Wednesday, January 28, 2009

do we need some nachos?

Yes, I did need some nachos today. It is funny how when I need nachos, I need nachos! I went to school this morning and worked very hard to be able to take off by 1 p.m. to go to immigration to deal with my work permit and visa (more on that later). I have been eating oatmeal every morning - so by noon, I am starving. I missed lunch trying to get stuff done (more on that later too). I was walking down the beach and the sun is blazing hot today - little breeze and it is like a sauna after all the rain. I was parched and very hungry. I got to the internet surf shop and kimberly came outside. I told her - "I need nachos." I got the biggest plate of nachos I have ever seen. I ate it for lunch, gave some to Ernesto when he came by awhile ago, and still had enough for supper. I have not talked about drinking lime is the best for what ails you. Really - stomach ache, dehydration, hangover...good stuff. So lime juice and nachos for refueling....

Today at school - I walked in the door and did not even get my coffee before "F" was brought in by his teacher - age 5 yrs. - already had a discussion with his mom about not having him come to school or go home through san mateo by himself. She has had one disabled child removed from her home that she targeted with abuse and she has turned on "F". He comes to school late and hungry and missed breakfast at school as he is late. So this morning - he is crying his little eyes out - just sobbing. He finally tells me that his mom twisted his arm hard - he showed me on my arm - and jerked him around awhile this morning. He had no breakfast - missed it at school. His arm is so little as he is so skinny. Luckily it wasn't dislocated or broken. I wanted to go twist her arm or more....I didn't find her - she was MIA from home this morning - but I will find her. We went to the kitchen and Ms. Rosalia found him a biscuit and juice. When I walked him back to class he just clung to me...he cheered up and went to class - the resilence of these children is awesome - just a little attention and they are good to go - ususally.

I had a break through or divine intervention with the little boy I talked about yesterday that I can't seem to reach. Let's call him "D" as I am sure that he will appear again. D was sitting alone at the picnic table next to his classroom - just looking sad and staring into space like usual. I just sat down across from him and said oh...D...what makes you so sad? (knowing it is his mother - or lack of - and his worry about her). He just shrugged and said nothing. I told him that I care that he is sad. Still just nothing. So I just sat there with him in silence. Then I don't know why but I started drumming on the table with my hands - the cadance from when i was in the marching band and played the drum (family members from Papillion will know the beat). He perked up and said "do that again". So I did. He said "teach me that." so we took it slow and I taught it to him. He actually smiled...then another little boy "J" (the one that his dad was getting on to him for perfection - #1 in his class - that dad told him he was proud, etc?) anyway, "J" came and sat down where we were drumming on the table and began to drum - only "j" can drum like the garifuna drumming - quite well. I was impressed. I asked the boys if they like drumming - they just lit up. then Mr. Cruz came by and got interested in our drumming - he can drum and played a tune on the table and sang a song to it - a gospel song. I asked the boys - would you like to do drumming after school? D was excited as was J. I told D - "If I can find some drums and someone to teach us - would you do your work every day? he just shook his head yes. I said "really D, if you do not do your work you can't come to drumming" He said "I would do my work to do drumming." Ok - now I have to find some drums - garifuna - hand made drums - and a teacher. I think we will have standard I drummers - I have about 12 boys from standard I on my case load. Divine to convince Ms. Francis....

One stomach ache after another today again - no other symptoms. Francis told me to go gather up all the stomach achy kids and take them to the poly clinic - well...not going to happen...over 200 or more hurting today? so I called the Poly clinic and asked them to please come to the school and give the worm treatment to every child. The are coming a week from Friday. Argh. at least they are coming. The nurse said maybe we need to have the inspector check the water where they think? they live in san mateo. hello. this deserves a "whatever..." then what? tell them they live in unsanitary conditions? - there is no water to most homes and no sewage system except to dump sewage in the water under their homes...I guess I have said that more than one time. I am very happy that the can come and treat the kids.

The 4 heathens want to have drama practice tomorrow after school. They say they have this play worked out. We will see the preliminary product tomorrow. They always want stuff from my office. today it was the star stickers...I had some t-shirts I found laying around that someone donated and they had a fit over them. One said you know I didn't get a birthday or Christmas present and I thought she was playing me but the others said no she didn't her mom doesn't believe in Christmas and anyway - her mom left her and her dad was too poor. I know they are very poor and her dad is trying his best. Her sister was back in my office today too. she is another hard one - she just shuts down and stares at me. We just hang until she feels like she can handle class again.

