Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pancakes and Visitors

Both Sulmi and Gineli like to cook. Sulmi is the pancake flipper and Gineli likes to cook meat. Gineli is the carnivore in our "family".

When we have a day off from school, many of our deaf friends go "visiting". Angelica and Juan came to visit just as the pancakes and sausage were ready. It was perfect timing. We had enough to feed all of us and then some.

Connections Alternative Giving Catalog

This is Yelitza and her daughter Kristen. Kristen is in 1st grade. Yelitza's husband works sporadically selling tacos in Belize City. The money he earns pays the water and electric bills and buys food. There is little left over to pay for school or transportation to school from their village. Thank you to the kind, anonymous person who donated "school fees" to the alternative giving catalog this year!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shrove Tuesday Party

This year Shrove Tuesday fell on March 8. It's the day that other countries celebrate Fasnacht Day, Pancake Day and Mardi Gras. The 16th Centruy Catholic Church created the day as a day of fasting and humility for our sins. In the 1500's the people would all go to their village churches on Shrove Tuesday where the priest would "shrive" or absolve them from all of their sins. Then the people would spend the next 40 days (Lent) doing penance for their mistakes (fasting from meat, eggs, cheese, fats and other things as well to show their contrite hearts). Somehow in the 5 centuries that have passed, the day before lent has instead become a day for parties and "last hurrahs" before the somber Lenten church season.

The Anglican Diocese always celebrates the day before Ash Wednesday with a party for the children in special education classes.

This year we got to take a train ride tour of the city. It was nice and a gentle cool breeze blew through the train and we saw our familiar old capitol.
They also provided two live characters from "Dora the Explorer". The characters danced with the children. Our St. Peter's children are in blue uniforms. The children enjoyed the dancing and live music.
Most of my class would say they enjoyed visiting with the other deaf children from Stella Maris School. They are good deaf friends and so happy to see each other four or five times a year when we get together for different events. This is a picture of the children on the bus ride home. The whole days was full of smiles.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Discipling and Teaching Believers

Diego is 25. He biked all the way from San Roman Village (on muddy roads ...25 miles?) in the rain to ask me to give him a Bible. We spent some time reading and praying together. He likes to use a sign language dictionary (Signing Illustrated) to identify the words he does not know. I watched him find the sign for b-e-c-a-u-s-e. When he saw it he had an "ah HA!" expression and then went back to the Bible passage and kept reading. I had never thought of using the sign language dictionary to help Deaf people read the Bible. He is so hungry for the Word. It's clear that the Spirit is leading him and counseling him. He lights up when he talks about following Jesus and learning about God.

Juan (center) is also eager to learn how to read the Bible. He never went to school so it's a challenge. He gets a lot of help from Angelica and Alejandro at our Friday night Bible Study. Two weeks ago he read a passage for worship.

A New Housemate

You might remember Gineli. She has been in my class since I came here to Belize. She also lived with me while her mother was getting dialysis in Mexico. Her mother died last year. Recently her sister Maria has spent increasingly more time on the island of Caye Caulker where she lived before her mother's illness and where she has a shop. Gineli was missing a lot of school because Maria has become her primary caregiver. Gineli loves to go to Caye Caulker with her sister but there is no classroom on the island for deaf children and no teacher who knows signs. So, Gineli is going to spend the school week with me and then take the boat to Caye Caulker on the weekends. We'll see how it goes. Pray that Gineli and Maria both can deal with the separation. Pray that the threesome of Kristel, Sulmi and Gineli works out with understanding and kindness, not jealousy.
Here is another picture from our first night.

We were uncontrollably cracking up. There are lizards that come out every night and climb the walls. Sulmi suggested I get a yellow sticky strip (like the kind that we used to hang in the cow barn to catch flies). What had us rolling on the floor was her dramatization of a lizard getting stuck...first a front foot, then a back foot, then the tongue one body part at a time until all he could do was wiggle and roll his eyes. with his tongue stuck on the strip. It sounds a little gruesome as I read it now, but it as hilarious to see her facial expressions.