Today, we drove to Pine Ridge to perform physical exams for the officers and Administrative staff at the Department of Justice. While driving, we listened to a local radio station. The announcers were talking about an educational opportunity for anyone owning horses or wanting to know more about caring for horses (feeding, immunizations, etc.). In promoting the event, they mentioned offering free lunch along with arranging transportation if necessary. This struck me as quite different than programs offered in our home community. Clearly, supplying food and transportation could make a big difference in the turnout for these programs on the Reservation. One of the staff at Wanblee Clinic had already shared with us yesterday that many folks run out of money near the middle of the month….this information certainly impacted my understanding of the radio announcement.
Another observation during our drive was the number of people walking along busy roads due to lack of transportation. In the La Crosse area, we would see this as a safety issue, but here it is simply necessary to get from point A to point B.
While at the Department of Justice, we met many friendly folks who seemed pleased we were able to offer this service, but an equal number of people said they would check back with us ‘tomorrow’. Now, I should share that the outside temperature was 103 at lunchtime and the air conditioning was not working in most of the building. Many of the Administrative personnel were going home early due to the lack of air conditioning.
Part of my role today was obtaining a mini health history prior to the officers and others seeing Dr. Thurman. I am astonished by the percentage of folks with Diabetes. It’s not just a statistic, it is really an epidemic here.
We are all looking forward to meeting with Dakota High Hawk later this evening. More later!