The last couple of days we have been working on the Big Pine Paiute Reservation, planting trees and flowers at the Education Center and thenew Fitness Center. The Fitness Center is great, it has a lot of new equipment, programs in the work, and an emphasis on healthy diet and cooking. A lot of the Paiute in this community have diabetes, and I feel encouraged to see the focus on health. In addition to after school and summer programs, there is an emphasis on traditional dance, both from the Paiute and other tribes. We also had the opportunity to play some hoops, so much fun! I still have some moves. :)
I connected with a couple of high school students and while volunteering, and was very interested in their goals and ideas about the future. Both had plans to study outside of the community. An elder chimed in that without jobs, there is not a lot of opportunity in the area. This phenomenon is something I have witnessed in rural areas all over the world, the youth are pulled to participate in the economy of globalization, often leaving old ways behind. Part of the long term dreamscape of the reservation is to work in the area of job development. One concrete idea is to begin a large community garden behind the Fitness Center. In addition to providing new jobs in the local economy the food will be sold locally and used in the teaching kitchen.
It looks like we are going to be able to continue to contribute to this community while we are away, by donating a sprinkler system and timer. We will connect with them again in the Spring when we return to the area.
Our group feels strong, we have so much to talk about and learn together! We just completed a Non Violent Communication training, and are having fun playing with new communication techniques.