Tag Archives: Arizona 2016

Last Day in Kayenta

by Lea ’17

Today was our last day in Kayenta. I  don’t think any of us could believe that our service trip was already over and that it was time for us to leave the reservation. Kayenta had become our home for the few weeks that we had been there, and it was very difficult for us to say goodbye to our host families and the community as a whole. We gathered up all of our luggage, substantially augmented by last minute gifts, and crammed everything into the suburbans. After our final farewells to our families and to Kayenta, we started on the long drive to Phoenix. Continue reading

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Last Day Volunteering in Arizona

by Savannah ’17
Today was my last day of school with my kids. We ended up going to a conference in the cultural center that featured Navajo male roles and responsibilities.  While I spent most of the time telling my kids to pay attention and be quiet, I think that the kids really took in what the men at the conference were saying to them. They talked about how the Navajo culture was being ruined and disrespected with the young generation getting tattoos or joining gangs or even playing heavy metal Navajo music.  These men talked to the kids trying to explain that they need to continue with traditional Navajo things and respect the culture the way that their elders have and the kids really took this in. Continue reading

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Learning about Traditional Gender Roles in Navajo Culture

by Brenda ’17

Today the group and I went to workshops designated for learning about Navajo culture, specifically about the traditional roles of Navajo women. The first woman we listened to talked about her experience growing up in a time when being Navajo was looked down upon and shamed so much that Navajo people sent to “boarding schools” were stripped of their native culture and language. A white man’s idea of making the indigenous people more Western and modern. The woman, also Miss Navajo 1977, talked to us about the traumatizing times she encountered nonchalantly. She merely laughed at the idea of being forcefully made to clean the bathroom with a tooth brush and made to write “I will not talk Navajo” over and over until her hand ached. Continue reading

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Reflections on Service in Arizona

by Gabrielle ’17

I love working with kids. Always have. But teaching children who are struggling terribly in school is a bit harder than I imagined. Let me give you a picture: a group of students going into third grade next who can barely add or subtract, who struggle with basic reading skills, and who consistently score 33 percent or less on assignments. The worst part: they have little to no work ethic, or believe, as one told me, the work is impossible to do. The teacher I am helping, Mr. Cly, explained that the issue stemmed from the home where parents or grandparents did not hold children responsible for helping around the house or for their schoolwork.  Continue reading

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Camping in Chilchinbeto

by Bonnie ’17

This weekend, we trekked out to Chilchinbeto for a “tech-less” camping experience at Lena’s ranch. Unlike last weekend where we had the luxury of comfy hotel beds and wifi in Page, we were expected to sleep in a hogan without any access to electricity or running water. Continue reading

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Visiting Lena’s Farm in Arizona

by Lisa ’17

Today we went to  Lena’s family farm out in the grassy plains.  This was where Lena was raised and the site of her family hogan. The farm had three rocky hills surrounding the house. The hogan, no longer standing, sat in parts about twenty feet from the garden. We were instructed to weed the cornfield where sprinting stalks of corn began to peek out of the dry soil. The sun was hot as we dug into the ground with backhoes and shovels to clear the rows of weeds; beyond we could hear the bleating of goats and the screeching of chickens. Lena said the goats and sheep are used solely for meat, which is frozen and enjoyed throughout the year. Continue reading

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Visiting Canyon De Chelly

by Nick ’17

Today I started to see some real improvement in my students. Yesterday, after Ethan was publicly lectured by our teacher Mrs. Black, he started to participate in class. He is one of the few kids in my class without special needs and was failing to live up to his potential. Thanks to the dedication and care of Mrs. Black, Ethan arrived to school today with a fresh attitude. Continue reading

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Exploring Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona

by Ashley ’17

Today we were all awoken by a 6:20 wake up call in the Best Western hotel in Page, Arizona in order to prepare ourselves for the long day ahead of us. It was our last day in Page before we had to drive back to Kayenta for another week of working in the elementary school, and so far we had already visited the Grand Canyon on Friday and the Antelope Canyon on Saturday. At 7:30 in the morning, we loaded onto a bus that would lead us to the Glen Canyon Dam, which we then boarded motor rafts that would guide us down the Colorado River. Although we were all very tired from the previous activities throughout the weekend, as well as the early wake up call, we were still very excited to explore the Colorado River and the rare sightings we would see that are not common to find back home in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Continue reading

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Experiencing Navajo Culture

Tylin, a small Navajo boy in my class, carries around an American slap band. I think that sums up what I see as a clash within the Navajo. These kids receive almost no instruction on culture. But since these kids are fourth graders and learning how to form sentences, there is a lot of catching up to do. They get a pass of some sort. Continue reading

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Navajo Monument

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