As we left the Lakota Prairie Ranch, there was a sense of excitement in getting home to our families but yet a sadness of leaving such a beautiful and peaceful place. Although the connections, experiences and lessons each of us take with us will differ slightly, the one thing we can say is we have all been changed by this experience. The families we worked with, being surrounded by the Lakota sacred homeland in the Black Hills, and the sites of the Badlands will forever leave a footprint in each of our hearts.
Over the course of the week, we laughed often, cried some, made new friendships and connections, strengthened existing friendships and connections, and gave part of ourselves to the families we were working with. As I look back on the trip, I was reminded of a quote by Chief Sitting Bull; “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children”. The purpose this week was to do just that. Elders from the Lakota nation, parents, their children, along with our group and others, collectively came together as a united front to improve the overall health of the Lakota children at camp. From the activities we did, the food that was shared, and the relationships that were built across the communities, between individuals, and within our circle, we all had the common goal of making a difference in the life of a child.
Our focus and goal going into this trip was to work with these Lakota families to help them build skills to process the struggles they have experienced and to plant seeds of hope. The core values of Global Partners for each trip is to improve sustainability, build relationships, and to allow for volunteerism and stewardship. With these goals and values in mind, I believe we can consider this a successful trip.
– Jessica Schweigert