I got my visa. The process...I was told to fill out a multi-page form that I had to buy from the only stationery store here that sells them. ( This involves tracking down the form...) I had to have 4 passport photos ready. I got to the immigration office and there was a long line. I said "ok - first timer - what is the protocol?'...I was told where the end of the line was. Wait, wait, at a time...then it is my turn. I go in and tell the "one" lady - that I am volunteering for 5 months at Holy Cross. She says I have to wait for the man behind the wall and he is busy - so go back out and wait. When the man gets done - (he didn't have anyone leave his office) she goes in to ask him about me and he tells her that i do not need the work permit - that is only if i am here for a year. Just do the renewal of my visa every 30 days. I called this office to ask in the first place) - then she tells me that I am too early that I could come on Feb. 1 as I came to San Pedro on jan.2. Ok - Feb. 1st is sunday. today is January 28th - If I go on Feb. 2 I am too late. Two days and she wants me to come back on Friday. She is arguing because I will loose two days. I have already lost my afternoon of time. I finally convince her that I will just loose the two days. I gave her $50 BZ and I can stay another 30 days. Francis is not going to be happy as she said that if I had a work permit it would be better - she thinks I am probably going to piss off some public officials before long...why would she think that? :o)

Biggs came by awhile ago. He is getting tourists to go snorkeling with his hew job. He has been busy. Ernesto came by but he is working tonight on making sure the RO? system is ok - where he works they have their own salt water to usuable water system. then he called and he was working on a boat. I was going to take some Canadian friends I met on a tour of the island in their golf cart - let them meet Butch and Marlin but she got sick with the stomach crud or maybe to much partying with Jerry Jeff Walker last night. We didn't go. I am going to sleep early. The sun wore me out today.

Ben- I have been listening to my colt ford it - especially meet me at the waffle house and there ain't no trash in my trailer - all his songs bring me back to mississippi. Rap and country together- if you ain't into that - i don't give a damn! (that is one of his lines for those of you who have not been introduced) loud, proud and country by the grace of God...I know amanda is going - please - no! David - did the ice storm hit you?

Love ya and miss ya!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

welcome to my world

I talked with the dad and mom of the sexually abused child today. they only spoke spanish. therefore i had to ask Mr. Cruz to interpret for me. He is the soccer coach and security guard but he is really good with the children. I have noticed that he has a genuine heart for the children who come from rough homes and he has that innate knowledge of when a child is troubled or in trouble. I can't talk about the situation with the child due to confidentiality but when it was over, tough Mr. Cruz just sat there after the parents left. (I did warn him prior to the conversation.) The parents are great parents and want to protect their child. It is just a rough situaiton. Anyway, I looked at Mr. Cruz and said..."welcome to my world"...he said, "miss kim, now i know why you sometimes look sad. you always come in to school with a big smile but then i see you during the day and at times you look so sad and then you are smiling again soon. now I know why you get sad, but how do you smile again?" i just told him i have to for the children - they depend on someone bringing happiness into to their lives and to let them know there is hope. I told him that he does that for them too - everyone here does. they just have to know someone cares even if we can't make it all better for them. We had a long talk about his own life. I knew it had to be hard because he tunes in so well. He did really good with the dad too. I wish he would go back to school for social work.

I cannot describe the feeling of walking to school in the morning and the children coming up to me to hold my hand and saying good morning, miss kim. they look so happy to see me and i am happy to see them. some of you have asked in emails if the boy who missed school is back. yes, he is and he is one that runs to hold my hand coming into school in the morning. I have a tough one in second grade (standard I - here). He just will not do his work. His mom left him and is with a step dad that is now in prison for drugs. he is with his dad but i just can't get a handle on what is going on - he has a tiny framed little 5 year old sister that just wants to go to the bathroom all the time but i can't tell what is going on - she just does't want to be in class it seems. I just can't reach this child and neither can one of the very best teachers. i need to spend more time with him.

My 4 little heathens...the group that i want to do a drama with? they have taken to making me things. I have a sparkly belize map with all their names on it. I have a cereal box that is cut up for a cardboard backing with tiny red construction paper hearts on it and now today they gave me what i think is suppose to be coasters. it is construction paper of different colors and there is a weave of strips of paper - there are 6 of these each about 3x4 inches. they proudly gave me these today. Oh - if anyone would like to send something for them - they love the shaped post-it note pads - like hearts or flowers. i had some in my office - no more though and now they want my star stickers! they just want me to give them something all the time but then they give me stuff they make. Ms. Francis is beside herself about these four as they come in one group to the office looking for me - she calls them my 4 wild ones. Well, they started talking serious instead of goofing off and i was told of all kinds of physical and verbal abuse that they each have sustained by various caregivers. They can really put some awful words together to tell what someone has yelled at them while hitting them. wonder why they are the problems? the other cool thing - these four were the outcasts - now the other children want to be in their play and the four are deciding who can be in their play...we are going to talk about inclusion tomorrow...that my friends is called the ole just never know what will work do you?

