This week, we’re hearing from Benito Achas in Kodiak. Achas works with drug rehabilitation at Safe Harbor and immigrated to Alaska from the Phillipines in the mid 90s.
ACHAS: I come to Kodiak because that’s where… my mother-in-law and her husband were already here in Kodiak. Actually they originated from Hawaii. They came to Kodiak to work in the cannery. I worked for like three months when I came here. But, after that, I kept looking for a job, and then I get the job that I wanted, but I don’t really stay long for that job. From the cannery, I used to work as a correction officer in the city of Kodiak, but I don’t like the job because I’d been in the military and the police force when I was still in the Philippines. And the setup is different from here.
In the Philippines, we only have two seasons — dry season and rainy season. Here we have four. And at that time when we arrived here, that snow is really thick, you know. It’s like, I remember one time during Thanksgiving and you cannot got out from your house because it’s full of snow outside.
We have our own Filipino-American Association of Kodiak. Me, I am the one who organizes Filipino youth movements against alcohol and drugs. This is one way, you know, to help the Filipino-American youth get away from the dangers of alcohol and drugs in this community.
I usually have my own team for basketball with the young kids. We used to travel from Kodiak going to Anchorage to play against Filipino teams in Anchorage. That’y my passion, you know, travelling with kids and playing sports.