Saturday, May 18, 2013

Pine Ridge, 2013

I have just returned from the second annual trip to Pine Ridge with Bethel Lutheran Church.  We were able to raise $2895 for shingles and supplies for our friends at Re-Member, along with $138 and a box of school supplies from the Mother/Daughter brunch back in March.  Highlights from this trip for me were...

Seeing my friend Pastor Andy Nelson when he hosted our group at his cool Student Center.

Hiking in the Badlands, where nobody got hurt!

Planting seeds of new friendships with people out there.

Hanging out with friends that I made last year.

So - Here are some pictures from the adventure...

The Bethel Group, On the way!

Friday night at Pastor Andy's

PA and the boys say goodbye for now.

Saturday hiking in the Badlands

Bill giving us the pre-hike briefing

Dad's discovery from last year, fossilized turtle shell, much the worse for wear.

More Badlands

Pastor Anjanette and her daughter Sela, Paul and Frank, pondering the Badlands

Quiet time in the Sanctuary for reflection, contemplation, meditation, or a good nap.

Allen looking out over the Badlands

Old wagon found during our tour of Feather 2, the next generation of Re-Member

Visiting Wounded Knee

During the talk, this dog came directly to me, lay down as you see here, and put a paw on my leg for some attention.  It was very hard not to bring her home.  She was malnourished and a little dehydrated, but otherwise healthy.

We were given the opportunity to put tobacco prayer ties on the gate surrounding the mass grave.  Many of us took this chance to send up prayers for the victims, and for the understanding that we cannot let this sort of thing happen again.

During the work week, I helped build wheelchair ramps, decks, skirted trailers and installed bunk beds in the home below. 

These are the beds we put in.  Clean linens, and a new pillow and blanket included!  These were put in for a pair of sisters, four and six years old.

In the room, the wall had separated from the floor, I could see the ground through this crack.

The window was rigged up with some heavy plastic, wrapped around cardboard and thumb tacked to the wall.

This room was plastered with Disney princesses, much like you could find on my five year old daughters walls.  But this is poverty in action right here.
This headless, muddy doll seemed to sum things up out there.

We got this deck with stairs built, wheelchair ramp started.

The next day we finished the skirting around this trailer, and had a great time getting to know the people who lived there.

Thursday was tour day, cloudy and chilly as we passed Wounded Knee.

But by lunch at Bette's Kitchen, it was hot and sunny again.  I met and befriended a new group of Hope Girls (from Hope College in Holland, Michigan)  They were there for a two week class, so we didn't see them much.  But they were delightful, as I have found Hope students to be in the past.

This is a painting that one of our members, Bernie, acquired from a Native artist.  It was painted on old ledger paper. I think it is awesome.

 Thursday night we were treated to an extreme thunderstorm. It was incredible!  After it passed a full double rainbow appeared.  I went up onto the hill to try and get a good shot and noticed lightning in the storm as it moved on.  A little patience and a lot of shots later, I got this one.

The group with Ted and Paula on our last night there.

 We got on the road Friday morning at 5:15 and drove back to Rochester.  I think everyone had a great time.  They were a great group.   Hard working and fun to hang out with.  I hope the trip stirred something in them as it has in me, and that they will become advocates for the Lakota as well. This post scratches the surface of the stories I could tell, and every person in the picture above has stories as well.

More Later