Southwest Indian Relief Council
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A Program of PWNA


 Homebound but Happy

Marie, a Navajo Native American, is homebound. She spends most days in her bed or wheelchair, although she can walk with a walker. She has a few sheep, a cow, a pig, and a few stray dogs. Her granddaughter Erika lets the sheep out to roam during the day; at night they just come home.

When our staff visited her, Erika was there cleaning her grandmother's house. Roy, her son, was there too. Like his mother, Roy is in a wheelchair. We asked Roy how old he was but he did not know; he guessed 65. He wasn’t sure of his mother’s age either.

Photo of Marie looking at her new Winter Fuel photo of Marie in her home
Michael, SWIRC's Program Partner,
wheeled Marie out to see the delivered wood.
Marie is homebound, but happy.

It is common for Elders like Marie to speak Navajo.  During our visit, our Program Partners Ed and Michael were delivering her wood.   Ed spoke to Marie in Navajo and told her they had a truckload of firewood (through our Winter Fuel service) for her. Marie wanted to get into her wheelchair and go outside to see it. So he wheeled her out of the house, across the dirt yard, and over to her now-full woodpile.

She was smiling when she saw the wood. She noticed that the wood was cedar, which burns a lot longer and hotter than pine. This is hard wood to get in Tohajiilee. Ed told her it was trucked in over 70 miles. We do not know how much longer the cedar wood will last, but for the Elders, we know it translates to keeping them warm longer.

Before we left, Marie told Ed in Navajo she really appreciated the wood.  Her smile was payment enough.

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