Friday, August 2, 2013

Recognizing special relationships

The day started as would any other. The billowing clouds packed the sky and the sound of rain dancing around us stifled our mixed emotions. The now normal routine laid itself out. Ryan got us going with his favorite quote, “Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be, for my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced or cried aloud under the bludgeonings of chance my head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the horror of the shade and yet menace of the years finds, and shall find me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishment the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” To the library, Care Center, Eagle Shield, museum, and Sobriety Festival were where our team would reach out a hand.

I looked at the faces around me; they had been engrained in my brain as if for ages, although I had only first glanced upon them merely six days prior. Tom had talked a lot about fate, or g-ds plan for us, and somehow, somewhere I felt that some of the people surrounding me were meant to cross my path. That their faces were so familiar that fate, or whatever you want to call it, had been tying our strings together long before we even stepped foot in the same room.

With that in mind, I set out for the day. We all shot out of home base and went our separate ways. When it was time for lunch, we all recongregated on campus and as I was scrambling so get anything meaningful to write into this blog. The majority of our team had spent the day cutting veggies and preparing for the sobriety festival. One member told me he had spent all day peeling potatoes. I thought to myself; great, peeling potatoes makes for a great lesson, but then I was thinking about how Tom had told us that everything has life and meaning. The potato had a rough peel that needed to be stripped back to find what all that work was for. The earth was a mirror image of us. Underneath all of our standing parts, the trees, mountains, imperfections big or small, there was a fire beneath it all. The cores inside everyone were quickly stripped away in such a short time that the thought of having to leave all of these people was upsetting. Everything had finally come together and our little family of misfits was finally not just in my head, everyone recognized the special relationships, you know how it is.

Entry submitted by: Natalie Rachman - Highland Park, IL

Thursday, August 1, 2013

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