The Drive Back Home for a Teacher on the Reservation

Delyssa Begay Education, Life in the Classroom, Social Issues

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It's a Sunday afternoon in Phoenix, Arizona. Beautiful. It isn't too hot, and it's relaxing to walk in the park with children. I kiss my niece and nephew farewell and tell them I look forward to Thanksgiving break.

Now, it's time to drive back to Many Farms with a partner who can talk about any subject and his three kids. The first sign has Flagstaff – 110 miles. It's a drive through windy mountain passes and rocky mesas with signs for dried up rivers and creeks. We are heading back to the Navajo reservation and my little community which is located near the Four Corners (Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah). The kids are asleep and we are tired from driving all across the state to get to the big city of Phoenix.

We talk about Navajo and Apache history because of the landmarks, which leads to talk about personal family histories, which then leads to current events in the state and local communities. And then we pull over in Flagstaff, before the 225 mile drive to Many Farms, for a quick dinner at McDonalds. The kids are restless and need to move around. Flagstaff is the last town that has a movie theater, a university campus, and a mall. 

We cross the line that has a sign that reads, "Welcome to the Navajo Indian Reservation." Driving after the sun has set means that we have to strain our eyes to look for livestock and wildlife on the highways. There are no street lights on those long, curvy, isolated roads. It's risky and we have to keep each other awake with more talk about landscape, family, personal stories, work, and education.

It's 8:30 p.m. when we return home. Considering that we left Phoenix late in the afternoon, that's great time. Sleep doesn't come easy because of the caffeine in the system and concern about the lesson for the next day.

 

DeLyssa Begay

Many Farms, Arizona

I belong to the Black Sheep People. My clan is my mother’s, and my father’s is One-Who-Walks-Around People. I am granddaughter to the Bitter Water and Red-Streak-into-Running Water Peoples. That’s mouthful, but it is my identity.

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