The sleigh has been loaded with thousands of gifts, coats, hats, gloves, sporting equipment, high-quality, non-perishable food, and lots of love. The destination on Santa’s GPS is the Fort Peck Reservation in Poplar, MT. It is currently frigid (-10) and snowy, but that won’t dampen the spirits of these kids. Some years the LHNC elves have delivered the gifts in knee deep snow, gale winds, and frigid temperatures.
We will be sharing our travels this week through the digital world, look for us on Facebook! Starting Wednesday, you can follow every twist and turn of the elves journey. The laughter, the smiles, the tears of joy, the squeals of delight.
The first time you travel to the res and see these kids, you are struck by their beauty: beautiful complexions, dark thick hair, dark eyes and colorful names. There is a majestic quality to the kids. The younger kids are still very happy and supremely adaptable to even wretched conditions they must live in. With some of the older kids, you can see the apathy, the pessimism and the reality of their existence that has set in. They are imbued with a sense of hopelessness.
For over 11 years LHNC has been making the trip out to the reservation. Some people can see the kids and the conditions they live in and it doesn’t have a big impact on them. Others are disturbed and appalled and want to do something about it. Many of the doctors in LHNC have done missionary work in foreign countries. This is different, as this is not a one and done type of work. We continuously go back to the reservation at least twice a year to assure these kids consistency which they might not see from some of the people who promise them things.
Each visit we keep our word and help restore the health, hope and dignity to the kids. It fills us with joy when we hear reports back saying the kids are making better choices about their lives and we often hear miraculous success stories. They start to join in extracurricular activities such as clubs, sports, afterschool programs exc. Then they start to help others around them…they take the first step with them.
If any child lives in 3rd world conditions, it’s one too many. Once we say it’s okay for those kids to live like that, it imprisons everybody. That’s why we must take the first step. It’s not up to anybody else, it’s up to us. In the land of the free, either we all enjoy the same freedom and inalienable rights or do we still have a caste system with favorite sons and daughters in place even though we brag to the world about our freedom and equality.
Please share the spirit of LHNC with all of your media contacts and loved ones. The world needs to witness how a proud population of people are regaining their health, hope and dignity with a little help from people who care.