Saturday, January 24, 2009

Komatke Center

We spent the early part of the day at the employee grand opening of the Komatke center. Komatke is the Pima word for mountain. The center is a 90,000 square foot health care facility planned to help care for the community and surrounding Native American population. The spaces in the building are minimally used at this time and are planned for significant growth. They offer dentistry, optometry, podiatry, physical therapy, radiology, laboratory services and primary care services. All of the services are not up yet.

The grand opening consisted of several speakers, traditional music and dancers a live band, tours of the facility, and lunch. Traci has a weekend with her friends planned, Savannah is in Illinois and I am here with Shane and Sophia. I decided to take them to the opening. Shane was not impressed, fussing, fuming and crying through most of the opening activities. We took a tour of the impressive modern facilities and Shane began to warm up to the idea of being there. Sophia played the whole time, quietly bouncing around at my feet.

We had a lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers with salad, potato salad, and bbq beans. The kids ate a hot dog each and a piece of cake so when they finished they were wound up goof balls. There I was with most of the people I either work for or with and Shane was into some intriguing play of robot karate done in rapid staccato movements. At first I thought he may have been having some sort of muscle spasms but then recognized his robot/spaceship sounds he usually makes with such play.

The Ak Chin clinic I work at is an out post of the Komatke center. I thought it would be nice to see what was being offered at the parent organization and meet some of the people I had spoken with on the phone or over e-mail. The kids' wild mannerisms make me think I may have been better off to have stayed at home. The one gem of the day was meeting Cheryl and Frenoy's daughters.
Cheryl is the operations coordinator at Ak Chin. She is only filling in until someone more permanent could be hired. I have had the good fortune of being able to car pool with Cheryl off and on through the week. This helps Traci stay out of the car as long on the days she has to take the kids to school. Cheryl is Pime and Frenoy is Samoan. This combination makes for some interesting dynamics in their family. Frenoy's children came to Arizona to live with Cheryl and Frenoy and they are all Samoan. Cheryl tells how her children have such a difficult time fitting in at school. First they look different than the Pimas. They also started out only speaking Samoan so a language barrier was another problem. They have been here for several years but Cheryl states they continue to suffer harassment from the Pima children at school.

Fridays are school days for Shane. He's having difficulty separating from his mother to go to school. He goes one day a week and dreads going, or mostly dreads being away from his sweet dear mother. We endure his complaints and when he gets home he has tales of fun, adventure and learning. He seems to have a good time at school.

After the Komatke celebration we went to South Mountain and hiked. Again much protestation happened from the voices of the kids. We passed a group on horse back and the guide looked at me and said "We have pony rides for kids six and under!" When Shane was two he rode a horse at the YMCA camp in Potosi, Missouri. He spent the rest of that trip talking about "yee has", his name for horses. He was fascinated and a little obsessed about these animals. I think when this guy says this thing about riding ponies it drove Shane straight back to those days. He immediately began a passionate argument for riding the horses. A persistent request for a chance to ride the horses today set the tone of our hike around South Mountain.
He asked if he could ride by himself, if we could ride today, when can we ride, can we ride around the mountain, do they have ride right now, can we look when we leave... I did my best no to commit and also not to crush his curiosity and enthusiasm. We didn't find the stables on the way home but looked up the service online and found the specifics of the activity. We now have planned to wait until Savannah and Traci get back before we ride off into the mountains. Shane was disappointed he couldn't go horse back riding right now but moved on to a game of Ben 10. He appears to be over it.

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