Monday, December 16, 2013

Edgar's Homegoing

On December 4, 2013 Edgar went home to be with the Lord. He was only 19.  We miss him.  
Edgar had cancer that started in his lymph nodes in his pelvis.  He noticed some pain a year ago, but like people here in Belize, he just dealt with the pain.  It wasn't too bad.  Then he dropped 50 pounds in only two months.  That got our attention.

We took Edgar for an ultrasound and found he had enlarged lymphnodes.  The doctor told us to get a bone marrow aspirate to determine if it was Leukemia.

That was impossible to do.  The doctor he referred us to said he does not do the procedure.  There was no one in Belize who could do it.  Edgar would have to go to Mexico to a doctor there.  Neither he or his mother had a valid passport.  We applied for a passport for never came. (It got lost?  I don't know.  We waited the three months it takes to get the passport and it never came.)  By that time he was worse. He had no energy and was urinating blood.  I took him to an internist to find a way to diagnose the problem without the bone marrow aspirate.  He ordered lots of tests and suspected Hodgkin's lymphoma.  He wanted to do a biopsy of the lump to make sure.  November 19 we admitted him for the biopsy.  By that time every day seemed to add to his complications...lumps grew in his throat (lymphnodes) which blocked his breathing.  He couldn't swallow food and had trouble swallowing water.  All of his bones ached.  He couldn't sit up or walk to the bathroom. He was spitting up mucus.... then spitting up bile.   This cancer was torturing his body.  It's a cruel disease.  Finally he somehow sat himself up, pulled out his IV, and demanded that he go home.  The doctor released him. He died at home 6 days later.

This is Edgar 2 years ago.  We used to go out to lunch now and then.  I liked to treat him and talk to him to try to guide him to make good decisions.

 This is Edgar praying in our church in September.  He was the person who opened our worship with prayer.  He always prayed a long prayer.  Some of the children Sulmi's age laughed and looked at their watches, but I told them "Watch!  He is speaking words from God.  We need to hear what God is saying through him."   Edgar, who was a young man of few words, prayed powerfully. He always told the people to live in peace with each other, to love and forgive each other.  He always told the boys to avoid temptations, he told them to come to church and to obey God.

This is Edgar at Boyz Bible Study.  He never missed it.

Edgar was a good friend.  We miss him terribly.  On Friday December 6, his birthday,  we had a funeral at Jesus' Deaf Church.  The church was full.  Over half of the people were Edgar's Deaf friends, some who came from as far as 3 hours away to remember him.  Now our dear brother lives joyfully in peace with Jesus...sitting at the feet of the Lord and praying for us all to make righteous choices.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bringing in the Sheaves

 On Thursday our school celebrated "Harvest".   Every year at about this time we have a worship service at the St. Peter's Anglican Church to thank God for his bountiful gifts.  The children come to school with a decorated shoebox.  Inside they put food that the priest will distribute to the poor. All of the primary schools in Belize follow this tradition but not necessarily on the same day.  As the children file into the church we always sing "Bringing in the Sheaves".  They place their boxes behind the kneeling rail in the front.
The harvest baskets.
This is the lower school and middle school worship.
 The priest leads the children in a special liturgy.  Then each class comes forward and does a presentation.  Some classes say a poem and others sing a song.  This year the Infant 1 class where I "interpret", sang and signed the song: "Praise Him, Praise Him All Ye Little Children, God is Love."  in ASL.   It was precious.  Unfortunately Morine and her sister did not come that day, but you can see all of the hearing children signing the song by clicking on this link:

Infant 2 (6 and 7 year olds) sang a song.

The upper school followed a liturgy for worship.

Standard 5 said a clever poem with the letters in the word "HARVEST".

Standard 6 said Psalm 100 from memory.  This is Sulmi signing it.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Culture Day

On Friday our school celebrated Culture Day.  Like the USA, Belize is comprised of many cultures.  Like the USA many of the people are proud of their ancestors' traditions and still speak their family's language, eat their culture's food, sing and dance to traditional songs and occasionally hold religious rituals that are associated with their culture.  Unlike the USA, Belize actively promotes cultural acceptance, integration and respect.  It's one of the highest values of Belize society.  To that end, our school and several others celebrated "Culture Day" where we talked about the different cultures in Belize, the foods associated with each culture and how we respect and honor each other.

 Here you see four children from the Infant 1 class.  Adrienne (dressed in Mestizo clothing), Luke (dressed as a Mennonite), Morine (dressed in Garifuna clothing) and Mia (also dressed in Garifuna clothing).
The Garifuna are descendants of African slaves whose ship crashed on the shores of Belize and freed them.  They are mixed with native Arawak Indian people, have a rich musical culture, and speak Garinagu.

