Day #5 A day of many co·in·ci·dences

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 I went to a store called Scheels, they are like REI, and I purchased hand warmers, more warm socks, -20 degree sleeping bag, self inflatable sleeping pad, a small head lamp, emergency blanket, another rain poncho, cord, an all purpose tool, and a better backpack. When you spend over $50.00 there, they give you a free shirt and hat. I knew I was going to sleep in the car because I did not have enough money for a good tent. So, I did not go cheap on these supplies – it was beginning to get very cold here.

I began my drive and got to Mandan, the next town. I decided to fill the tank and as I got out the car I noticed a pickup truck in front of me. There were about 5 people sitting in the back! It was very cold and I said hello because I was sure they were going to the camp too. Yes! They were happy to ride with me. I had 4 people ride with me in the warm car and we all talked about recent events. It turned out that one woman was heading for Grandma’s Kitchen, also known as the California Kitchen, that has the best food! This is how I ended up at the California Kitchen for the next few days!

Oceti Sakowin Camp 

The California Kitchen: Grandma is an elderly woman who loves to cook. She organized this kitchen in the early days of the camp, determined to feed everyone who entered with good food. When you meet her, you love her, immediately. She is a very good person with a heart and it shows. I never saw her angry or frustrated, she was always smiling.  The kitchen runs on donations and volunteers. People volunteer to clean, to cook, to prep, to wash dishes, to serve the food. There are always way too many volunteers! Before every meal is a prayer. It is a prayer to make you think. How do you enter the camp with a prayerful heart? How do you serve others? How do you behave with other people? There is a very thoughtful prayer and a long one. So that you are not in haste to eat, you must think first. All elders, women, and children are served first. This was a theme throughout the camp. Woman, children, and elders are given the upmost respect.

After dinner, I went to the Medicine Circle Sacred Fire. There was singing and drumming into the night.

During the evening and into the night, there was a plane circling overhead. I could see the lights from the construction in the distance.