Friday, March 22, 2013

Abby, Jordan & Hailey

Abby Lipschultz

Against all odds, we have finally made it!

The truth is, in spite of the frustration and the confusion that surrounded us all on Wednesday as we wondered whether we would even be traveling to Belize at all, the past three days have been completely productive and meaningful. As a group, we encountered our “adventure on the way to the adventure,” and have so many experiences and newfound relationships to show for it. I feel as though the level on which I know people now is so much deeper than before, and the stress and trials of each leg of our journey have brought us infinitely closer together.

Although we have had to make slight adjustments to our schedule for the week, I have absolutely no doubts that we are about to be blown away by the adventure of a lifetime. Walking down the streets of this town and interacting with the wonderful people who live here, I am encouraged by the attitudes and perspectives of those we meet. Perhaps the most refreshing part of it all is what appears to be the lack of regard for specific time and minute counting. The atmosphere is so much more relaxed and everyone seems so much more concerned about each other than themselves.

Beyond this, the town is full of life and youthfulness. There are so many children everywhere and you are constantly crossing paths with other people no matter where you are. Suddenly these people and the reality in which they exist has become one with the reality in which we are existing for the next week, and we are incredibly lucky to have that type of opportunity.

I am unsure what to expect tomorrow or the next day or the next day, but I am definitely assured of the fact that no matter what we are able to do in order to serve these people, there is no doubt we will learn so much more than we can fathom even now.

Jordan Atnip

The best adventures are the ones that are unplanned. After 3 days of traveling we have all experienced unseen adventures. Being in the Boise airport for 10.5 hours led to making friends from classmates and a night layover in Houston allowed for a nighttime road trip/ adventure to Galveston, Texas. This road trip included seeing the golf coast, an open mic night, milkshakes, and finally Waffle House. When it came to flying to our final destination everyone was ready and excited to see what Belize would bring.
When we landed in Belize we were greeted by warm weather and a school bus prepared to take us to Corozal. One of our first Belize experiences occurred while we drove north and stopped at a coconut water stand on the side of the highway. The drive included the beautiful and tree filled landscape of Belize.  Once at the hotel we enjoyed a delicious dinner and continued the night with friends by playing the guitar, singing, and talking. It is obvious through all conversations everyone is excited for tomorrow to come and begin working on the garden.

Alex, Hailey and Jordan (right) pose after landing in Belize City.
Hailey Weatherby

Tonight, my heart is as warm as the tropical night as I sit with my fellow classmates, playing guitar and talking. Our trip here was not easy: in fact, we spent over 51 hours traveling to finally arrive tonight, a day late, in the beautiful Corozal. But, I am more blessed than I can even articulate. Last night in Houston, five of us rented a car and traveled to Galveston, Texas. We stepped out of the car to a dark, raging Gulf of Mexico. The waves overtook the outcropping and I caught my breath as I watched the water almost overtake the rocks that held my four new, but already close friends. Full of milkshakes, we traveled down the beach looking for a long pier to be pleasantly surprised. We stumbled upon an open mic night and were welcomed in by a group of 10 or so friends who filled the night with music and laughter. Turns out, we have amazing musical talent in our group in Keith and many others! The wind was stronger than I have ever felt and the dark night stunk of fish when we walked out on the dock, surrounded by locals fishing at 2:30 in the morning. We traveled back to Houston, exhausted but with smiles on our faces and warm Waffle House pancakes and cheese grits in our stomachs. I don’t think I have ever fallen asleep so quickly when I hit my pillow that night.

At the airport, we all wore the cleanest option of the one or two outfits we had and my group, group two, anxiously awaited the flight. Calling my friends and family to say goodbye, I realized it was my first trip alone out of the country. That, coupled by the fear that we have come so close and may still not be able to get to Belize, filled my heart as I climbed on the plane and my heart could finally rest when we lifted off the ground.
When we reached Belize, the tropical air, the sun, and the friendly people opened their arms and swallowed us in. We piled on a bus and drove on the very small highway towards Corozal. Our Peacework leader (the group that is hosting us) and Professor Fry bought us water, plantain chips,  and coconut water filled with coconut jelly from local vendors along the road. I was in a sort of shock as I traveled around the countryside—what poverty these people live in! Living in the small, dusty, lonely homes along the road is something I could never imagine. But, something hit my as we drove: why in the world do we ever need more? These people have a roof over their head, food to eat, water to drink, shining sun, and friends to love. Just because our American lives have become centered around our iPhones, our computers, our houses, our cars, our clothes, doesn’t mean this is the right way for the entire world. I am so glad to have already gained this perspective. Tomorrow when I wake up and meet a new people in a new culture, I will recognize that I have so much to learn. Indeed, I hope to have open eyes and an open heart to take this opportunity fully and completely. Adios from Belize, and blessings for the week ahead! 

Hailey and Chris taking a peek at the Libertad book collection.

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