and what else...another trip to the poly of my old friends...a little jewelry seller came in with a stomach ache - pepto didn't do it...weird pains with no other symptoms - he is from san mateo so my guess was worms and i was right. we had more weird stomach aches today so i think it is time to worm everyone...i am told that i should be included - just lovely.

i am so afraid of the skin rashes the children get from getting the water around their homes on their skin. Remember there is no sewage system in san mateo. the rash is one thing but if they have a cut it will get into their system. One little girl died last year from this - i have yet to determine what it is - maybe i forget to look it up and find out on purpose? i will find out tomorrow - not before i go to bed tonight.

on a lighter note - the jerry jeff fans are in full swing tonight - i wanted to go to taco tuesday at wet willy's - couldn't because jerry jeff is playing and singing...they are all excited. i can hear it from my front patio.

another thing i love about san pedro - you can't walk far without hearing music. and another thing - i got told 3 times today that i could not have children as old as they are as I am only in my 30's! gotta love it. i also got told that my ex husbands made big mistakes and surely they know now how big their mistakes where to let me much better can it get? that wasn't ernesto either. he bought me a cheesburger as i was working on the computer - love and miss you all!

More rain

The rains started Sunday night again and are continuing. The roads are such a mess. I am at school and just getting into my day. I am trying to write for a grant that is sponsored by the Rotary club of Belize. I am going to try to get funding for a full time social worker at the school. Then I am going to work on the bigger grant for the Health Outpost. I have a full day planned with children and parents coming in. That is about it - going to enjoy my Belizean coffee before I start...oh and I have learned to make my own flour tortillas and curry chicken (with vegetables that I can't even pronounce - something like chocho and coco - I don't know - I need to get people to write it down). Have a great day! love and miss you!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ahhhhh Sunday!

I did nothing. I woke up at 10 a.m. So I did not make it to church - just wanted a totally nothing day. Well, I sat by the pool and I am about to go get BBQ chicken. The Jerry Jeff fans are here and I met new friends who are here for Jerry Jeff (they are from Canada at the pool. Hooked them up with Biggs for snorkeling. I should get a commission. Just kidding. I am rested so I am going to Kareoke at Wet Willy's for a little while before I start the new week. I have not had a beer or other alcohol in two days. I say that as I know you all think I am down here partying it up. I am not and I feel great now that I have slept a lot and rested. Ready for whatever the other life

When I looked at my blog from last night - can tell when I am so tired - lots of spelling and typing errors - sorry - just keep writing untill I am totally faded. I think listening to Creole constantly is rubbing off on me. I find myself thinking in Creole and I am trying to learn Spanish. Another perk about Kareoke is they sing a lot in Spanish and I can watch the words and ask what it means.

love and miss you all.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Banana splits...

I took the kids to dandee's for ice cream. they hit me up for banana splits. Ms. Eileen at the ice cream store said -Kim, you really do not have to get them banana splits...but they talked by into it - I told them that they had to be good for a month! Set me back on my cash flow!! Here is the cool thing...I really did not know what I was going to do with them - they just fight with each other all the time and blame each other, etc. I told them my idea for the play since they are all "dramatic". I asked them while we were eating ice cream if they thought of the theme for the play that they are going to write. They said yes - we are going to write about us and how we didn't like each other but how we are getting to be friends now. I asked them who was the best writer...they began to show me who printed the best...they decided to include another troublesome classmate in their group because he can draw and they need someone to help with the scenery. They got together today - saturday - to work on it. Time will tell....we had fun at the ice cream store...oh i left off a part. I was at the soccer game - way across town (I know that isn't far by some standards, but when you are walking it is) at the big soccer field by the DFC. I told the "4" that I would be at Dandee's at 4:30. The soccer game was just about over - 4 p.m. and I look up and the "4" have talked some random tourist couple into taking them to the soccer game in their golf cart. These two people had just got to the island... first time...they didn't have a clue where they were. I walked up and they said "we had to bring them to Miss Kim - just had to meet you..." I just rolled my eyes at the little heathens...then they got the couple to take them back to the ice cream store!

The fundraiser was a success. Lots of people and Mr. Vernon was auctioning shots of some 30 yer old rum or something...had a raffle and cover charge for the concert. Pictures with Jill Holly - yes, we charged for that too! We made some money for the school. Whatever it costs $700 us dollars a day for the feeding program.

By the way...anyone who is coming or has a way to help...we need soccer shoes, shin guards, sponsor for shirts...we only have nine on everything and the shoes do not fit - when we put in subs they have to change shirts, shoes, etc. so we do not have all our players on the field. We are trying to get a girls team together too.

I went to the school today to meet with Ms. Leslie, the director of all the anglican schools in Belize, and the counselor from the other anglican schools on the mainland - there are 20 all together. They want me to come to the mainland to do a workshop - train the trainer type - for teachers re: identification of abuse, neglect and sexual abuse and work with the teachers on how to work with the kids. So I will be doing that in February sometime.

