I would like to take a moment to introduce you to C (for Cindy), you may remember her from a couple recent post about sunset cruise and Holy Cross School. We had the opportunity to meet her through our friends at Changes in Latitudes – they often invite us over to meet people who are staying there that they feel we would like and C was one of them.
Craving Belize from afar… by C
After spending the last 18 months battling pancreatic cancer and now completing the last of my third round of chemotherapy a celebration was in order. This celebration would consist of my joining my sister and brother in law on a trip to Belize.
I couldn’t wait I was getting away to some place other than another out of town hospital. I was headed for Central America. How cool was that, I thought. Of course my sister envisioned me, lazily slung in a hammock, underneath a coconut tree while reading a book and sipping rum punch for several hours of each day as she and her husband scuba dived. However, not the picture I created in my mind. Rather I thought Explore, adventure, sandy beaches, fresh air, freedom, sunshine, blue waters, long walks, beautiful sunrise and sunsets, etc.
While in Belize I walked the beach daily and said hello to every single person that passed, sometimes a mere hello turned into a brief chat or a full blown conversation. I met some of the kindest most interesting people right there in Ambergris Caye. The kind people coupled with the climate of Belize and the overall atmosphere of San Pedro….. for me a love was found. It’s like the “Divine Spark” I’ve heard about all my life had now come to light and ignited something within me.
I can’t even begin to fully express in words the feelings and emotions I personally experience while in Belize. Not to mention the deep-aching homesickness I feel while back home in the states.
That first trip to Belize in Jan. 2008 allowed me to form various friendships with families, single individuals and a few couples. Through these friendships I have been able to help in little ways from back in the states. I currently send clothing, household and school supplies to 3 different families.
This last trip to Belize in April presented itself with awesome opportunities for me to volunteer. I worked for several days with Dr. Wil Lala and other volunteers on a “trash bin project” in efforts to clean up the island. Through the project I learned how to use a circular table saw and a drill press. I spent a lot of time drilling holes in pre treated lumber and into freshly cut bamboo. It was a physically demanding job especially given the heat with a fair amount of lifting and carrying but rewarding and relaxing at the same time.
I also had the pleasure of receiving a tour (by tacogirl Laurie and Shuffles from Changes In Latitude) of the Holy Cross School. While there I deposited a bag of school supplies and some clothing I had brought from the US.
The tour of the school and its grounds overwhelmed me as a huge range of emotions swept over me. I was heart-struck by the physical conditions of San Mato area. I had not mentally prepared myself to enter the thick of the extreme poverty stricken area, nor do I know if any preparation would have eased the intense feelings. Even though friends at home comment on my living simply and modestly I was suddenly plagued with guilt and feelings of selfishness in regards to all I have and own in the states. I knew this one visit would have an impact on me forever and my desire to help multiplied many times over during the course of the tour.
I was so moved by the wonderment of the children. Regardless of the conditions surrounding the school, the overcrowded un-air conditioned classrooms, despite the dust and the heat and the mere helplessness I thought they may somewhat be feeling I was just simply marveled by these “happy-smiling” children. Many of them greeted us with an exuberant hello and several gave hugs and kisses. I’ve only once experienced the constant greetings of such jovial spirits and that was while doing an internship as a nursing student in a pediatric cancer ward. What is it that sustains children in such an atmosphere that would literally crush the spirit of many grown adults? Is it the innocence or the true ability to thoroughly appreciate the mere blessings they are privy to? I guess I’ll never know and thus my amazement of the children will always be present.
Now back stateside I am continuing my efforts of helping the children of Holy Cross through attempts at starting some fund raising campaign for a playground project. I will be presenting ideas to the committees of two different churches this week.
I’m not sure exactly when I’ll get back to Belize but hopefully sometime within the next few months. Until then I will continue to give thanks for the time I have spent there so far and with eager anticipation prepare for the next visit. Maybe Belize is “my miracle” opposed to the western civilization’s thoughts on a cure for my cancer being the only miracle to focus on.
C peeking out from crowd of kids wanting to have their picture taken with her – to see more of C’s pictures of the school and kids please go to Holy Cross Blog