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Back to Base Camp!

Posted on 07/28/2010 @ 05:13 PM

Tags: Impact: Southwest 1 2010, Impact: Southwest 1, Impact Southwest 1 2010, Impact Southwest 1, Impact: Southwest, Impact Southwest, Impact: Southwest 2010, Impact Southwest 2010

Impact: Southwest 1

Success! We have made it back to base camp!

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Our last days with the Hopi were spent harvesting corn, cleaning the village and meeting the elected leaders of the Hopi people.

The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Hopi people welcomed us into their offices and explained to us the issues that the Hopi face today and in the future. They willingly answered all our questions and impressed us with how much they shared. It was a great encounter with another piece of the Hopi culture.

Harvesting corn was quite an experience. We drove down to Camp Verde to the corn fields where we met our Hopi friends. Together we picked corn and loaded them into trucks. Corn is a very important part of the Hopi culture and it plays a significant role in the Homedance.

When we returned to our camp site we had Friday Night Services and a lovely Shabbat Dinner overlooking the beautiful desert scenery. It was nice to rest and relax after a week of hard work.

We woke up before the sun and hiked to the village. As the sun rose more and more Hopi gathered in the plaza in anticipation for the Homedance. It was satisfying to know that the village looked nice and that the dancers preparation and rest areas were clean because of our work.

Then, it began. The dancers entered, each holding the corn that we harvested! It was special to know that we played a big part in an ancient ritual. The Homedance was a rich experience. Dancers chanting and stomping in unison for an entire day. Witnessing this beautiful ritual was incredible.

We returned to the camp for more rest and some Shabbat programming planned by the teens. Before dinner we went back to the village plaza to see the end of the Homedance. Our responsibilities were complete and the Hopi appreciated how we contributed. We ate dinner prepared by our hosts and sadly had to say goodbye.

Our journey then brought us to the scenic mountains of Colorado. While in the mountains our group hiked a 14000ft peak. Yes, all of them. At first the teens were unsure but as we stood atop the mountain we celebrated our accomplishment. It was a day no one will forget and hopefully the participants will be able to take on other challenges and obstacles in their lives that they were unsure of getting past or achieving. Fantastic life changing moments!

The rest of our time was spent hiking and exploring the mountains and forest as a group and on our own. We sang, and danced. We reflected and fondly remembered our experience together. Now we are at the Deer Hill Base Camp. Cleaning gear and getting adjusted to running water and the indoors.

On behalf of the staff, I want to tell you how enjoyable Impact: Southwest 2010 was. While the new places and tasks were a huge part of the trip, it was the people, the teens themselves, that made this a once in a lifetime experience that no one will forget.

Sincerely,

Steven

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