As a true badass woman, Bija has done many awesome things in her live. She was born in Boston MA, grew up in the NY – NJ area. She has hiked the Appalachian Trail where she first met people who had worked down here in Antarctica, she served in the Peace Corps, worked for “Doctors Without Borders”, and now she is supporting science programs like ANSMET in her 14th season here in Antarctica. And like all awesome hero stories, Bija’s story began as a dishwasher here in the galley in Antarctica from which she made her way up to the BFC a year later where she spent the next 14(!) months working. 14 months in McMurdo is not to be taken lightly! But she mastered her time skillfully, and within the next years she went through different positions such as Field Camp Supervisor, and today works full time as the Field Support Supervisor and is boss of the BFC. She says the best part of her job (and I totally agree with her) are all the different people and personalities she gets to work with whom she would -under normal circumstances- not get to meet and closely interact with, from plumbers and steel-workers to carpenters, pilots, cooks, and scientists. The community here in McMurdo is very tightly knit with everyone being equal to one another. Creativity, generosity, and helpfulness are just a few things that are held very high here, making this one of the best places to work in the world.
Bija has been a true supporter for us, her job covers all our field plans, our risk management (tag-teamed with SAR -Search And Rescue), and running the BFC so that all our basic needs and logistics in the deep field are covered from having well-functioning and safe equipment, real butter (not that crappy 50% less fat butter) which totally saved my butt, to delivering mail in the field, to getting our needed re-supply mission to exchange broken parts and getting much needed fuel. But Bija’s job in supporting ANSMET really starts 10 month before we actually get here, basically when the old season ends Bija starts to prepare for the new season. Ordering supplies, repairing old equipment, handling the logistics, flights, and supply missions, and much more, everything starts a long time before we actually get into the field.
And once we leave the continent, Bija will still be here. Her season will end a bit later than ours, she will be on the last flight out this year at the end of February and then she wants to go rock climbing, eating good food with lots of freshies, and spending time with her nieces and nephew. And we wish her all the best, lots of good hand- and foot holds for her climb, and a wonderful time with her family. Thank you, Bija, for your awesome support!
Juliane, McMurdo Station Antarctica, Feb. 1st at 11:45am
Editor’s note: In a decade and a half, I’ve never seen Bija without that smile. Lights up the room, even in sunny Antarctica!