Friends of Mine - Uelen, USSR

The Winter of 1999 was especially harsh for the people of the Chukotka Region. A plea for help went out to all Marine Expedition travelers for aid in their time of crisis.

I would like to share this letter with you sent by the Alaskan Friends of Chukotka, Nome, Alaska, which reads:

Dear Friend and MEI Traveler: Libby Eglin

Thank you very much for your generous contribution to humanitarian aid for the village people of Chukotka. Your contribution is extremely important, as a wide network of friends is what is needed. Already, the government food which arrived last october is running out, we hear, so the large shipment that went out this week is arriving at a perfect time. What they really want is to be able to stand on their own, and so for the long term we are looking into such things as fish nets, rock salt, rubber boots, and related subsistence gear and supplies.

The outpouring of response from the MEI travelers was expecially heartwarming. You had seen the villages and so you understand the conditions we were trying to address. Seeing is so much more valuable than just reading about it. We have received a total of $4036 from MEI patrons and this made it possible for us to arrange the shipment of over two tons of food for Neshkan, the last village we had targeted. It went with the 75,000 lbs which the Russian Far East Ministry sent to Lavrentia, Inchoun and Uelen as well as paying for a shipment of clothing to Yanrakynnot. There is about $400 left over which will be used for supplying travelers with medications, sewing supplies and other things not allowable on official humanitarian aid for them to take home.

Again, thank you very much for your response to the Chukotkan plea for help. Few people in the world know of them, but you do, and so you are very valuable to them in this time of crisis. If you wish to be on the list to receive future AFOC newsletters, drop me a line.

Nancy Mendenhall, Coordinator
Alaskan Friends of Chukotkans
Box 1141, Nome, Alaska 99762


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