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Experiential Education for Community Development

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It was nearly dark. We found the turnoff near the garbage trucks. The directions included landmarks such as the "second fence," "the sheer cliff,'' "the dump." Following the rutted dirt road, we passed the dump and turned left toward what looked like buildings. After crossing a treacherous, high. earthen dam (with no water behind it) we found only deserted shacks and the remains of a large corral at the base of a magnificent sheer red rock wall. Recrossing the dam, we continued another two and one-half miles and came to a slanted wash behind a hillock which held a small barn and two residential buildings (one having been unfinished for some years). About a hundred sheep lay asleep packed into a corral. We parked the van and knocked on the door of the small house. Upon entering, we met Monica Damon (seemingly a strange Indian name-we found later that she was a descendant of an Irish cavalryman and a Navajo woman): she dressed very traditionally, and spoke no English. We spoke no Navajo. The house consisted of two rooms and a bathroom. Since there was no running water or electricity, the bathroom only acted as a storage area. We made our hellos and introductions (very awkwardly, because of the language barrier), and then sat around a blazing pot-bellied stove. The heat was intense. Few words were spoken. A little uneasiness was apparent.


In 'Experiential Education for Community Development', edited by Paul S. Denise and Ian M. Harris, published by Greenwood Press.