Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My broken heart

My heart is breaking. I can't stop the tears. I have to keep this child's identity hidden but for those who know me just know this is about he child that has stolen my heart. They all have a piece of my heart but this one is more capable of tearing through my soul than any child I have ever met in all my years of child welfare. He is 7 years old. He carries the biggest burden. He tries to be strong as is as strong as any man that I have ever known - probably stronger than most men I know. He has been being good. Today he had a horrible day. He disrespected the teacher very badly. He couldn't, therefore, go to drumming. I went to get him out of drumming and he looked so hurt. I took him into another room and said, "What is wrong, what has happened that you had such a bad day?" He started crying, trying hard to not cry but his tears started flowing and would not stop. He had a t-shirt under his shirt and her took it out from being tucked in to wipe his tears and nose. My heart broke again. How many times can my heart break for one child? How many pieces can my heart be in and still keep beating?

I asked him if he was still being beat at home and he shook his head no. I told him that what he said to his teacher makes me think that he knows too much about sex - more than a boy his age should know. I asked him if someone was hurting him in a sexual way and he shook his head yes. For my friends in child welfare - you know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when a child admits this to you...for those of you who have never had this experience...I hope you never have it. It is the worst. I can't even compare it to someone dying. I believe when someone dies they are in a better place. There is no more suffering as we have on this earth. The joys in heavan can not even compare to the joys on earth. When a child tells me that someone is hurting them - I have to be able to help them - I have to be able to make the suffering stop. It is what I am trained to do. This child is carrying this burden alone. He is too frightened to tell me who. He will not tell. I tried to tell him that I can't help him if I do not know who it is that is hurting him. He just cried and cried.

I was holding it together and he stopped crying so hard and I looked at him and said, "Is it because you are thinking about not being in school for two weeks - having to be home for two weeks with no school?" He began crying so hard and shook his head yes.

My God. Where is my God? What child does not look forward to being home from school on a break? I pray for this child every day. I pray for all the children everyday. I hope everyone reading this prays also. I do not doubt that God is here. I see Him everyday working in the lives of these children. I do not know why these things happen to children. I have to believe He is helping this child cope. This child has so much love to give and he is so intelligent. He is an angel but what is happening to him is because of the evil that is allowed to roam.

When he let me know that he just did not want to be home for 2 weeks. I lost it. I couldn't help it. All the years of training went down the drain. I just cried. I held him and rocked him and just cried with him. How can I tell him that I love him when he knows I won't always be here for him? How can a little 7 year old boy know that a day won't go by that I do not think of him and all the children who have touched my heart?

He calmed and he began to read me a book. when he finished I told him that I needed to go to the bathroom. I really was going to find Ms. Grace, the principal. I found her and she was with his teacher. I tried to talk to her but I started crying again. I told them that I know he can be impossible but please know he is trying to control himself. He just can't. Ms. Grace has the right name. She is so full of grace. she went immediately to him and tried to talk to him. She told me that he would think about it tonight about whether he could tell us what is happening to him. He told me he had to go home because if he was late he would get a lashing.

I let him go. I went back to see the drummers and they were finishing. they asked me if I heard how good they were today. I just smiled and said "yes, I heard you. I was listening. You are doing so good." they just beamed. There smiles can take away some of the pain I feel. At night, when I am alone, the pain returns.

I hear the ocean. I watched it today. The ocean calms me. Somehow, the ocean and the sky in Belize makes me feel so close to God. It is so big. It is so powerful. The colors are like no where else in the world. God is here. No other way to explain the beauty or how people can exist day to day with such hard lives and still be so happy.

When I was leaving the school today a man pulled up in a golf cart in the school yard. He asked me if I was a part of this school. I said yes. He said tell me about this school. How can I put into words what this school means to the children here?

I love you all and miss you.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

101 degrees

whew! It is 101 degrees here today. They say the Easter winds are starting. All I can say is it is hot and humid and I am sweating a lot. Everyone is always commenting on how much I sweat. I respond with either - I am healthy or I am fat or both.

