Hello faithful readers! I'm so sorry for the lack of posts in the last 2 days! They were JAM packed and busy, and I just didn't get the chance to write. But this morning I'm sitting in the office at the Kid's Home while the girls are sitting and waiting for the rain to pass so they can head back to work.
SO! Where to begin. On Tuesday we filled our day with fun, starting out with breakfast at the local market. A typical Belizean breakfast consists of eggs, beans, fry jacks (deep fried dough), a piece of stewed chicken and a tall glass of fresh squeezed juice. Everyone really loved it. After breakfast we did a bit of shopping around the market, and then we got a chance to take a tour of the old Children's Home. For those of you who don't know the history of the home, it used to be located right in the middle of the city of Belmopan. Now they are living in a beautiful, huge facility about 20 min. from Belmopan in the country. There is plenty of space for everyone, it's very safe, and there is room for the kids to run. The old home is incredibly small... smaller than the average family home in Saskatoon. And it housed about 70 children. It's good to visit the old home to gain some perspective of where most of these kids have grown up. The old home is small, but it's also holds a certain beauty. I love to go back and visit, walk the halls and think of all the amazing memories I've had there and how it was such a safe and loving home for kids in need. So it was great to share some of those memories with the team, and allow them a little window into the past. From the old home we walked over to get another Cholis (while we waited for our van to get boosted... a very common occurrence on this trip). We headed back to YWAM for lunch and another little swim in the river, and then took off for the Kids Club in Unitedville (about 30 min. from the YWAM base). The Kids Club is run my a local ministry who reaches out to the kids in Unitedville and provides tutoring and teaching, support and a weekly Club to learn about God. We ran the Club on Tuesday and the girls did an amazing job! We started off by making a craft, which Ali did a great job of explaining and leading. Then we taught them some fun camp songs, which Sarah took charge of and the kids loved it. Maycie, Erin, Calista, Hannah, Jaima, and Sofia acted out the Bible story of Jesus overcoming temptation. Then Erin, Jaima and Hannah each did a great job of sharing a little bit of their story and what they’ve been learning about God lately. They did such an awesome job, and even though we were only there for a few short hours we felt like we made good friends. It was even hard to say goodbye, and there were a few tears in the van as we pulled away. After the Kid’s Club we headed into San Ignacio, which is a really neat town close to the Guatemala border, for supper at an amazing restaurant in an orange orchard.
Yesterday we took a day off and headed out to the islands! It was amazing to see a different part of the country, and to better understand the huge amount of tourism that happens here. We got up bright and early and drove to Belize city where we chartered a boat and headed to Caye Caulker, one of the closest islands. From there we went out on a little snorkelling excursion. The snorkelling in Belize is amazing! Crystal clear water that is as warm as a bathtub, and the second largest coral reef in the world. In the first spot the girls saw the reef, lots of different fish, and even a barracuda. The second stop is called “Stingray Alley”. It is shallow enough that we could touch the bottom, and we swam around with about 20 stingrays and some other fish. Quite an experience! It was SO so incredible, and the girls loved it (after some mild screaming and squirming when we first got in the water). Almost everyone got the inevitable boat ride sunburn, but we were all smiley and happy when we reached back to Belmopan. Last night for supper I took them to one of my favourite local spots. It’s a tiny little restaurant that doesn’t even have a real name, but because it’s painted purple and has a thatch roof everyone calls it Purple Thatch. The food there is AMAZING, and CHEAP! There were 15 of us and we all stuffed our faces, and our bill came to $36US. Now that’s a good deal for one of the best meals we’ve ever eaten!
Last night after supper we gathered in for a debrief and reminded the girls that even though it’s going to be tough to leave Belize tomorrow, we have so much love from our family and friends to come home to. Corwin then announced that we had special video messages from everyone’s family, and several of the girls promptly burst into tears. We gathered around the computer and watched all the videos together. We laughed at some of them, cried at some of them, everyone felt a little embarrassed by their parents but mostly proud. It’s always so great to get a little glimpse into everyone’s family life, and see some familiar smiling faces. After the videos we announced that we also had letters form home (more tears), and everyone found a spot to sit and read all the kind words you sent along. There were A LOT of tears… but good tears! Happy tears that remind us that we have a safe place to come home to, a roof over our heads and food to eat and people who love us deeply. That, we have learned this week, is a privilege and not a right and something that we don’t want to take for granted. It was such a fun night, crying and laughing and enjoying all the joy! Thank you for everyone (especially you parents) who took the time to organize all the letters and videos. They were MUCH appreciated and loved.
Today is a tough day. It’s our last day at the Kid’s Home. Our work was rained out this morning, but the girls are back at it and laying the last little bit of cement. After school we will spend a couple more hours with our little friends before we have to say goodbye. As I have learned from past experiences, goodbyes are tough around here. Please be praying for us this afternoon/evening as we process these goodbyes and cry some tears.
Tomorrow we leave Belize… where did the time go? It’s crazy to look at how fast this trip has gone. But tomorrow starts another chapter, an important chapter, as we head into a weekend of debrief. We are headed to California to be taught by my good friend Omar who used to live in Belize for many years. We will have a chance to process through everything we’ve learned, and start to think about coming home and heading back into regular life. Be praying for our debrief time, that it will be really powerful and deliberate and we could get the most out of our sessions and our last days together.
Ok… that was a marathon! I will try and post to let you know that we arrived in California safely tomorrow night (it will be very late).
Thanks again for your letters, videos, comments, love and support. It means so much…. especially today on a tough day of goodbyes.