Belize Adventures

Monday, January 21, 2008


Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to go to Managua, Nicaragua. I was joining a group from Kentucky for a week long Hand in Hand Ministries immersion trip. First, though, I arrived two days early to spend some time with the Nica JVs. I was so nervous when I got on the plane—I haven’t been on an airplane in a year and a half after 25 years of pretty consistent airplane travel. There are no direct flights from Belize to Managua, so I had a layover in San Salvador. Oh my gosh—the second I walked off the airplane into the modernity of the airport, I almost stopped breathing! It was, well, developed. There were stores, people, metal walls, glass window, everything you would think an airport would have, right? True, true…….but the Belize City airport, with its 4 gates lacks the modern conveniences one would expect. I kept repeating in my head, ‘this is what it is going to be like Maria, this is what it is going to be like…….’ thinking of my return to the states. Thankfully, my gate was two gates away and I didn’t venture far because I was overwhelmed. A next short flight and I had arrived safely in Managua where I was greeted with a sign (JV MARIA) and many sets of waving hands. I completely bypassed the security stop and went straight to the JVs whom I hadn’t seen in a year and a half, yet with whom I felt an instant connection. We went back to their house and talked for maybe 4 hours about the differences between my community and theirs! Oh, and we drank beer too---and it wasn’t Belikin----ahh, Managua!

The next two days I bummed around with the JVs, loving every minute of it. I had to stop several times to catch my breath and recognize that the bursting feeling inside me was because I was just so happy. I don’t know that I can truly explain it—it was almost magical to see them, hear their stories, see their workplaces, pray with them, listen to them (& sing along) while they played guitar, go to the market with them, and just be. It was really fun to share stories and talk about all the tidbits that we’ve heard along the way from all our other JVs that are all over the world.

Sunday night, I went to the airport for the third night in a row! I arrived there Friday, went on Saturday to meet Josh’s dad & sister, and went Sunday to pick up the rest of the HHM group that I would be with for the week. We went back to a really lovely ‘guest house’ (a hotel, basically) where we stayed for the week. The week consisted of going to the work site every day where we attempted to construct a cement block house for Martha, Josue, Estevan, and Enrique. Throughout the week, there were many side trips to Hand in Hand sponsored sites, families’ houses, a pool with the sponsored kids, the dump, the boys’ home, and a ‘leper colony.’ I learned so much. I met amazing people. One can never really share everything from a trip like this. I probably can’t even recognize all the lessons I will carry with me yet.

The group from KY was amazing. I loved them! If I had done nothing else that week, they would have taught me more than I ever would have expected. They were a riot—in the very best of ways! I, often, witnessed their boundless kindness & generosity, mostly because it was directed at me! Quite unexpected.

I kept pinching myself because I had come from two magical days with the JVs to a ‘guest house’ equipped with hot water, a washing machine, hot coffee and cold milk, and a cooler full of beer. Does it get much better than that?

I think the neighborhood kids stole the show, though. Each day when we pulled up in the big red mini-bus, 30 or so children came RUNNING to the bus screaming our names. One of the group members said that he felt like a rock star, as he tried to navigate the short walk from the bus to the house with 10 children hanging on him. They were beautiful, energetic, sassy, silly, and loving children. Most of us walked away with notes or tokens that the kids so generously gave us. They were pretty special.

Ed & Barb (& their daughter Jacquie) run the HHM office in Managua. They are AWESOME. I really love them! In fact, I want to be them when I grow up. They so seamlessly negotiated 13 demanding Americans, 30 Nicaraguan children, multiple families, language differences, learning gaps, the pilot house building project, questions, concerns, problems, and everything else in between. They are humble, caring, genuine, and inspiring. And I told them just that!

I spent the last day with the JVs while the rest of the group went to the market and to a lagoon. We took a lot of pictures and made a few videos for my community to watch upon my return.

I am unsatisfied with this rendition of my week, but I know that I won’t ever be able to capture it all. I hope this gives just a small glimpse of it.

And always, questions, thoughts, and comments are appreciated!

And as Margaret said often, God bless you!


Anonymous Casey Burnett said...

thanks for sharing your trip. I think I caught some of your passion, joy and the majesty of your experience in your post.

3:04 PM  

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