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Letters of welcome

14 Apr 2017, by admin in Commander Islands

 It’s happening!

Three students and one chaperone from the Commander Islands (Russia) are coming to St. Paul Island for Seabird Camp this summer!

School students on St. Paul are getting excited, and have been busy writing pen-pal letters. These will be translated into Russian and sent to students living in the village of Nikolskoye. 6-8th graders in Miss Jones’ class at St. Paul have written letters of welcome and introduction.

Everyone is excited for the upcoming visit!

I can not wait for summer and your arrival. Some Russian words I would like to learn are “best friends”. By Brittney

Each student chose something about St. Paul to share with the students on the Commander Islands. Here are a few snippets:

Let me tell you about a location on the island called North Dock. North Dock is, well, north of the village. It is where boats come in to dock and off-load crab or halibut. They also come there to get fuel and get food from the AC Store. The crab season is big in the Bering Sea. About 600 boats were counted coming into the harbor last year. The dock is run by Trident Seafoods, which is a fish and crab plant. They process halibut in the summer and process crab in the wintertime. Our local fishing boats mostly run the halibut season, but there are other boats that come in from other parts of Alaska to fish”. By Chauncey

Chauncey at North Dock, photo by Miss Jones

One important place to know about on the island is the AC Store (Alaska Company Store). The store is the only place on St. Paul where we can buy our groceries, get new furniture, rent movies, and buy bikes and other toys. The prices for things here are higher than other places. If the store does not have what we want, our only other option is to order it online. Sometimes we kids like to hang out at the front of the store, but we get kicked out every time we hang out there”. By Brittney

Britney at the Store, photo by Miss Jones

One interesting place on the island that you can walk to from town is East Landing. East Landing is near the ocean and has a lot of rocks there. East landing was a dock where the Aleuts evacuated from because the U.S. Army came here to keep watch during WWII. When you head out to East Landing, you will be able to see the cemetery. The cemetery is on a cliff and the cliff is eroding. East landing was a dock a long time ago, but now it is a place where fishermen dump fish waste, and hunters dump reindeer, birds, and seal carcasses”. By Miles

Miles at East Landing, photo by Miss Jones

“The clinic is a place where you go when you get sick or hurt. And you go there for your dental check up. Sometimes if someone gets hurt on a boat up here they will get checked at our clinic. If they do not have the supplies to fix you, they will ship you out to a hospital in Anchorage, which is 700 miles away. Elders get to come and hang out and play board games and eat snacks at the clinic. Some of the people who work at the clinic are from St. Paul; some of the staff comes from other places to work here for a short time and then leave again. Our clinic is so cool”. By Miron

Miron by the Clinic, photo by Miss Jones. 

The Gorbach Beach is an old place where we used to dump trash. It is also just a rookery now where seals go most of the time. Some people go for walks on the beach when seals leave. The rookeries close through June 1st to Oct. 1st . We also have statues of five seals and one man. They were a brownish color but they turned green because the copper got wet”. By Aiden

Aiden at Gorbach Beach, photo by Miss Jones

One thing that might interest you, since you are from Russia, is our Russian Orthodox Church. The church is a white and a grass-green building that has a great big onion dome at the top. We also have a relic of Saint Paul at the church. They say that it is his hair or something, but I do not really believe it is. The bishop comes up every year for weddings, baptisms, and sometimes for Easter. For a while we did not have a father, but now we do– his name is John. The church is important to our community because it is a place we Aleuts have always been able to gather together”. By Jaylene

Jaylene outside the Russian Orthodox Church, photo by Miss Jones

Many thanks to Miss Jones and all her students for spending the time to write such thoughtful letters to share. The translated copies will soon be ready to send to our friends on the Commander Islands.