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Acting Director of Service-Learning
Office of Service-Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
New Mexico - Spring Break 2012
This service trip to New Mexico worked with a group called the Native Health Initiative (NHI). We engaged in loving service for a week and did a variety of things. Service included visiting elders at multiple pueblos (Laguna, Acoma), participating in a sacred sweat ceremony, where we learned about the importance and implication of relations. The group was also able to experience a traditional native pow-wow and was included in a traditional ceremonial feast, where we were welcomed with open arms into the homes of people in the native community. The group toured uranium mines, which were used to make bombs for Hiroshima. The group was educated about the implications of the government’s project and their failure to cover the mines after twenty years. We also volunteered in a soup kitchen for an evening that hosts homeless people and low-income families.
We were welcomed into homes of the native people and treated graciously. We participated in gift exchange between various members of the community partners that the NHI works with. One of these groups was La Plazita, which works with a wide spectrum of individuals from traditional healers to gang members who have been incarcerated.
Towards the end of the week the group worked on a completely sustainable, off the gird farm called ironwood farm. We participated in two days of physical labor. Groups dug holes, made adobe walls, laid pipes for a new road, filled in gopher holes and learned about living sustainably off the grid. We were able to sleep under the stars and experience life in a completely sustainable way.
Towards the end of the trip, the group hiked 5 miles to the stunning Jemez hot springs (800 ft. elevation) where we were able to heal, relax and recuperate our tired bones. On the last day the group participated in reflection of the service, memories, growth and appreciation that was collectively built during the week.
Overall it was an incredibly rich and rewarding week of service. Thank you Service learning members and Eckerd College for helping to provide this experience.