Belize Adventures

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

maybe a more accurate description about my trip to Nica

this is an email that i wrote to JVI about my trip. i think it more accurately captures some of the emotions i was trying to convey in the prior post.

i went with my work, hand in hand ministries, and spent a week 'building a house' in a neighborhood not too far from the dump. i have 'building a house' in quotes because we all knew that that was not really what we were doing; we were building relationships, opening our eyes and our hearts, learning lessons we may never verbalize, and experiencing joys, struggles, challenges, gratitude, and love in a culture not our own.

however, without a doubt, the best part of my trip with hand in hand ministries, was the part spent not with hand in hand ministries. i went two days early so that i could spend time with the nica jvs. wow. i thought i was overwhelmed by the process of getting there---saying goodbye to my roommates, getting on an airplane (what!?!? the last time i was on an airplane was to arrive in belize), getting OFF the airplane and having a minor panic attack at the busy-ness and modernity of the san salvador and then managua airports, and then touching down in a country not my own (and yes, i consider belize my own). yes, i thought i was overwhelmed. however, as i walked out from the gate area, i was more than overwhelmed--i was overcome--as i saw ed & barb from the HHM office, whom i expected to pick me up, but then i saw 4 other sets of hands waving and jumping from in between the crowd of expectant people. i might have caught a glimpse of the sign that was made for me (JV MARIA), or i might have turned away too quickly, having so many emotions at once and not knowing what to do with them. i inadvertently bypassed a security checkpoint person in my haste to rush into welcoming arms of JVs that i knew, and one that i didn't know.

the feeling was amazing. it didn't matter that i had not seen these people in a year and a half, nor did it matter that i had never met their new first year roommate. what mattered was that we were JVs and we were so happy to see each other and hug each other and just 'be' with each other.

we spent the rest of the night talking, sharing, catching up, telling stories, and saying things like: "you do it that way? we do it like this" and "no way, you have _____. you're so lucky!" and "in _____ we say this, not ______". what i wanted to say over and over was, "i'm so lucky."

indeed, i felt so lucky to be there, to be hearing these stories, to be sharing my own. i stopped often, took a deep breath, and reminded myself i was blessed for all i was experiencing. i was so happy.

it seems cliche, but i don't know how else to describe it, other than, it was almost magical to be there. it was instantly re-energizing and re-inspiring to merely spend time with them; the time spent conversing about the 4 values and later the challenges that came from those insights seemed like extra bonuses.

we spoke dreamily of a joint nica/belize retreat. having the joys and renewed spirit from seeing another country's jvs and wanting the rest of the belize jvs to experience this too, i was (and continue to be) strongly in favor of it.

without much more to say, i'll close by reiterating my gratitude to the JVs for all they brought me.

enjoy the pictures, the day, and each other!

blessings, maria


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