Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The decisons we make

So much has happened since I last wrote. Something was wrong and I could not get ont he internet from my home...this is normal around here...no panic - just wait...Adagio...go slow.

I have bad news. Jean Paul, the man who led diving groups at the Tides has been killed. It happened Friday night but I did not hear until Saturday evening. I could not believe it. His body was found 19 miles north of san pedro - just south of Rocky Point. I went to the Tides Saturda night and helped Sabrina set up for the wake but I did not stay for the wake. She was so upset as was everyone. I was so sad. He has two children and his son is at Holy Cross. He always had a smile and gave so much joy to those around him. You could not be unhappy around him. As the days have gone by, the story has been slowly revealed...bu we do not know everything. The police shot one man and another got away - they were in a boat coming from the direction of Rocky Point and pulled a gun on the police when asked to stop. Then today - two more men were found in a grave close to where Jean Paul's body was found. The news said that it may be all related to the cocaine found last week. If it is all I can think of is how bad decisons affect so many lives. Jean Paul will be missed by his children, wife, family and friends. I do not know why he was there - but this whole thing is really sad. Please do not think this makes things unsafe around here. This is happening due to some bad choices by a few people and it is a long ways from here - where I am on the island. Nothing like Memphis or Jackson!

I have thought a lot about the decisions I have made and those around me have made. Some of the children I work with make poor decisions as do their parents. We all make poor decisions at times. I just wonder why - when we are faced with possible terrible consequences do we make a choice that will lead to our own unhappiness or downfall or the unhappiness or destruction of other lives? It is truly one of those human nature "things". It is a lot easier to see other's poor decisons that it is so see our own...at least at the time we make them. I guess this is so obvious that I should not even be writing it - just on my mind.

I have been working on the sexual abuse case. I am having to advocate for this child. The parents are great - but I am having to write my report and have discussions with them in spanish...that means a translator. I keep having this experience of a parent talking for 5 minutes in Spanish and the translator saying "He said "no". Maybe not that severe - but close. Ernesto is worried about me. I am taking this very slow and being very aware that I am in a different country with different rules and ways...but gotta call it like it is...I gave the child's dad my phone number to call and tell if I had the report correct. He called to tell me it was good. Then I got a text from the little girl last night. It said "This is ******. thank you miss kim. I love you." She is nine years old. Oh yes, I am sure that it is all worth it. I went to the police department yesterday afternoon and sat for an hour and then got told that I couldn't make a report? I asked to speak to the detective and was told to come back this morning....so - I was there at 8 a.m. granted they were discovering more bodies up north but...I was acknowledged but waited until 10:30 a.m. before anyone said anything else. Again Adagio....go slow...I think they thought I would leave...but I kept thinking of that text....Decisions - I would have stayed all day.

I have a medical team coming next week. Some of the other church members are here this week so we are trying to plan for doing health screenings on each child next week and the pediatrician wants to go into San Mateo to see the infants. I have one of the mom's of San Mateo (who first told me when they see me they hide because I am a social worker and they are afraid I will take their children) tell me that she would distribute flyers for me to the mom's of infants and then help me find their homes. I thought that was great...I am gaining acceptance in the community. Beatrice is helping me too.

I had a domestic violence case last week. Not sure if I blogged on this before - a 12 year old boy came to school crying and upset. His mom is pregnant and her boyfriend is beating on her. She has been in the country for 15 years. She came from Guatamala when she was 10 years old. She came with "someone" who was not family. she had her first child when she was 13 yrs. old (this is the 12 year old now). She has had two Belizean children. this abuser told her he would have her deported if she went to the police about him. He has beat her and caused two previous miscarriages. the 12 year old in attempt to protect mom has been hurt in the past. I want to help her get her papers but she is so afraid she will be sent back and wants her children to get an education at Holy Cross. They had no food for the weekend and no way to acquire any. This was hard on me - I cannot imagine being 25 years old with all of this to deal with in life. Try to deal with this with no domestic violence shelters - no women's advocacy groups - no victim advocate- when the police came - they wanted my information - including birthday. why? One of those great Friday afternoon situations....that is the same no matter where you are.

Oh and another thing...two weeks in a row. I have had a DHS social worker from the mainland come to the school after 3 pm on a Friday (kids leave school at 3 pm) to ask me about a child that I did not even know they had a case on and when the child has gone from school of course - ask me to interview, etc....ok - I am thinking there is something up with this - am I just looking for problems??? Are they wanting to be in San Pedro on a Friday night - weekend? Hmmmmnnnn.
Maybe a coincidence. Decisons we make.

Ernesto and I went to Marlin's and then Butch's on sunday afternoon. I had talked to them all during the finding out about Jean Paul. I also saw Martin and Clarise finally - hate that it was at the wake. they left me a note today on my door to come see them later this week. It will be good to reconnect with them. Talk about decisons - Clarise just decided to move down here and live with Martin. wow. she is able to work from her computer. they are very happy.

