Sunday, January 26, 2014

     Owen has been concerned about the fire protection in this area.  He has met with Chapter Council and also the Chapter President a few times.  They are aware that it is a problem, but can't seem to get past the talking stage.  So he asked them if he was able to get some equipment, would they want it.  Of course they said yes. 
     Owen called Greg Oliver, our fire chief in Cleveland.  He checked with all the county fire departments.  Greg called back and said that Cleveland had some turn-out gear, respirators, and a length of hose and nozzle that they would donate.  He hadn't heard from the other departments. 
     Ron and Charlotte's family were coming the next week to Cortez for her grandmother's funeral, so they picked up the equipment from Greg and met us in Shiprock last Sunday.   They also brought Owen's own turn-out gear.  So.o.o.o good to see them, even if was for only a few minutes.
     Owen let the Chapter President know he had the equipment, and he came up to see what it was.  He said the next chapter meeting was Friday at nine and wanted us to come and show the council the equipment.
     Friday morning around eight, I happened to look out the window and saw a whole lot of smoke to the south.  I told Owen that that was too much smoke for someone just stoking their stove, it had to be serious.  He grabbed his gear and left to go check things out.  Sure enough it was a house fire.  It was pretty well gone by time he got there, but he did help out where he could and made some good contacts with two other fire departments.  The home belonged to a single mom, her five children, and a grandmother.  The children had left for school, and the mother wasn't home.  The only one in the home was the grandmother.  She had smoke inhalation, but is going to be okay.  Their wood burning stove was too close to the wall, and over time caused the fire to start.  The only thing they got out with was the clothes on their backs.  Pretty sad deal.  Most of the source of heat around here is wood burning stoves.  They have no insurance, and not even a garden hose to start spraying water until help arrives.  All they could do was just watch it burn.  They do have the grandmother's home they can live in so they aren't homeless.  The Chapter helped them buy clothes, and a few other things and the Navajo Nation will also help. 
     Ironic that a major burn-out would occur on the very day Owen was meeting to present them with equipment and offer further help to get a fire department up and running.  It kind of brought to light of how much something really needs to be done.
     We made our trip to Tsaile and Chilchinbeto on Monday.  Tsaile hasn't had any more problems, but we had to go back to Chilchinbeto on Thursday.  Finally, finally I think Owen traced the problem to a loose connection where that line connects to the fuse box.  We are keeping our fingers crossed.  On the way home we stopped in Ganado at the Hubble Trading Post which is a National Monument.  It was built back in the 1870s, but all the buildings and the home have been preserved and it still functions as a trading post today.  It was a pretty neat place to visit.  Course Owen had to check out all their old farm machinery.
     He got a call yesterday that the RV in Bitter Springs (up by Tuba City - 263 miles away) has a water leak.  Oh, joy!  Another road trip this week.
     One day we drove by the post office and weren't going to stop because we don't get a whole lot of mail.  Owen decided to turn around and go back and check.  A lady was leaving the post office as we pulled up.  When she saw Owen, she turned around, came back, and started talking to him.  She (Margaret Yazzi) is a member, but hasn't been to Church in a long time.  We got her phone number and found out where she lives.  Then as he was walking back to the truck, another lady (Alfreda Baldwin)  stopped him and said she was sorry for not making it to Church on Sunday, but wanted to go this week.  When I picked her up today, three of her grandchildren also came.  Not only that, but Sister Margaret came, too.  I was thrilled to see them all there.
     After the meetings, the Branch had a pot luck dinner.  I had made a big bowl of acini di pepe (frog-eye salad).  No one seemed to be taking my salad.  I think it was new to the majority of them.  I heard someone say it was made with frog eggs, at which all the kids pulled faces.  Then someone said it was frog eyes.  Owen told them that we were up most of the night trying to catch enough frogs for the salad.  Finally some got brave enough to try it.  It wasn't long until they were scraping the bottom of the bowl to get every last bit.
     Every week new and exciting things happen.  We get to meet more people and see more of the countryside.  It is a great place, the people are so special, and we are happy for the opportunity we have of serving in this special place.

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