Sunday, April 29, 2012

Food Run Report - Dilkon 4/25/12

by John Aldrich

This past week we conducted three food runs, Dilkon, Leupp, and Birdsprings. All these runs are an easy drive from Winslow, our home base for the week. The first was on Wednesday to Dilkon. It was a near-perfect day with moderate temperatures, no wind, and an overcast to keep the sun from beating down on us too harshly. Before departing from the motel we lined up in a convoy to be smudged for a safe journey.

The main vehicle in the convoy is the Penske truck which has all the boxes and produce for the food run. It was ably driven by Boyd Mitchell from Salt Lake. Boyd has been driving the truck to this food run for several years now, and we love having him as part of the volunteer group.

As soon as we arrived in Dilkon we paused for the customary group photo. We had a very congenial group of volunteers who all worked well together.

First off the truck were the smaller gift boxes and the produce. The box labels for each food run are a different color - Dilkon is one of the brighter ones.

After the rainbow circle was almost completed, this view gives more of an idea of the amount of material we brought from the warehouse.

The box crew consisted of all the men and was directed by Ray Coleman. Ray has been taking part in this food run for many years and is greatly loved by the Elders.

A variety of tasks were being carried out inside while the box crew was completing their work outside. Kate Maxwell Stephens drives the medical van to all the spring food runs and at each location interviews Elders to determine their specific needs for various medical products we provide.

And the multitude of program giveaways is organized by a committee under the direction of Wendy Sanborn.

Eunice Spencer serves as our coordinator and translator at Dilkon. One of her tasks is gathering information from Elders who are interested in enrolling in the Program.

Once all the set up jobs are finished, the food run program officially gets underway. This photo provides an overview of the venue with Linda and Eunice speaking to the Elders while the volunteers are lined up behind.

Volunteers come from all over the country to attend the ANE food runs. But this time a new volunteer traveled all the way from England to attend her first run. Tracey Ramsden has an interest in the role the Navajo Code Talkers played in WW II and brought a book about the topic, Navajo Weapon, that she asked Sam Tsosie to sign.

The elderly Navajos in our Program are nearly all dependent on family members or other caregivers to bring them to the food run site. Here is Lovey Belin with her caregiver as they leave after the meal.

And the final picture shows Kee Yazzie's truck loaded with his boxes and produce ready to head home. Kee is one of the Elders who gave a short speech in tribute to the volunteers and to the Program.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rugs of the Week - by Delorcita Francis

by John Aldrich

We featured Delorcita Francis last month with two of her Teec Nos Pos rugs for which she is well-known. We recently added two more rugs from Delorcita which demonstrate her ability to weave beautiful rugs in a variety of styles.

This Yei rug includes sacred corn plants and a wonderful use of color. The catalog listing is 7107. The rug measures 38" x 28" and is priced at $750.

The other new rug from Delorcita is a finely woven storm pattern rug.

This is a classic storm design embellished with intriguing geometric patterns. The rug measures 30" x 44" and sells for $900. The cost reflects the quality of the weaving, the intricate design, and the relatively large size. See catalog listing 7106 for more details.

See this 2010 post for more information about the rug catalog.

Notes: Every effort has been made to photograph and present the rugs with as accurate rendition of color as possible. It's not possible, however, to be certain that your computer won't show some variance. Where two prices are listed in the catalog, the higher represents what the weaver hopes to receive and the lower, the minimum she will accept. As has always been the case at ANE all the proceeds of every rug sale go entirely to the weaver. Prices are set by the weaver, and since there is no "middleman" they are typically very reasonable.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Food Box Packing - April 2012

by John Aldrich

When April arrives we can look forward to packing all the Rainbow Food Boxes for the remaining food runs. This activity took place over the course of the past two Saturdays. With the Alta soccer team present for the first packing day we were well staffed, but we had a good turnout for the second Saturday as well, so we had plenty of help and the work went smoothly and quickly.

As the shopping carts moved around the warehouse, volunteers had a chance to visit in addition to being sure that the boxes received the appropriate items.

Members of the soccer team, dressed in red, were stationed with the different food items and made sure each box got the right amount.

And other volunteers helped with this as well.

High school students Machelle Medcalf and her friend Emme will be part of the Many Farms food run this spring. Food packing gave them a good idea of what they will be delivering to the Elders.

At the box taping table Tony Morgan seems momentarily perplexed by his tape dispenser, but this part of the operation went smoothly as well.

Boyd Mitchell helped keep spirits high with doughnut deliveries.

Young volunteers Zoe and Kade made sure that the proper amount of Jello was in each box.

The box taping team for the second week consisted of Mark Roginske, Boyd Mitchell, and Sarah Sifers.

After compacting the recyclable cardboard, Oscar Merz prepares to exit the dumpster.

The mastermind behind all of this is Roger Daly.

Roger orders the food, coordinates delivery at the warehouse, organizes the warehouse for the packing operations, and generally keeps things running smoothly throughout the whole process.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rug Of The Week - Yeis by Leona Holiday

by John Aldrich

This weeks featured rug again shows the Navajo holy people referred to as Yeis. This is a very brightly colored example by Leona Holiday, one of our Elders at Oljato.

The rug measure 24" x 27" and is priced at $350. The catalog listing is 7025.

Oljato is one of the two food runs that are held in the Utah portion of the vast Navajo reservation. The proximity to Monument Valley means that many of the residents of this area have derived jobs from the tourism business that draws many visitors to the region.

Leona's family has taken part in these activities as well as playing roles in many of the western movies that were made here in years gone by.

When ANE began going to Oljato in 2003, Leona became more active with her weaving again, and her son Leonard also started weaving. Now they are both regulars at our November rug show.

