Thursday, April 23, 2009
It has been a long time. The last few weeks in Belize were overwhelming, both for good and bad reasons. I met an amazing group of friends that I spent almost every evening with. We BBQed, listened to music, played b-ball, biked and swam late into the night and watched in awe as Ezrah taught the guys how to break dance. To summarize, I didn't sleep much and saw the sunrise more in the last weeks than the entirety of the trip.
On the flip side, the intensity level in the office gradually rose as we participated in "Maya days." prepared for the Julian Cho memorial and shifted around to accomidate 6 more house guests :-0
I made it home safely on April 10th and give credit to those late experiences in changing my overall perspective of the journey.
Since being back I have been eating non stop and soaking in hot showers (ahhhh). PS- If anyone has any remedies for over indulging, please send them ASAP.... I feel like a blimp and am definitely in need of a fast...... (ugh)
An ongoing phenomena for the past month or so is an increase in sentimental emotions while listening to music. Deciphering lyrics and their underlying messages has grown in importance and so has expanding my CD selection. Below are some lines from a few of the songs that have been resonnating- enjoy! (it goes on for a while so don't feel bad about skimming.. it is more for me than anyone else)
Deana Carter-Strawberry Wine
I was caught somewhere between a woman and a child
When one restless summer we found love growing wild
On the banks of the river on a well beaten path
Funny how those memories they last
Like strawberry wine and seventeen
The hot July moon saw everything
My first taste of love oh bittersweet
Green on the vine
Like strawberry wine
I still remember when thirty was old....
....A few cards and letters and one long distance call
We drifted away like the leaves in the fall....
Tray Chapman- Fast Car
You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere
Anyplace is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we'll make something
But me myself I got nothing to prove
You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so we can fly away
We gotta make a decision
We leave tonight or live and die this way
Eric Clapton- Tears in Heaven
Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you feel the same
If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on
cause I know I don't belong here in heaven...
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I fell in love the minute I stepped foot on shore, head over heals and there was no turning back. I steeped in the rich culture: people, sights, sounds, tastes. I can't think of a single other experience which has left me feeling as if the human sensory was not enough to take in all that was around me. Alive, I finally felt alive again. For days I climbed the cobblestone alleys of San Pedro Village, urging myself to trod just a bit further to see what unique venders or artisans lie ahead. Situtated feet above the breath taking back drop of beautiful Lake Atitlan, one never found themselves lost or hungry, nor a tad distracted and some how, even on vacation, always a bit productive.
In stark contrast to village life, the colonial city of La Antigua bustled with the latest styles hot of the Milan runways and was marked with restaurants boasting more star than the Hollywood strip. And as much as I could go into detail, I will spare you the words that could never do it justice and finally let the pictures speak for themselves. Yes, I will be posting and sending everyone the link! [Hur-ray] So besides leaving the city with a mild case of food poisoning, my bags were loaded with some of the best local buys and a had a definitive sense of satisfaction from accomplishing so much in so little time.
Tuesday- back on the shores of Belize. It rained at least once per day the first three days I have been back. The slight malady which still plagued my stomach kept me out of work and in bed through Wednesday. From here on out this journey is a count down instead of count ahead, which literally means in that four weeks and three weekends remain. It is now time to make plans for 'Destination Belize', some of the must see spots outside of the Toledo district.
Anyways, I will sign off for now. I could go on, but then I would never stop. Really. For anyone who is interested in an exquisite vacation for about $15-20 US a day including hotel, food, transportation and activities, just go! (and invite me along :-)
A Long Way From Home
I walked alone, tethered by thought, inhaling the dust of the road
A familiar howl, as much as the oceans lapping lul to a seasoned sailor
Veering my gaze, a quick reconnoissance of the scence revealed the source of sound-
An emblem of home, aberrant amongst the native menage
Billowing above coconut frongs & broad leaved magnolias; I watched with pride as it danced with the wind
The cryptic whisperings of its slender fingers drew me from the abyss of thought, to a time and a place not so forlorn and not far back
A place where whispering pines of varying kinds and the solitary confines of a cabin on a lake, each day I would awake, to embrace prestine trout streams, from the desolate doldrums of dreams
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Aristotle once said that finding one's purpose (or mission) is merely a matter of knowing where one's talents and the needs of the world intersect.
Merely: only as specified and nothing more; simply
Regarded as one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy, student of Plato, teacher of Alexander the Great, for a man whose writings included subjects that ranged from physics to poetry, theater to logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, and biology, I suppose finding one's life purpose was, in a word, simple.
So where am I going with all this philosophical mumbo jumbo? continue...
As some of you heard me express, among my purpose(s) in coming down to Belize were to rediscover and pinpoint what I am passionate about, what are my strengths, and figure out how I can channel these things into a sustainable vocation. To date, I can boast a growing list of passions- can't we all- unfortunately, they seem to change from day to day: human rights, public health, food and nutrition, farming, arts & trades, teaching. One thing is certain, however, and this has taken me a long time to come to terms with this: If I take the risks I wish to take, orienting myself to accomplishing the tasks that will help me reach(fulfill) the deepest desires in my heart, those ones that are so sacred and pure that they can barely be whispered to even the closest of friends, the kind that call one to live both literally and figuratively outside of the fortress walls that man is taught to erect, then really, achieving this quarry is going to take TIME. And I have come to terms with that.
Enough said. Anyways, the internet has been fickle for the past few weeks and I am starting to think that who ever is behind gmail has a personal vendetta with me. I have resolved to using my former email address, so if anyone would like to reach me I will be more readily available at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have finally taken some pictures of the sites and sounds, people and places I frequent and will attempt to post them this weekend. There is so much work to be done and so little time to do it... :D
Alright, thanks again for tuning in and for the wonderful emails, cards, well wishes and prayers. I do apologize for responses that tarry, mostly this has been due to restricted computer access and the internet being down. I do want you all to know, with my utmost sincerity, you are most definitely on my heart!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
We depart at 3 am to join villagers and representatives from the afore mentioned organizations.