I went to town for awhile. I went to see Marlin's wife and children. I talked with the local residents of Paradise Villas - when asked what they were doing they said "nothing and plan to do more of it!" I took a nap! Then I went to see the Danville, CA group as they are leaving tomorrow. I am going to miss them - they were so much help!!!! Oh an ran in to Biggs and he is changing jobs to work with someone to lead snorkeling and tours - boat is at fido's dock I think. I have not seen Marlin or Butch in a week. I just can't get to where they are - I really should get a bike. Johnson walked me home one day and stayed to talk for awhile.

I am going to start squeezing my own orange juice i guess...everyone thinks I am wasting money buying it...I am also suppose to learn how to make my own flour tortillas. I got some tamales from town for supper. then I made the famous grilled white cheese sandwich for a snack a while ago - susan knows what I am tlaking about...anyone who comes will find out! I think I am going to rest tomorrow. I am going to tr to get to church but I need more sleep right now. There was a politcal rally for the UPD local elections in central park tonight. I could here it! Next week they are having a cool thing - Taste of San Pedro and all the restaurants will have a booth and ou can go around and sample. think I will probably make that one! and jerry jeff walker will be here next his followers are coming in....

They found many kilos of cocaine on the beach by Palapa bar this week. For those of you who do not know - when the columbian ships are about to get caught they throw it overboard and it washes up on the beach. Each manufacturer has it's own "mark" - so if anyone keeps it and tries to sell it - the producers will find them - it is much safer to turn it over to the police - but this does not always happen. therefore we have a cocaine problem.

I hve spent some time in San Perdito - I like that community. Many hard working folks.

Social services has yet to call me back on my sexual abuse case...since thursday. try again on Monday - I left two messages. They have to come from the mainland.

I am going to sleep now...yes ernesto is still around....he went to sleep early as we Kareoked last night until tooo late and then ate hamburgers and hot dogs in central park. this requries talking to everyone and i could barely make it through today. thus the nap and why I am not out on a Saturday night. Ernesto was going to enter a punta dance contest tonight - but didn't make it and no - i was not planning on being the dance partner - he wanted to win. My body does not shake like that!

love and miss y'all

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Life is good!

I have had some very busy days at school. A team with a dentist was here this week along with 10 volunteers from Danville, California. They were all awesome people! I wish they could all just stay. I needed to be at school at 8 a.m. to help the dentist get students in line for work on their teeth. One thing that blew my mind was that we were allowing the oldest children to go first and we got through Standard 5 and some of Standard 6, well the younger children kept coming up to me and begging to go to the dentist. They might have a loose tooth - normal...and say "miss kim, I need to see the dentist!" We have another dentist coming in February, thank goodness - i could tell them that because they were so disappointed that they could not see the dentist today or tomorrow.

I had several cases of physical abuse and one sexual abuse case today.

Last night I had a meeting at El Fagon. The people from Danville organized it with the Wilsons and the Cullins. The representative said that World Bank is donating money to fill in San Mateo and do something about water, electricity and a sewage system. It will be an answer to many prayers. The sewage is causing more and more health problems. One child died last year when they had an open cut and got in the lagoon water in San Mateo.

There is another fund raiser for the school tomorrow night at Wet Willy's. Tomorrow includes a soccer game at 2:30 and I am suppose to reward 4 of my toughest kids with ice cream if they make it through tomorrow without fighting with each other. I am trying to figure out what to do with all their creativity, energy, and manipulative, con-artist, comedian selves. i am thinking about having them do a play that they write. I already have taken away their free period and they have to talk to me as a group everyday.

Ernesto is cooking and showing me how to cook Stew Chicken and coconut rice and fried plantain. I am not tired tonight. I think I am getting used to it! love and miss you all!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Whatever the other life brings...

Quick - this line is from what song? no - I won't tell you - 10 points to the first person who writes me back and has it right! I don't know why that popped in my head. As I said before - don't plan anything in Belize especially if you are working at Holy Cross school. I feel like this - I am after whatever the other life brings - I better be because every day here feels like another life.

I got to school this morning after my very long walk down the beach and found that I was in charge of channeling the children through the dentist who is volunteering this week. There is a team their to offer dental services and another team of 10 folks from Danville, California. Both groups did a lot of work today! The group from Danville has four professors (biology, chemistry, physics and chemistry) among others with lots of talents! Everyone is tring to get our new library organized. Carol (from Penguinos) is going to volunteer to be the librarian for awhile. Anyway, all that thinking ahead from last night - forget it.

