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Family Volunteering in the Navajo Nation

August, 2009

I had gone out and worked on the reservation for a week with three friends in 2008, and had such a good and fulfilling time that I returned with my family.  This time we didn’t use an volunteer organization because we had made friends with Paul Ghee the year before.  Paul’s a pastor with the Church of Christ and he helps lead volunteer groups that come to Tuba City.  We are not a religious family, but Paul didn’t care.  He keeps track through the winter of Navajo that need assistance, usually seniors, and arranges summer projects with groups, or in our case a family of four.

An elderly family was planning a wedding for a couple that was returning to the reservation, but the ceremonial hogan was in bad shape.  We tore off the sides and door, made repairs, then replaced the siding and trim, then finished with paint.  It was a perfect job for four people, and we barely finished in a week’s time.  On the last day the family made traditional mutton stew and Navajo fry bread, and we went inside their house for a meal.  A nice end to a great week.

Logistically, we flew into Page, rented an SUV and loaded it up with food, paint, screws and hardware that we assumed may be needed.  Then we drove out to Tuba City from Page.  Last year I flew into Tuba City, but there are some wicked stand storms out in the open where the Tuba City airport is, and I preferred to keep my plane in Page.

Hogan before...

Tearing it up...

Putting it back together...

All Done

It wasn't all work, with time to look around

On the way to the Reservation

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