By Mid July, I still dd not know who would be interpreting but had a promise from the Ministry of Education that they would have someone for Sulmi. Who? They didn't know. They knew all of the interpreters (all 2 of them) in Belize were assigned to a placement in Belize City. In my desperate prayers I thought I heard God say, "I have someone for Sulmi." That gave me some peace that I could not account for otherwise.
During that time Kathy Miller was interpreting for Sulmi while she attended the mandatory summer school for new Freshman. The classes were three weeks long. In the middle of the second week Kathy developed a problem with intestinal worms. It's pretty uncomfortable: indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea. The easily available de-worming med was not working. Afraid that Kathy would become dehydrated, I took her to the clinic and they diagnosed her with worms. They kept her in the hospital for about 24 hours with an electrolyte drip and other meds. Fortunately she recovered by the weekend.
When Kathy first became sick, she still went to school to interpret, but on Tuesday night I told her to stay home. Who would interpret for Sulmi? My first thought was to call Miss Mesh. She is the woman who used to interpret for Manuel. We agreed to meet at the bus stop and then I would drive her to school. The next morning as I waited at the bus stop I got a text. "Im sorry but my brother was in an accident I need to be with him,"
|Sulmi in her Bishop Martin uniform on the first day of High School.|
Now what would I do? School would start in 5 minutes and Sulmi did not have anyone to interpret for her, The only other people I knew who could hear and sign were the Jehovah's Witnesses. So I drove to a house where I knew some of the American JW missionaries lived. That woman said she could not sign well enough but suggested Cathlene Wallace, a Belizean, who happened to live near the school. After calling Cathlene and getting a "yes", I drove to pick her up and drop her at school. She interpreted for Sulmi the rest of the week. Sulmi liked her and understood her signs.
The next week I asked Cathlene if she would be interested in applying for the job through Ministry of Ed. So we did all of the paperwork and got the necessary documents copied and sent off to Belmopan and they said "a definite maybe". Throughout August we waited for a yes. A few days before school started they called Cathlene and asked her what pay she wanted? She replied but then they did not respond. School started. When the orientation began, there was no interpreter. I called Cathlene and asked her to please come. She said she didn't have a contract yet. I assured her that I would pay for her to interpret if the Ministry of Ed did not come through. (!!!???) She came right away. Two weeks into school she still did not have a contract. Finally someone from NaRCIE (special ed. office) kindly made a trip up to Orange Walk with the contract in hand and Cathlene was employed.
|Cathllene is 27 and has been signing for eleven years. I love her big smile.|
* I want to help Belizean signers improve their skills
* It's never a good idea to have an American take the job of someone who can do it here.
* More experienced Belizean interpreters means people who are here for the long haul who will help train the future interpreters here.
*Sulmi is confident enough in her faith so that neither the Catholicism that she is learning in school or the influence of a JW will shake her, But it is good to be in dialog with both...rather than project fear or hate.
It's a good thing, a God thing.
This was clearly a lesson in learning to trust Him. We got confirmation not at the last minute but two weeks into the school year! God wanted to know if I would trust his promise that he had someone. If God considers that we passed this test, I wonder with a bit of fear and trembling what the next challenge will be.