I did check on the children from last week in between getting children for the dentist. All is well with most of them. Remember the one who needed shoes? We had some new shoes brought in by the new group. We found a pair to fit him. He came in the office and tried them on and said he liked them. He left with them on...a little while later I was in his classroom and he had his old shoes on. I leaned down and whispered "why do you not have your new shoes on? do you not like them?" He looked down and whispered back "I want to wear them new in the morning. I love my new shoes." I told him that was a good idea. He looked so happy. He also told me he got beat this weekend. I didn't find any marks though. He is so little.

Another little boy that I am worried about did not come to school again today. If I can tear away tomorrow, I have to find him. Another little girl's mom has left for the states and she is always pulling the silent defiance bit on the teacher. Of course she said that she does not miss her mom - as her eyes were welling up with tears - but she did not let the tears fall and got it together very quickly - not thinking I could tell anything was wrong. One little boy (5 years) is having problems falling down and also has problems learning. I asked him to walk across the room to me and when he got there he just fell into hugging me - reward for me! I could go on but won't. I am tired and need to be at the school at 8:00 a.m. love y'all,

and whoops I forgot to make you jealous - I ate fish at the Reef tonight! guess they know me now for sure - I walked in and they had my coconut rum and pine ready for me by the time I reached the table. You won't believe me but that is my second rum drink since I have been here -both at the Reef - When I got here and the guys at the reef found out that i would be here for five months - they bought a big bottle of cococut rum! I better get there more often, eh?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The start of a new week...

I am sitting here thinking aobut the next week. This is totally not what you should do in Belize. Just get up tomorrow and see what the day will bring. I have been doing this - mostly because whatever I have planned seems to get put on the back burner anyway. I want to go throughout the neighborhood and map out the homes and try to tell who is living where and find the preschoolers and babies. I need to follow up on the 20 children from last week. I want to get organized. I need to go find my missing child from Friday if he is not at school tomorrow. Ok - i will stop.

I went to the Holy Cross church service today. The children sang - "this is the day that the Lord has made" sounds even better in Spanish. Then we went to Rendevous restaurant on the north side of the island to a benefit concert by Jill Holly. Just a singer-songwriter that was coming to Belize and decided to do a concert for the school while she was here. It was relaxing and fun. I ate BBQ chicken, slaw, beans and tortillas from the stand by Richies. I love sunday as everyone has bbq chicken for sale - street vendors are the best...did i mention that all that food was $4.50 US?

The sun is shining!!!!!! I actually laid out by the pool for about an hour. I do not even have a tan yet!

Pray for me and the children and the school. Love y'all, Kim

Friday, January 16, 2009

It is Friday!

I am alone. Susan left today. I cried. I began walking to the school and got to the Tides and I was so sad and it started pouring down rain. I stopped to see my friends at the Tides and have a cup of coffee to wait for the rain to quit pouring down in sheets. Before it quit raining, the school called and a little girl had a perferated ear drum that was bleeding and they had Mr. victor (my favorite cab driver) bring her to me and we went to the Poly clinic. No doctors at the poly clinic we went to Dr. Lerida. She had such a bad middle ear infection for so long that it busted her ear drum. I do not know how painful that was for her and she never said anything until it was bleeding. Her mom knew and did not do anything - just sent her to school. I got the medicine and found where her mom lived and took her to her to tell her what was wrong with her and that if she did not take the medicine that she could loose her hearing. Mom was thankful and I told her she would go back to the doctor in two weeks and mom was going with me next time. I went back to the school and then again it was one child after another. One had no socks and shoes that were so small that he kept taking them off in class. This is the same boy her just fell in my arms crying yesterday when I asked what was he thinking about when he didn't do his work in class. I told him today (after i got socks...still going to find shoes...we didn't have any his size...going tomorrow to the second hand shop to see if I can find some) that if he did his work I would get him a surprise. He did his work and I gave him a matchbox car. I have a friend for life. I had another little boy who wet his pants three times in a row and they were just giving him new underwear and sending him back to class. Mr. Cruz (our wonderful security guard) brought him to me and said "Kim, the teacher has changed his pants 3 times and I found him crying in the bathroom" - I talked to him and he said he didn't know when he had to go and it hurt him when he did go...back to find another doctor. I got his mom on the way to Dr. Dan's (who said he would see him for $10) and the child had such a terrible bladder infection - he had not even told his mom. These kids just suffer with pain and do not even tell any one because why? I do not know why...but I think because no one hears them cry.

I have settled fights, dealt with children stealing, tried to figure out what is causing the learning problems, had more than I want to think about children crying in my arms, and so many of the children say something is wrong or someone is hurting them but will not tell me what or who. I am having lessons in gaining trust. I am so touched by the resilence of these children. They are so tough. Everytime they get in trouble - they are so afraid to tell their parents - they will get a lashing. They have so many scars and bruises on the outside and every one of them say...i fell on a rock in the ocean. I know they know not to tell. They love their school and I think it is the only place they feel safe and like someone cares for them. I have a 7 year old whose mom won't come and get him and he lies and says she meets him at the bridge - i waited forty minutes for her to come "across the bridge" and then took him back to school - she came 1.5 hours late. I think because he didn't come home. Today he didn't come to school.

