Driving back into the reservation, you expect to see changes to the land -- whether that be more houses or more additions to the Community Center; however, what we weren’t expecting to see is a brighter, happier community that has withstood more than just physical transformations. Coming back for our second summer has been a pleasant surprise.
Although it feels as though we have never left, the progression of La Plant seems as though Simply Smiles has done more work than could be fit into that year. At that first town-wide meal, we recognized several familiar faces, and we soon fell into a comfortable pattern of piggyback rides and baseball games. Although those remained the same, we also have been able to enjoy the brand new floor in the Community Center as well as underneath the pavilion, playing Uno in the teepees, and a farewell party for Josh the night before he returned to Connecticut for the summer.
Our group of three churches and the Lakota people has seamlessly conjoined into one big family. Together we’ve dug a six foot deep trench for a new water line, poured cement for the new horseshoe pit, assembled trusses in preparation for the new homes, completed the floor in the Community Center, and finished the beautiful entryway to greet the La Plant community. During summer camp afternoons, we made spray painted t-shirts, friendship bracelets, sun catchers, and had hockey take La Plant by storm.
Saying goodbye gets harder with each passing visit from our friends. Keeping in touch with the residents here is difficult, but there is no doubt in our minds that this is not the end of our relationship with the people of La Plant.
Savannah Sprague and Lexi Fielding