Tag Archives: dordt college

Looking for the Unexpected in Siouxland, Sioux Center

14 May

When I previously worked for newspapers as a staff photographer, I was always on the look out for the unexpected. Big and little things in life that seem out of the ordinary for the context in which you find it. While visiting Dordt College a bit ago with a class, we walked over to the small campus and was looking at the spring blossoming trees and sculpted art work that graces the campus grounds. And then, unexpectedly, I see a young woman “dumpster diving” a large trash bin. Dumpster diving has been around a few decades, as those less affluent in some parts of the country look for items that might be valuable to them while not valuable to the person who tossed the item into the trash.

It seemed a little out of place at this small Christian college, but then again, one man’s/woman’s trash is another’s treasure. The young woman explained she was looking for salvageable items she could use for next year’s term and unlike going through the trash in places like New York City or Los Angeles, these items were probably in a little better shape.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Ag Day in Siouxland, Sioux Center

26 Apr

A small Christian-based college in Siouxland is Dordt College located in Sioux Center, Iowa. The school offers a four year program in agriculture and every year has an Ag Day on campus, where students and visitors alike can see various aspects of agriculture, mostly in the form of farm animals, equipment and talking with those attending. Plus there is a little bit of humor involved with a bale roll contest, a tire throwing contest and dress up in “old farm clothes” for a photo. Plus this year there was a pulled pork lunch with chips and beans. Pretty down to earth lunch fare.

It is amazing, having grown up on a farm, to see the changes occurring in farm equipment. To see some of today’s tractors and other implements compared to the “antique” tractors on display that day on campus there is just no comparison. Today’s machinery is huge. A planter set up to move on the road, which is different from how it looks being used in field was enormous. At least one, if not two, city buses long. Everything is bigger and better, although that is not necessarily true. But that is another story for another day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Third World Reportage in Siouxland

30 Aug

I attended a film showing this week on the campus of Northwestern College. The film screening was sponsored by the Orange City, Iowa, Arts Council. The film was shot and produced by Mark Volkers, a documentary film maker and instructor, along with help from some of his students that he teaches at Dordt College. Both Northwestern and Dordt are private Christian schools. Not only teaching usable skills to its students to succeed in this world, but also teaching them to do it humanely and with a conscious. But that is never really known until the students are in the world pursuing their passions and interests.

Volkers film, “The Fourth World”, is about slums in Third World countries, where life is very tough, and not to be dramatic, but life and death. As tough as times have been in the U.S. the last few years with the economy and such, it all pales when you watch the film. And even though some U.S. media do stories from time to time, none of them bother to follow those events until there are horrific tragedies such as the building collapse in Bangladesh where clothing for American companies was being produced. It seems at times that living in the U.S. keeps us insulated from the these events, which one couldn’t follow on a daily basis without feeling despair. Although more of these events are followed and reported on by European news media and those in Asia.

But is it comforting to know that some young people may be affected by what they experience, see, or read? To carry on that need to keep people informed, and while people may not always be able to help, but at least to remember their humanity and that there is more suffering in the world than a bad grade, flat tire or other seemingly monumental problem we may encounter.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seasonal Change and a Rainy Day in Siouxland, Sioux Center

22 Oct

This past week the Siouxland area got a much needed rain. It was only 1.5 inches, but much needed nevertheless. The area is still drought stricken, and many people I talk with throughout my day is opening for a wet winter, whether through rain or snow so the area can gain some moisture back to where it should be for area farming and in general. The moisture is needed to sustain the agricultural industry in the western part of Iowa and in the Midwest in general. But I took a drive to visit a former colleague now working for a smaller publication last week and stopped by a private Christian college, Dordt College, in Sioux Center, Iowa, and photographed students dealing with a change in weather. Not only was it raining, but the wind gusts were later reported to be between 30 mph to 50 mph which made it sometimes difficult just navigating across campus, but students didn’t dawdle between classes though. The wet weather has also put a damper (pun intended) on the Fall foliage and the season’s colors are now carpeting the ground with bright colors for a couple of days. Reprints for those interested.

 

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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