Monday, May 3, 2010

Birdsprings 4-30-2010

By John Aldrich

Birdsprings is a small food run with 28 Elders. For 20 years it has been held at the homeland of Sadie Curley. Sadie lives off pavement, as do most Navajos. One travels 7 miles on a dirt road before turning off to her place via a sandy two track road. It is also an outdoor food run with no shelter.

Given the conditions of the previous two days and the uncertain forecast, Linda decided after the Leupp run to rent the Birdsprings Chapter House for the food run so that the Elders would have shelter. This would be the first time this run hadn't been held at Sadie's.

But as it turned out, Friday was a beautiful day with clear skies, light wind, and cool, but not cold, temperatures. The decision had been made, however, so it was off to the chapter house. Sadie's daughters, Toni and Terri, traditionally cook for the food run and spend several days preparing an astonishing variety of dishes. With the change of plans they had to move all of the food they had cooked to the new location 8 or 9 miles away.

The Chapter House at Birdsprings is the most unique I have encountered on the reservation. It provided a spacious and comfortable interior. Although it was disappointing not to be able to visit Sadie's homeland, this was a fine alternative.

Since this food run is small it didn't take long to set up the Rainbow Circle of food boxes.

The ANE van carries medical and personal care products for the Elders. Here it is being unloaded by a group of volunteers.

Kate Stephens drives the van and spends three weeks on the reservation attending the series of food runs that starts with this one. This is an enormous commitment of personal time and energy which Kate carries off with great aplomb and love.

Linda compiled a book for the coordinators at each of the three food runs we attended on this run. Here Sadie and another Elder are looking at photos from the past 20 years of visits to Birdsprings.

Gratitude is expressed in these hands, both by the Elder and volunteer.

Elders are generally dependent on their families for transportation to the food run sites. That means there are often young children as well, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The final photo shows a large mural painted on the wall inside the chapter house. It incorporates a variety of Navajo themes and scenes.

It seems that every food run has something that makes it unique. This time the wind and blowing sand would no doubt be what sets this run apart from others. But every food run is unique in another way. Each group of volunteers is different and each brings its own special energy. The thirty people that gathered for this event all had a wonderful spirit. I heard no one complaining about the conditions. Everyone was focused on the principle purpose for being here - - - serving the Elders.

1 comment:

  1. The building is unusual. I like that it is a circle like the giveaway circle! Photos of children, hands and mural are wonderful. Sounds like Kate is a busy lady. Thanks for the update.