by John Aldrich
As I sit in my room back in Winslow at the Super 8 the wind has resumed its all-too-common pattern of blowing fiercely, but last week we were spared and had ideal weather for all three food runs. In fact, I even commented to Linda that the new volunteers will go home with the wrong impression of what it's like in the Chinle area. Don't misconstrue this as a complaint, though, we all appreciate days like this, and only wish there were more of them.
The day prior to the actual food run we make preparations such as purchasing produce at the local Basha's supermarket and fixing up the food run site at Elizabeth Clah's. She is the Elder who hosts this food run at her homeland just north of the town of Many Farms.
The first photo shows the action at Basha's where the onions and potatos are being loaded for transport to Elizabeth's.
The shade house at Elizabeth's is where the food run is held. Although it is an enclosed structure, there are many gaps in the siding that allow sand to blow in during the winter and early spring months. Therefore we normally need to move some sand out and prepare the surface. Rodger Williams is doing just that in the next photo.
When the group arrives the following day for the actual food run, we pause for our group portrait.
The unique thing about this particular food run to Many Farms was the presence of a video crew which will be producing a documentary about ANE to appear as part of a series called Turning Point on KBYU TV. The crew spent many hours prior to the food run following Linda on home visits to our Elders and interviewing her at Canyon de Chelly. The three members of the crew, Greg, Rich, and Phil, attended all events that were part of the run and integrated easily with the volunteers.
They had a clever idea to create a time lapse of the activity surrounding setting up the Rainbow Circle of food boxes. Here's Phil setting up his camera on the roof of the storage building.
While on the ground, Greg seems about to document the PortaPotties. I'm sure his interest was in other things, though.
Needless to say, we are all anxious to see the final result of this effort. The crew seemed very impressed and moved by what Linda has created at ANE and said they accumulated more footage for this project than any other they had been involved with.
Inside the shade house, part of the program was the presentation of another ANE Pendelton blanket, this time to Elizabeth.
The variety of Elders' hair styles intrigues me. Alta Begay's style isn't particularly unusual, but its striking whiteness caught my attention.
A popular part of a food run is the tarp event. Throughout the year, donated clothing is collected and sorted at the warehouse in Salt Lake City. At the food runs, items are spread out on a tarp where Elders have the opportunity to move about and pick whatever items they wish. There is keen interest in this activity - many Elders have already got their eye on things they would like - so it's best not to be standing in the way when the signal is given to go for the tarp.
Gift boxes are taken for children up through age 12 who attend the food run.
During the shopping for arts and crafts at the end of the run, Laree White-Engle acquired this young weaver's first rug.
Here is the Rainbow Circle of food boxes before the loading began.
Ella Yazzie appears quite elegant in her Pendelton coat as she stands beside her food boxes.
And finally, Zonnie Tsinijinnie got a special ride home with her sponsors, Allan and Jan Parmenter. They all had to fit into a small jeep, so some of the boxes ended up on the roof.