So I went home and thought about the LA Times article about my town from this weekend. Then I went and talked about it with a neighbor for quite some time. I only personally know one of the people quoted in the article, but even that is enough to be aware that there’s something odd going on here. She makes at least as much, if not more than I do, and is married with two children. They’re related to nearly everyone in the village. Three weeks ago they threw a party that cost near a thousand dollars. I see her every day, and never once has she complained about anything financial, though she complains plenty in general, especially about the habits of modern young people. She certainly seems in no distress…
And then there are other things, on the part of many people here. Plane trips out of the village on a regular basis. Huge holiday celebrations. New snow machines. Trips out of state when government checks come in. a heard of caribou right outside of town. Six dollars on gas to get firewood? What on earth? With two young men, an ax, and a couple of hours one could have firewood for $0. we live in the middle of a forest.
Last week a nearby village asked for aid. Or someone therein did, at least. Or at least work eventually got out that someone there was in need of help. The principle brought it up at a meeting. The aids, who know some of these people, and are related to some of them, said that they hadn’t heard anything about it at all, and that they supposed it was one or two families, and would need more information as to what, exactly, they needed. Did they want cans of vegetables? Or was it oil? Or wood? Or fish? Nobody had any idea.
I am by no means saying that things aren’t difficult, or that people aren’t in need of help. Probably they are. From Hugo Chavez? Surely they jest. The whole situation is tremendously odd, and have no solutions yet – though I’ve only been here for seven months so there’s no reason to expect that I should. People here don’t make choices about money the way I do. More of it is unlikely to be of much help. *ponders*