussions felt by her own family as a result of the Catholic missionaries trying to convert the natives.

-“It’s not about religion, it’s about how you practice your beliefs.”: Ray Daw, a behavioral health specialist that spoke to us, said this during his lecture last week. I think it can be difficult to remember that just because people may not practice spirituality or religion in the same way we do doesn’t mean that there is a wrong or right way.

-“If you follow Yup’ik spirituality, you’ll be the best Catholic in the world.”: Cecilia, a Yup’ik elder that we interviewed, said this. Yup’ik spirituality puts an emphasis on the sacred value of all human life and of all nature. They see everything as valuable in some way, and therefore have immense respect for both humans and nature.

…Also, a bit of what I’ve personally taken away from this trip so far:

-Gutting a fish is fun, but the fishy smell is hard to get rid of

-Moose stew is my new favorite type of stew

-I actually can get tired of eating peanut butter

-People are more often pretty great than not

This list could go on forever, but I’m happy I could get to know so many Creighton people that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise… I am so grateful for my 16 new friends.

Quyana (Thank you), Bethel, for all that you’ve taught us.

Life IS so good.


3 thoughts on “Quyana

  1. Great post. I feel like I can taste the Eskimo ice cream right now sitting in an airport. Thanks for posting the quotes as well, I’ll have to borrow a few of them. Sounds like you will be able to take away a lot from the trip. Thanks for sharing -Jason (former CUbackpack explorer)

    1. Hi Mari….you describe so many things so well, from the ice cream recipe (tangible) to insights into the hearts and the spirits of the people in Bethel. I am glad you have made so many new friends and so many new memories! Cannot wait to hear more about everything…you shall have to write more of your travels.
      And…..consider this. You have made it to the only corner of the world unexplored by the Dan Joyces! A feat few can imagine. lol
      I love you so much…..
      One proud momma

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