UND Center for Community Engagement

Grace-Day 2

In Students' Reflections on March 16, 2011 at 12:15 am

To say I have recently placed myself entirely out of my comfort zone, I have surprisingly never felt so at home. The most recent towns we have traveled to were Hettinger and Regent. Both of these places were filled with people who welcomed us with open arms.

One of the most interesting people I was able to chat with was an elderly woman named Betty. She reminded me of my own family, and those who knew her even referred to her as ‘everyone’s grandma’. Through a personal interview/conversation Kelly and I shared with her, we learned a bit about what life was like for her growing up.

Comparing her story of growing up was entirely different to the way of life I am used to. She told me stories of when her family received their first telephone in their home, the night games she would play with the neighborhood kids, and the homemade food her mom would make.

Hearing her stories made me think of my own stories I have to share and even made me think about the own stories my grandparents and parents have. After talking with Betty, I realized how important stories are and how they make up the people we become. We also had a chance to talk with a professional story teller, Ceil Anne Clement, who said something that really stuck with me was something along the lines of how important it is to hear the stories of those who came before us, and how when they pass away without telling their stories, it is like a library burning down, never to be restored. I loved this idea. I encourage everyone to talk your grandparents and learn who they were.

By learning who these people were I was able to grasp their way of life and their love for their hometowns. They take pride in restoring and keeping the town alive. In Regent, ND, we talked with a really incredible man named, Gary Greff. He is one of the most inspiring and innovative people I have ever personally met. With the help of his brothers, he is single handedly building up the economy of Regent, through his metal sculptures along a stretch of highway called, the Enchanted Highway.

Learning how he came to developing the idea and working to transform where he lives was really energizing. I could feel his passion and love of life when he showed us the sculptures and other plans of re-inventing Regent.

It’s only Tuesday and I already feel overwhelmed with all the experiences I have had, but in a good way! So far, this trip has been exceeding my expectations.

 

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