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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.


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Tuesday in La Plant

Timothy Nurnberger

Well - I haven't written on this blog in years!  (This is Kristen - hey!)  I write my own blog as well, but this summer, I've limited my blog to haikus, (I'm serious) because I knew that time was going to be tight.  And I've even skipped that for weeks at a time this summer.  Ah well… So, I've been elected to write the blog post from the reservation for today - and I'm so glad!  I haven't gotten to really reflect on this summer yet, and I'll tell you why.  In the time that I've sat down to write these few lines I've had to pick up two kids that missed the bus for camp, looked at countless crafts (they're making picture frames today), answered the phone twice, answered questions about the whereabouts of the rest of the staff, printed out three new songs for guitar camp, and so on.  You get the idea right?

This is a throwback to life at Casa Hogar, the non-stop chaos that you love to hate.

Today has been great so far - we went to our work projects this morning (we're winterizing two homes and re-roofing the entire community center) ready to rock.  My particular project was laying plastic sheeting down below a trailer home to help keep the moisture out during the rainy seasons.  Three other tunnel rats and I spent our morning sliding around on our bellies having a pretty good time and getting super dirty.  I'm glad we finished because it was a little tight down there and VERY dark.  Plus, I'll be honest, every little piece of grass that I felt, I was certain was a snake, so I'm not sure that my nerves could handle another day.

After a quick and delicious lunch made by Gaby and our friend Roxanne, we went to pick up all of the kids for summer camp.  This is where the Casa Hogar era energy comes in.  Just when you get one game started, or one craft going, some kid wants to start the next, or play basketball, or play guitar…their energy is never-ending!  These kids have even managed to tire out Chip!  (For those of you who know my dog - you know that he's ummm…quite energetic.)

After hours of kid camp, we have guitar camp!  This of course, is what I LIVE for each day.  The kids are doing SO well, and I have kept the camp open to kids of 'all ages', so I have some amazing adults involved as well.  We're playing all kinds of songs…from Johnny Cash to Taylor Swift to Amazing Grace to Nicky Minaj to Lady Gaga to Foster the People…the list is as diverse as it is long and I'm so thrilled with everyone's progress.

After a group lesson (which is REALLY stretching my teaching abilities) the group tonight will be heading to the Missouri River to bathe.  I CAN'T WAIT!  It may sound crazy, and people around here call it the big muddy, but whether I actually get clean or not - it's the most refreshing shower of my life.  Somedays, this quick shower is followed by a community meal or a movie night or sometimes both, but tonight we're going to be visited by local artisans…so it's shopping night!

Then we'll have dinner, then we'll all crash onto our camping pads or cots and do it all again tomorrow.  Below, I've included a few minute video of the kids playing all different games at camp.  We've mostly been doing things inside or in the shade today because it's been really hot - but that doesn't keep us from having a great time!!

Signing off for now - shockingly, I have more songs to print off for guitar camp…some Justin Bieber this time…