it affects us all....
I received a call yesterday from another housing operation that we work with inquiring if I would be able to speak to one of their newest residents. I told them of course, but why me? The young lady is from Alaska, like you, and she doesn't feel a connection with anyone here. We set up a time to speak today. The longer I do this, I am never prepared for the stories and tragedies that I hear.
She was a troubled child that ran away and trouble found her. The group she fell in with quickly moved her to the west coast and made her start earning her keep. She told me she has probably been prostituted in at least 60 cities around the country. They moved her to a southern town and she was arrested. The cops were smart enough to give her the option to go to jail or get help to get out... She was smart enough to take them up on it. She told me I could use parts of her story. The things that happened to her on the road were horrendous. According to my contact within that housing operation, the scars are there to prove it.
But there really isn't any reason to go into those stories because for almost an hour today we talked about things that made her voice change. We talked about Home. We talked about fishing, hiking, Fur Rondy (Anchorage Fur Rendezvous), reindeer sausage(I think I miss that the most) and the majesty that is Alaska. We also discussed how easy lower 48 kids have it trick or treating in 80+ degree weather. We used words and expressions that she hasn't heard in years. We connected on a basic human level... two travelers far from home. Although we reached our current destination in dramatically different ways, we are where we are. I told her that the beauty of where she is now, is not where she has to remain. She also now has the freedom to go where she chooses.
She promised me that she would stay at least 2 weeks where she currently is staying. If you have done this for any time at all you know a promise is just a set of words to the survivors. They have to say what they need to, to get through that day. I will not hold her to it, but I hope she stays. She is going to work on her relationship with her mother and when ready 51 South will be a part of the team that will get her home.
I pray that she makes it all work. That she makes it home. That she gets to ski Alyeska again.