Opening up our minds and spirits

We awoke on Thursday to exhaustion and slightly sore bodies due to the previous night’s festivities at the ranch, horseback riding, and hiking. We went through our daily meeting as well as morning message, burning through more cups of coffee than any other day due to the late night.

We found out our assignments for the day, which included service at the museum, the Blackfeet community college library, the community center, and Eagle Shield. Our day was planned and filled with more bright experiences and helpful hands. Some volunteers were even able to educate the locals on techniques regarding test-taking strategies, as well as promoting better nutrition to children and really communicating with those around them. These opportunities allowed us to learn more about the culture by visiting the museum and actually having the ability to look around and experience it, as well as to work amongst others and learn more about their daily lives. Some Global Volunteers even made breakthroughs while talking to the natives, allowing them to have a deeper, more profound relationship with them.

Flying Frisbees, home cooked chili, freshly made fried bread straight from the pan, and native music captivated our senses as we ventured to the sobriety event that was being held in Browning. We soon learned that the entire state of Montana and even some Canadians were invited to this event which would last a total of four days. Global Volunteers were even judges at the local chili contest, eating their way to deciding a victor. Some even learned a game involving bones and sticks, which led to an exciting victory and Moroccan distractions. We also got lessons on tepee making from a local, Woodrow, along with how to detract the tepee poles as well as place the cloth and tie it up around the complete structure.

To wind down the night, a surprise visit from Tom, who we had previously met at the Sundance, opened our eyes as well as our minds towards so many new ideas. He talked of the healing power and the ability for nature, specifically rocks, to communicate with humans. He discussed his own personal experiences with the natural medicine from the Earth that could cure what synthetic medicine could not, simply because of belief. He also explained the significance of tobacco in the culture and how it is used in prayer. This connected to Pauline, who produces herbal products, and who had explained the use of tobacco in choosing her plants. We soon found out that Tom had actually taught Pauline about nature speaking to her, and that one is not to look for something, but to wait for the plant to show itself.

Personally, I believe that the goals we had as a team listed at the beginning of the trip were met in just this one, single day. We spent our time helping while working at the different locations to provide our service. We had a super fun adventure while going to the sobriety event and testing out local cuisine. Lastly, we heard of the culture, specifically their interaction with nature and how that affects the spirit of an individual. This made us learn more about ourselves as individuals. Overall, it all comes down to what Tom says about belief. By engaging in belief, you can open your mind and spirit to this new and amazing culture, and by not doing so I believe you miss a lot.

Entry submitted by: Lauryn DiStaso – Berkeley Heights, New Jersey


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