Monday, March 25, 2013

Student highlights: Megan M., Sue, Megan H. & Chris

Abby (left) and Megan (right) dance at the Corozal Moon Festival.

Megan McChristy
Last night as the sun set in Belize, we had the opportunity to attend Corozal's Moon Festival! The village was putting on a concert and we all went to watch and dance before working on the gardens the following morning. It was fantastic to see both our group and the Belizeans having a great time together at the festival, a sign of great things to come. Our morning started with some unfortunate news. Libertad is a religious school and they did not want us to work on Sunday. Not working Sunday would lose a day's work and we wouldn't be able to complete the gardens before leaving, so we chose to forgo the Libertad garden this year. Though both schools are still getting the Easter camps and now the Chan Chen garden will have more man power, I'm still a little disappointed that we couldn't compete both gardens. Despite our change of plans we all went out full force to the Chan Chen garden. It was hot and the work was hard, I never saw anyone without a smile on their face.

Sue Hook
Does this look familiar? Here we are enjoying another airport--Houston this time.  Actually, we have been having fun getting to know everyone on the trip so everyone agreed the 10 hours spent at the Boise airport was a good detour.  We just heard from the group that did make it to Belize, and they are reporting that our baggage did not get there yet.  There's some speculation that perhaps it's still on the broken plane in Boise, but we haven't lost hope.  United believes they're in Belize.
Whee!  Just hears from Megan and she's coming to Belize after all!!  Cheers all around!!  She should be meeting us on Sunday!
We've been feverishly spending our leftover vouchers from United, and have accumulated enough high fructose corn syrup-based items and caffeine to keep the group buzzed for at least four days.
Sue sits with children at the Chan Chen school. 
Megan Hull
At last! After some heart-wrenching delays and dilemmas, I arrive in Belize and reunite with the group. I am so happy to finally be here and am SO ready to get to work and learn! I left Boise on Saturday afternoon, three days after our original planned departure, and arrived today. I am sad to have missed the first day of Corozal, but am eager to hear of the group’s adventures and what they’ve already learned. 

My travel experience, this time around, was quite pleasant – even for traveling by myself. I can’t even express how thankful I am for everyone who helped me make it. As soon as I walked into the sunny Belizean air, I felt a most peculiar mix of complete calm and overwhelming excitement. All the people in the three different Belizean airports have been so kind and helpful. My pilot for the final flight from San Pedro to Corozal (in a tiny propeller plane) was so friendly and pointed out many aspects of the scenery for me.

I swept from the airport directly to Chan Chen elementary school to get to work (thanks for picking me up Mom and Joni!). I was so impressed with all the hard work the group has already put in and the project looks great. The school garden is already starting to take shape. After working very hard in an incredibly hot, humid, breeze-less day, the group was glad to have time to swim in the ocean, clean up, rest up (and I wanted to catch up!) We enjoyed a lovely dinner and mild lightning storm before wrapping up the day.

The Corozal community is fascinating. People everywhere just seem to be content to be in each other’s company.  The park along the ocean shore today was packed with happy people spilling into the smooth green water. There is a difference in the air here - and it’s not just the heat and the smell of the ocean. I can’t wait to see what the coming days will bring.

The group in front of the H'ok 'ol K'in hotel.
Chis Bower

With the experiences from last night still spilling over into this very moment, I am fueled all the way through to affect good in this world alongside the Belizean people here in Corozal.

First, let me begin by textually expressing my intense gratitude for the vital roles those that have supported me along this way have played in making this service-learning trip possible! Already, their highly selfless decisions to aid in this project have had monumental dividends. The money raised has made a huge difference in offsetting basic costs, opening up significantly more focus for the trip's goals themselves. Surrounded in toothbrushes galore, I must also express a large thanks to Dr. Stillings' and Dr. Guymon's offices for their gracious donations! Excitement flooded the hearts of the principals that I had the privilege of getting to meet with about how much dental supplies we have to donate with no cost to them whatsoever! I honestly had no idea how needed these items would be, and now that they have a substantial place in this process and its ultimately successful implementation, great thanks are due! My Family, including the Epi's and PHT Family deserve the most thanks though. Their love and encouragement makes both Earth and my own little world revolve more steadily on a regular basis.

Well, yesterday, it happened: Our first full day in Belize.
The colors here are incredible. Both vibrant and abundant on every decorateable surface, they reign in every eye to be had by their limitless beauty. An infinitude about the diversity of their projected spectra is omnipresent. I am consistently shocked with how much radiance there is about the buildings, even with the majority of them being half-decayed structures. The sun rises much earlier here, around 5:15a.m. and this morning I was graced with witnessing its rising and the sharing of its rays with the refracted light shedding the true nature of all of the swirling colors of every painted facet of this awesome country (awesome: to inspire an unmatched awe). It seems that a detailed and well thought out mural is plastered perfectly onto every possible canvas here. I am astonished by the beauty everywhere. Even the Caribbean Sea throws its own undiscovered colors across the landscape, although it also adds a thick wall of humidity in its couplings with the warm, coastal climate. If anything, I am ecstatic that the lingering moisture makes me sticky all over, for it alludes to the underlying idea that I am to be better grounded with a traction fed by its seemingly cohesive byproduct. Even though the humidity is brutal, it makes me feel healthy, nourished on the surface, and serves as a constant reminder of where I am and why I am here: To perpetuate as fluid of a message of togetherness, just as the water in the air plays a combinatorial role with my integument epidermis. While working at the garden today, my already nasty beard (aesthetically and idealistically) quite literally quintupled in density after having gathered dirt, sweat, coconut water, and other various substances carefully to be kept within its stringy grasp today. It almost weighed the front part of my cranium down unevenly. Earlier yesterday, I visited one of the schools that we will be hosting a community fair at and constructing a large community garden. After meeting the local staff, my hopes for humanity have never been higher. Their untrampled dedication and passion for educating Belizean youth re-inspires me with every recurring thought of recounting my conversations with them today. We, as a group, scouted the premises, began chopping back the thick, covering brush, and made sure that all of the semantics were sorted out before we began really going all out with the installation of the garden today during most of the day and to make sure that the community fair piece has the proper adaptability to the now more well-known existing accommodations of the respective grounds.

