I have had many responses to the reality blog. I have about determined that living in Belize for 5 months and working very closely with the families and children from San Mateo and other communities has given me a dose of the reality in which persons on this island live. I am not in the same place as those who come for a week or two or the Americans and those from other countries who come here to live but re-create as much of the comforts of home as possible - not all but many.
I know the culture here is just different from the culture at home. I think that is what makes it not feel real. Each has their own reality.
My reality here is that I have become very connected to the children and the families. The children show me so much love. I love them. It makes me happy to have a life that is more full of love than negativity and complaining. I like the slow pace and the time taken to just sit and talk. I like that I can have leisurely meals in the evening and then just have fun with my friends and if I can't find my friends I can just go anywhere and meet someone new and talk. I like that very few hours go by without someone coming by to say hello and to see how I am. I love deciding what I want to eat and going to the store or the vegetable stand and getting just what I need for that meal. I love the "Bush doctor" remedies for most illnesses. I love not having to use air conditioning and keeping my windows open. And of course I love the ocean and the breeze.
So, I find myself thinking about how I will transition to Oxford, Mississippi. When should be my last day at the school? How much time do I need to prepare myself mentally for the return? How do I say good-bye to the children I have worked with and my friends? One would think that this would not be hard for someone who has moved so much throughout life, but this one is very hard. I know I will come back. I am worried about some of the children and then all of the children. I know this is out of my realm of control but mostly I worry that they will think I have left them to deal with everything themselves. Let go of what I cannot control....of course, but that is not without distress.
Tonya has been here and I can't even write about what she has stirred up...I can tell you that several people will remember her visit. She has really helped with one little boy. The 6 year old was being lashed constantly and the caregiver was with-holding food for punishment. He was unkept and had a terrible body odor. His stomach was distended but he was very skinny. He just sobbed and sobbed when I first talked with him. He does not talk very much. We get a lot of head nods. When he worked in our sandbox he put everything in order - even my type, size, color! Tonya is very attached to him...of course she wants to take all of the children home. I told her this one would fit with her very well...they are both OCD.
Tonya has made a discovery that I did not even know about. The mosquitos love her. Even if there is one in my home - it will bite her 10 times. She is so fair skinned that they show up. The Belizeans are always counting her mosquito bites. Tonya asked the kids what to do about the mosquitos - they told her to get this one type of coil that burns (they call it fish). We now have about 15 of these things burning at any one time - smells like an incense store.
Tonya has also taken on the makeover of young girls - she is washing and trimming and curling hair. This has started a beauty shop in our home about every day. She has pictures. I made her go snorkeling yesterday with Reuban. She has pictures. I told her this was a growth experience to go alone. She did it and had a blast - she also did the punta dance last night!
Pam made us nuts. she left Saturday at 1 pm and was suppose to let us know when she arrived. She called Monday morning after she got home and slept 27 hours straight. I guess I work people a little too hard?
love and miss everyone!