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Simply Smiles provides bright futures for children, families, and communities. The organization partners with populations in need to create physical and emotional environments where suffering is alleviated and from which local leaders can emerge.

Simply Smiles blog

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Naugatuck on the Reservation 2013: Wednesday's Blog

Timothy Nurnberger

Happy birthday to Olivia and Calvin! (Their birthdays were yesterday.) Yesterday was quite an eventful day; from visiting Barbra and Roland during our first water break of the day to the drum ceremony at the end of the day.

Yesterday was probably the most memorial day for us so far.

During our first water break we took a trip to Barbara and Roland Roach’s house. Their house was the first totally rebuilt house on the Reservation by Simply Smiles. Prior to the rebuilding of their current home they lived in a trailer with many roof leak causing problems; After evaluating the trailer Bryan came to the conclusion that the trailer was gone beyond repair, and recommended they take a look at the house next door, which happened to be Barbara’s childhood home. The structure was sound, and the mission was a go. Yesterday we were lucky enough to be given a tour of the house from Barbara and Roland. Barbara told us that they got to pick the colors of the house, being green for the outside, blue for the boy’s room, and a lovely purple for their room.  After the tour we all gathered around the table in the kitchen and had an hour long conversation with them. During the conversation Barbra proudly showed us two war bonnets she had made for her sons (in a star pattern). We also were shown pictures of her family, what a beautiful family!

Onward to the work projects! This week we are digging a trench for electricity to the staff housing and office buildings outback behind the community center. Despite the heat the wind was definitely the bigger problem! At most points the wind would blow so hard it would nearly knock us down! Adding on to the already difficult weather conditions was the hard clay like soil. While some worked on the trench, others continued working on fencing the future garden and staking the supply tents. We typically do this in a rotation.

Camp time!  Arts-and-crafts! We painted balsa wood model airplanes.  One child preferred to work in Sharpies. Gordon soon had Sharpie colors all over his shirt and shorts. While some enjoyed decorating Gordon and then some planes others loved the bracelets and making a mess with the beads, Gordon and Jen and Nancy had fun cleaning that up! Some have over 100 bracelets! She has all of us beat! Besides those two we had the typical basketball games, board games, and of course lots of running around!

HEY KRISTEN! Jen and I (Melissa) did yoga with the kids! And as you told me, they absolutely loved it! They begged us to do more today and we definitely will!

A few kids brought over some horses. Josh rode on one. Emily, too. And Olivia got to ride on her birthday.

Then we had a community-wide favorite -- BINGO NIGHT! (With Walmart gift cards as prizes!)  A delicious snack was provided: nachos!  (So people eat the Goldfish crackers we were using as markers!) Featuring guest number callers: Gordon, Sam, and Melissa. We had Jen pulling the numbers after a messy incident with the kids pulling the numbers!

Josh, who is consistently providing a wonderful variety of awesome foods, made three-potato salad and burgers.

Our day concluded with a drum circle with Kyle, Steve, Calvin, Colin, and Elliotte. Sage was burned and its smoke waved around the circle. Several songs were sung and drummed. Steve told us the history of the drum. A final song honored Elliott’s brother.

Thanks to Kyle we learned a few words in Lakota we would like to share with you!

  • Chante Skuya - Sweet Heart

  • Cuwe - Older sister

  • Mi Sun - Younger brother

  • T blo - Older brother

  • Ina - Mother

  • Ate - Dad

  • Lala - Grandpa

  • Unci - Grandma

So that's all for now!  Much love to our friends and families, we miss you guys!

-Melissa Sherwood and Dave Shaw