I had a lot of mixed emotions this week at school. It was the best of times and the worst of times, to quote. I have good news as our mom that went to Guatamala made it back with needed documents by report of her son. Also - "N's" mom has returned from the states - she is much better. the group of boys who are anger management are doing a lot of great work together. They have been alking about their home lives and have opened the group to a couple of other boys in their class that they thought needed to come to the group. They made a promise on Wednesday to not say bad things about each other's mothers (this has been a terrible issue) and they have kept from it for two days. They even laughed as one boy got mad on Thursday and went to say "Your ma..." but he stopped at Your...and just grunted as he could not finish it without breaking the promise. They all laughed. then they promised Thursday to not touch each other - no punching, hitting, etc. they kept that promise also. We need stress balls for them to hold during group - we are passing around a nerf ball right now. I am going to ask Tonya to bring some - anyone who has some from all of our conferences - try to get them to her.

I have a new colleague. Amrie is a PhD student from Austria - she is originally from Germany. she is doing her internship with me here. She has been here a week and has been a lot of help. Plus - we can share ideas and she is a good counselor. she is making a sand box for play therapy - cool stuff is being collected. she is also good with autistic kids. She is working with a child that we have not been able to keep in class who is autistic.

The negative side of the week is that overall the children started at the end of the week to become more and more violent with each other and defieant toward their teachers. Ms. Grace predicted the week before Easter break would be rough. It started already and we have next week to go. One child - nto knew to me - stabbed another child around the eye with a pencil. this one is trouble every day but not this bad. We had to call the police and if he messes up one more time, he will go to boot camp on the mainland. I just do not know how to help him. He showed no remorse for his harm of the child. Another 3rd grader (male) punched a 3rd grade girl in the face - big bruise - then took her sandal and tore it apart. Amrie and I talked about it as this was not all of it - We think the kids are anxious and they do not want to be home for two weeks. Home is not good and they probably won't be fed much. It is a definite change in how they are acting. I just got a break from one problem after another and then Noel came looking for me and said Ms. Grace needs you now outside - Lord, Lord..."V" had pulled one her silent defiance acts and when Ms. Grace and a male teacher were premoving her from class - she just sat down in the sand outside and would not move. This child's mother is in the states and was suppose to be back by the middle of march - no word. I just went out there and looked at her and said, sit there as long as you want. " - (In the hot sun) I just talked to someone standing by in the shade for about 5 minutes and then looked at her and said "Are you ready to go to my office?"she shook her head yes and came with me. I had to talk with her sister also the next day - they are beyond upset about their mom. what is she doing?

Cindy delivered a new hammock for my balcony! Are you all turning off your lights tonight? I am wondering if the bars will turn off their lights at 8:30 for an hour. Of course there has been one parade already today - not sure why...then there is suppose to be another parade tonight for this earth day thing or whatever it is. We have a lot of parades.

I have had a few discussions about the "be real" situation. I think at least with those I count as my friends here - they listened.

Ok - it is hot! Miss you and love ya.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

be real

You have to be real. I guess that is the opposite of being fake. I have heard this line more than once since coming to Belize - someone telling another to "be real". I think honesty is one of my redeeming qualities - sometimes to a fault. It has gotten me in trouble on many occasion as I have never been able to "kiss butt" or cover what I am really feeling or thinking. It is always very evident. I have, therefore, decided it is better for me to be real. I am in a culture in which even though people go around saying be real, it does not seem to be the mode of operation. This is the hardest part of being in Belize. One of my friends wrote me an email today that made me start thinking about this and how frustrating it is to be around people who function by not being real to tourists, especially, but even with each other they are not real. (Let me say at this point that I am trying to not stereotype the whole population - give me time to explain).

She wrote "it's pretty bad when the discovery guide talks about how belizean men are rarely faithful to one woman,and crave variety-wow-it's in the freakin guide book-not like i expected monogamy from any man there but it's a fact huh."

It is really in the guidebook. wow.

I am always wondering when I am talking to someone if they are being real. I think the longer that I am here, the more I am learning and as I become more welcomed into the community, I think people are becoming more real. I watch interactions between locals and tourists and see a play act going on - it is hard to explain because I think the Belizean people are basically friendly people and they take time to just talk - and about important things - and they can be great, loyal friends...but there is another underlying issue that divides. I think it is the idea that all Americans, Canadians and Europeans that come here are rich and that the locals do what they can to gain material things from them and at the same time there are may of these tourists who think they are better than people from Belize. I am not saying this is blatant or that this is done on purpose or with any kind of thought process behind it. Not usually. It becomes a make believe time in which everyone has fun together in the fantasy but when I pull back the curtain, the actors and actresses are really different from the roles they play with each other. This is true in every place I go - it is just more evident here to me. Maybe it goes back to the guidebook comment. It is more pronounced that the men romance the tourist women and just lie about their wives, children, girlfriends with children, etc. It runs over into other parts of their lives too.

