The New Mexico Rail Runner Express hosted another successful senior exchange event in late February, with members of Albuquerque’s Barelas Senior Center taking the train to visit their peers in Cochiti Pueblo. Fourteen participants took the Rail Runner north for a busy day of tours, lunch, and other activities.
The group from Barelas caught the Rail Runner in the morning at the Montaño Station and rode to Kewa, where they were met by buses from the Pueblo. The first stop on their agenda was Cochiti Lake and Dam.
“Two people from the Forest Service met us there,” said Marie Morra, Marketing Specialist with the Rio Metro Regional Transit District. “They led us on a walking tour of the top of the dam, and had great information on how it was constructed and when it was built.”
After leaving the lake, the group headed over to the home of one of the Pueblo’s members to learn about baking bread in a traditional oven. “It’s quite an experience to watch,” said Morra. “Everything is done outside.”
The visitors from Barelas were given the opportunity to help take bread out of the over before moving on to their next destination.
The next activity on the agenda was a visit to Cochiti’s Elder Center, where the group from Barelas met up with about 25 elders from the Pueblo to enjoy lunch. “We all sat down around the tables together and got to know each other,” said Morra, “and the food was wonderful.”
Following lunch, everyone was invited to participate in various activities and games. There were also artists from the Pueblo on-site selling hand-made items like jewelry, pottery, crosses, and even cookies.
“It was a wonderful experience,” said Morra. “We had such a busy day and we were all pretty tired by the end.”
The group from Barelas headed back south on the Rail Runner in the afternoon, where they shared stories from the day, showed off their newly purchased art, and got a chance to rest for a little while.
This trip was part of the New Mexico Rail Runner Express Senior Exchange Program. The program is a partnership between the Rail Runner, the City of Albuquerque’s Department of Senior Affairs, and area pueblos. Patrons from Albuquerque’s senior centers are given the opportunity to visit elder centers at pueblos along the Rail Runner corridor, and vice versa. During the exchanges, participants receive tours, eat lunch, and enjoy activities such as games and dancing. Several more exchanges are planned for 2017.