My name is Kris Heaton. I live in Connecticut. At a church function in my hometown, I was introduced to Sylvia Webb. After we talked and she returned to Arizona. I decided to be a supporter of her mission. While on a business trip to Flordia, I was getting ready to fly back to connnecticut and I decided I wanted to go to Arizona. I called her, she said, come on over! I did! The drive up the mountain from Phoenix was breath taking. Cactus, blue sky WOW! The next day Sylvia and I, with her daughter driving, we headed out early for the reservation. Warning! The elevation at 6000 feet can be taxing. Another warning – hold on to your seat, the miles of wagon trails are rough!
Indian Mobile Mission? It is “MOBILE” and has a mission!!
We arrived at school. The staff and students all wanted to be the first to give Sylvia a hug. I never saw anyone get so many hugs, hundreds at least that day. The staff talked with me and told me how they were toddlers when Sylvia arrived fifty-one years ago. And now they smile and say we are the teachers and school bus drivers because Sylvia encouraged us to get in school. I also met the principle who is from New Jersey. He is finding his way around this foreign country called the Navajo Reservation. He could not say enough about the things Sylvia and Junior do to help the students. Classroom supplies, new clothes, shoes, toiletries and words of encouragement.
I enjoyed talking with a real live cowboy. He is also a bus driver. He told me about his horses, rodeo riding awards. He chuckled and pointed to scars and bumps when he flew in one direction and the horse galloped away in another. I loved his deep laugh when he said, sometimes the horse wins.
At school, some of the boys wore western hats to class. I felt like I was at a huge happy family reunion. Students, staff and community lined up for a meal. I caught a glimpse of Sylvia’s daughter serving meals to Navajo Children. Sylvia and her daughter have the same name thus the Junior defines who is who.
Sylvia asked a small boy if he goes to bed hungry. He looked down at his feet and said, “I have no bed.” Another story I heard was a boy who wanted to play soccer. The teachers were in a huddle about why he keeps falling. Soon the truth was known, he was wearing his sister’s big shoes (they share) and he was tripping over his feet…. Sylvia and YOU to the rescue!
The Sylvia’s need your help. As you read this school will be starting. Hundreds of children will enter their classrooms empty handed. A tall old Navajo man hugged Sylvia. At home his is called Big Daddy. He was dead set against education for his grandson. Sylvia talked with Big Daddy many times. This year the grandson Foot Runner went into 6th grade passing with flying colors. The boy said someday I will care of Big Daddy.
And this was just my first day with Sylvia and the Navajos. Come see for yourself. I’m going home and tell everyone….. I went, I saw the raw truth and the need. Let’s help Sylvia and Junior stay on the trails where the real need is.
Till the next Adventure in Navajo Land!
Kris from Connecticut