Sometimes some of the most very important people in a community aren’t recognised.


No, it’s not a milk truck. It isn’t a gasoline or petrol truck. It’s a water truck. About 1/2 to 2/3 of the city gets purified water delivered by truck. Houses have 550 gallon or larger water tanks inside. A small pump circulates the water to the sinks and bath.

What comes in must go out. This other truck evacuates the septic tank under the houses which holds grey water and black water. The tank has to be plugged in the night before water/sewer day so it thaws out. The “suck truck” then unloads into the sewer lagoon on the edge of town.

What keeps the drivers from mixing up the trucks and hoses?

These men and women work all days of the year, warm and cold. Sometimes the trucks get stuck in snowdrifts.

So next time you turn on a tap or flush the toilet, think about all the work that it takes for that to happen in Alaska!

Do you know how the water gets to your tap?

Where does the water come from?

The I-Quad Song.

I have my own song now! Earthlings are so generous. Mikayla, Abbey, Nellie and Katie in 5OF wrote and performed this song for me, I am honoured. Click here to listen and enjoy.  iquadsong

 Come back soon for more excitement from Alaska!

Remember meeting the postmasters?

How do you suppose the mail gets to people when there aren’t any roads?

In Bethel, the mail isn’t delivered at all. Everyone goes to the post office to pick it up.

 

Groceries delivered by sled.

 

 

 

Mail destined for the surrounding villages can’t be trucked (no roads).

There wasn’t any Pony Express (no roads and very few horses; none today).

Once upon a time it was delivered by dogsled. Or, once a year, boats from Seattle (several thousand miles away) would bring mail.

 Today, the mail comes by large plane or jet to Bethel. It is then sent to some villages by small bush plane.

 What do you suppose comes by mail?

 [all the fresh milk, meat, eggs, and produce in Bethel]
Kitchen Stoves

 

Cabin Bread

(called Pilot Bread here)


Soda Pop/Fizzy Drinks
chicken eggs (goose eggs come by air once a year in spring hah! hah! they are a welcome food)
Televisions
Clothes
School Supplies

That stuff is heavy and bulky so, mail also comes by hovercraft.

The Kuskokwim Delta has the only hovercraft mail delivery in the United States.

Watch this video, mabe you would like to become a mailman in Alaska!

 

Passengers on the hovercraft.

Hovercraft garage.

 

 

Did you ever think of your bread and milk arriving by mail? Imagine having to wait for it to arrive by hovercraft.

Make your own very awsome hovercraft here.

Learn how hovercrafts work here.

Make a list of the most unusual items you can think of to arrive by mail.

 Record a ficticious interview between yourself and a mailman who delivers via hovercraft.

Why do you think they eat cabin bread in Alaska?

Click here for more information.

 

 

Early on I went to the Visitor Center for the Yukon Delta Wildlife Refuge. It is one of the biggest protected areas in the refuge system.

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You can see the funny stilts the building is on. And, yes, that is snow falling in the picture, well after the first day of spring. There aren’t any wooly mammoths in the region now but there used to be. Their bones and teeth are found in river beds and ponds.

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The wooly skin next to the mammoth molar and tusk in the picture belongs to a musk ox. They have very fine hair, underwear (softer than superwool) which keeps them warm. The shed hair can be knitted or crocheted to keep people warm.

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The seasons of the year are spelled in English and in Yup’ik. Yup’ik is the Eskimo language of many people in this region. Spring is really nice because the birds return to breed from the rest of the world (including the south Pacific). Not only that, but in the old days, the birds were the first fresh food of the long winter. Sometimes people would run out of their dried fish and berries and caribou stored for the year. There are tiny stores in each village, but the food is very expensive and only staples are available. People still catch their own meat and fish and berries.

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All kinds of fish are eaten, some trapped in the fish traps but the salmon are netted when they return to the Kuskokwim or Yukon Rivers.

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Use wikipedia to find out information about mammoths. Why are they extinct now?
Write a story ” Wilbur The Wooly Mammoth”

The Elders.

While I was watching the river, the Senior Bus showed up. Everyone asked about where I had been and how I got my name. I think they liked that my badge was just like their photo card.

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Elders get to ride the bus around town to do errands–
shop
bank
post office
pay bills
special events
health clinic (across from the Refuge Visitor Center)

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Do your Grandparents go on bus trips?
Ask them to tell you about their most enjoyable trip and write a comment to tell me.
What is the most interesting character they ever met on a trip?

When I arrived it was still trying to snow and the Kuskokwim River was frozen solid. Here you can see the river from the edge of town.

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There used to be more town but the river washed it away about 25 years ago.On May 13 on the radio  they announced the river has cracked enough to start moving. In the middle of winter, people use the river to drive cars and trucks to neighboring villages (just like the Ice Road on Discovery TV) Snow machines are used everywhere.

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See the funny tall poles with “fur”  and a ring on top located along the riverbank? What do you suppose they do?

