We arrived at Rapid City Airport after a few short plane rides, and were picked up by the iconic Big Red school bus. The big red bus took us to Wall Drug store where we stopped to get a snack and see the attractions that it offered. A few hours later, we reached our final destination of La Plant. The staff greeted us and educated us on the basics of life at the community center. We were all very exhausted and fell quickly to sleep in the air conditioned room, although we were sleeping on the floor.
The next morning, we woke up to pancakes and miles and miles of hills. After a leisurely morning, we got to go on a tour of the community housing and the sites where we will work later this week. The environment out here is different from anything you could ever imagine at home. It is open, vast, and unforgiving. Once we had lunch, we divided into groups and started work projects. For the day, most of us stayed at the community center and started work on a playground, built up a garden and greenhouse, or cut out plywood buffalo to decorate and leave our mark on later in the week. A few of us did finishing work on a house that will be the next that Simply Smiles gives to someone.
The community center is a place open to all of the people of La Plant, and it is also where we are staying. The building was donated by a member of the tribe, but was originally used for storage. It has since been renovated and added onto. There is a pavilion, greenhouse, raised garden beds, and much more here. The goal here is to give the people living here something to be proud of and happy to live near. Some of the work here will benefit individual families, but other work we do will benefit the community as a whole by adding to the community center and increasing the food production by up to 50x. The growing season will be lengthened by enclosing the greenhouse here. Because food is so expensive, growing food and distributing it for free or at a low cost will provide much-needed healthy food, as well as helping to stimulate the economy.
We are all looking forward to the work this week!
Thank you for your support!