Day 7 – March 24, 2017
The day was pretty warm throughout even from the morning. First we went to the Cumberland Hope Center for their community meeting. Their community meeting is a group discussion where they all begin by saying how many issues they have along with any concerns they have about the other women. They focus on one woman throughout the discussion and help her come up with a plan to help her overcome her problems. This plan is called a “contract” that lasts for a certain amount of time. We were honored to be asked to be part of community and to be able to vote on the contract.
Later in the day we went to Portal 31. Portal 31 is an old coal mine in Lynch, Kentucky. We got in a cart and rode in and throughout the coal mine learning its history and history about coal mining in general from the early 1900’s to modern day. Marvin, the Portal 31 staffer, said they hoped to have 10,000 visitors in 2017.
There was a coffee shop across the street where we bought a coal dust latte which was a dark and white chocolate flavored coffee drink. Some of us bought shirts that said “on the third day, God made coffee.” The shop is in the old lamp house, where miners picked up equipment for their work.
We next headed to the coal mining museum. We learned about the different kinds of coal, equipment, and the advancement of the coal mining technology. Don showed us around the museum. He used to be a miner for 40 years and has been retired from it for 10 years now. We went into a mock mine and learned that there were no actual bathrooms underground so there were portable seats that no one actually used. Don was so enthusiastic about his life that he could have kept us at the museum for another hour. He said he believes coal mining will come back to a certain extent but more in the West than in Kentucky.
To end the day, we went to El Charrito, which is a Mexican restaurant. Many of us ordered the Tres Amigos dish which consisted of steak meat, chicken, and shrimped covered in cheese along with grilled onion and pineapples, with rice and tortillas on the side. We enjoyed the spring like weather by siting and chatting on the church steps and trying out dance moves on the lawn.