UND Center for Community Engagement

Grace-Day 4

In Students' Reflections on March 17, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Whoop! Happy St. Patty’s Day! I have to say today may have been one of the best days so far. Our current location is Tioga, ND. We spent our day at the local Senior Citizen Center where we continued our interviews with local elderly’s from around town. Each person I had a chance to talk with had such intriguing stories about their lives. One person in particular I had fun chatting with was a woman, Irene.

Irene had so many funny stories about her life growing up on a farm. I had asked her what her and her siblings did for fun back in the day; she said they would always play in the barn. Her brothers and sisters would actually race the calves, inside their barn, by sitting on top of the baby cow and pulling on their tails to ignite the ‘gas’- similar to starting a car. Both of us were laughing so hard at this, just the thought of how funny and creative her childhood was when it came to creating fun.

Besides the amount of fun Irene had throughout her life she also overcame a major fight, cancer. In her late 30’s she went in for a doctor appointment in which she was diagnosed with cervical cancer- and a pregnancy at once. How incredible to hear you are pregnant and yet facing a huge battle.
To her amazement, she had her baby and beat cervical cancer! She completely did the impossible, because she chose to go through with her pregnancy and delay treatment of her cancer until later. She explained to me that her baby saved her life and helped defeat the disease. This was her first and only child and that is such a beautiful miracle and story in one.

I have felt so filled with love after this trip. Learning about how rural towns use community as their number one asset to keep their economy alive. Irene’s story proves just this, because the town came together and helped her in every way they could throughout her pregnancy and battle with cancer.

I already cannot believe tomorrow is our last day on this trip, I am so grateful for the people I have met and those who allowed me to learn about their lives. Only one day left, I’m excited to find out what tomorrow brings me!


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