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In the wake of the epidemic, the Navajo community is taking action for its vulnerable groups

TIESTO, Ariz. (AP) – As long as Raymond Clark lived alone under the control of the Praying Mountain in this quiet part of the Navajo nation, he depended on everyone but no one.

The 71-year-old man has no means of transportation, running water, but enough to hitchhike, carrying jugs through the dusty sinks to replenish his supply. She works at home in Teesto, painting murals and silverware, but her friends often stop there.

Or at least they did before the epidemic. Now walks and visits are scarce in an area where there is no grocery store or gas station, where houses are far apart.

The sense of community, however, has never faded. By urging residents to stay home, family workers, health workers and volunteers have stepped up their efforts to ensure that the most vulnerable citizens receive the help they need.

“Our grandparents taught us that you must give back to your people,” said Sophia Francis, secretary of the Testo branch of 110 tribal areas in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. “We have to help our elders. We need to help the community. ”

Clark is among hundreds who live in a rural branch that served as a community rescue unit even before the epidemic.

On the last day, he went out of his house among the juniper trees to greet the three members of the Testo branch who were unloading firewood from a flat trailer. It was unexpectedly hot, but Clark knew he needed the wood the cold days before.

In addition to moving the timber, he filled people’s homes in reservoirs set up for monthly food bank distribution, provided septic cleaning, and provided a one-time supply of propane during the epidemic. The Tribunal legislature has also distributed grass.

“The biggest thing I tried to encourage was for people not to travel,” said Clara Oss, the branch manager.

In many ways, the foundation was already laid. When he was hired by OS OS in 2015 as a head planner, he was working on a rural address book system that included GPS coordinates for each house. Community ratings mean Teesto knows who needs bath, water or wood in the bathroom.

The Winslow Indian Health Center has worked with Teesto այլ other chapters in its service area to chop and prepare the wood.

The Community Health Network is looking for ways to get dialysis, medication or emergency care. Many times they go from house to house to check on people. The epidemic has expanded that practice. During each visit, the representatives disinfect their vehicles, when they arrive they blow the horn, talk to the residents through the windows or screen doors.

“They are grateful. “They are grateful,” said Sheila Bedoni, who oversees health care in Winslow. “And sometimes we show up when no one is around.”

In this way, the communities of the region learned more about their expanding needs. Health officials found new residents, families living in cottages, and even someone living on the mountain in a temporary shelter.

“When that really happened, no one knew what to do with our experience,” Bedoni said. “We have learned a lot. There are many positive things we can take away from that. ”

Nearly 30,000 people in the reserve were infected with COVID-19 last year, and more than 1,200 people died. What was once a national hotspot has seen a significant drop in infections in the weeks since the holiday season.

Tribe is planning a soft reopening on Monday at 25% capacity for some businesses under certain restrictions. There are still mask mandates – daily curfew.

When COVID-19 hit the Teesto branch on Thanksgiving, Tsosie was overwhelmed, worried about his crew. Workers gathered to check on an infected partner, deliver food, and prepare traditional herbs.

“Sometimes I think we all feel like we want to give up,” he said. “We can not give up.”

The other heads of the Navajo nation were closed from time to time. Teesto has never been completely shut down. Before the epidemic, people used to go to their home to use the Internet, fill their drums with pickups, check letters, dump rubbish, and ask for help with funerals or other emergencies.

These services are now more controlled. Public access to the main building of the head is not allowed. When people go upstairs, they knock or are spotted on surveillance cameras, and employees take to the streets to meet them. The meeting room has limited space for students to do homework. Others pick up the Wi-Fi signal outside their cars.

Signs remind people to wear masks and social distance.

Clark spent a lot of time in the senior center next door, but now not much is being done in nearby communities, except for checking his letter to get shots of chronic hip pain.

Before the epidemic, people regularly stopped at Clark’s two-room house, where he turned almost all of the space into an art studio and slept on the couch. A mural depicting the role of Navajo men in society will soon be installed at the local school.

In the living room, Clark giggles as he describes how he uses a plastic trash can to wash his hands and take a bath with a sponge. He made a tap with a foot pump, a tube with a և 5 gallon bucket, but drank bottled water. Outside, there is an anonymous, nasty puppy that someone threw down by dawn, one day.

Clark goes back to that time in his childhood, taking care of the sheep, shining a mirror in the air to take his neighbors for a walk.

“We had to learn how to help ourselves, even at a young age,” he said.



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