A beautiful, sunny, cloudless day in Arizona welcomed us as we drove toward the Hopi Indian Reservation, accessed by travel through the Navajo Indian Reservation. The spectacular scenery consisted of flat land with an occasional butte jutting up to lace the landscape with colors almost beyond description. We were on our way to volunteer at the Hopi Indian Mission School in Kykotsmovia, Arizona. I would be tutoring; my husband scheduled to do maintenance and repair. The sun began to set as we neared our destination and it cast eerie shadows over the buttes. As if to provide a backdrop to the grandeur, a distant mountain range with snow-covered peaks captured our attention.
There were no homes or any other signs of life until we approached the town and school grounds. There the colorful beauty turned to bleak desolation. Unexpected gusts of wind rocked our fifth wheel, home for the next month. The few dwellings we observed resembled shacks. Car tires piled on top of the roofs served as protection against the constant turbulence. Later we would learn…

This is an excerpt from a story in my memoir. It also won first place at the Appalachian Heritage Writers Symposium this past June. There to volunteer, the experience changed my life in more ways than I could imagine.

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