Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pics from the School Garden

Sulmi took these photos while I was watering the garden on Monday.  In addition to the plants in these pictures we have okra, calaloo, plantain, habenero peppers, carrots, oregano, red beans and black beans that are just starting to sprout .
A white flowering bush that a fellow gardener gave us.

Yellow flowering bush in the garden near the school gate.
A hardy blue flowering plant

Little radishes...can you see them just starting to pop up?

Belize cilantro

coco...it is a root vegetable like potato.

chaya...you cook it like spinich

our baby almond tree...it will eventually provide great shade.

George Cadle Price

George Price is the "Father of the Nation".   He is the first Prime Minister of Belize (and was also re-eleceted as the third Prime Minister.)  He died last Monday from hitting his head when he fell in his own home.  He was 92.  Today was his funeral.

What a uniquly honorable man he was.  He never married and wanted to be a priest but became consumed with Belize's struggle for independence and changed his focus to law, even though he kept his faith through all the years.   Although there were others who helped to forge the peaceful independence that was won in 1981, everyone says that it would not have been won without this man.  He was able to listen to opposing points of view, maintained a cool patient attitude, but was able to be decisive when they ran up against a wall.  Prime Minister Musa said the British were trying to stall the process.  They said Belize was not ready. Belize needed better infrastructure,(some paved roads),  more experienced leaders.  They said that if Belize went ahead with independence, it would be chaos.  To the small group of Belizeans who were trying to negotiate with England at the same time they were trying to encourage the UN to support them in Guatemala's claim on the land, George Price was reported to have said, "Ever forward, never backward".  They moved ahead and the result was a new nation.

I have been asking people if they ever met him, shook his hand or talked to him. Almost everyone has.  It's amazing to me that this man got around the country not so much as a political effort, but from the people's point of view he humbly wanted to stand with the people and know them.  He wanted to unite the people into ONE country with many different language groups and cultures.  Angelica's mom remembers him going from house to house in what was then the village of Trial Farm. She said here was this powerful important man who was willing to sit down and eat beans and tortilla, just a little bit, with each family.  He didn't have to have fancy things.  People say he never had a TV or radio.  Every person seems to summarze George Price's character in these words, "completely dedicated and consistently humble."

His vision for Belize was to raise up the common person and erradicate poverty.
I thank God for walking with this man, leading him and in turn leading Belize to freedom and self-determination. Almost everyone says it might not have happened as peacefully or quickly without him.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I'm So Proud of This Guy!

This is Alejandro.  He is Deaf and turns 16 next Friday.  He has a job working with a plant propogator and landscaper.  He says he "Kiss-Fist" his work. ("Kiss-Fist" is an ASL sign made by closing the right hand into a fist and bringing it up to your mouth and kissing it.  It is the sign for really loving something).

Why is he giving the thumbs up sign?  I have been trying to help him and Edgar save their money.  When they get paid every Friday they give half to their mothers and then tend to blow the rest of the wad before the light of Saturday shines.  Alejandro wanted to buy a phone.  I offerred to be his bank. This gave him some accountability and also I am "open" Friday night after he gets his pay.  Using the bank is hard because by the time he gets home from work, they are closed.

Every week for 5 weeks he brought me $25 from his Friday pay. We put it in an envelope and stored it in my safe. In the meantime we went to look at phones.  They are so expensive here, especially if you want to have a QWERTY keyboard, which makes texting easier. When he had $125, we went to the Cellular Store and bought this phone. He is so proud that he bought it himself... the whole thing from his work money.  Now he KISS-FISTs his phone (smile),

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Some Pics From Church Last Sunday

There should be more pictures of the boys.  I wasn't  focused on getting a snapshot of everyone this time.  Next time I take church pics I'll try to get everyone.
Kristel and Misael

Elizanie, Yelitza and her daughter Kristen, and Delina

This is a picture of Manuel preaching for the first time. 