Ms. Francis asked me yesterday about 10 a.m. to do a workshop that same afternoon on teambuilding...and teamwork among the staff and teachers - glad I already had material in my head as I accomplished it with no prep. those always seem to be my better workshops.

Ok - i tried to make my own tortillas totally by myself. This caused a great deal of laughter at the grocery store. since I went back three times for more flour - I was buying it a pound at a time as it takes a pound for about 10 tortillas. It took a few tries...Ernesto was kind and ate them but they do have room for improvement. I was trying to make the whole meal but Ernesto said if he let me make the whole thing we would be eating at 9:30 and he was hungry. He helped - got done at 7:30 but the tortillas....I told him I should get and A for effort and he informed me that I get an E for effort. the stew chicken was good. I learned that you can make it taste totally different by using a varied spice grouping...have I told you that they have this spice called Ricardo? good stuff. more decisions...what to put in the stew chicken.....

I know the Jerry Jeff Walker fans help the economy. They are messing up my routine. They take over Wet Willies so no Kareoke on sunday and no Taco Tuesday for two weeks!

Kelly McQuire is here next week? He is doing all kinds of concerts in different places.

I am glad that I made the decison to do my sabbatical here. I am learning so much and growing in my skills and cultural responsiveness abilities. The children are taking my heart and filling it up with love. I am meeting new friends. Awesome passionate people are throughout this country and come to work and help at the school every day. Ernesto is a great person and we have the best times. We have had a few times that we had to have hard discussions but the awesome thing is that we could talk things through pretty easily. Every decision though has some problems. I hate that I am not there when my friends and family may need me. I am so sorry that I am not there for Debra and Winston as Winston's dad just died. I heard that Ashley's uncle has died. I wish I could be with my friend Sherry as she battles cancer. The department is struggling with budget cuts. My students are good to email me and support me but I am not there to support them. I also miss the joys of my friends, students and family. Do not think that this decision was easy and every day I miss you all and think about you. I keep you in my prayers. Please keep me in yours. Lots of Love to all!


  1. Kim, dearest Kim. It saddens me so to hear of Jean Paul's death. I cannot believe that only a few weeks ago, I met him, and he was so kind, so sweet. Of course it is hard for you--we are never away from friends and family without a cost. But how wonderful to some of the people there that you are with them, with your knowledge, skills, values, and above all, commitment to their having a better life. As much as we all miss you--and be assured that we do--I think all of us in our higher selves in that higher place know that what you are doing is far more important.

    Love you, sister of justice. Strength and blessings to sustain you for the next few months. Please give my regards to Sabrina, and know that I am thinking of Jean Paul, his family, Ernesto, and you as you go through this difficult time.

  2. Hi!! Dr. Allen told me about your blog and i couldnt wait to come "find you". I am so very sorry to hear about your friend. you are all in my prayers.I have missed you this semester! thank you for being such a wonderful inspiration to ...well.... everybody!! be safe and take care of yourself.

  3. ugh
    jean paul, how sad. what a nice guy. hope you are ok. wow. i haven't read your blogs in a week and you inspire me mom!!

  4. OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't believe Jean Paul!! What a great guy!! That is so incredible sad! I am so sorry to hear that! Please give his son a huge for me.

  5. So I couldn't read all the way through the blog after reading about Jean Paul, so I am writing again. I really appreciate that you are thinking about me! I am doing well. You are doing such an AMAZING thing in Belize and I think all the time how I wish I was there with you. I really think I would be learning so much more being there than being here. In practice 4 we were talking about doing surveys and I thought about being in Belize and doing those surveys! Thanks again for thinking of me. Just remember you are helping the people of San Pedro so much. If you ever need help I could totally take week out of school and come help! Miss you! Take care!

  6. ashley told me in class this morning about jean paul. i came home to read it and cried the whole way through. i miss those children terribly. i am seriously considering trying to find a way to spend next year down there. i feel like there is so much i could be doing and i hate that all i do is stay in my comfort zone of oxford. i am so inspired by you to get up and go. i found out today that the job i thought i had for next year isn't going to happen...solely because of my own bad decisions...what a time to read your blog! i needed that. so. im back on the i dont know what to do with my life track. i miss you but know that you are doing amazing things on the island. i will pray for you and everyone there. and maybe ill find my way back...

  7. Ashley just sent me a message about Jean Paul and the link to your blog. I'm SOOOO sad to hear that! He was such a nice guy! I am happy however to read all of the things you are doing there. I'm so inspired by you! I just know that you are doing great things out there with those children. You're making such a positive difference in their lives and I hope to do the same some day. I miss you and I hope you are doing well. Now that I know this blog exists, I am excited to read about all of your adventures. I'm still continuing to do some of my applications and waiting to hear back from grad schools, but I am loving my last semester. I'm interning at Head Start and sometimes it brings me back to the work I did there. You are always in my thoughts! Be safe, and keep in touch!