See this 2010 post for more information about the rug catalog.

Notes: Every effort has been made to photograph and present the rugs with as accurate rendition of color as possible. It's not possible, however, to be certain that your computer won't show some variance. Where two prices are listed in the catalog, the higher represents what the weaver hopes to receive and the lower, the minimum she will accept. As has always been the case at ANE all the proceeds of every rug sale go entirely to the weaver. Prices are set by the weaver, and since there is no "middleman" they are typically very reasonable.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Food Run Report - Navajo Mountain 3/29/12

by John Aldrich

When we line up the food run convoy there are too many vehicles to fit in the parking lot of the Wetherill Inn in Kayenta. So everyone moves to the parking lot at the shopping center for the traditional smudging that takes place before we depart for Navajo Mountain.

Although the town of Kayenta wouldn't count for much on the urban scale of America, it's one of the few towns of any size on the Navajo Reservation. When we leave here, we are truly heading for the hinterlands. Navajo Mountain is a very remote location, and it will take us 1 3/4 hours to get there - there is no place closer where we can stay.

But it's a beautiful and relaxing drive allowing time to reflect on experiences of the previous day and enjoy the beautiful scenery and the anticipation of the upcoming food run.

When we arrive at the chapter house at Navajo Mountain, yesterday's finely tuned group of volunteers knows exactly what to do and gets right to work.

A number of volunteers have come on this run to meet their Elders. Seasoned volunteer Gale Reeves got to meet her new Elder, Alice Billie. Alice is newly enrolled in the Program and this was her first food run.

Elder Arlene Reed actually has four sponsors who are friends in Salt Lake and have combined their resources to adopt her. They were all excited to meet Arlene for the first time.

There weren't quite as many volunteers as there were Elders, but at times it seemed that way. During the period of volunteer introductions, the Elders enjoy seeing who has come to meet them and to hear where they are from.

The feeling of warmth and gratitude that we always experience on this food run continued as a number of the local weavers presented rugs as donations to ANE. In return they all received a bundle of yarn and warp.

Nancy Greenwood received a rug from her Grandma Nancy Greymountain.

And Fred Littleboy presented Linda with a basket of jewelry to be distributed among the volunteers who had come to the food run.

There were a number of special giveaways. Marilyn Cowan, a talented quilter, presented ANE with 10 quilts to be given to Elders at Oljato and Navajo Mountain. Celone Dougi was very pleased to receive one of them.

A previous blog described how volunteers at the warehouse had prepared panne fabric to be given to the Elders for use in making blouses and skirts. Here is the fruition of all that work.

Another special giveaway came from Sheila McKinney, a long-time volunteer who now lives in Hawaii. The packets contain red sea salt which is used for ceremonial purposes by polynesian peoples.

A touching moment came during the morning when new volunteers Dottie and Bill Wikle met their Elder, Harry Nimrod. Dottie and Bill made the trip to Navajo Mountain from rural Virginia and brought with them a new pair of boots for Harry.

Della Greymountain is one of the older Elders at the Navajo Mountain food run. She was unable to attend the last food run in August 2011 because of hip surgery. We were pleased to see her back and looking well. She received a warm embrace from Celone Dougi.

Elders like to wear their best to the food runs. Morris Burns had a beautiful old silver and turquoise bracelet.

As things inside were winding down towards the end of the event, the men were busy outside loading Elders vehicles. Because of the precious and precarious nature of drinking water at Navajo Mountain, everyone receives a two cases of bottled water along with their Rainbow Boxes.

First-time volunteer Levi Lambson was proud to have his picture taken with Yodell Billah who served in the Pacific for several years during WW II.

Because of the incredible beauty of the Land around Navajo Mountain, I like to include at least one picture that provides a glimpse of this unique area. This is one of the canyons that drains off the east side of the mountain.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I Run, Bike, and Row in Beauty

by Lynn Decker

(Note: Lynn is a devoted ANE volunteer who has devised a unique way to support the Program while staying fit.)

April is here which means we are nearing the spring Adopt-A-Native-Elder food run. We are looking forward to loading our vehicle with Rainbow Food Boxes and other items at the warehouse and then driving the 582 miles from Salt Lake City to Winslow, Arizona where the group of volunteers will stage. On Wednesday, May 9th - the second of the three Food Run days - we will head out early and travel the last 95 miles or so to the Big Mountain site near Hardrock on the Navajo homeland. This is the location where we will see our Elder, Faye. I have been looking forward to this all winter – in fact it has inspired me to a quest of sorts.

In the cold months of winter when it is dark in the early morning, I rely on exercise equipment in my basement to keep fit. On January 23rd (looking for motivation) I decided to make a commitment to run, bike and row the distance from my home in Salt Lake City to the Big Mountain Food Run site - virtually.

As of April 8th I have been at this quest for 76 days, have run more than 82 miles, biked more than 332 miles and rowed more than 90 miles.  I’ve just passed the 500-mile mark.  For reference, the Cameron Trading Post was at the 480-mile mark. If I can increase my pace a bit I should be able to make the 667 total miles by Saturday, May 7th - the morning that we leave on the food run.

My pledge is to donate $1 for every mile that I run, bike or row to ANE. If this were to go towards the flour fundraiser it would allow the purchase of 83 bags of Bluebird Flour for the Elders - and the good news is that at least one person, Pauline Blanchard, has pledged to match the dollar per mile pledge – and that would be 83 bags more.  I have miles to go to but thinking about the Elders and 166 bags of Bluebird flour sure has made the commitment stronger and the miles a little easier. I hope that I make it!