About 45% of Belize is Mestizo (Mexican-Maya descent).
Creole: 30%
Maya: 10%
Garifuna: 6%
Mennonite: 4%
Hindu (East Indian): 2%

(% lifted from the CIA World Factbook: Belize. 2013)

This adorable child is Ellin.  She is in the infant 1 (Kindergarten) class. She didn't dress for Culture Day but asked me to take her picture.  She is probably of Creole descent. Her ancestors were brought to Belize from Africa as slaves to cut lumber. Most of the people who are culturally Creole live near Belize City.  They speak the Creole language which has spread throughout Belize and is one of the most frequently spoken languages here.
Sulmi is dressed in a formal Mestizo dress that is used for doing traditional Mestizo dances.

Chelsea is wearing the shirt that many Mopan Maya women wear everyday. It's not a costume.  It's more of a way to show their identity. The Mopan Maya culture is in southern Belize.  They are primarily subsistence farmers.
Mrs. Cantun and Mrs. Briceno, our assistant principal and principal, even got in on the act.  Mrs. Cantun is representing the Hindu culture.  Mrs. Briceno is wearing a beautiful Mestizo dress.
This is Sulmi and Kristel at the morning assembly.  Part of the Mestizo dress includes wearing large bright flowers in your hair.
Here are all of the teachers dressed in various ethnic clothing.  I am wearing a Ketchi Maya shirt.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Boyz Bible Study Does A Service Project

"Whoever wants to be first, must be the slave of everyone. Even the Son of Man did not come to be served.  Instead, he came to serve others."  Mark 10:44-45

This is the verse we studied during Boyz Bible Study this week...and then we washed the church van.
I am embarrassed to say that this is the first service project that we have done in 8 years. (!!!)  It was fun. Holding the hose and squirting the water was the most popular job....even after the windows were washed and dried...ooops.  But it's cleaner than it was.

Friday, October 4, 2013

First Friday Fun Night

Here we all are....waiting to start.

This month was a Game Night.  It was so much fun!  Below are some pictures.

This game is called "A Knotty Problem".  5 clotheslines, 10 players.  The clothes lines were wound over and under the benches...criss-crossing each other.  Each member of a team stands at one end of the rope where it is knotted to the bench.  At "Go!" they untangle their end of the rope until they meet in the middle. Several people said this was their favorite game of the night.

Misael is relaxing and chomping on our snack: vegetables, chips, and dip.

 Human Tic-Tac-Toe...This was another "favorite". 

Nice picture of Reinalda...I like seeing her with a big smile.

The Card Toss:  4 people each have a suit of cards from a full deck.  Simutaneously they flip the cards to land in a square marked on the floor.  The team (red or black) with the most cards IN the square wins.

 This was a balloon relay.  Josue loves balloons so he was often in the middle or playing with his own white balloon.

 More laughs from the balloon relay game.

Next month will be a movie night.  If anyone has a great suggestion of a Christian movie that lends itself to discussion...let me know.  

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Dem Boyz

We had a pile of sticks in the backyard....just begging for a wienie roast.  So I let the Boyz Bible study (which was only Edgar and Misael that day) turn the pile into a fire.

It was a fun challenge to get the wet wood to light, but lots of paper seemed to do the trick.

Some are crispy critters, but they were delicious anyway :-)

Friday, September 20, 2013

September Celebrations

The first month of school in Belize is marked by several holidays. September 10 is St George's Caye Day which celebrates the victory of the Baymen (Pirates, loggers, and British settlers) who, against odds, defeated a Spanish Naval fleet that was trying to take over their land.  September 19th is the day we remember George Price, the Father of our country who, over 50 patient years, negotiated a peaceful independence from Britain. On September 20 there was a Children's Rally (parade) to give a shout out for national pride.  Sept. 21 is Independence Day (This year was Belize's 32nd birthday.)

Here are some pictures from the Children's rally:
This little girl from our school is dressed like the Belizean flag.
Here are the "King" and "Queen" for our school. This year they were chosen by their teachers.

Each school in Orange Walk decorated a float.

Several schools had dancers and children in pretty costumes. 

Three children from each school were selected to ride decorated bikes.

The high schools had drum corps.

All of the children who were not in a band or on a float or dancing or on bikes, walked with their classmates in their school uniform behind their school banner.  These are some children from our school: St. Peter's Anglican School.