Friday, May 24th, 2013 Our week with Simply Smiles has presented us with many challenges, accomplishments, emotions, and of course, smiles. We began our week not knowing what to expect. We now end our week having experienced and learned things that have changed our perspectives and opened our minds and hearts. Each and every task had its own importance, whether we gathered soil for the new organic garden, organized the kitchen, or gave the kids a good laugh. The dedication that the Simply Smiles staff has to each and every person is incredible, and it is their hard efforts that inspire the people of La Plant to grow and prosper. We are all incredibly fortunate to bear witness to the amazing group of people that make up this organization, and many of us hope to return in the future to work side by side with them again.
The Lakota identity was apparent in our interactions with the Lakota people yesterday. Local Lakota artisans came in to show and sell us their bead-work of Dream-Catchers and jewelry full of Lakota symbolism. We also listened to a few Lakota drummers as we sat around a bon-fire and listened to the stories behind their music. We have met and spoken with people who have openly shared their stories, and it is in these stories that we have found a sense of community and friendship with the Lakota people.
We are also grateful that we have come to know and love the children we have spent our days with. We hope that we have left them with a sense of worth and importance, and we hope that the next group leaves them with the same. Tomorrow we will be up bright and early and will be back on our way to Vermont, but we will find some way to bring our experience back home.
Farewell to La Plant, the Lakota, and Simply Smiles (but not for long!)