The town of Bloomfield is located in New Mexico in a desert crisscrossed by gullies where only scrub oak, piñon, and mesquite are hardy enough to survive. Within the town is our affiliated project the Huerfano Dormitory, which was originally designed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a school. The Huerfano (pronounced “WAR-fen-oh”) Dormitory was converted into a dormitory when the families that live in the Navajo communities in the outskirts of Bloomfield decided they wanted their children to be able stay in town during the school week, because their homes were too far away to make daily commuting viable. Once the school was converted, students in kindergarten through grade twelve began staying there five days a week, making the dorm like a second home for them.
A hogan for a first home
Families of children that stay at the Huerfano Dormitory typically live in traditional Navajo homes called hogans, which are made of logs and mud, in communities where there is rampant poverty. Due to widespread, debilitating unemployment, many parents struggle to afford even the most basic necessities. The socioeconomic effects of poverty, including broken homes, alcoholism, unemployment, and hopelessness, pervade Navajo life. Thankfully, all the children who stay at the Huerfano Dormitory and attend public schools in nearby Bloomfield receive three well-balanced meals a day - and those that have sponsors receive much-needed assistance.
While visiting the Huerfano Dormitory, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, first met with Elsie, our Volunteer Coordinator there. Elsie is an experienced, long-time coordinator for Children Incorporated. She is the Residential Manager for the dorm, and holds a master’s degree in clinical social work from the University of Denver.
Elsie told Renée that the dorm only recently obtained high-speed internet access. As such, she asked Renée to consider the dorm as a possible recipient of support from our Hope In Action Fund to purchase laptops and tablets for its residents. She said that the kids also need more blankets for the cold New Mexico winter nights.
Susan’s very own sponsor
After talking with Elsie about the needs of the dorm, Renée was able to meet some of our sponsored and unsponsored children. First, she met Jonathan*, who is in the sixth grade and loves hanging out with his friends. She also met Brian, who is in the eighth grade and likes to doodle and draw. Next, Renée met Susan, who is in the third grade. At the time, Susan was unsponsored. During their visit, Susan told Renée that her favorite thing to do is play outside.
Elsie said that Jonathan and Brian’s sponsors have been an incredible help and a blessing, and that she couldn’t wait for Susan to also become sponsored and be able to have that experience as well. Just a few short weeks later, when Renée returned back to our office, she was able to match Susan with her very own sponsor.