Today was my last “working” day here at Mission and the Tree of Life Ministry. I am sad but also tired!!! Today I worked once again in the Warm Welcome but instead of doing the cash register all day I split my time between that and stocking and sorting items that are put out in the store. First off–Starbucks coffee. Bags and bags of it—more than would fit on the space on the shelves so I had to be a little bit creative. Next came the summer sausage (I think it was deer) which were in huge boxes so I split them up into bags of 4. My perfume for the day was Essence of the Sausage….I may never be able to eat summer sausage again. Finally I had boxes and boxes of bulk chocolate Shamu shaped animal crackers…much better smell than that old summer sausage so I knocked those out fast!!! Had to put them in sandwich bags and stock those. By the end of the day all of the summer sausage and Shamu crackers we put out were snatched up so the evidence of my work was gone!!! But hopefully it was enjoyed!!!
The co op operates on the principle that no one gets a free handout. Each adult that comes in pays $1.06 (gotta get that tax) and for that money they get whatever items are the special for the day. Today they got 2 tubes of Grands biscuits and a container of Frito Scoops. They can choice one item out of the case (that is basically their $1 item) and then whatever food items that are available for the day that they can fit into one bag. They can also take clothing in one bag. We had gotten thousands of pounds of potatoes this week also so those were boxed up and they were given away along with cases of Propel. Some of the items that they get in the store are “interesting” but many of these folks depend upon this store for food so if they can get a few things that are useful it helps. One day this week one of the items were packages of frozen lamb chops with stickers on them saying “Australia inspected”…….like I said…interesting. The Tree of Life has many places that it gets donations or purchases food and other items from so it must never be dull to see what comes in! I am pretty amazed at the amount of stuff that goes out of there!!!
I spent the afternoon stocking shelves in the back and putting underwear and socks together in packs and working with Gwen and Kathy was such a treat. By the end of the week we were joking and cutting up and I got hugs from both when I left—-they are really special ladies and my life is fuller for getting to know them.
Tonight we ate at the Buffalo Jump for one last time and when we got back to the West Wing we had our speaker for the evening—Delores Kills In Water—come. She brought many artifacts and items that she has collected and done presentations for. She was a presenter at Mount Rushmore last year and she is an amazing woman. I spent quite a bit of time after her presentation talking to her and her grandson who drove her and he really opened up to me and talked to me a bit about how he was learning things he had never known—the culture has not been maintained with the younger ones so it is up to them to really listen and learn so that they can carry on the traditions.
I have so many pictures and am just including a few here but it has been an amazing week. I have met many wonderful people and am so blessed. They have all been so accepting and welcoming and if I were them and had been treated the way they have been and still are being treated I do not think I could be as respectful as they are. My eyes have been opened as I knew they would and I am challenged.
Tomorrow is my big first adventure into a pow wow and I cannot wait. Several of the people that we have met will be there dancing and I am so happy to be able to experience that. It should be amazing!!! I am so thankful for the week!