You can see the progress of the rivers breaking up here
http://ykalaska.wordpress.com/2007/04/18/where-is-breakup-finally/

and here you can watch the Arctic ice cap break up
http://ykalaska.wordpress.com/2007/03/26/where-is-bethel-ice-pack/

No Darkness!

I have my own hammock! If I get cool at night I use a blanket or sleep with the cat, Qiviut.

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This is a picture at 10 PM (nightime!!).

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I use sleeping shades. Some people cover their windows with foil or cardboard or buy special shades. Others get used to it. Most people use the late days to fix their houses. When the river is completely clear of ice and driftwood, people go fishing, too.

Wow, can you imagine no darkness at night time!

Write a comment to tell me why you think it doesn’t get dark and how would you manage to get to sleep?

Do you know another name for Alaska that means there is not many hours of darkness in summer?

Can you design some shades to help you sleep?

What other situations might cause it to be light when you need to sleep?

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Can you imagine it! Just step ouside your back door and start skating around your backyard!! Well, probably not in Horsham!

In Bethel, when it snowed, the road crew piled the snow up on the sides of the road. The warmth of early April melted a bit of snow, then it got cold again and froze to form a rink. Alas! No skates small enough for my small yet adequate feet, but my friend had a lovely time on the ice! I was happy to take this photo.

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Imagine all those boring jobs that could become fun…when you have to take the rubbish out….just glide down to the bin, throw the rubbish in, and gracefully glide back again!! Think of all the things that would suddenly become easier and more enjoyable and let me know!!

What things would become really difficult if your backyard froze?

How could you overcome this?

Draw I-Quad in skates.

There’s some bowling vouchers in it for the most creative answers!!

           

 Well everyone, I have been very busy exploring the town. The fire station is next to City Hall. It looks a bit like the one in Horsham!

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I also dropped by one of the two primary schools, Kilbuck Elementary. The building also houses one of the two Yup’ik immersion schools. This looks very different to Horsham West PS doesn’t it? It is on stilts just like City Hall, I wonder why?

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Kilbuck Elementary
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Horsham West PS

Kilbuck is one the schools in the Lower Kuskokwim School District. http://lksd.org
LKSD has a virtual science program, http://learnscape.org/blog Check out the flash animation on this page for how rocks are formed it’s awesome!

More soon, keep in touch.

Here is Bethel City Hall. It is built on stilts.

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The stairs look funny, too.

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Further up the one paved highway is the post office (I met the postmaster and assistant postmaster!)

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Imagine you are small and flat like I-Quad visiting the post office. You accidentally get posted with the mail! Tell of your adventures!

Visit Australia Post web site and find out how much it would cost to post a letter to Alaska and how long would it take to get there?

Safe Landing

I think I landed through these satellite dishes, but there are 2 more dishes out of view.

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This is the only 3-way stop in Bethel. It is a large town compared to others in the region, but not a big city at all. There are no movie theatres and only 2 grocery stores plus 2 case lot stores.

To find out all about Bethel click here.

 Bethel Alaska information

How is it different to where you live?

I got a special visitors badge from City Hall!

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iquads_alska_clothes1.jpg iquads_alska_clothes1.jpgHave arrived safely at 60 degrees 46 minutes north latitude and 161 degrees and 50 minutes west (remember the first red dot on the Clustrmap?). The sun is shining and it is snowing.

Pam (Dr Bumsted) met me and took me home. I’m resting now. More later.

I-Quad

If you went to Alaska, what are four things that you would take with you and why?
Loook at the Google Map on the right to see my journey so far.
Sad and happy news…..I’m leaving Horsham..but I’m going to Alaska!!
On my planet we can morph ourselves into a digital image via intergalactarian technology not yet available to Earthlings, and speedily travel from one country to another over the World Wide Web!
This is how I shall travel to Alaska and beyond.
I am looking forward to making new friends and learning how other people live.
I will post my journey up on my blog. Check my new page “My Suitcase” and see what I collect along the way.
I will make my formal goodbye soon.
 I must now prepare for my journey.

      Hey! I made a great little friend on the weekend!   You can make him do tricks…click here to try for yourself.  Send in a comment and tell me what you can make him do.                                            

I have had an astronomical time here and made many new friends. It is time to travel through your troposphere and discover what else lies beyond Horsham.

Maybe you know of an exciting place that I could travel to?

If you have a friend or relative who lives in another part of Australia or even another country then write to me and tell me where I would go and what I might see and do.

My plan is to be sent from one location to another and I will post my exciting journey up on my blog for my Horsham West PS friends to see.

So kids….ask your friends and relatives if they would like me to visit them and write and tell me about it. I will let you know where I decide to go .So get writing NOW!

Thankyou for helping me name the places in Horsham. With your help I have sent my holiday Pictures to my family! Click here to see the list of winners. Collect your Kids’ Capers free passes and runners-up can collect a free pen donated by Cartridge World.

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