Philippines native loves her home in snows of Bethel
For Elba Sacris-Bove of Bethel, snow is an important part of her life. She is the events and development coordinator for Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation.
But dealing with the white stuff doesn’t come naturally to the native of the Philippines.
While ski areas are starting to make snow in the mountains, the Philippines, on average, is enjoying temperatures in the mid-80s and mid-90s.
Elba came to the United States in 2007 after she met her husband, Greg Bove, online.
“We exchanged e-mails for a while. Then he decided he wanted to see the Philippines, and he came to visit,” she said.
After they were married, they lived in Maryland for a time. Then they moved to Greg’s hometown.
Elba remembers the first time she saw snow.
“It was like going inside a freezer,” she said. “I was so excited. I played in it. I even tasted it.”
But it didn’t take her long to realize there was more to snow than just play.
Now, she says, “Shoveling is not my idea of fun.”
Last winter Elba decided to meet the challenges of winter weather head-on by taking a job as a lift attendant at Mt. Abram.
“I think that was a good way to introduce myself to the weather,” she said.
The first time she worked at the lift she wore seven layers of clothes.
“But it was really fun,” she said. “I liked working with the little kids.”
Elba said she has long had an interest in nonprofit organizations, prompting her to look for similar work in this area. “I really have been looking for an organization to join, an organization that really matters to me,” she said.
Last summer she volunteered at the Mahoosuc Land Trust, helping with their annual appeal fundraiser.
Three months ago she was hired by Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation, which provides adaptive lessons and activities in recreational summer and winter sports for people with physical disabilities.
“They had an opening for this position, which is the events and development coordinator,” she said. “I applied and then I was lucky to be chosen.”
It is her job to plan the 2013 Ski-A-Thon, the organization’s largest event of the year. The event, along with volunteer work and donations, helps Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation provide their services free of charge.
“The Ski-a-Thon is really huge,” she said. At first the job seemed overwhelming, she said, “but everyone is helping out and everything is getting organized.”
On Sept. 14 Elba took another big step.
She became a U.S. citizen, a choice she made because her husband is a citizen but also because, she said, “America is a great place to be.”
Greg helped her study for her citizenship exam by asking her the test questions.
“He said, ‘I don’t even know the answers to some of these,’” said Elba.
One question was easy, she said: “Name a U.S. state that borders Canada.”
She took her citizenship oath in Portland with about 37 other people, from 30 countries including Switzerland, Russia, Poland and several African countries. The judge who administered the oath was himself not an American native.
Elba is happy to be in what is now her country, and her state.
“We’ve been to Florida, we’ve been to Pennsylvania, we lived in Maryland, and I still find Bethel, Maine the best place to be,” she said. “It’s our home.”