September 14, 2019

It has been over a year since I posted to my blog. At times Wanblee is my greatest joy and other times my greatest sorrow. I had quit posting because I wasn’t sure anyone really wanted to read all this. However, I have heard from several of you that you want me to keep posting so here we go.

Yes, Bessie has a bike. On our next trip, Jeff and I took Miss Bessie a bike (If you aren’t sure why this is important read the Bike for Bessie post).

Many trips have happened this past year including a trip to install new security cameras on the Families Working Together building which also allows Jeff to check in often to see how things are progressing. Fall break was a trip with students for the College of Saint Mary. The Senior Center interior was painted on this trip. There were also several other trips to deliver all the goods donated by so many of you. Thank you to the Lions Clubs from Omaha and Gretna for the donations of books, school supplies, and food. And the sewing center is up and running. Several star quilts were sold this summer. Thank you to the Omaha and Wichita Quilt Guilds for the material, batting, sewing machines and tools that have allowed this program to move forward.

Our new playgroundThis past year, the Wanblee kids raised money for a new playground (Please click on the photo for a larger image) in the Wanblee park. They made Christmas ornaments which they sold at both LCM and Knit Paper Scissors, my favorite knit shop. They sold eggs from the chicken project. The LCM mission group also raised money, the combination allowed a new playground to be erected in the park. It was a joint effort between our mission folks and Wanblee community people. Several of the young boys in Wanblee learned to use power tools and loved “Ratcheting”. Their word for using the tools.

Each trip to Wanblee makes me more aware of the challenges the kids must navigate daily. The addiction issues, the isolation, the poverty, the violence, lack of necessities like food impacts the lives of my children. At times these issues impact children I really love and care about. I feel powerless to improve their situation. This can be overwhelming. At other times I can see/focus on the changes happening within the community. Bob and Mary at Families Working together have created a safe haven for these children at the FWT building. Children in the community know they are safe there and will be fed if they are hungry. The chicken project ensures there are always eggs and the large community garden, a joint project between the FWT and the college helps to combat the food shortages. All changes powered by community change initiatives. My faith is where I turn when it is tough. I have learned to pray through it. My faith is where I turn when I am celebrating the joys. It is a sign that God is Good! I truly believe I have been called to be a part of this community in Wanblee, SD. It is not my job to force change, it is my role to help build bridges and facilitate. I have been placed there to be a part of the good.

So what are the future needs?

  1. Always food, Mary fills 200 backpacks of food each weekend so the children at Crazy Horse School and the local Head start have food on weekends. Donations can be made on the FWT website.

  2. Incentives for the school store, which help children to attend school both at the elementary and high school level. Children earn school bucks for attendance, which can be spent at the store. Items include new clothing, food, shoes, snacks, and school supplies. Attendance is still a big challenge at the school.

  3. School materials for the teachers such as whiteboard markers, construction paper, glue, calculators, educational games and computers are all needed.

I continue to work closely with Jodi Stoddard, high school principal, and Amelia Black Bear, elementary principal. Materials can be mailed directly to Crazy horse school attention either principal or given to me and I will make sure they are placed at the school.

Finally, thank you to all of you helped me celebrate my 60th Birthday. Thank you for the donations of food. This food will assist Mary in keeping the backpacks filled this fall.

 

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