Dave and I taught on the Hopi First Nation in Arizona for a year so I was very interested to read that the Hopi Nation along with the Navajo Nation that surrounds it, has been the recipient of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the country of Ireland.
Apparently, during the Irish potato famine from 1845-1849, the Choctaw First Nation in Oklahoma sent $170 to Ireland for famine relief. Now the people of Ireland have returned the favour by contributing to a fund established to provide assistance to people on the Hopi and Navajo nations. The high incidence of diabetes, a scarcity of running water and the practice of several generations living in the same house have enabled the coronavirus to spread more quickly through the territory of these two American First Nations. One-tenth of the COVID-19 cases in Arizona are on the Navajo or Hopi reservations. The leader of the Choctaw Nation says he is gratified that the generosity of his ancestors has resulted in assistance to other American First Nations who need the help the most.
Should I go back to my volunteer position? The Thrift Store run by Mennonite Central Committee is partially opening near the end of the month. I received an e-mail yesterday that volunteers are being invited to return under very strict regulations that will keep us socially distant. We will work with smaller, consistent groups of people.
I’ve indicated I’d like to go back, partly because of the fact that almost all of my other jobs and volunteer commitments have been put on hold and I’m anxious to get out of the house and do something useful. But I am also wondering if I am putting myself and my husband at risk by doing this. I am in the older age category that is most susceptible to the virus. The Thrift Store, however, provides an important service to the people in its neighbourhood and to people around the world who are the recipients of the funds it raises. Those services are needed now more than ever. I’d love to hear your feedback on what you think I should do.
When the pandemic first started, a former colleague of ours, Sharon Singh who is an award-winning technology educator in Australia, recommended the clear statistical information offered by a website created by Avi Schiffman a 17-year-old high school student from Seattle. My husband Dave has been visiting the website regularly ever since.
Avi, a self-taught computer geek, started the website in December and it now has 30 million followers. It updates itself with reliable coronavirus information every minute. Avi has turned down more than 8 million dollars in advertising for his site because he doesn’t want his viewers to be bothered by troublesome pop-up ads. This kid is a real hero. You can watch Avi being interviewed on the Trevor Noah show here.