Saturday, May 4, 2013

Flying up the River

"Quyana" or Thanks in Yupik, the language of the Native Americans in this region of Alaska (Bristol Bay). My life has is its serendipitous moments: yesterday afternoon was one. My nephew Gregg had called N.V. Thursday and found out that he was planning on flying up to Ekwok Friday afternoon. N graciously invited us to go along, an invitation that we greedily accepted.  The weather was glorious, the pilot more than competent (I had always avoided small planes - and now am wondering what else I missed in life) and the flight from Dillingham to Ekwok nothing but good. Upon landing in Ekwok which means "end of the bluff" in Yupik,  we were met by the chief of the village and taken to his home. Fascinating. Although a short visit, we were lucky enough to be invited to sample his wife's cooking: Moose Balls (o.k. meatballs made out of Moose meat, but the other sounds so much more fun) and spaghetti together with home made bread. Nothing but delicious. A very forward-looking chief for a village that is the oldest continuously occupied Yupik village on the Nushagak River: the school is large (2010 census was 115), new buildings judiciously planned and the chief himself a big proponent of keeping the water clean, even has an EPA building. After a short tour of the village (also a new modern clinic) we had to fly back into the sunset, Gregg at the controls for a few minutes.
A moment never to be forgotten: Quyana.