A LONG, STRANGE SPRING BREAK
few details were clear about where we'd be
going and what we'd be doing. We knew
that Chauvin had a high Native American
population, and word got out that we'd be
staying on an Indian reservation. We knew
we'd be sleeping in tents, but I love camp-
ing, so that was fine by me.
Next, this was no well-oiled machine.
More like well-baked. The couple was
allowing workers from the Four Directions
relief organization to stay at the house and
do repair work in the area. About a dozen
people were staying there. They were all
from Washington state, and they said they'd
sailed down to the Gulf from Tennessee.
March 11. 13, 2006
As we pulled into a small gravel drive-
way, several things became crystal clear.
First of all, this was no Indian reserva-
tion. I still don't know where we got the
idea that we'd be staying on one, but our
home for the next week was a Native
American couple's backyard.We were
expected to cram tents and sleeping bags for
70 people into their 100- by 2S-foot lawn.
We weren't quite sure how, or
why, they did it, but no doubt
Magellan was jealous.
And they were smoking mar-
. ijuana. Lots of marijuana. One of
them walked around and
"blessed" the backyard for us. 1
don't think it worked - despite
wearing industrial-strength bug
spray, 1 got dozens of mosquito
bites on my legs. In fact, it's been
weeks since my trip, and I'm still
itchy. Our entire crew from
UNC began affectionately refer-
ring to our hosts as the hippies. Maybe not
the most politically correct term, but we all
agreed that the shoe fit.
As the sun rose on Sunday morning, so
did our spirits. Refreshed, we were ready
to begin doing some relief work.
First, though, we had to navigate the
"compost toilets," which in this case was
hippie-speak for "bucket," and the "solar
showers," which loosely translated means
"PVC pipe with a hole for water to come
I was actually quite fond of the show-
Tent space was a little crowded in
a backyard that had been billed
as a Native American reservation.
Makeshift solar showers and com-
post buckets awaited the UNC
teams at their headquarters in
May / ] u/'/ e 2006