Before coming to Stebbins I nerded out on anything I could find about this small village that was about to become my home. I’ll admit not everything I found was peaches and cream. I knew the area I was going to wouldn’t be anything like any place I’ve ever been. I knew that going into it that alcohol and drugs were largely impacting a small community. I knew that many of the students would have un-diagnosed cases of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. As I was making my journey to Stebbins I got many different reactions when people would as me where I was headed. From everything to “Where is that?” to “Oh wow, brave girl.” So I’ll admit that I was nervous. Meeting the amazing people from my last post helped me push that nervousness down a little but when it came to the community, I have to say I was kind of scared. I was nervous to walk around the village on my own, I didn’t know what might happen to me if I was out alone.
So the first week I jumped right into working at the school. We had a basketball game the first weekend and I signed up to work at it. I started to introduce myself to members of the community, and with every basketball game I got to know more and more of them. They were just as curious about who I was as I was about them.
The students were excited for new face and constantly asked if I was Raynas sister (she’s blonde) then Catera’s sister (according to them we have the same head haha). They asked me questions about why I was there, where I was from, and they asked all about my life back in Idaho. They wanted to know everything about me. After my first few weeks pretty close to every student 5th and below knew my name and everything about me. The students and I started to develop some pretty strong bonds and every week they won a piece of my heart more and more.
Suddenly it dawned on me, all my fears and worries were crazy! Now I’m not saying Stebbins is a perfect village and there are no problems what’s so ever but it’s honestly not as scary as so many websites and people made me think it was going to be. In fact, they are pretty amazing! Once you realize what the village has been through and what they are still dealing with, you realize just how strong of a community they are. While at one time I looked at the village and saw high poverty and run down homes, I now see a village that stands together and tries to take care of their families the best way they know how.
Not to mention the beauty of the island. I can’t count the number of times that I literally stopped everything I was doing because the views took my breath away! I thanked God so many times for the opportunity I was given. I thank BSSD for giving me the opportunity to come here and be a part of this amazing experience.
Leaving Stebbins was very hard. When I decided to take the job in Pilot Point (post coming on that) it wasn’t an easy choice. I fought back and forth about what would be the best choice. My heart often fought with my brain, love over logic. The winning factor was work for Ben, something Stebbins couldn’t promise, but Pilot Point did. Today, my last day in Stebbins, I took a walk on the beach and I just took in everything that I have gained by being here. The silence of the village, the crisp clean scent of the air, the views of everything around me, it was just a moment of pure tranquility. If it wasn’t for Ben being so far away from me, I don’t think I would have gone home yet. I know for sure that Ben and I will be coming up to visit! I’m hoping that we can make it to Potlatch this next year, I know that I’ll have student dancing in it again and I’m excited to be a part of it again!
Until I see you again Stebbins!