49 Voices: Benito Achas of Kodiak

Benito Achas of Kodiak (Photo by Daysha Eaton, KMXT – Kodiak)

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.

Listen now

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.

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Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.