Getting to finally get to work on the gardens today was a phenomenal and surreal experience to make reality today. One community member in particular really stuck out to me. Roberto, a father of an 11 year old son at the Chan Chen Government School, was, hands down, the hardest working of the entire group, including ourselves.. His humility and gratitude were shining so bright, that I was distracted from the actual blistering heat from the sun above. The people here exist outside of the means of anything the average boring American would ever think. They all say hello or at least go out of their way to acknowledge others. It is impossible not to be simultaneously lifted up by the already high spirits of the locals. All I know, is that right now, my heart belongs to Belize. So much that the debilitating fatigue from working so hard today at the garden is masked almost entirely by the passion I now possess for my newly developing relationship with this country. Everyone deserves an opportunity like the one I am currently indulging one. An opportunity wherein they are so spoiled in terms of global economic relativity that they have no choice but to be driven to share their personal gifts of kindness, love, and tolerance with the rest of the world. If only...


Here is a little extra tidbit that I wrote about the other day to share with you all:
After stumbling upon a hidden gem along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in Galveston, Texas, late in the evening during our layover in Houston on our way to Belize for our planned service projects through Boise State University on Thursday night, I began to write this while listening to some incredibly hospitable local performers make beautiful musics at an open mic night. Twas yummy, delicious, delectable, a plum delightful experience indeed. Toodles n' such, until next time...
     Houston, we have found the Hipster Haven.
     Ground Control, to Major Papi Grande, that is the one in which you belong.
     Shadows of the passersby echo along the pier. It extends out there...into what though? Further toward the next parallel pier on the other side of this massive body of life. Each wave carrying its messages across the invisible connecting line. Every ecosystem in between, thriving vibrantly through and by way of the intrinsic radiance of this not-so-imaginary highway of paired atomic Hydrogen sculptures fighting over each Oxygen, compromising in the end to give birth to their meant meaning.
     The energy of this music reaches further than the background it encompasses. How is it that the Spanish can seem as familiar as my more personally comfortable English comprehension scheme is akin to? This new shore with a feel as familiar as the Boise River back Home? Whom even knows where and/or what Home is anymore?
     This cello speaks. Its language transcending Spanish, English...Earth. The poetry emitted from its now animate mouth, guided by the fingers of its closest companion, no longer even a stranger to me.
     Voices harmonize in a welcoming, symphonic melody, with these spirited vessels as their tools of creation. The vibration of anatomical cords, driven by the vasomotor mechanisms of angelic hearts. Collaborating ex-cardiovascularly with the imperfect acoustics of this slightly illuminated stage, but ever-suffused translucence is still ringing as driven as the winds hitting the thin surrounding barricades, masquerading as walls.
     Their mathematical prose, acting on maxims far beyond the confines of any physical, empirical, or numerical axioms, tells me all I have ever longed to deduce through my once thought trained auditory complexes. I am made juvenile, elementary, humble...again and once more. Speak to me nothing else, for it has now been heard, felt rather. Love now makes sense, at least, for now.
     Stomping for an organically artificial essence of percussion, each movement is met with an arriving wave. Nothing like the traditional rock and roll. More like the tossing of the eroded rock, carried across worlds. More like the roll of the waves, spitting words in their wake.
     I have consistently experienced the chills for a straight and solid time lapse of at least thirteen eternities now. A memoir of history coalesced and delineated by a realm outside that of reason. Left to dissipate and couple my soul with this instance at hand, I dissolve, both healthily and thoroughly.
     Progress seems inevitable now. A layover turned journey, an aeronautic failure turned adventure, a delay turned endeavor, a mistake...finally...turned lesson. Nothing to be convened anymore, only life to be left open for at least, say, a forever or two.
     Notes go up, waves go down. Splashes rise up, feet brought down. Called to action, the reciprocation here suffices, translated peacefully, tranquilly, serenely, comfortably. Refresh is no longer a mundanely, remedially, mindlessly, meaningless click away, it is, instead, abundant and present. Bows, tightly wound hair are dragged across lengthy metallic spokes perpendicularly, metal discs collided, strings shaking at a speed that escapes the vision of any wandering visionary.
     Moved, held that way by more than Newton's scientific postulations, I stay, remain, maintain flying. Time was never linear here, or even there. Stars have always been more than goodness, gracious, great balls of fire, although a G/goose is nowhere to be seen in this setting, like is proposed as such a regular occurrence back Home.
     I know I will never forget this one. A fresh Home to pack with me in OUR treks of sporadic spontaneity, free of patterned plans.
     I will never forget this one. Wild, winding, windy waves wake weathered wizards of Earth.
     No farewells. No ados due. Just another Home.
     Another Home.
Sydney (left) and Bower (right) walk through Corozal.

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