Day 5 by Bryanna West

Today was another work day, many of us achy and sore, as previously mentioned. Breakfast was at 8, followed by Morning Prayer at 9. By 9:30, each group had been assigned a new job. Some still doing the stucco, some landscaping, while others helped with compost by scooping horse manure and spreading it places (by far the most enjoyable job…. Not), and another group continued painting. It was another day of over-worked muscles and hot sweaty teenagers. Isn’t that a lovely thought?

We broke for lunch at 12:30, and then went back to work at 1:15 until 4. Even more was accomplished today with the extra work hours, and we are starting to see some real progress. At 4, we broke and had free time to shower, read, talk, etc., before we went and had dinner at 6. Hard to go wrong with enchilada rice mixed with black beans, onions, peppers, and cheese.

Tonight was a chill night. After dinner we played some group apples to apples, (I’ll have you know that I was the first to reach the winning number of cards), and now we are all just relaxing in our respective houses snacking, chatting, and laughing. Tomorrow will be another great day, but until then, there’s nothing more to say.

Day 4 by Bryanna West

Yesterday was our first official work day. Following breakfast at 8 am, we attended Morning Prayer led by Mother Cynthia at 9 o’clock. As soon as the service concluded, we met up in the parish hall and divided into work groups to tackle the day’s projects. Said projects were landscaping (which left people sore), stuccoing (basically construction type thing, which also left people sore), painting (which left people sore), and log stripping (which, you guessed it, also left people sore). The morning was pretty productive.

At 12:45, we broke for lunch, and gave ourselves time to get cleaned up and change clothes before we went to tour the Navajo council chamber. We also saw the president’s office, and the fancy meeting room. We had a chance to view and buy native jewelry, pottery, etc. from vendors. Then we had an hour to tour both the Navajo museum and the local zoo. The zoo contained many animals native to the region, and all of them were rescues.

At 4, we got back into the vans and headed back, ready to start dinner. Dinner was baked potatoes loaded with cheese, chili, and sour cream. Or none of the above in some cases. After dinner, a local medicine man came to talk to us a little bit about spirituality. Or a lot about spirituality, because the talk was probably over two hours long. But it was still a really cool experience, and an interesting outlook on life and the universe. He also emphasized self-determination and self-discovery. I would try to describe it, but I just couldn’t do it justice.

After a long day of work and an equally long talk, we were all exhausted and ready for bed.


Day 3 by Bryanna West

Today we had a quick breakfast, made sandwiches for lunch, and loaded into the vans at 9:15 to drive to Canyon De Chelly for a day trip. Upon arrival, we loaded lunches into backpacks, and started our trek down to see the “White House” at the bottom of the canyon. The trip down was very pleasant – easy downhill slope and a great view of the canyon. When we reached the bottom, we took our time snapping pictures of the ruins, and then enjoyed a simple lunch.

While the way down was relaxing, the way up was pretty much death. At the higher altitude, breathing was already getting difficult for some of us. Tack on the heat and the constant slope, and most of us were huffing and puffing all the way back up. I’m pretty sure that can be considered my exercise for a month. While the round trip was only 2 1/2 miles, it felt like 1/2 going down, and 5000000 going back up. Go figure.

On our way back to our temporary home, we made one more scenic stop at Spider rock to take some quick pictures, stopped for gas, and then headed back.
Dinner was pasta, bread, salad, and cookies, and then we had the privilege of a dancing presentation by Ed Scott. He told us all about his traditional dress, the symbolism, and then showed us a couple of different sacred dances, including the grass dance performed by himself, and a healing dance performed by his daughter, Erin. We also had the opportunity to participate in a group dance with a little instruction.
Overall, today was pretty long, and most everyone is exhausted. We closed the day with group prayer and thanksgiving, and dispersed to our respective houses. We look forward to our first official work day tomorrow, and with that, say goodnight.