Volunteering on the “Rez”

June 8

Oki’ ! Today our mighty group arrived bright and early at the community college to hear from a number of interesting guests about the type of work we wouldbe doing. Leona, also known as “woman of many songs,” spoke movingly of the flood memorial and explained about what a senseless tragedy that dambreaking had been. It’s being memorialized today with a “feed” across town. She then led the group in a Blackfeet prayer; we all bowed our heads and though we couldn’t understand the language, we understood the intentions behind the words.There is something very peaceful and serene about many of the Blackfeet and Leona is no exception. After explaining some miraculous and “blush-inducing” remedies for everything ranging from acne to athlete’s foot, our next guest, Wilbur Fish spoke about his in-depth knowledge of herbs, plants and western medicine. He was eloquent and passionate, and his gardening work detail was a popular choice. We then broke out into a number of groups, and helped at the Care Center, the feed, and gardening with Wilbur. Those of us at the feed had the honor of meeting the chairman of the reservation and his family later in the day, in the casino which Noa seemed to secretly enjoy. He was honest about the challenges that face the Blackfeet — issues like unemployment and alcoholism — but he is very committed to change and all had an intense hour-long discussion with him, his wife, and his son who wore a “B” cap, not for Boston, but for Browning, of ourse!.Following dinner, we discussed the group’s goals for the trip and Forrest got especially impassioned about all the different categories and we had a lively debate before retiring. I felt privileged to share this experience with such a kind and enthusiastic group.
June 9
Today we began work day #2 with our usual meeting. For a few minutes it, appeared iffy whether Michele would be able to participate because of a phone call to Bermuda. But, the folks in Bermuda said that they would be happy starting the call late. I suspect that Bermuda runs on Blackfeet time!

Upon the completion of our morning meeting, we split up to work on different projects. One group worked at the Care Center on either staining the shed or visiting with the residents. Another group was supposed to clean out another shed. I got the feeling that today was shed day. The second shed group ended up shredding paper. Although this is technically not a shed, it did involve a word using the same letters. A third group went to Eagle Shield to prepare and serve meals. Another group went to prepare house gardens. Finally, the last group had the joy of driving vehicles with the steering wheel on the wrong side and moving a lot of rocks at the Community College! After work, some went hiking while other went to the museum. All of us enjoyed another dinner courtesy of the Care Center. ! In general, there is a feeling that we all saw lots of things and helped others out. I feel that today was the day for seeing and trying new
things. I learned that people really appreciate all the work we did and they were really happy when Kyra and I brought them their meals.
– Noa

June 10
This morning we dragged ourselves out of bed at 6:15 to have a nice private shower. After
breakfast, we went to the meeting where Michele explained our duties for the day. Our jobs
included shoveling at the Care Center, picking rocks, delivering meals, and gardening. We,
meaning Sierra, Erica, Erika, Ellisha, and Anna choose shoveling at the care center. When we got there, we ran into our friend Barbara, a patient at the Center, whom we talked and joked with. After chatting, we began digging, which proved a long day. Sierra gave the suggestion that we dig the letters GV into the ground for Global Volunteers. After pictures were taken of us and the GV in the ground, it was time to leave and go horseback riding, which we were so excited for. After what seemed like a 10 hour drive up their winding driveway, we finally got sight of the Deboos’ home. The eight that decided to go horseback riding had a wonderful time. We saw a group of horses galloping up a hill and a rock formation Chuck said was formed by water. On our way back from our ride, our tummies rumbled, awaiting our home cooked meals. It was of course as good as expected, leaving our bellies full. We left shortly after super with sleepy eyes and happy hearts.
Thought For the Day #4
Selected by: Seymour High School Students
Just Do It!
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