Today started off really rocky and went up and down and sideways from there.
I could not sleep last night. Partly because the bunk beds at the church are super soft and not supportive (I’ve since acquired a stiffer Global Volunteers Mattress that I will be testing out tonight. I have high hopes). Partly because the silence is so deafening that the slightest noise is noticeable and we’re in an old building. And lastly because I feel, off and on, SUPER overwhelmed. It is a lot of work to set up this program and I am grateful that Drew is here, and he’s been here pretty much once a year since he was 10 for varied lengths of time, so he has been just taking me around, filling me with everything I need to know and introducing me to everyone I’ll need to speak with this summer to make this program successful.
So we met so many people today. Started off with a very laid back coffee with some local Heart Butte folks, Spud, Jimmy and a woman who’s name I can’t immediately recall, who may be helping us out with the dinners for the team and just bringing the community out to help and support us. Global Volunteers has been coming out to Browning for 16 years now, but this is our first time extending the program to run in both Browning and Heart Butte. So we are really trying to engage the local community and the first couple teams probably will see a low turnout and slow trickle in to the work projects out here. But to hopefully avoid that, we met Cliff Eagle Speaker, who works out at the Heart Butte school, about getting some of the kids involved in activities during the days to keep them out of trouble and hopefully, if we can connect with some of the older Natives around, to teach them more about the culture, heritage, and language that is slowing dying off with the older generations.
After those meetings we headed in to Browning to load up the van with a bunch of stuff from the storage shed (including my awesome new mattress) and then tried to visit the major work sites there, to let people know we’re around and to prep them for having volunteers starting Monday. Then we attended a 3 hour Chamber of Commerce meeting, and then desperately needed a beer. So Drew drove us out to St. Mary’s Lodge and Resort where I had a nice local wheat beer and some bison chorizo nachos. By this point I was starting to feel really anxious about the upcoming night – hoping I can sleep- and just the load of work I have ahead of me. Luckily at St. Mary’s I had some cell service and was able to text my mom, and call Alex for a little relief. Then we headed back to the church and unloaded the van a bit and decided to call it a day.
Everything here is gorgeous. The mountains, the greenery, there are horses running along side the road with the mountains in the background at sunset… I mean COME ON! I truly hope I can post pictures sometime soon, but they couldn’t possibly do it justice. Despite the anxiety and the work ahead, I know I’ve made the right choice, and when I settle in, this summer is going to be truly amazing. If anyone wants to come join me this summer – I think I still have spots available on later teams. Globalvolunteers.org. Come see what all the fuss is about!
OH! And PS, pretty sure (thanks to Sheri, Pastor Calvin’s wife) that the room I’ll be sleeping in once we set it up is haunted. Apparently when they opened up the church, after years of being boarded up, they found a shrine to an (in her words) “old white man with bushy eyebrows” who is “definitely dead”. We learned today that his name is Abe. I think Abe and I are going to be good friends.