I guess this in on my mind because of what I hear and see at the school. I am working with 5 ten and eleven year old boys - anger management in a group. All but one is being abused physically and emotionally. They come to school and turn on each other. They tell stories about their home lives that are more than I can even listen too and they are also imitating the racism that they hear and see at home. Racial slurs, basing people's worth on the darkness of their skin - literally the shades of darkness. I think poverty and racism go hand in hand with lack of education but the ill effects of racism on all of our societies makes me so sad. Lack of education and poverty is not the only thing that breeds racism. why do we spend so much time trying to divide ourselves through economics, race, nationality, gender? I like to spend my time and energy getting closer to people and learning and understanding. I know it sounds like I am getting jaded - not really - just aware of what is around me. I am struggling with how to get people to be real with me. I do not judge and I have a lot of love. Just be real.

Being "real" would allow us to stop basing how we treat each other on the color of skin. I feel so alone in this thought. I know I am not alone but there are so many actors in the world that I can't tell who is real and who is faking it. Are people treating me nice because I am white and they think I have something to give them in a material way? or are they my friend because of who I am and because I am real? I feel tested a lot - another word around here is "true?" When I say something...response...true? why do we have to keep checking on whether or not somehting is true? one would think because there are a lot of lies. I hate lies. They feel like the ultimate betrayal. I can't believe someone after they have lied to me and it messes up everything.

I am in a weird mode today. My students have left. They were great! they worked so hard at the school and played so hard in the evenings. Of course everyone loves the ole miss students! Everyone around here misses them. My drummers are doing great. We have a free drumming lesson tomorrow from the man who made the drums. He is bringing the big drum tomorrow. I have not heard that the mom who went to guatamala got back yet so keep praying. "N"'s mom has not made it back yet either.

I made fried green tomatoes last night and fried chicken - time to bring mississippi to belize. of course i didn't have milk for my batter so i used cococut milk for my tomatoe batter...pretty good.

love and miss y'all!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

why is i so hard to follow my heart?

I stole this line from my friend Dr. Jim from Durham, North Carolina. He is wishing he could come here to work all the time too. I am having a hard time thinking about leaving these children. D asked me the other day when I had to leave and then when was I coming back? I can't tell him and he looked so distressed. I am about to cry right now thinking about his face. He and N have totally stolen my heart. I have used the money from Wendy's church to buy 8 drums and a set of turtle shells for my standard I boys (which includes D and N). they have to behave all day and do their work to be able to come to after school drumming. We have been practicing and I am telling you - they are already getting good and being good in class. D and N walked me home tonight and N held my hand all the way home. when we got to their turn for their homes I gave them some a couple of dollars as they wanted a fry jack - they were running off to buy their treat and N turn around and said " I need a hug bye." I can't stand it. The tears are flowing as I write. I try not to think about leaving them and now that I have written it my heart hurts so bad. I tr to just savor the smiles and hugs and good times but the other thoughts creep in - especially at night when I am alone.

The twelve Ole Miss students are here along with Angela Gaddis and her family. Angela is a professor at Belhaven and she is shadowing me in order to develop a program like this at Belhaven. Angela has the most adorable 13 year old son, Andrew. He is running and playing with all the island kids. Andrew helped Johnson cook for all the students last night. We ate the rest of the Baracuda and snapper and shrimp with rice and tortillas. The students loved it...but while Johnson was cooking - he allowed Andrew to cook with him - I cam through and saw what all he was letting him do and said...wait a minute - you wouldn't let me in the kitchen when you cooked...why does andrew get to cut vegetables and do everything...andrew turned to me and said "It is just a man thing" Johnson loved it and high fived him...I told them I was about sick of this male bonding crap. They really are bonding...