Not all the children are like this - there are many more very wonderful parents - just like anywhere. They want their children to get an education and be something they could not achieve. they are just so poor. There are more wonderful parents than those who are not to wonderful.

I was on the radio and tv station yesterday morning at 7 a.m. and finished my day at 5 pm. I am so tired at the end of the day but a good tired. Mr. Cruz is trying to develop a boys soccer team and I think we need a girl's team too. We have a possible coach. I want to start a league so they can play games and he wants to have the winner go to the mainland to play...we are starting a PTA...which is preliminary to beginning parenting classes. If I see one more kid hit in the head...I do not know what...but I am trying not to explode. so these are my days...I have tons of documentation to do tomorrow - thank goodness it is Saturday. There is church for our school at the high school Sunday and then a benefit concert for the school at Rendevous on Sunday.

I need kids tennis shoes and socks. I need little trinkets that I can give them if they are good. I need copy paper. I need another social worker on this island. Oh yeah...It was announced on the radio that my counseling services is available to families from other schools. So, if you are reading this and coming to San Pedro...bring stuff and help if you can.

I learned that cococut oil will heal a sore. I can get it at my local vegetable stand. I love that place. I learned how to put more minutes on my phone today. I learned that I have a lot to learn about how to help these kids...I will keep trying and praying. I need your prayers.

I need it to stop raining. The roads are a mess. I am always wet and muddy. the wet sand just sticks to everything. the potholes keep getting worse and worse. It has rained all week. Tonight it feels cold. I know boohoo from those of you who are freezing. But the rain keeps people from making money here.

I am invited to a birthday party at Bayside over by the boat docks. whose birthday? I do not know. Of course I am going. New friends. I am going with Ernesto - signing off until tomorrow. Love you all and miss you so much!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Peace and Contentment

Contentment...peace. I am almost there. I am sick as a dog but still content and at peace - I did not go to school today because I could not get two feet away from a bathroom. Woke up sick about midnight. One thing about it though, I am thoroughly cleansed and my ankle is no longer swollen. No fluids left in me. I went to the store awhile ago and got some soupa de pollo that I made from a packet. I had to figure out the directions in Spanish. I am on a mission to not eat anything with preservatives and trying very hard to not eat anything canned or packaged from US. Thought that could have caused the thorough cleansing but Susan had this before me. We were trying to figure out what caused it. One person said it might be that our salbutes were fried in pork lard. I have not touched pork since I have been here that I knew of...We know we had the same thing as we compared the horrifc smell - I'll not go there with you...Susan and I are much closer than we ever were!

I had a full day at Holy Cross yesterday. I am so busy when I am there and I had one particluar little girl that I was concerned about because she is so unhappy. I went to check on her and the second she saw me in the door of her classroom she began to cry - but she was tryng hard not to cry and the tears just flowed down her cheeks. I took her to my office and she would not sit down or come near me. I just sat there and let her cry. I held my hands out to her and after many minutes she began to inch toward me - little by little until she just fell into my arms. Her mom left for the U.S. in September but only after taking this child, her sister and a little brother to Honduras. The child's father retrieved the children and brought them back to San Pedro. Mom finally called over Christmas so the child knows she is alive but...said she was going to come back in March and take them back to Honduras. She told me she hates Honduras as she cannot speak spanish. I can't get any more from the child. It is going to take a long time for her to trust me. I just have that gut feeling - that - even though what I know is enough to upset her - there is more. she is smart but almost non communicative at times and just silently defiant about doing her work. She ran away from school in the past and says she hates school.

I spent a few hours talking with a my new friend, Ernesto, last night. Ok - I met this really great guy! There I said it. I met him during Kareoke night at Wet Willy's. Yep - I am becoming a Kareoke junky at this point. Susan and I sang Jambalya last sunday...what I love is that many of the folks here love the old country songs. They convinced me that it was "Try oke" and it does not matter if you sing bad as long as it is from the heart - just try. Back to Ernesto...he is very sweet to me and very attentive. He and I talk about everything and he loves to sing old country songs and then will sing something in various other languages...He is super polite and respectful and won susan's heart when he actually ate her spinach lasagne! Ok - I will stop. I am happy already but am very happy when he is with me.

At home - I am always concerned about what I need to do next. If I am sitting and doing nothing, I am wasting time. I plan and think all the time. My mind is never at rest. I forget things and get frustrated when I can't do it all. I try to keep my mind like it is in Belize but something takes it back over when I go home. Here - contentment and peace. I can be still and quiet and feel the air. I can watch the ocean or one palm blowing around. People talk about things that matter here - what is in their heart and what they love. I do not have to have a plan. Today - I was sick - so I will take today and rest. it is ok - no worries.

