Trip Start Aug 21, 2010
59Trip End Dec 31, 2010
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This morning, we particularly appreciated that advantage. The night before, we received word that our showtimes had been moved from 9 and 10 to 8 and 9am. Chris the technical director, however, did not receive that word. So we arrived an hour earlier than previously scheduled, but Chris did not. Fortunately, he showed up only a half hour after we did. We still had an hour to set up. Plenty of time under normal circumstances, but certainly when we had done the same set-up the night before.
The rest of the morning went smoothly--except for the fact that there was another miscommunication. The second show, originally scheduled for 10:00, then understood to be moved to 9:00, was apparently still on for 10:00. Oh well. We still had time to get to our second school of the day.
Get this--the second school today, two towns over in Shiprock, has a performance art center also. In fact, it was built from the same blueprint as the one in Kirtland, making the two centers dopplegangers. Identical twin buildings! So we went to that school, too, knowing exactly what to expect inside. Three assemblies in a row, three practically identical set-ups. Pretty cool!
This evening, Kelsey and I returned to the park we visited last night. This time, we packed a picnic! Made for a wonderful evening, one of our last in New Mexico this year.
Shiprock High School is on a Navajo reservation. I had heard, before spending any time on and around reservations, that the culture there can be pretty dark. Immorality--sex and drugs in particular--run pretty rampant, and the kids are trapped in a cycle of self-destructive behaviors. One of the teachers at Kirtland was telling us that the kids over at Shiprock have no hope. Most will not leave the reservation in their lifetime.
Five kids at the high school helped us set up when we arrived. They were supervised by one of their teachers. When they first came into the auditorium, they acted very shy. Much like a 5-year-old would. But maturity has less to do with age and more to do with experience. Think about this: Kirtland High School is made of 80% reservation kids, and the rest non-reservation. The teacher we talked to had just moved from the Shiprock school system to Kirtland, and noted that the reservation kids in Kirtland benefit from their interactions with kids who live outside the reservation. They are more well-balanced and more full of hope from their bigger picture view of life outside the reservation. Shiprock, on the other hand, is composed of 100% reservation kids. Some have never seen anyone from outside the reservation, save some teachers. So when we came in today (we are the first Camfel techs to visit this school), we very well may have been the first white outsiders they had to interact with.
Eventually they warmed up to us, and we believe God gave us an extra dose of encouragement power with these kids. The Navajo reservations are a demographic that don't typically come to mind when thinking of underprivileged, rough kids. But it's just as real. The kids lacked self-motivation and self-confidence. If one couldn't get the screen to stretch enough to snap it in, she stood up to let someone else do it. We took moments like those to instill a little self-confidence and perseverance. Kelsey told a couple of guys that they would be great working on a crew that tours with a band or something. Perhaps that little glimpse of a future and self-worth can start these kids thinking about their future. Perhaps that could open the door to someone, down the line, talking to them about life beyond their future... that's what we're here for. Little moments like those. We may never see the follow-through. But that's all the more reason to make each opportunity count.