The girls posing with the 3 Swedes, the guys who discovered gold at Nome that prompted the Gold Rush.
Friday morning 🙂
Today we ate lunch with elders at the senior center. It was great to hear their stories about life at their summer fish camps.
Julie & David took us to the mouth of the Yukon River to fish. It was an absolutely beautiful day. I found a tiny little speck of gold too! But I threw it back because 1) everyone said it was fools gold & not real and 2) it was so small I couldn’t hold onto it. But I swear it was gold.
We had a great dinner back at the church. Julie and David said Friday was usually their date night so we decided to set up a candlelight table for them with flowers & encouraging notes. And it’s Kristen’s 25th birthday today! We had cake & ice cream.
We debriefed and had evening devotions. Marcia came and talked to us about alcoholism in Nome. There are 9 bars and 4 liquor stores in this small town of 3500 people. It’s a $5 million/year industry. In comparison, their school’s budget is $2 million/year. Alaska has local option law on alcohol. Each town can vote on whether to be wet, dry or damp. Nome is certainly a wet town. People are also allowed to smoke anywhere.
Marcia shared that a drunk can come to Nome and be almost functional because a high level of intoxication is tolerated. There’s little accountability for people who are late to work, can’t pay bills, etc.
There is also no public drunkenness ordinance. It’s okay to be drunk in Nome. Cops can only pick someone up if they’re endangering someone else and they have to take them to the hospital. That drives up hospital costs as there are 1000-1200 alcohol-related hospitalizations a year.
So the problem is big for Nome. Marcia took us to see two of the bars. One had pull tabs littered all over the floor. Gambling is also an issue here.
It’s 11pm and the guys went back out fishing since the sun is bright and it’s still a beautiful day. The girls are heading to bed. 🙂