I walked to the grocery store and wanted to find some local soup. I found it and started to buy 2 packages. I thought why? I only need one now. why would I think I need two? i buy eveyrthing right before I need it and just what I need...except coffee and orange juice...boy this oj is good and is comes in a gallon jug...but you almost need that because it is so good. I have a vegetable stand, grocery store and hardware store on the road behind the house and the ocean on the other at Wet Willy's and lovely friends. I have work that fulfills me and makes me feel needed. Peace and contentment. the only way it could be better would be to have my friends and family from the US y'all!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I actually cooked this morning. I made breakfast burritos with fresh eggs and fresh tortillas. I have learned to ask for orange juice at the vegetable and fruit stand behind my home and the guy disappears and then comes back with fresh squeezed orange juice. Yesterday, I asked for a pineapple and he said "those not for you - I get you a better one". I guess they like me. I am so happy. We are going to get a golf cart and explore the island today.

Susan cooked with the girls last night. They made the best pineapple chicken, coconut rice (B. showed us how to buy the powdered coconut milk that is cheaper to put in the rice and how to wash the rice correctly to get all the dirt off - she also showed us how to wipe the chicken down with lime to get rid of the rancid - or yeah and she asked me if I wanted to cook the feet that were on our chicken that we bought!) I said said no. We also had bread pudding. I thought we had all kinds of food left (especially the pudding...I came in and susan had packed it all up to send with the kids). No midnight snack for me. Guess that is good - my clothes are getting a little loose.

I do miss you all and wish you were here. Love, Kim

Friday, January 9, 2009

A day to catch up!

Susan and I have a day off as the teachers had an all day workshop and the children were not having school. I needed this day. I am catching up on email and my documentation. I am also going to be able to unpack finally. Beatrice and Brittany are visiting me right now. They are watching the discovery channel on tv while I work. I am processing what has happened this week so far and can't quite get a grasp on it yet. The needs are so great and varied. I just answered an email from a medical team that is coming in February about what they might need to do when they are here. I wrote about the need for medicals, vision tests, hearing tests, and added in - can we check for worms? Some of the children are so small for their age. Sometimes I am wondering if the reading problems come from vision and hearing problems. They want to go into the community to do home visits with mom's with infants - so Beatrice is going to help me find the babies in San Mateo. She told me some are in the way back and warned me that I might break the planks. I told her I was working on the weight! Such honesty!

I need to work with the parents on positive discipline methods and communciation with their children without cussing and threatening. The children get "lashings" and I have seen them hit in the head by their parents. The parents care and want their children to do good in school and behave. They love their children so I think I can help some with maybe introducing another way. The school already is maverick (did I really use that word?) :o) in not allowing physical discipline of the children at the school by the teachers.

There is a social work caseload of nine open cases after the first week, let alone the smaller incidents that I can't even keep track of. I am also the nurse so I have cleaned a lot of cuts! See susan's blog for her medical mission! There is also a need to work with the 11+ children about sex education, HIV prevention, and setting goals for themselves that do not involve babies at an early age - sounds like Mississippi...

I am doing good on my eating habits. Trying not eat fried foods, beef, or pork. I have laid off the rum - actually only had one rum drink in a week. Eating oatmeal in the morning - not eggs! Eating rice and beans and the only fat is in the beans or the tortillas. I eat what is served at lunch at school but Rosalie is such a great cook you cannot resist her banana bread or flan. That is the only sweet stuff I eat. Walking every day to the school and back has got to help. So signing off - miss you all. Kim

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

a visit to the doctor and more

Last night I had more problems with the sand flea bites. This morning I was sick with taking too much benedryl and still in pain and the bites were huge welps. So i went to the doctor. He said i was very allergic to them and that the bug spray would not do well to keep them off me. He also said that the place between the school and the road was bad as it is sand and salt. I have to not walk across there from about 4 -6 pm. That is when they are at their worst. I got a cortisone shot and pills (great - me on steriods - i warned susan.). I also got presription cream that I can't put on and go into the sun. Now that is problematic around here. So I am waiting for bedtime to put it on. I feel a little better but they still hurt and itch. I counted the bites on one leg and got to a hundred and quit counting. The good news is that I might after this develop anitbodies and be immune - might. Not taking any chances on that. The doctor was great and all the above was $45. Can't beat that.

So - I have a phone! my number to call me is 001-501-665-0718. You can call me and it won't cost me any minutes. I also have text messages that you can use. They cost me but not much.
If I call it costs me 70 cents a minute during the day and 55 cents a minute a night. Much better than $2.29 a minute!

