Joe and Lena Fast Horse run a "safe house" for Lakota children, even though, with a leaky roof and rampant black mold, the cramped house in Wounded Knee would not be considered safe by most standards. You have been supporting construction of a truly safe home for their children on a beautiful hillside overlooking Pine Ridge.
The logistics of building on the Pine Ridge Reservation are daunting: the nearest hardware store is five hours away; volunteers are ready to help, but depend on donated tools and building supplies.
The Fast Horse family urgently needs to get out of their mold-infested house before winter. This is a good-news, bad-news story:
Just being out on the land instead of in a dilapidated village will renew their souls during the long winter ahead. And then, next spring, building of the permanent structures will continue with renewed enthusiasm.
After the children stranded in Gorno-Altaisk because of washed-out roads were able to get home, project leader Svetlana Katynova made the grueling two-day trip to Tyungur Village at the base of Mount Belukha. With your donations for materials, she had built a free children's camp there over the past several years, to immerse local children in their native culture and to teach them their language and heritage.
The camp was completely destroyed by the flooded Katun River, which rose in June to thirty feet above normal spring highs. What remained is a tangle of tree trunks and brush. Svetlana made the best of it: "At least we won't lack for firewood this winter."
However, because Tyungur Village was completely flooded and the villagers are essentially on their own, the kids' camp was needed more than ever -- if only to free the adults to rebuild their homes. Svetlana arranged for the camp to be moved to the Ust Kan district, which was not affected by the flooding. She sends her deepest gratitude for your donations that enabled the camp to continue.
Then she and her husband Sasha -- both senior citizens now -- returned to Tyungur to help with the clean-up. The villagers may have plenty of wood, but their subsistence gardens were all washed away. So your autumn donations will help provide for winter food, which is essential for cultural sustainability. Thank you for your interest and support.
For Joe and Lena's "children's safe house" on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, we will be installing solar panels which will have the capacity to run a a laptop, etc, but mostly the incoming energy will be stored in car batteries which can, in turn, be hooked up to the power inverter to provide 120v AC.
Last summer on the Fast Horse Land we had two tornadoes pass by our campsite, one on either side...and they took down nine power poles on the highway. Pine Ridge Village and much of the surrounding area were without power for a few days. With this system, the family can still have the services they need to care for the children and the house.
Joe and Lena currently have nine children in their home; five are by birth and four by circumstance. Additionally, they work with Lakota Oyate Wakanyeja Owicakiyape (LOWO) as an emergency placement home for children and have been doing volunteer work for Tiyospaye Crisis Center for two years.
They currently live in Wounded Knee Village, but their dream is to build an eco-sustainable children's safe house and family home on our land in the Wakpamni District. Your donation take us a step closer to accomplishing that dream.