My students are great as always! They are working one on one with children who need help with reading. They are doing a great job. Cynthia speaks spanish and was helping a little 7 year old girl who is form honduras and speaks spanish...she couldn't read her story yesterday but cynthia wrote out vocabulary words and when she came today she had studied them and could read her whole story. wow. they really are making a difference. Some of them stayed and played soccer with the kids but they decided they may be too good for them. The students are snorkeling with
Biggs tomorrow and then he is taking them fishing thursday afternoon and cooking for them Thrusday night. Most of them have been on a Maya Ruin tour (sunday) and one went cave tubing on saturday. They have gone to their first Kareoke at Wet Willy's and even though none of them had even sang Kareoke - they are now veterans and asking me where is the next one? We did Taco Tuesday tonight...there are 30 West Point Cadets at our same hotel...needless to say they have bonded.

I have a prayer request. I have been working with a mom who just has to get her immigration papers from Guatamala. She has been attaching herself to jerks - men who hit her and threaten to turn her into immigration if she doesn't put up with their crap...just to be able to feed and shelter her kids. We have talked...well, she speaks spanish but we are communicating...she wants to work but she has to have her papers. She has lost 2 babies from the last jerk beating her. She has a twelve year old boy who gets in the middle of the fights to protect his mom and a 6 year old girl. They have Belizean fathers. This lady came form Guatamala when she was 10 years old with a lady she did not know...can onl imagine.....she was pregnant by age 13 years and is now 25 years old. We took a leap of faith and went to immigration Friday morning. I was a ball of nerves trying to have faith that God would anser our prayers....the immigraiton officer is rough but I was about to cry and was begging and the six year old kept smiling at him...he finally said he would not deport her. she has to go to Belmopan and get traveling papers, then to Guatamala to get her birth certificate and passport - then come back to start the proceedings for legal immigrant. She left today (with the help of Wendy's church donation) to go do all of this...left the kids here...she had to....this is unbelievably scarey. What ifs??? I just keep saying God will bring her back with the documents.

The soccer moms won -- 9 to 1!

Why is it so hard to follow my heart...it is all about security and money. I do love teaching at Ole Miss - I mis everyone and miss teaching. It is just I don't know how to leave these children when there is no one else to carry the torch for them - when there is no social worker ont he island that can do counseling....

by he way, I have found a new type of therapy - keep kim from coming to our house to do family therapy - therapy. the couple that was not speaking except to yell and threaten each other - causing great stress to their son? well, the boy told me yesterday that after I told both his parents that I would come to their house - the situationw as serious with their son - the stress level has to be reduced in the home - so you can come to me or I will come to you but we will have a fmaily team meeting....he said they started talking and were even smiling and laughing with each other over the weekend...he even smiled.

I have been working wit a 5 year old who all of a sudden became violent and totally will not do his work after being ok...just after all the shootings. I have talked and talked to this child and can't get anything about what he angry about and he says he is afraid sometimes...well, i talked to mom today...he actually witnessed the shooting of his cousin. Mysery solved. I was floored.
Guess we know now ....what was that about doing a complete psychosocial history...

One of my 12 year olds told me that her mom is in the states and she cooks, clens, shops, etc. for herself and four bothers. Mom left her with a step-dad. Dad monitors all her calls to her mom. He also like to beat on the girl and the boys. What will happen??? future blogs....

getting sleepy...miss you and love you a lot.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cultural Responsiveness

To be responsive to a culture...I have lived through times when we were taught to be culturally sensitive, then culturally competent and now culturally responsive. If cultural responsiveness was walking down the road...what would it look like? I stole and adapted that line from Dr. Desiree Stepteau Watson. So what would it look like? I can learn about the Belizean culture. I can understand the culture. I can be sensitive to the culture. I can even adjust to the culture. It is trying to be me, which includes being an educated woman who loves people of all shapes and sizes and ethnicity and race and education and whatever...anyway, it is hard to be me and truly be accepted into this culture. Of course, tourists are accepted as tourists. Ex-patriots - pretty much stick together. Did I mention that I want to be emersed into the culture to really learn about it? That does not include living here and watching it from the outside or playing the role of a tourist. Suffice it to say that really emersing myself in the culture and among the people requires a lot of trust and the problem I am having is the way women and men treat each other here. I am still trying to understand the relationships and how they work or don't work. I do know that the children are suffering a lot due to the nature of the adult's relationships with each other. Thoughts at the end of the day...I have been into San Mateo three times today - I guess that is why I am thinking. Yesterday I continued to work on the issues from the day before and it became more and more evident that the problems between parents are cuasing so many problems for the children. I am going to immigration with one of the moms from Guatamala who needs to get here papers. She is scared to do but she has two Belizean children - on in our school - she keeps allowing a man to beat her who is threatening her with going to immigration to report her, etc. She needs to be legal. Pray that this works out ok. The Ole Miss students are coming tomorrow and Saturday. I just met another Ole Miss student who took the semester off to help his uncle build a bed and breakfast in Cayo. I convinced him to stay on the island until our students come! didn't take much. I met a couple from Taylor, Mississippi here on vacation.

