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Students Immersed in Navajo Culture in Arizona

Students Immers...
Students Immersed in Navajo Culture in Arizona Students Immersed in Navajo Culture in Arizona
Students Immers...
Students Immersed in Navajo Culture in Arizona Students Immersed in Navajo Culture in Arizona
Students Immers...
Students Immersed in Navajo Culture in Arizona Students Immersed in Navajo Culture in Arizona

Students Immers...
Students Immersed in Navajo Culture in Arizona Students Immersed in Navajo Culture in Arizona
Students Immers...
Students Immersed in Navajo Culture in Arizona Students Immersed in Navajo Culture in Arizona
Students Immers...
Students Immersed in Navajo Culture in Arizona Students Immersed in Navajo Culture in Arizona

Students Immers...
Students Immersed in Navajo Culture in Arizona Students Immersed in Navajo Culture in Arizona
Students Immers...
Students Immersed in Navajo Culture in Arizona Students Immersed in Navajo Culture in Arizona

 

St. Joseph’s Academy hosted two service trips to Klagetoh, Arizona, enabling students to work with the Navajo people on Saint Anne’s Mission. The first trip took place June 1-8, while the second trip to the desert happened June 10-17.

Students on the first trip cooked meals and cleaned the mission kitchen; helped paint and sand a new home for a previously homeless woman; built gates for and shoveled out sheep pens for a woman who relies on the animals for her income; played with the Navajo children; and broke up a concrete walkway to form and pour concrete for a new one. Away from the mission, the travelers toured and hike Canyon de Chelly in Chinle, Arizona, experienced the Navajo culture and dancing in the town of Gallup, New Mexico, and ended the mission trip with the traditional Sweat Lodge ritual.

The students were accompanied by staff members Mary Kay Alford and Karen Douet.

“It was such an honor to have accompanied this group to Klagetoh,” Alford said. “The maturity with which they approached playing with the kids with a childlike spirit was amazing. They are all experts now in giving piggyback rides, painting and building fences. It was such a rewarding and eye-opening experience to interact with the children and become immersed in the Navajo culture.”

Douet said she was impressed by the tireless energy the girls brought to their daily work. “All three of the brothers who live at St. Anne’s commented to me individually about what hard workers these young ladies were, and I agree,” she said. “From swinging sledgehammers to shoveling sheep pens and wielding paintbrushes, they served the dear neighbor with the hard work of their hands, and they did so with cheerful hearts. I was beyond proud to work beside them.”

On the second trek to the desert, SJA students were joined by a group of boys from Catholic High School. In the mornings, they facilitated a vacation Bible school for children ages 4-15, leading activities in music, art and physical education. The afternoons were spent at a Navajo nursing home in Chinley and playing with the local children. Other trip highlights were mass at the mission; a Navajo blessing; hiking Canyon de Chelly in Chinle; and making visits to Window Rock, the capital of the Navajo Nation, Gallup, New Mexico, the painted desert and petrified forest at the Petrified Forest National Park and the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site.

Coach Liz Fontenot accompanied the group.

Senior Jessica Munson said the trip was a memorable experience. “For me, Klagetoh was so much better than I ever thought it could be,” she said. “Working with the kids, the other students, brothers and Sister Monica made my heart grow every day. The kids at St. Anne’s are some of the sweetest and adorable children I’ve ever had the chance to work with. I can’t think of anything that would have made the trip more perfect, and it breaks my heart that I had to leave. This mission trip has also pushed me to pursue other projects to help other Native American communities much like this one.”

Senior Addie Jones described the week as filled with “crazy kids, amazing views and lots of laughs. Klagetoh was one of the best experiences of my life.”

Senior Ashley Reynolds was equally passionate. “Klagetoh was an amazing experience, and I never wanted to leave,” she said.

 

Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Communications Director

 

Photos courtesy of Liz Fontenot

 

Date posted: June 23, 2017

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St. Joseph's Academy ~3015 Broussard Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808 ~225.383.7207

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