I’ll admit, I was slightly surprised to see an Indian man the first time I was in Hyden.  I mean from India.  I was lost and needed directions to my destination, so I knocked on a house’s door and hoped that the folks in there were friendly.  I was shocked to see the guy, but grateful for his help.  Half a week later I find out he works at the hospital.  Turns out that there are a number of Indian doctors who come to this area.  I’d say that there are easily 5-10 households within an hour’s drive.  I was expecting to be enveloped by whiteness and found a little pocket of diversity.

So far I’ve seen nothing but respect for these doctors.  No snide remarks, no grudging acceptance, no hateful attitudes.  It is wonderful.  Hearing stories of intolerance from some other friends who grew up in more rural areas than I, I half expected to have to deal with race from the get go.  I’ll admit that when it comes to other races, religions, or lifestyles I have not seen much.  I have heard of some political intolerance.  Just, nothing centered on race.  I can honestly say I saw more racist behavior in a lunch hour at my old high school than I did in my two weeks here.

Part of the reason why the Hyden Reading Club for the local elementary school children can frustrate me at times is that the duel focus seems to be on cultural awareness.  Hence, the theme of Native Americans.  Yesterday they brought in a dancer and musician from a Native American background who is preserving her culture.  The kids really seemed to enjoy it.  They also seem to enjoy the stories we read out loud to them.  They’ve enjoyed the crafts they get to make.  They enjoy the program.  What frustrates me is when other volunteers from other organizations miss the entire point of the program (literacy and cultural awareness) and spent their time distracting the kids with just playing Spongebob things.  (Thankfully this did not happen yesterday, but they did not show up yesterday!)

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