Love an miss you all.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

and another thing...

I forgot to say that i had a great day yesterday. I was at Choloes....on my day off...sitting with Johnson and Eric came up and said do you want a Barracuda? Got it all cleaned and cut up and before we could leave the dock to take it home to cook...we sold the roe...for as much as we paid for the fish. I like this business....we fed many people - Johnson cooked again...a Fish Stew and Curry Rice....and we still have a lot of fish left. We also have the head if anyone is interested....People are actually fighting over the head. I like this kind of fishing and am learning about the fish sales business. Johnson introduced us to his daughter and son-in-law. Butch came by to eat and talk...just a good day.

Feels like Monday

Why are "first days" back after a holiday weekend always crazy? It does not matter where I work or how much rest I get or how I prepare myself...Today is no exception. First thing I worked with a child who is experiencing post traumatic stress from being in a house fire when he was 6 years old. His parents were not home and the children were asleep. The 6 yr. old boy got his younger sister and carried her out and woke his older sister. The older sister has been blamed as a candle caught a curtain on fire. They had no electricity. The parents are fighting, the children are being beat by their father now and the child was so stressed this morning. He is 12 years old now. He is having all the signs of ptsd. The hardest part...who will continue to work with him when I leave?

Then I had a boy with a knife...spent a few hours with the police trying to find his mother....have not found her yet.

Two 10 year olds bullying (this would be girls).

One little girl who is at the top of her class has been missing school. I called the mom to ask where she lives as I am coming out there...she said the child would be at school in 10 minutes...and she was but she was crying. I have no idea...she won't say. Pray for this one!

One little girl whose mom in in the states got stung by the sea grass...I was doctoring her...she said - Ms. Kim are you the new nurse? I said no, I am not a nurse, I have just taken care of a lot a kids and I am a mom. She said you are a good mom. I about cried. She wants her mom to come back so bad and mom keeps saying she will come and then she doesn't.

I did give "D" his converse shoes. He is so very happy!! He took forever to put them on and lace them up. Of course "N" was right there to watch. When he was almost finished he said can I give my boots that are too small to someone? I said well - ask your dad who you should give them to...he said I know another boy who doesn't have any shoes...he will be happy and my dad would not care. He said thanks for my converse shoes....

I am going to give a tour of San Mateo to the group from Duke University. They have worked hard today and have been a great help!

Love an miss you all.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Meet me at the waffle house...

My mind drifts to when I have to leave here and how am I going to adjust. I already have named my next blog for when I return and I am claiming it so that no one else can - It will be "Meet me at the waffle house" and I know I stole this line from Colt Ford - but "I love it!". Greg and Wednesday are here and I am having a great itme with them. they got here Friday at 1 pm and I have introduced them to all the folks at Paradise and my new friends on the island. they brought lots of stuff for the school - thank you to everyone who donated - it is awesome! I know their suitcases are going to be much lighter going home! I now have pepto and hydrocortisome cream and vitamins! I can't wait to give D his new converse tennis shoes. I want Greg and Wednesday to come to the school to give him his shoes. Greg and Ernesto just took off in the golf cart and I have know idea what they will get into before they return...Wednesday went to dive but came back as the water is really rough - she said the waves outside the reef yesterday were 8 feet. Not sure how she made it. We have learned that when they are out of Caribean rum do not get the parrot rum...asthe locals say - it makes your head crazy...I will let Wednesday tell you about that one...we had a politacal celebration last night. Election day was wednesday and the UDP (democrats) won. They had a parade through town - loud does not explain it - at 2 am after the votes were counted. Last night we had another parade and a central park party - $2 BZ beer and music I never saw so many people. It was cool to see people and watch the celebration.