Manuel was talking about making Godly choices...doing what God has called you to do and based the sermon on the Jonah and the Whale story.  He did a great job.  Everyone seems to watch when he teaches.  Sometimes when he explains things I think, "Wow! Where did that come from?" because he adds things from his heart that we had not talked about at the prep session. He even surprised himself and said, 'God helped give me the words I needed."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Life In Our House on Holidays

One of the nice things about living here in Orange Walk is that many of the Deaf children live fairly close to us.  So when we have days off from school, it's easy to have friends come visit.  Elizanie (far right) is a good buddy from the Deaf class.  Gineli (in the middle) lives with us during the week because her sister lives too far away for her to commute to school. (Her mother died of diabetes about 3 years ago).  Sometimes they crochet, cook, talk, or play games.  UNO is one of their favorites right now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Independence Day Parade

Belize won independence from England in 1981.  September 21 marked Belize's 30th birthday.  Every year there are almost a week's worth of festivities to celebrate this freedom.  My favorite is the school parade.  All of the schools in Orange Walk, dress in uniform and carry flags, decorate a float, select a handful of students to be dancers, play rythmic music on drums, and march around the town.  Here is a glimpse of our students getting ready and marching in the parade.
Yelitza braided Sulmi's hair.
Miss Mesh (The new deaf classroom teacher)  put make-up on the girls. 

Elizanie and Sulmi are all dolled up and ready to dance in the parade.
Jaheed will play the drum.

The children from St. Peter's were dressed in their school uniforms and marched in front of the school float.

An "artsy shot" for Mateo.
This is the first year I watched the parade instead of walking in it.   Angelica and I were on the second floor balcony of one of the stores in town.  From up above as we looked down we saw a sea of umbrellas.  Although there was a sprinkle of rain for a short time,  people used the umbrellas to block the hot sun. 
The St Peter's Anglican School float .
Our dancers walked behind the float. They had to dance and walk about a half mile.  You can see Elizanie, Sulmi and Kristel in the middle of the pack.   The other dancers are from our Special Ed. classes.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lazy Livin'

Solana likes to sleep with her chin on the water dish.  She'll fall asleep, wake up, lap the water a little, and then close her eyes again.  I don't know if she is lazy, diabetic, or trying to dominate the dog by keeping him from the water.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Prodigal Daughter Returns

Ariel (not her real name) came to girl's Bible study last night.  She hasn't come for about 8 months. I was surprised to see her standing at my gate about 15 minutes early. She had obviously showered and dressed in "out for the evening clothes".  She was smiling.

I wish that I had just gushed with grace and love.  It's the obvious response.  Kristel did.  She ran out and invited her in. I followed.  Sigh. 

Our history is a rough road.  She has been part of our deaf community, family, gatherings, events, since the beginning, since our very first worship together.  During that 7 years I felt like I had tried to help her, be a safe place for her, helped her reunite with her mother who had cut her off, baby shower, visited her, showed her love, forgave her...etc. but she kept rejecting me, said mean things, never smiled to me, said mean lies to other people about me.  I thought,  "Hey, look, I can't go any farther across this bridge without you making some kind of effort, " though I never said that to her or anyone else.  She was causing so much chaos, too.  Every time (yes EVERY time) she came to church she had a fight with the man she claims is the father of her first baby but is obviously not.  Sometimes she would stand up and shout and then dramatically announce "I'm ignoring you"… and maybe storm off in tears about 15 minutes after church started. You would think you were watching a Mexican soap opera. So when she stopped coming to church and my house and kind of stayed away for 8 months, my first thought was relief.  "Phew, less drama."

There are so many different kinds of psycho-babble theories about how to relate to people who are having trouble finding their way and very stubborn and rebellious in the effort.  You know, "tough love", or let them learn their lesson, or just love them anyway.  As a teacher who juggles these strategies everyday...I try to figure out when do I discipline, when do I hug it out, when do I see this as needing a behavior management reward system, when do I ignore it.  Every behavior, every child, every situation is different and any one of those responses is "right" from time to time in an educational setting.  With Church family, it's different.
When Chuck Snyder was here, he was talking about grace vs. law.  He said, “People have it all wrong. The argument should not be grace vs. law.  You can never have too much grace.  It should be rephrased:  law vs. lawlessness.”
Hmmmm. “You never ever can have too much grace”.
The phrase has been rolling around in my head ever since.  I think he is right about that.  How does that apply to school?  I don’t know… but with church people…with Ariel….it means I should run to her like the Father in the Prodigal son story.  I didn’t.  I don’t trust her.   But so what?  There wasn’t anything trustworthy about the son who returned home, yet the Father ran to meet him.
Grace, you can never have too much.
So last night when she came to Bible study, Kristel and Angelica were immediately "thrilled to see her after a long absence" and showered her with sentences like:  "It's so good to have you here."  That’s grace.  Father, show me how to extend the grace to Ariel that you have already rained on her.