Chapter 15 Job hunting in Juneau
The next day I was back on the Ketchikan ferry landing, heading to Juneau, the capital of Alaska. Built on the flatlands between the sea and glacier-filled mountains, Juneau has only sea roads leading to it. We arrived at 4 in the morning so I drove to the first gas station and hung out there until it got more light and the rain stopped.
I followed my usual pattern of buying eggs and bacon, then finding a camp ground to cook myself some good breakfast. But since the weather was constantly drizzly, I decided to find somewhere to sleep indoors. The tourist information office pointed me to a youth hostel where I was assigned a bed. I could leave my valuables there while I went to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) headquarters to see about a job.
It was not hard to find the BIA building in such a small city where the government had a big presence. The receptionist at the entrance directed me to the correct floor. I walked down the hall, looking for room number ten, and having found it, knocked on the door and went in. There were a number of people working at their desks. One looked up, “Can I help you?”
“Yes, I said. “In July I sent in my application to the BIA for a teaching job and I’m here to start.”
“Really?” said the man. “Give me your name and let me look up your file.”
He came back in a few minutes later. “We’ve got no record of it here. We’ll probably have to get it from our headquarters in New Mexico. It may take a few days. Check back with us in a week.” He paused, then asked, “Where will you stay?”
“I have a bed at the youth hostel in town.”
“If you’d like, you can stay at a cabin I have out of town. It’s a bit of a walk from the parking area, but it’s a pleasant place.”
“Wow, that would be great!” I said.
The man gave me directions and the key. Then he added, “One note of caution, the path to the cabin has berry bushes along both sides. Make sure you sing and whistle on the way to the cabin to warn any bears that may be feeding there!” He also gave me a package of moose meat to cook up. Pretty nice! Another touch from God.
The next day I spent in town, visiting a museum, then riding out to the big glacier outside the town where I had another good meal of eggs and bacon.
I also found out where there was a good Bible church and went there on Sunday for the service. A young couple invited me home for lunch after hearing about my plans. They had been BIA teachers in a village and told me some of their experiences.
They also gave me some significant advice. “There usually isn’t a lot of reading material in the villages. It would be good for you to join a book club so you can get a good book each month,” the husband told me.
He handed me a paper, “Here is an application form for Word Book Club. As soon as you know where you will be, send this in.”
I took the form gladly, but had no idea how important, how life-saving and life changing this advice would prove to be.
On Monday I went to look for a temporary job and got hired as a carpenter. Fortunately it was rough carpentry as that was as much as I was capable of.
After a couple of days I decided to go back to the BIA office and see if they’d made any progress with my application.
“Are we glad to see you!” exclaimed the owner of the cabin. “We’ve been looking for you, even had announcements on the radio for you to come.
“There is a teaching position that desperately needs to be filled. It’s in an Eskimo village on St. Lawrence Island,”
“Sure, why not?” I said, “I want to teach and they need me. that’s enough.”
Arrangements were made for me to fly to Anchorage two days later. I immediately went to the local motorcycle shop to see if they wanted to buy my bike. The owner offered me a reasonable price and we made a deal on the spot. Another Jesus sighting.