One of my friends left today - tom from Idaho - he has been here 18 days. One cool thing about being the long termer - I get everyone's stuff that they can't take back. Today Tom gave me grey goose vodka (which I have not had for three months), pizza, milk, beer, rolls, mustard, mayo, some kind of local gin that I am not too sure about...aloe...i do not even know what all. sandy is leaving thursday and she is bringing stuff already. I was really glad that she gave me her oatmeal. The isalnd has been out of oatmeal and no shipment coming in for two weeks. Who would have thought?

Johnson cooked fish, shrimp, rice, and tortillas for us last night. We had so much fun. I tried to help him but he kept running me out of the kitchen. We have learned that he is an excelent chef. I told Greg that if we could open a restaurant in which Ernesto, Biggs, Martin and Johnson cooked but then I said well - they would each have to cook a different night as none of them could cook together...and we had butch bartending....man! I know we could rack in the people. anyone out there want to invest?

I am going to the pool to lay out with Wednesday and just hang today. We have a holdiay tomorrow. such is life. I do have the worry about what is happening with my house - another story - so Ben - you could email me and tell me what is up.

Love ya and miss you all.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

New perspectives

Traveling has always been my greatest past time. I think that I have passed this down to my children as you can see by Amanda's and David's blogs - they are also travelers. I have never understood why some people do not like it. I think it goes back to moving so much as a child and not having roots anywhere. I have never felt like I belonged anywhere or that I really fit in to any community. This is not a bad thing; it just is. Even so, I learned to connect to people and have great friends and have met wonderful people throughout my moves and travels. It is more important to me to connect to people in a real way - to share the important things in life - our thoughts, our dreams, our struggles, our memories, our losses, our loves, and our passions. It is important to listen and be there when needed. It is important to be loving and not a burden to others and to stay as positive about life as I can.

I am just reflective today. I am thinking about my friends and home and my friends here. I am blessed to have great friends who put up with my craziness. Just thinking about how blessed I am. love and miss all my good friends.

Monday, March 2, 2009

answered prayers and joy

I recently was at a dinner with a group of volunteers who wanted to meet with community leaders in San Pedro. Everyone that was present had their name on a sheet with their emails and addresses. I had decided that I could go at the last minute so my name was not on the sheet. I sat next to the owner of Maya Island Air. He leaned over to me at dinner and said but your name is not on this list. I told him that I like to fly low. Those of you reading this are probably saying...yeah right because I seem to always be out there, but really, I have been thinking about this. Things happen that I know were because of my prayers and the things that are happening are from God answering prayer. It is not because my skills are that great. I pray constantly for guidance in what to do and for god to intervene in the lives of these children. The only thing I do is pray a lot and love them.

One answered prayer concerned "D" and "N" - my little "darling" boys that were getting in trouble everyday and not doing their work. I went to their class the other day because their teacher was in the office dealing with some things. I walked in and everyone was doing their work and being quiet. I said "wow, you all are doing our work quietly like little angels - who did your teacher leave in charge?" D and N both stood up proudly and said "we are - but you need to get onto that boy over there because he is not doing his work good and causing problems." I was shocked and said "You two are in charge? I am so proud of you! You are doing a great job!" they just beamed. I grabbed them up and hugged them. I know it was not my skills but god working to let them have better home lives and allowing me to love them. D gave me a picture that he drew for me. He is very talented. We have the drums ordered and will be getting them in a couple of weeks thanks to Wendy's fundraising efforts.

I have so much joy working with these kids that I just want everyone else to find the same joy. I have new neighbors at my condo and they are both retired enducators. They came to the school today and the woman is going to volunteer to teach D and N's class since their teacher left on maternity leave and we are without a teacher for a couple of weeks until they can find a replacement. I was telling her about D and N - when she met them - she said you know when I come to teach your class, I will need help - I wonder who could help me know what to do when. They both looked at each other and said - we will help you. I told them they will need to help Ms. Sharon with the little girl that just speaks spanish in their class too. they said - "no problem - we speak spanish". This is a far cry from where we were two months ago or even a month ago.

