Geraldine Little Boy needs a new home. Before winter sets in on the Northern Plains. Geraldine has been living in the same dilapidated trailer for ten years and each year it becomes more rickety. Rugs cover holes in the floor, plastic covers windows where the glass blew out. The roof leaks and a recent tornado further damaged the trailer.
The trailer was old and rickety when Geraldine, now 60, first got it. The furnace never worked, so Geraldine and her grandson, 5, heat with wood, when they’re able to get it. The wood stove keeps the living room warm, if the other rooms are closed off, but is poorly ventilated and fills the room with smoke. Geraldine has diabetes and her grandson has numerous colds and sore throats and ear infections through the smoky winter months. They need a safe warm place to live this winter and for the rest of their lives.
Geraldine has had a hard life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Born in a tent in a Nebraska field where her parents were digging potatoes, she never got a bootstrap to pull herself up by. Her mother ran off when she was six. She grew up without electricity or running water. She raised seven children, and has always lived in poverty. As a Lakota Indian living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Geraldine keeps her ceremonies and prays to the Creator for a safe home... and waits.
Some would say Geraldine never had a chance. In her own words, she reflects on her choices without dwelling on the limited options, like no grocery stores and lack of clean water, and the full-time job of raising seven children: “I wished I finished my education and had a good job but I messed up when I was very young and dropped out of school and running away from home often, I had a very hard life in my childhood and teenage years, and as I got older in my mid-50's I was diagnosed as being a diabetic, I was careless with my eating habits with greasy foods and I used to drink a lot of soda pop, and now I regret it but damage is already done and I'm suffering for it, and now I'm older and having health problems, And it's hard for me to buy healthy foods and how to cook healthy foods? I'm trying to be careful of what I eat and drink but it's hard to do that sometimes…This old trailer is very old and it's badly damaged and it can't be repaired, and tornado moved it 3-feet east off the cylinder bricks, so trailer is crooked and it cracked 4-places on foundation in trailer, and bathroom floor is cracked and the tolit stool is off the sewer pipes and it's cracked, and the odd house outside blown away and it broke the door and sides but Everette put it back on the hole and put it back together so we’re using the odd house outside, and it's unsafe for us to stay here but we have no place-else to stay, and it's frustrating waiting for help here but we’re still waiting and hoping for a better decent trailer or house.”
This has been a slow brewing emergency for Geraldine. She has needed a new home for a long time. The recent tornado and the increasing dilapidation of her current home have brought new urgency to her need. The arrival of winter will cause a crisis.
What does it cost to get a new home for Geraldine?
A Rapid City Company will provide a pre-owned trailer, transportation, site prep, anchoring and skirting for $45,000.
- Ronda Hall
- Penny Smith-Bogert
- Aidan Diamond
- Mary Duprey
- Michael Trusty
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