Interesting start to the day. Apparently the Hopi reservation does not recognize daylight savings time, but he Navaho nation, which entirely surrounds the Hopi reservation does. So we all got up….got around….were ready to go….only to find out we were an hour ahead of the Hopi time zone. There is absolutely no Verizon coverage in the village…but every now and again, I get a stray email or text.
The “internet café” is a bench on the playground at the school…..that you can pick up the wireless from……so since I had some time to kill, I headed up to the café to catch up on emails. The custodian, a Hopi woman, was taking out the trash and stopped to visit with me……so I didn’t catch up on much email. I suspect that had I not got up to go back to our camper….she would have talked to me all day.
All the groups helping this week are from the American Baptist Church…..we are the token Mennonites. Cody and Lucky asked me if I would like to go up on the Mesa with a group to work on the church…..they’re re-wiring, pouring concrete and hooking up fresh water and sewage lines. Linda and the kids stayed and worked with the group from West Virginia painting classrooms.
They rented a backhoe for the week, so I rode up to the mesa with Ron and his wife, who pulled the backhoe up with their truck. Ron is in his mid 70’s, and honestly would have like to have seen a little more focus on his part pulling the 14,000-lbs tractor up to the mesa, but we made it. Ron’s wife pointed out the Hopi villages built on the mesa tops, hard to see because they blend in, but I guess that is the point since they don’t fight back when attacked and are surrounded by the Navaho nation.
Ended up working with Ron for the day, running electrical wiring in the church. Started off kind of following Ron around trying to help…..but that wasn’t working so well, so I talked him out of a project, and then worked on that by myself…..well kind of……Lamur, nicknamed Skeeter, is a Hopi man who helps out with the church since accepting Jesus as his savior. He was kind of looking for something to do, so I got him to help me with the wiring. I think he was pretty glad because the other option was concrete……
Becoming a Christian isn’t a very popular choice on the reservation. The Hopi culture is very tied to the worship of their gods, and accepting Christ removes them from a significant part of their culture. Hopi women are the dominant members of the family, so Lamur’s mom has tolerated his conversion, but his sisters haven’t, and when mom passes away, they have already told him he will be kicked off of the family land. Lamur is working to save up enough to buy a trailer to put on the land his father left him…..and there are some fellow Hopi Christian brothers working with him and the tribe to make sure the land is still his. I would bet Lamur is in his mid to late 60’s.
Linda and the kids worked hard painting all day…..but still found time to befriend the cafeteria lady and her husband. Doris and her husband are both Hopi……but are not Christian (which seems a bit odd since they work at the school). We ate dinner with them and they were very interesting to talk to……seems there is a festival almost every month for the tribe that involves great preparation.