This week we’re hearing from Charla Kouadio and Theresa Coley-Kouadio in Kotzebue. The married couple have lived in Kotzebue for just over two years.
CHARLA: I love living here because I believe that this is a community, a real community that’s full of good Samaritans, so that people are willing to help each other here. I’ve seen that happen more than on one occasion, and it’s also happened to me personally.
I had an accident on my four-wheeler; I hit a patch of black ice. And the four-wheeler spun around and it went one way and I went the other way. I ended up going face down in the tundra. I went unconscious, and when I woke up, there was blood everywhere. I drove myself to the road because I believed with my whole heart that if I could get to the road, and somebody could see me, somebody would help me.
I’ve lived in other places, Massachusetts and Florida, and bigger cities like Boston, and I don’t believe that anybody would have stopped to help me. But once I did get to the road, within a few minutes, somebody came by and they were able to call 911 for me. It’s a big deal.
THERESA: And it’s a community, so folks were checking in on Facebook, “I heard Charla was in an accident. How’s she doing? Is she okay, do you need anything?” And so it wasn’t just a personal incident. It was a community incident and everybody won’t be better until everybody’s better.
I work for Maniilaq (Association). We both work for Maniilaq, and I’m a provider, and I really love the health system and how we have a seamless communication with Alaska Natives. And I really do feel that the kinda health care that folks get here, the rest of the United States deserves wherever they are.
Because we don’t have a car, we walk to work, obviously. We walk to the post office, we walk to the bank, we walk to the grocery store. Some much so, that when I’m out of here and kind of back in a more traditional U.S. experience, I say, “Gosh! We’ve been indoors too much. We need to go for a walk. I don’t want to be in the car anymore.” And I think the fresh air is healing and wonderful. So I really like that.