Bertha Moses

Bertha Moses,
Transcript Section 4

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MARLA:  And where did you guys -- where did you go for your training when you were volunteering? 

BERTHA:  Just to Tanana, every time I go down to have -- to wait to have deliver a baby at first, and then in 19 -- that's 8 years. 

In 1960 -- '69, we started travelling to get training, right at Tanana Hospital.  Other than that, we did our training when the doctor comes.  A very short time, and we just kind of learned by ourself, too, most of us, just reading the book and talking. 

We had really poor communication with the doctor in Tanana Hospital.  They had the radio called single sideband.  I don't know what that mean.  We had to have a permit to talk on it, to -- I had a -- I had a temporary permit. 

And all kinds of letters and calling -- calling -- calling the -- we call the Tanana Hospital, we have to identify ourself by letters.  And I called them by their letters, too.  It was -- I -- like K22X is in Tanana -- I mean, K22X is in Tanana, this is K22JP Allakaket, something like that. 

And it's -- if anybody had other radios in the villages, they would hear us, too.  Most of the time we don't get through, and then somebody would hear, somebody, sometimes someone from Kotzebue, sometimes someone from Fort Yukon, and they relay at that time.  Communication was really poor. 

Then we had to -- the health aides had to diagnose and prescribe medicine on their own the best they could.  And I don't think there was any tragedy due to our mistake or anything at that time.  We were -- we were taught very carefully to give medication out.  And the first thing. 

And I was really afraid of giving medicine, too, because I read about the side effects and stuff like that at the beginning. 

Then after 1969, we start getting a little bit paid from Juneau.  I think it was 180 a month.  I thought it was lower, but I don't -- I don't remember the exactly how much it was because I lost all my paperwork in the flood and I don't know or remember some things. 

Then we start going to Anchorage.  The first time I go to Anchorage for training was 1969, to the CHAP in Anchorage.  And by that time, we -- most of us health aides already -- already learn a lot by that time, but we -- we had to learn to do a lot of other new things at that time.  Not as much as the health aides know now today, though.  They are very much advanced from -- from the first time.