Sunday, August 10, 2008

Almost Normal at # 300!

It's my post #300! I just happened to notice that today... I didn't do any big giveaway or celebration. I think I'm just celebrating the 300th by being back home and almost back to normal after an amazing week at Rosebud Reservation.

Five of us from my church went and joined a larger team from my sister's church. It was a wonderful experience. The needs at Rosebud are enormous. Tree of Life ministry works there in a relief agency role and does a lot of good stuff. All our jobs were organized through them. They have a thrift shop and food kitchen. In the shop people pay $1 and get two bags: one to fill with clothing and stuff from the shop, the other with food. They can only take one of each food item. The needs are so deep that they need to ration things in that way to make sure that everyone gets a chance to get something.

I could go on and on about how destitute the entire region is, but I'd actually rather not. My goal here is not to inspire pity. The people there are so gracious and gentle. They are very spiritual and kind-spirited. This in no way implies that they are happy being poor. My take on them as a people is that they have maintained their respect, generosity, and high ideals of years gone by when they were a strong nation. Now they have enormous problems to cope with, but have kept those qualities that make them admirable.

The issues are very complex, and there is not a clear solution to the many problems that exist. I can't begin to be an expert, but I'm so glad I went and learned what I could in my short week there. I definitely gained more in education and spiritual growth than I gave in my little bit of manual labor. It was such a meaningful trip that I hope to go again next year. We already have a team leader (thank you, Beth), and are starting to talk about our hopes and plans for next year.

After my week of physical labor (lifting boxes, moving things around, sorting through donations, painting a house, serving meals, sorting through a zillion books, and even sewing) I came home exhausted and have slept like a log: nine hours last night and a couple hours of a deep nap today. Shows you how unused to physical labor I am!! I managed to lose one pound over the week. It could have been more except that the woman who prepared our meals is an excellent cook, and I ate like a horse!

Now I need to get back to my real life and see how much I can get done in the woefully short time I have before I return to work full time. Waaah! The summer flew by, and I'm not ready to go back. But I will say, this has been the most fabulous summer I have enjoyed in many years. I'm very thankful for that.


woolywoman said...

Good for you! Sounds like you had a great week. You write very movingly of the people at Rosebud- it is so hard to write about poverty and want without getting too sentimental. Your account is provocative and tender, but not maudlin. Are you thinking of collecting quilts or blocks?

Cher said...

nothing beats volunteering-glad you enjoyed the time there and plan to go back...I am sure the experience will stay with you forever. happy 300th!