There has been a little girl that comes in every day with a stomach ache and headache. Of course I explore the school anxiety, possible abuse or issues at home, bullying form other kids, etc. Nothing....Now I don't have any idea why I thought of asking her about her diet and shen the headaches and stomach aches exist...I think it is from watching so many episodes of HOUSE. I think we have figured out that she has a wheat allery. cut out the pancakes in the morning and voila - no headaches and stomach aches. I totally do not know where these ideas come from if not divine intervention.

Our soccer moms won their soccer game sunday evening. They are so proud! Another awesome thing happened...I am trying to find a grant or something that would enable the start of a sewing co-op for the women of our neighborhood. They are all about this...I was at the pool Saturday and Jan ( a new friend) and I had been talking about the project...she came out of her room and said that she wanted to show me something. she had made a beach bag out of the plastice sacks that we get everywhere here. They ae all diffeent colors - she cuts them into strips and loops them together and rolls them into a ball - then she crochets them - presto - a waterproof, very colorful beach bag. I need crochet needles...and everyone at the pool said they would pay at least $50 for that bag if it was made in San Pedro...and then eveyone was brainstorming where we could put recycling boxes out for people to put their used bags..free materials - can't beat that and recycle at the same time. I told some of the moms today and they are excited. they could even make these while they are selling food.

"A" is a little boy who is very shy and quiet. He has become a new friend. He is about 8 years old - must be a sucker for that age...anyway, he was at my house last night and when he asked me if I had any paper glue as he had a project to do before tomorrow and needed glue. I said no - but the stationary store has glue - we can go get some. We went to the store and bout a little bottle of glue - about a dollar...his mom's boyfriend told me today that he was so proud to have his own glue and said he didn't want to take it to school as the other kids might want it. He cherished the fact tht he had his own bottle of glue. He came by tonight and walked with me to get a phone card at the stationery store...we got an eraser tonight. I just am amazed at how happy these children are with anything yo give them. Can you imagine our kids thanking us and being happy that we got them a bottle of glue or an eraser?

I have learned that when the weather changes, the bugs bite more. I also have not been eating my peppers. the weather was cold this morning - not as cold as Mississippi as I learned that we got snow this weekend...How was that baseball game at Ole Miss?

I moved to my different condo. It isn't setting well with me as I am not seeing my good neighbors as often. It is fine - just a change and I have enough going on that I wish I didn't have to change. I do have a CD player in this condo - think my neighbors are not happy about that. I got a little homesick this weekend. i talked to Ben and am missing you all so much. Then I learned that it snowed and was glad that I was here. don't miss the mississippi weather.

Greg and Wednesday will be here friday!!! I know yo all are thinking - no blogs for awhile...I will try to blog though. I have them bringing "stuff" - They emailed today to say they got it all and then I asked for crochet needles! then the next week I have 12 students coming form Ole Miss to volunteer for a week at the school. I have the work lined up! If any of you are reading this...there are also 30 West Point Cadets coming in for that week to our same condo complex...I really dread ladies night at Wet Willy's. Anyone want to come and help?

Hung out with Butch and Johnson at times this weekend. that was fun. They can always make me laugh.

I pulled one of my old child welfare rantings the other day...this mom sent a 5 year old wlaking to school quite a ways and she had a high fever, coughing, crying when she got there. Her 6 year old brother - it was also learned that morning - had lice...I tokk them both home in the taxi and the mom came sauntering up to me looking irritated that I had the kids...I sort of was a little stern with her about sending her child to school sick and she needed to take her to the doctor..then I said this child has lice..she wanted to argue with me and say that black people do not get lice - well - it you took care of his head and hair he would have less chance but I showed her the lice and said what do you call this? about that time, Mr. Victor, the cab driver and "my counselor" got out of the van and said "maam, please jsut take yor child to the doctor - ms. kim - we need to go" I asked hime when I got in the cab if he was rescuing me or her? He just shook his head and laughed. The child was better today and the other has his head shaved...love this work.

I am going to sleep now. I want to go to work tomorrow! It is a joy to want to get up in the morning to go to work! I like work days better than weekends.

Love and miss you all - keep praying - we have know idea what good things will happen.