May 20, 2023
Red Lake, MN – May 7-20, 2023
Between thinking we would be able to move into the volunteer center and adding “two more days” onto our stay at the Seven Clans Casino Hotel, we have heard those words often. As I write, we are still waiting for local workers to cut through the bricks and add another door to the building. After a new door has been installed we should be able to move into the volunteer center and finally take up residence here. Meanwhile, it’s just “two more days”….
For the past two weeks a group of eleven students, their professor, and a very “handy” man from Goshen College joined the long-term volunteers at Red Lake. Tremendous amounts of work were done. Carpet squares were laid throughout most of the building, drywall was hung and mudded and painting was completed, some of the ceiling tiles and rails were installed., baseboards were cut and They did electrical work and plumbing jobs. Bunk beds were assembled. Cleaning was done. All in all, much was accomplished and MANY new skills were learned.
The volunteer center at Red Lake is obviously still a work in progress. The roof still leaks at places and trash cans and buckets stay in place to collect the water if it rains. We also need the doors installed and a new HVAC system. Then the ceiling can be completed. For several days we had no running water and the cooks had to boil the water so that dishes could be washed. Water was collected in the five gallon water coolers from Oshkimaajitahdah and carried into the building by the volunteers. A six-foot-deep trench was dug so that pipes could be laid for the water. But the process was slowed because the ground was still frozen and needed to thaw before digging could continue.
Extension cords disappeared as outlets were powered and things could be plugged in. Toilets became functional and we no longer had to use the port-a-potty or go across the street to the Trading Post to use their facilities. Showers were tested and proclaimed “better that at the hotel!”