Manuela from Germany Shares Her Story
When I turned 50 in 2014, I had the feeling I should have a check on all my belongings and I separated several boxes of books, CDs, DVDs, handicraft and other materials which were important sometime in my past life, but of which I thought I won't need it any longer. It was a really good feeling to sell most of those items on eBay because I earned a lot of free space and in addition, some pretty good money as well. During that time, I found "One Spirit" on internet and I decided to spend that money on the okini list and on one particular family. As their sponsor, I feel very attached to Native Americans since I can remember and one of my favorite films is "Dances with wolves".
So I became the sponsor of Silvia, a Lakota woman who shares her trailer with several children and grand-children and still works even if she is nearly 65 years old now. In the beginning we communicated by letters. Later I sent her a laptop to simplify our communication. Because of the time-lag of 8 hours between Germany and South Dakota and my limited English skills, phone calls were a little difficult. By sending emails, we improved our communication very much and after a while, I had the feeling of knowing her half of my life span.
When she invited me to visit her at her home, I accepted her invitation and booked a flight to Rapid City for end of March. As soon as I entered her home, I felt a part of her huge family. I shared a room with one of her grand-daughters and I never felt alone there. Whenever I asked her a question I got an honest answer. I also met several members of her extended family and spent Easter Sunday with them. One day, I prepared a German dish for all which is very famous in my area.
What I appreciated very much was that that family also loves it to laugh. We had so much fun together during my stay there and when I left, I had the feeling I had found very close friends there.
Some of my own family members have given me some money to spend on Silvia's family. During my stay and many discussions with Silvia, I decided to give her the money for a tipi they needed for different Lakota ceremonies. Of course there are also other needs I could have spent it for, but for me it seems to be important to help Lakota families not only to survive, but also to save as much as possible of their rich Lakota culture and spirituality. When I headed to my visit, it seemed to be a great adventure, but now being back in Germany for a few days, everything already feels very familiar. I am sure we will meet again.
I encourage everyone, who is able and willing, to support Lakota people through One Spirit with a sponsorship or the Okini list.