Dear Readers,

I would like to officially take back any prior complaints that I have made about the heat.  Little did I know that it had the capacity to get far, far more unbearable!  I feel like I am living inside of a sauna with no way out.  Today, I fell asleep on the hammock twice, not because I was “tired” in the traditional sense, but because the heat just drained everything out of me! It’s days like these that remind me just how much I love glorious, mild-tempered,  refreshing, family-filled Friends Lake.  Can’t wait to be there in August!

That said, I’m not trying to escape from Belize quite yet.  In spite of my new existence as an ever-sweating creature, I am continually finding new reasons to be thankful and new lessons to learn!

One item for which I’m greatly thankful is the visit to Belize that my parents are officially planning!  I am ecstatic at the thought of welcoming Paul and Eileen Whitman to this glorious and crazy place!

As for things I’m learning, today, my fellow staffers and I were working on a little skit that involved learning to say “We love you” in three different languages–Garifuna, Ketchi, and Spanish.  Since you’re all dying to know what I know, here you are…

Garifuna (a blend of African, Arawak, and Caribbean) – Hise tee bunu! (‘he-say tee-bu-‘nu)

Ketchi (Mayan language) –  Nanka teenrah!

Spanish – Te amamos!

Pretty cool, eh?

I also noticed some things during morning mass today.  Firstly, during the period for general intercessions, the priest at St. Peter Claver allows members of the congregation to state their own prayer requests after he has offered up the ones on his list.  It’s really beautiful to see how willingly people make themselves vulnerable before others, and also how they care for their families and friends in their prayers.  One woman spoke up this morning and prayed that we, as a Christian people, would remember that “in our weakness, He is made strong.”  It reminded me of the song “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know” that I sang when I was a little girl (“Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong.”).  What an oft-repeated truth, yet how often do we really reflect on its beauty?  At our weakest, God is at His strongest.  Pretty awesome.

The other item I’ve noticed at mass here is the difference between the sign of peace in the US and in Belize.  At home in Haddon Heights, when the priest tells us that we “may offer each other a sign of God’s peace,” we turn to the people in our immediate vicinity, shake their hands, and then sit down (after, that is, some of us have applied our antibacterial hand gel!).  In Belize, exchanging the sign of peace takes a while because many people want to shake the hands of every other person in the church!  At first, it made me laugh, and I still have to get used to the difference, but there is a certain sincerity in each person’s gentle and deliberate handshake that just warms the heart.  Makes for a great start to the day.

After church, I walked through the morning market, and made a purchase that I’ve been nervous about making since last summer’s travels to Peru.  At some point early on in my Cusco trip, someone tipped me off that market fruit sellers sometimes inject their watermelons with water to make them seem extra juicy.  This FREAKED me out, not only because that’s weird and deceptive, but also because the water in Peru isn’t potable, and would have made me quite sick.  I therefore endured a summer in Peru sans watermelon.  I’d planned on doing the same in Belize, but today, I saw a Mennonite man cutting up and wrapping slices of watermelon, and it just seemed to call my name!  I logically deemed the Mennonite gentleman religiously incapable of deception–at least not of the sort that would involve shooting water into watermelons.  I enjoyed my sweet and delicious melon for breakfast this morning, and I think I might be safe from illness (knock on wood!).

This Sunday, I’m headed to Cayo to attend staff training with the employees of ProWorld’s other Belizean office.  I’m hoping to somehow also arrange to get my computer fixed while I’m up in the “north,” but I probably shouldn’t get my hopes up because, as y’all know by now, everything goes muuuuccch moooooreeee slooooowly heeeere.

Tonight, I have tentative plans to go out for dinner with Akiesha, Ashley, and Blaze, one of my Oaxaca buds who’s here in PG for a few days.  I’m pretty sure that I’ve sweat off enough calories to warrant a margarita! 🙂

Happy Friday, beautiful people!



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