After travelling for a week to do a service project in Bennett County, SD (second poorest county in the country), I am back in Colorado.
There are so many things to share about this trip.
First of all....I had one adult woman with me, and 8 teenagers...7 of them girls..ranging from 12 to 14 years old. OHHH the drama. DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA. One person would say something. Another would cry. On and on and on.
We also had lots of fun listening to Bill Cosby CDs, sleeping on floors and in KOA cabins.
I love the Black Hills. I can see why they are a sacred place for the Sioux people. A spiritual presence is palpable there. If I had the oppotunity, I would be sorely tempted to move there. While there we visited Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, Black Hills Caverns, Evans Plunge (natural hot springs), and the Rushmore Water Slides. As we headed out to the plains we stopped at Wall Drug (where I procured a jackelope), and went through the Badlands. When we returned we zoomed through the open spaces of Nebraska and Eastern Colorado.
Also loved the Pine Ridge reservation. Again, there is a certain spritual presence that you notice there just by being there. A certain beauty a dignity about the land. I cannot quite explain it. But if I lived there, I think it would be hard to leave it.
With the exception of a little drama with church on Sunday things were going along smoothly.
The girls said "THATS HOT" about 3000 times in the first two days. They said "Heck yes," about 1000. We had at least one major crying episode a day, mostly due to the girl drama between the kids on the trip. I am not sure I will ever understand women.
But generally, as a male, an adult, and not being in the HOT category, I am neutral ground for most everyone involved in drama within the group.
The first two days of the trip the other leader took half the group to a VBS type thing called Kids Club, and we did housepainting for a hail damaged home of an older, toothless gentleman. (Well he had a few teeth but it was distracting)
Painted the house of Rodney. I really like him. Reminded me of a character (Boomhower) on King of the Hill, only about 50 years older. Had to move into town from the country so he could have a place more managable and be closer to his aging mother and health facitilities for himself as well.
Did a VBS-type program for kids of Martin For the other two days. Mainly kids that showed up were from HUD housing projects on the edge of town and were Native American. On the last day we discovered about half the kids in the program, and all living in the same housing project, had lice.
Visited a Native American lady who just wanted to go back to the Pine Ridge Reservation and die, but felt like they would not let her go from the nursing home in Martin. She asked me to help her get out. It broke my heart.
Had a couple very trying times with the footwashing service, and another drama with one of the students from another group not keeping appropriate boundaries with the gal from our group (i.e. sexually inappropriate comments and advances).
The trip was uneventful on the way home, except for some of the participants getting a little grumpy with getting caught in rush hour traffic in Denver, Castle Rock, and on the North side of the Springs.
I do have this to say. You have no idea how rural Nebraska can be until you drive through it.
Now I am home, and it is back to work today and tommorrow, my normal day off, and then pushing toward the Tygret-Gilden wedding and camp.