The rain left..... temporarily
Things are busy in the office and the internet has been out a lot over the past two weeks; I was not able to get out a blog last weekend.
Hmmm.... I tried Iguana yesterday evening and it was delicious. Unfortunately, lobster season closed on the 15th of february.
There is a lot more to share, pics included, but as for this evening there is a lot centering around the lawsuit. Updates are soon to come.
This weekend I will be joining one of the student teachers at the Tumul K'in Center of Learning for there bi weekly evening of cultural presentations. Sunday I hope to go hiking in the Blue Creek River and to view the stalagmite caves. Below I attached a headline article from the national news; it describes the lawsuit and features a picture of Cristina.
Thank you for all you love and support. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers- especially
Ms. Cristina Coc! :D
Monday, February 2, 2009
Monday, about an hour after a fresh indulgence, as if sent from heaven, a door to door salesman came by offering 'agua de coco'. At $6 Bz/gal ($1 US= $2 Bz) I jumped at the opportunity to stock the refrigerator. Hey, you never know when an emergency situation will arise- early in morning, late at night, rushing ouf the door- making climbing a coconut tree and machete-ing a coconut a bit inconvenient. Better to be safe than sorry :-D
Moving on. As alluded to in the title to this passage, the week was very humbling week (A bit of background). Each of us can probably pin point a subjects in school that we accelerated in, or at least enjoyed enough to put in the effort to routinely perform well. For me this was Math and Science. I tutored Calculus while in college and worked as a teaching assistant in Biology. That is why after spending an afternoon reviewing a couple of practice problems from my students' course curriculum I felt confident in my ability to step in and offer 'expert' advice if any of the peer tutors got stumped; its just high school math, right? WRONG! To spare complete humiliation I am leaving out the details, but lets just say the students who had me as a partner, got through about half as many problems is twice the time.
Or maybe I am exaggerating a bit?......... yeah.....uh.. No, that is exactly how it was........ sigh
Well, it is Saturday morning and I am on my way to the market for 'dukunu' sister of the tamale and cassava cakes... Mmmm..... to be continued.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Being without electricity isn't as bad as it sounds. It not only breaks up the day, but makes room for those tasks that don't seem to get accomplished when the lights are on! For example, Cristina took advantage of yesterday's outage with a team building exercise. Always the 'go-getter,' within 30 minutes of the shut off she had the staff piled in her pick up truck headed straight to the mountains. En route to Blue Creek we made brief, but necessary, stop to take a dip in the river for which the village it is named. That out of the way, we were able to complete our mission of dropping off a book donation to a local school. Tumulkin high school is locally renowned in that incorporates classes in traditional Maya trades into its curriculum: basket weaving, canning, bee farming, butchering, music and dance. The students are so successful in their practices that their preserves and honey are sold in shops around town! During todays outage Morvin climbed up one of the tree is Cristina's yard, wacked off a bunch of coconuts, and we enjoyed a mid afternoon snack- yum :D
After meeting for a second time with the pricipals where JCS supports students, all seems to be in place for the peer tutoring program to commence. Tuesdays & Thursday I will spend at Julian Cho Technical High School and Wednesday afternoons at Toledo Community College.
The upcoming weekend boasts two great outings: a visit to the farmer's market and an overnight voyage to one of the keys.
Until next time......
Growing pains by ANITA
My child-eyes cried for chocolate treats...And sticky sweets...'Twill rot yu' teet'!
Tinkly silver wrapper hides...Germs....Worms....Decay....How can a child-eye see?
This child-heart cried for mid-teen love....A blow, a shove.......Study yuh' book!
Leather jacket.....Football boots......Are not the most sought-after truths...
How can a child-heart know?
So watch the young-girl-heart take wing!....Watch her groove.....And watch her swing
She's old enough....She's strong and tough.
She'll see beneath the silver wrapper...beneath the flashy football boots...
She'll find the great sought-after truth.
That child-eye tears are not as sad......And child-heart pain is not as bad...As grown-up tears and grown-up pain...
Oh Christ, what do we have to gain...
From growing up....For throwing up...Our childlike ways..
For dim.....Disastrous.....Grown-up days
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Fact: Belize's rainy season typically runs May-November.
*We're experiencing a run of 9 of 10 days and 36 of the previous 48 hours in intermittent to continuous precipitation ;D
Today we hosted a group of 20-30 Maya youth and their parents under a thatched canopy on Cristina's roof!
The students on scholarship through the Julian Cho Society & Maya Education Foundation gather twice yearly to discuss performance and upcoming events. My knees were knocking while presenting our ideas for scholastic improvent after less than a week on the job. Thankfully, the initiatives were well received and I was able to return to the comfort of my corner, aware that most people were probably thinking more about their long trips home than my ackward delivery (20+ mile treks- by foot, on a bus and in the rain- back to the surrounding villages).
On a more thought provoking level, what are the chances that 3 1/2 yrs after graduating from the University of Minnesota- Duluth (UMD) I find myself in a town of less than 6,000 residents in Central America with eight students, on eight week tenures, teaching, from the University of Minnesota, Duluth? I will never ceased to be amazed at the furtive manner in which Life makes an effort to remind us of who we are and where we come from, no matter where we go- DONTCHA KNOW!
Thoughts you cannot see
Thoughts that want to be
Thoughts can set us free
Thoughts you cannot cage
Thoughts that dot the page
Thoughts can heal the rage
Thoughts you choose to share
Thoughts that show you care
Thoughts can get you there!
yeah, really signing off....