Belize Adventures

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

turning off?

so, i was writing a letter to my friend kate (hi kate...if you read this, then you'll read it twice because it's in a letter on it's way to you in england!) and i was sorting out some of my thoughts on Belize recently.

lately, i think i'm starting to shut off to the discouraging reality surrounding me. belize is pretty violent lately (gangs, killings--especially bike-by killings...i'm not kidding and it's not funny) and unfortunately, i know a lot of people affected by it all, on both sides. so, it is getting increasingly more violent here while at the same time, the situation is not getting better in terms of my clients' access to food or resources. it is generally just a bad situation now. and i suppose this is not new, but i think the increase in violence has made me look at my community and belizean society differently.

just today, my supervisor came to me and said, 'you know who died?' my first response was 'who else?' being that i know a few people who have died recently. he explained that the son of one of our recent recipients of a house was in a 'chiney' (little shops owned by chinese people...that's for another discussion!) with a black mask on, armed, and intending to rob the shop. instead, the owner pulled out a gun of his own and shot the young man in the forehead. he died on the spot. as my supervisor and i both sat there in silence, i think he thought i was trying to digest this while what i was really thinking was, 'yep, another killing by someone else connected with my work; wonder when it's gonna stop; is it? hmm..., well, what can we do, not much, okay, moving on....' that is what i was thinking. that's not okay with me.

anyway, because i don't have the answers, nor can i fully grasp ALL the implications of this, i think i'm just shutting down to the reality. and this scares me. it scares me because i don't want to be someone who sees violence, poverty, & hunger and who accepts it -- OR WORSE -- who ignores it! but i also know that for various reasons (the most pressing of which is that i am not belizean, did not grow up here, and don't/won't ever REALLY 'get' it) i can't entirely understand this place and thus get frustrated with my inability to affect change here.

i console myself with my belief that for right now, at least, what i can do is love one person at a time until i love as many as i can, and hope that love permeates throughout the community. i think that's all we can do sometimes.

my community is also involved with a local faith and justice organization (the only one, i'm pretty sure) to organize a candle-lit walk and prayer service to end the violence. the theme is 'stop the violence. dees streets da fi all ah wi'. it will take place oct 20th. we hope to have parents and family members of the victims come speak. we hope it's powerful. we hope it helps. and if it doesn't, i'll just keep loving one person at a time, and hoping that others are doing the same.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the underlying cause of the recent increase in violence--poverty? illeteracy? discrimination? all of these things? Of course I worry about you all the time, but I know that Belize is where you want to be right now. Even if you can't solve any problems, your desire to "just love" others has got to make a difference. I hope your community event will be helpful. I hope all the people affected by the violence can find some peace in the love of others. I hope you stay safe. I love you, punky.

7:23 PM  

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