I went to the school. Much activity. We now have a caseload of six new children and families. It will probably double by tomorrow. They have figured out that we are here. I love the work though. When I was walking home I thought of pinnochio I a real boy? I was thinking - am I a real social worker? I sure felt like one today. I know susan did too! One mom asked me what she owed me for talking with her about her daughter. I said nothing and she just relaxed and breathed a sigh of relief. I asked her "did I help you?" and she said "oh yes, I feel much better." Of course, the counseling session was in Spanish - I had an interpreter but I am getting better about at least hearing the Spanish.

I am going to sign off and was very hot today and not much breeze. Guess you might not want to hear that. Not complaining! Love you all!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pictures on my temporary home

The view outside the balcony of our first condo.

typing errors

I am sorry I have typing errors - for everyone criticizes me on my spelling - it is not that I do not know to spell. I just have a lap top and hit the wrong keys all the time!

Two days of work and still standing...sort of...

We have worked two days at Holy Cross Anglican School. So many great things have happened already. It seems as though every day brings something new and exciting. I am trying to just adjust to being the nurse and the social worker and pr person. The main activity right now is to try to set up a system of keeping up with the children and families with whom I work. Of course there is no system. I was thinking about how my work in child welfare system has prepared me for this work.

I talked with Ms. Laura and Ms. Grace today about how we are having to turn children away - 26 since yeserday. The Belizian govenrment has righfully said we can't take anymore children as we are filled ot capacity. The public school is at capacity (or over) also. This means the 26 children will not be able to go to school. These families cannot afford the private schools so they won't be in school. The parents are so dissapointed when they can't enroll them. It breaks my heart.

I am out of hand sanitizer and vitamins. The children are given chewable child vitamins each day. Many of them only get what they eat at school and the vitamins. I hope a group coming in Friday is bringing me some of both. There are 512 children at this school. We need a lot of hand sanitizer!

Susan and I went to church on sunday at the Living Word church. It is behind airstrip so we took a taxi. We had a great experience. The people were very welcoming and it was a mix of locals and tourists. Sagrai invited us to come and Sabrina and the girls were there. Sabrina and I had time to talk as our taxi did not show back up. It was a two hour service - I am not a Taylor Methodist...(we have an hour limit!) as it goes from 10:45 until about 1:00 p.m. So I had to choose church or BC's no nachos for me!

We went ot Crazy Canuke's last night to hear the Punta Boys and yes, we danced punta - or tried to. We couldn't have been any more silly looking than anyone else. Dennis Wolfe is at Wet Willy's tonight so after we eat Susan's spinach lasagna we are going to go listen for awhile. We have eaten great food at My Secret Deli (stewed chicken, beens, rice, tortilla's, soft cheese); The Reef (Blackened snapper, rice and beans, salad, Lilly's (fish fingers, potatoe salad, coleslaw and fish ceviche) and Wet Willy's grouper sandwich. Making you jealous yet? I guarrantee that we are walking enough to wear it off!

I managed to be attacked by sand flies yesterday. I had bug spray on...who knows...I am hurting and itching and it I have written anything crazy - I am on benedryl and advil to try to survive for the next few days. For all you gringos...these are worse than chiggers - they are officially called "noseeums" I woke up at 2:00 a.m. dreaming that I couldn't find any Benedryl. The only thing that makes them feel better is to stand in the pool. Can't do that constantly so...I am in pain. If you scrath them it makes it worse.

I am going to try to download pictures again. I get frustrated witht he slow internet and give up as downloading them takes forever.

I love and miss everyone in my life! I am where I am sppose to be.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

We have arrived!

Susan and I are settled in and susan is totally in love with Belize. I think she likes the laid back atmosphere. I began seeing old friends from the moment we landed in Belize City. One man on the Maya Island plane to the island said he was wondering if I was the mayor or something. Actually some of the people were folks I had just met. Vincent was there though and he said to tell everyone hi! I have seen Biggs, Tevin, Johnson, Butch, Sagrai, Jean Paul, Eden, Patojo, Maurie, and the waiters at The Reef. I tried to see Sabrina but she was sleeping. Martin and Clarise are living together. Butch is changing jobs again. Sagrai is back at the Tides. Biggs is running these little boats that you can drive yourself (like in CANCUN) to the rivers on the north and south end of the island for nature tours. He is on the dock out from Fidos. Everyone here has asked about everyone at home. I watched to Cotton bowl at Wet Willy's as it was the closest place to get to and I missed the beginning - but the end was fantastic! The food at the Reef is as good as ever as are the grouper sandwiches at Wet Willy's. I have walked around town and Susan and I are now sore from walking. We are going to church at Sagrai's church - The Living Word - in the morning. Please note - I am home and on the computer at 9:00 p.m. on a Saturday night! I love and miss you all.