Jill is an associate at our LaPorte, Indiana manufacturing plant…
Sept. 2,2011- The big day is finally here. We will fly out of Midway airport for our trip to Polacca, Arizona. I feel some uncertainty about our journey; meeting new people and the hard work we will do can be quite overwhelming but exciting at the same time. The temperatures is 103 degrees upon landing in Phoenix. This is paradise: the skies are blue, and the clouds are crisp. My co-workers and I roam the city of Phoenix to take in the local flair. I can see Camelback Mountains from my hotel room window.
Sept. 3,2011- I grab some coffee and a local newspaper to catch up on my reading while I wait for the rest of the group to come to the lobby so we can load up our luggage, and drive to the Hopi Nation. The drive is long,but truly worth the wait. As we drive. the group gets acquainted with one another.
Sept 4,2011 I awake in the morning after a long trip yesterday and setting up camp late to see Jen standing on the hill, staring into the distance. As I walk by she says, “look at the sky behind you”. The sky is the beautiful colors of a rainbow. I have never seen a sky look like that before, not in Indiana! This place is heaven on earth, and we had not seen anything yet.
Sept 5, 2011- After the first day of the build is complete, we will all be stuccoing the inside of the house today. I was not sure what to expect for I knew how to drywall but have never stuccoed. After staining the eaves yesterday, stuccoing will be a welcome change.
I found it to be hard work, but we finished like troopers. After the day was done, everyone ran for the solar showers.
Sept 6, 2011- It rained most of the night here, and I am quite surprised the tents are still standing. Our assignment for the day is another day of stuccoing the final coat. In the evening, we will be visiting an old village on the mesa that has a garden fed by a natural spring. We arrive at the village and walk down this cobblestone walkway on the side of the mesa to this beautiful garden and spring where children are washing clothes. The view was spectacular, and we see all the women working in the garden as the narrator gives us some history about the village.
Sept 7,2011- It is morning here, and I have lots of thoughts in the back of my mind about the village we visited yesterday–on how the Hopi Indians are trying to preserve their culture through music, food, and telling stories about their heritage. They want to preserve it for the generations who follow them. This is becoming a challenge for them with the influence of the outside world.
We had company when returning to camp after work today; a woman from the community brought by some jewelry to sell. Another woman came by to demonstrate basket weaving which seems like a very time consuming task.
Sept. 8, 2011- After our work is complete, we will head to the Hopi Cultural Center for dinner. We stopped at a small gift shop to look around before dinner. At our dinner, the group surprised Sonia with a cake. It is her birthday today! Sonia is one of the family members that will live in the house we are working on with Red Feather.
Sept 9, 2011- Today is our final day in Polacca, and the weather is cool. In the morning, we walked over by the mesa. We will be going to visit another village this morning called Walpi. Walpi is on the mesa right behind our campsite. The village is old and has partial electricity. Later that evening we had a bonfire, and some Hopi dancers came to dance for us.
Sept 10-11,2011- We are leaving Polacca today after dissassembling camp. I’m leaving with many thoughts. This place is truly remarkable: a hidden diamond in the rough. The mountains change colors as the sun shines down on them and the bright blue skies surround us. We are leaving behind a magical place that holds different memories to each of us.
We arrive in Sedona later that day to take hot showers and clean up for our Pink Jeep Tour. At the top of a red rock mesa we talk about our most challeging and most rewarding times. Honestly the challenge was stuccoing for me, and the reward was coming to Polacca to build a home for this needy family as well as meeting all the wonderful people on my trip. I will be forever grateful that I was chosen to participate in this adventure. I miss everyone I came into contact with their in Polacca, and I hope I can do this again in the future.
We all can truly make a difference in the world and it starts here!