By: Bella Secchiaroli
I know what you are thinking, New Mexico? What is there to do in New Mexico? The truth is, and I can confirm first hand, not a whole lot. It is a whole separate world from the East Coast and I realized that more and more throughout my trip. I went to New Mexico for a mission/service trip rather than a vacation for my February Break. It was truly an amazing experience. A group of eight girls from my school along with two chaperones set out for the Midwest and worked on a Native American, more specifically, Navajo reservation.
I was not sure what to expect from the trip, as we had not been given a ton of information about what we would be doing each day. However, I quickly learned this was a part of the Navajo “way of life” and culture. We stayed at a church on the reservation in a traditional Navajo house called a Hogan. Mainly, we did a lot of deep cleaning, organizing of their food pantries and clothes closets, as well as, some yard work. There was always more to do! We also did some outreach work, meaning a few of us each day would go and deliver supplies/visit/give company to the elderly or Navajos living in poverty.
Not only did we help the area we working in, tremendously, but we were also able to learn a substantial amount about the Navajos and their culture. Personally, I found it extremely interesting because it is easy for Americans to forget that these people were here from the beginning, and are still here, especially those of us living in the more populated areas like the coasts, where Native American population is very low. The Navajos were so kind and welcoming, it is sad to think they were once abused and even still mistreated today. My trip also taught me to have a great appreciation for some of the Navajo values, like preserving the earth and “going with the flow.” Overall, I had a great time and we even got to do some sight seeing while we were there.
We were very close to the Arizona Boarder and towards the end of our adventure we took a day trip to Canyon de Chellye, a national park and supposed home of the Ancient Navajo. We took our time on the hike down a 600-foot cliff. Walking down was actually easy; walking up was the hard part! The Canyon was absolutely beautiful!!
Before we got to the airport, we spent the afternoon in Old Town, a part of Albuquerque. It was a beautiful town with many cute shops and interesting architecture, with a very native feel. Although I am exhausted, the trip was a great adventure and experience!
What did you do over your February Break?