Saturday, June 11, 2011

Team 75 Final Work Day

Our final work day on the Blackfeet Reservation began with a beautiful sunny sky…so appreciated after days of rain! We’re all relieved that the danger of another flood has subsided…for now. The mountains are still covered in snow, so the late runoff remains a threat.

Jeff and Rob returned to the pool to finish scraping the walls. Annette began work at the community greenhouse behind the middle school with Melody while Laura returned to the Care Center. Mary returned to Eagle Shield to assist Sissy and Marie.

Meanwhile, Michele took Jerry to Blackfeet Construction Supply to purchase wood and other materials for a picnic table prototype as requested by Kevin Connolly of the Care Center. Because the ground is still wet, Kevin said there’s no place at the Care Center to cut the lumber, so Jerry arranged with Brother Paul to use the parish’s saw and garage to get the initial table cut out. The next team will need to assemble it at the Care Center so additional tables can be constructed. It took the morning to procure the materials, so after lunch, Jeff and Rob joined Jerry to cut all the lumber and number the parts. Thanks again, Brother Paul for assisting our efforts!

Annette and Laura weeded the gardens outside the Blackfeet Academy in the afternoon. With a blue sky and warm breeze (and wet soil making the weeding even easier), it was a pleasurable way to end the service project.

Michele called Sam Aimsback to see if he could arrange a traditional sweat for the evening, and he unexpectedly arrived around 1PM to visit the team at DLS school. An unusually uninhibited Blackfeet man, he’s fond of storytelling -- and has a wild laugh that makes you want to hug him or run away from him. He answered a number of questions about Browning and growing up on the Rez.

Brothers Paul and Ray joined us for dinner. With the week winding down, the conversation was light and animated. After dinner, we visited the Tipi Village outside of town. Darrell and Angelika Norman run a beautiful native art gallery -- and a few purchases of books and clothing art were made. We continued on to St. Mary’s and into Glacier National Park…where we viewed upper St. Mary Lake, Sunrift Gorge, Wild Goose Island and Sun Point. On the way back, we spotted a herd of elk at Two Dog Flats. We returned to our “home” to clean up the kitchen and ready the building for our departure in the morning. The mood was reflective and somber. This week has gone so fast. We'll miss those we've just begun to know. And, we'll miss the beauty of the Plains up against the shining backdrop of the snow-covered Rockies. This has been a very good week, indeed!

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