Walla Walla Washington, April 14, 1999.
Walla Walla means "land of many waters" in the native Cayuse language. The Cayuse are the indiginous people of the area. Since my departure from Portland OR, I have been following route 14 and route 12 which run along the historic Lewis and Clark trail. This later lead to the establishment of the Oregon Trail used extensively in the Westward expansion. Walla Walla is a very historic town. 10 miles west is the Whitman Mission origionally established in 1836 by Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa, now preserved as a historic site. As emigration to the Northwest increased in the 1840's, the Whitman mission became an important station along the Oregon Trail. It was a place where Native American Cayuse cutlture mixed with the expanding western culture. A place for the exchange of knowledge at skills, but an area of tention as well. Cultural differences climaxed in 1847 with an outbreak of measles that killed many of the Cayuse people. On Nov. 29 of that year a few suspicious Cayuse took the lives of the Whitman's and 11 others ending the missionary effort.
380 miles behind me, a whole lot more to come! I made it to Walla Walla, early yesterday afternoon and checked in with my host Brenda Simms, a teacher at Green Park Elementary. Brenda is also a returned Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Honduras. She was nice enough to open her home and cabinets, up to me as well as negotiate a classroom visit this afternoon with a 5th grade class at Green Park. Brenda is a shining example that, there is still such a thing as human kindness, and openess. We tend to be bombarded on a dayly basis with negative stories and images of random acts of violence, and disregard for the general ethics of humanity. It forces us into a reclusive, protective shell which we seldom leave. We quickly establish our in-group of people we chat and remain in friendly contact with. We don't talk or relate much to new people which is comfortable and secure, but we miss out. I arrived here yesterday, and in a short visit I feel as if I have made a new friend, unplanned and unexpected. This is one of the great bennefits of a trip like this!
The sun continues to smile on me. Although the mornings can be cold, and the wind, if not blowing my way, can be bothersome, temperatures have been reaching into the 60's.
This entry is short, I hope to add another update within the next few days. I wanted to end with a quote:
"Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hinderances to the elevations of mankind."
- Henry David Thoreau