by Precious ’18
It’s day twelve on our trip in Arizona and school has ended, but it’s not over yet.
Today, we went to go help a friend of a friend (Leena’s brother, Jerome) on his farm. Unfortunately, because of poor weather the corn they had been growing didn’t grow well. So our job was to help replant the corn and weed the farmland. Oddly enough tumbleweeds are really strong. They don’t just tumble in the air like in western movies. Weird, right? Another group went to dig up tumbleweeds that may affect the corn that were planted. It took a few hours to complete both jobs.
After working hard through the early hours of the morning, we were rewarded with watermelon and hugs as thanks for helping out on the farm. Hugs are more rewarding than I thought. The group then visited a flea market in Tuba City. It was very hot and we were all sweating by the end of it. Many of us bought items such as blankets and jewelry. We then went back to the townhouse to go swim at the Kayenta Elementary School. It was very refreshing after hours of hard work in the fields.
There was also an opportunity to go to a powwow, and three people in our group danced in the middle of the circle to celebrate the Navajo veterans. Since we were hungry after, we went to the restaurant called The View, which is right near Monument Valley. We all had an amazing view while we were eating.
It was a great day all around, and we’re glad we could help one more person as our trip is rounding up. We’ll see everyone soon.
On Thursday after school the group took a day trip to Monument Valley, we drove through the valley in our SUVs which probably were not designed for the type of off-roaring the monument Valley loop included. For dinner we are at the View hotel, many of us had Navajo tacos and frye bread, one of our first experiences of actual Navajo cooking. On Friday morning we left for the Grand Canyon we hiked the Bright Angel trail which was approximately 1.5 miles down into the canyon and 1.5 miles back up. The hike was possibly the longest 3 miles anyone in our group had experienced. On Saturday we went on a float trip of Glen canyon, the bus ride to the docks included a trip through a U tunnel. The float trip itself was peaceful as we learned more about geology of the canyon as well as some facts about the shrouding and Native American history. The float trip paused at as a sandy beach on the river bank, where we got the chance to jump into the 47 degree water like typical George School students. On Saturday for dinner we went to Dam Bar and Grill, which was delicious. Sunday before leaving Page, AZ we stopped at Walmart to purchase school supplies for our kids at school. We also toured the Lake Powell Dam before heading back to Kayenta. I personally did not go on the tour, but heard it was interesting. For lunch on Sunday we stopped at a Texas BBQ restaurant which was in an old gas station building. We were forced to sit outside because we were a group of 15, but the canopy over the outdoor seating provided ample shade. The BBQ was delicious and he restaurant lived up to the standards of a classic Texas BBQ joint. It was a welcome end to our weekend in Page.
by Elliot Landor ’18
Hi everybody! We have just finished our first week at Kayenta Elementary School. This week was filled with ups and downs. All of us have been challenged to new levels in helping the bright children in the classes. We have helped the kids develop their math, reading, and spelling skills, and our bonds are ever growing. Every day we have had a story of one of the kids saying in some way that their time at summer school has been the highlight of their day because of us!
On Thursday we visited monument valley, where we explored the beauty that Arizona has to offer. It was so much prettier than we thought it would be, and a lot of us could feel the spiritual energy from it – definitively breathtaking. We have been so blessed to have been given the opportunity to hike and explore nature on this trip!
This weekend will be spent travelling, hiking (and resting!) around Page, Arizona and the Grand Canyon. Despite our eagerness to see more of the area, we do miss our kids and are also looking forward to seeing them on Monday!
by Ryan Lyons ’18
Today is the third day of our trip in Arizona. On our first day we all woke up tired at 4:30 in the morning in order to get to the street in the circle and eventually to the airport. After eating breakfast at the airport and taking one flight to Atlanta then taking a connecting flight to Phoenix, Arizona, we were tired but we were finally in Arizona. After our long car travel all the way to center which is approximately six hours, give or take an hour or two, we arrived at the first home stay family’s house. There, we made introductions with all of our home stay families and eventually split off into different groups. We left for our respective homes and we stayed the night. Our first proper day in Arizona started out great, we were all excited and very anxious to get to the school. We drove around to pick up everybody from the homestay houses everyone had a night of sleep and we were finally on our way to the school. We arrived at the school and we met with the principal and the staff that was in the front office. The staff welcomed us with open arms and took us on a tour of the school. After we all were introduced to our classrooms we met the kids, which led to some questions on where we were from and why we were so tall or so big.
We all spent our first part of the day working with the kids and around lunchtime and PE time we started to see each other. We were all so excited and happy with where we were that we couldn’t stop smiling! We finished our day and we left the school with all of the students asking us if we would be back the next day. Reluctantly, we told them we would be back for the rest of summer school, so they all calmed down and left knowing they would see us the next day. We all rode back to the townhouse and had lunch together as a group. We discussed our first days and we were all very excited and happy about the experience that we had. All of us went to the grocery store soon after in order to pick up some supplies and some snacks since we are all hungry teenagers. After which we came back, we ate dinner, and eventually we drove students out of their home state which was 40 miles away.
There we saw horses, open spaces, and no technology! But to our surprise no one was upset about the absence of technology, in fact we were all so ecstatic this new vibe for life we were being presented and how it was feeling to us! After some students spent some time bonding with the cats and the horses in the area, we all went inside and talked to the home stay parents at that location. He shared with us the Navajo prophecy and what life truly is about to him and his people, and because of that feeling all of us were even more excited about the service trip we are embarking on.
That night was another long car trip back filled with music after and of course jokes, but all of us marveled at the kind of life we were missing and the kind of life and live out here in Arizona. After going to sleep that night we all looked up the next morning and repeated the same morning schedules with the kids even more vibrant than normal. We spent another full day spending time with them, teaching them, and helping them in summer school. After the school day was over we headed out and came back to the townhouse and walked the dogs. But all in all our experience so far is there’s an entirely new perspective to life and that while we’re here we want to savor it as much as possible, because it’s so wonderful the type of light at the Navajos live out here in Arizona. It is something that we are beyond blessed to be a part of the next two and half weeks, because we will never forget this experience.