I called my Lakota friends this morning and finally reached them after several unsuccessful tries over the weekend. I wanted to find out what had resulted from the school evaluation, the school suspension of my “godchild” and the court date my “godchild” had been scheduled for (all on the same day).
First the update on those events. The school evaluation went fine. My 14-year-old “godchild” is awaiting a date to go to alcohol rehab. The school suspension (as a result of an altercation with another student) has resulted in a “behavior contract” for my “godchild.” They have clearly spelled out what is expected of her and what the consequences of a violation will be. The court date was rescheduled – after they had gone over there, spending the money for gas.
Now, on to the new stuff. The van that someone had given my friends has conked out. It needs a new alternator, at a cost of about 200 non-existent dollars! I can’t afford to help with that one.
My “godchild” comes home from school every weekend. During the week, she lives in the dorm at the school. Somehow, whether due to theft or carelessness, she comes home with fewer pieces of underwear and socks than she went to school with. My friend asked if I could help with some new underwear and socks for her, so she will have some to take with her when she goes to rehab (in a town 3 hours away). That I could do, and this afternoon I will be doing some online shopping for those items. I will have to see how much I have saved from my weekly household money before I know how much I can buy. (Saving from that weekly money is the only way I can afford to send the things I do.)
My friend is very concerned about her older daughter. She turned 18 this fall and is getting into things that are not very good. She still lives at home but takes off for days/weeks at a time. It drives my friend crazy. I told her that there really isn’t much she can do about it, since her daughter is legally an adult. Apparently the daughter has been drinking and getting drunk quite a bit. She calls my friend to tell her she was in a fight and got beaten up. Of course, my friend worries. I asked my friend if she listened to her mother when she was 18. She replied, “Nope, cause I ran away and got married.” There you go. I asked her if she listened to her mother when she was 14 (like my “godchild”). Her reply was negative. I told her that’s because 14 year olds don’t listen to anyone. I told her we all have to learn our own lessons. Some of us learn them the easy way; others insist on the hard way. She had gone the hard way and it appeared her children were doing the same. It is hard because my friend stopped drinking for her daughters and has been clean and sober for some time.
My friend is still depressed but afraid to take medication due to the side effects that drug advertising has to include. I told her side effects are unlikely – they have to put those in there to cover their butts. I do wish she would do something. She is still suffering from depression after the death of her 16-year-old daughter last March, very likely PTSD.
I mentioned to my friend that I had heard the domestic violence shelter on the rez had been undergoing a financial audit. (Domestic violence is very common on the rez.) She told me that her sister is on a local committee and had said the same thing. Her sister, however, was privy to information I had not known. Apparently the shelter was a million dollars in the red for some reason. She also informed me that the tribal casino (not to be confused with the fantastically successful Connecticut Indian casinos!) was apparently having (more) financial trouble. They were not paying their vendors, resulting in shops that had very little in them, not even cigarettes. They were not repaying the loan they received from another tribe. No one knows where the money they glean from the locals spending their social security checks playing penny slots has gone. Ahh, rez life – the more things change, the more they stay the same.
I spoke to another woman on the rez today who related how the Christmas blizzard had left them snowed in from December 24th to December 29th. No one on the rez owns snow blowers, of course. The only snow blower is the wind, which left up to 8 foot drifts! The National Guard had to be called in with heavy equipment to get people out.
I’ve got to go back to my “work” of calling people on the rez to see how things are going. I got in requests for sponsors from 2 new families today. I don’t have any sponsors available right now. One of the requests really got to me in its simplicity. A 30-year-old dad and 26-year-old mom with 6 children aged 9,8,6,4,2 years and a 2 month old need help. The dad wrote, under Family Resources, “no income Just TNAF (sic; TANF) for my kids not a nouth”. I would say I know where my next sponsor is going, but the truth is, I say that every time I get a new family or speak with one that has been on the list for a while.
After a few more calls, I guess I’ll go underwear shopping.