Writing to you from Belize with love
Boy, have I missed you! In case you didnft notice I havenft been around for the last, oh, 18 months or so. I was planning to take a short hiatus when my baby arrived and resume writing when life returned to normal, but it appears that life will never again resemble anything close to normal.
Maybe you wonder what Ifve been up to the past year and a half. (Or maybe not.) It has been interesting to say the least. Not only did I have a beautiful baby girl in August of 2006, but the Lord surprised us with a handsome little boy in December of 2007! Phoebe Allene and Hudson Charles are doing very well. And yes, we do know what causes 'that."
In the midst of all the baby hoopla, hubby decided to quit his job after nearly 10 years with the same company. In a huge leap of faith we decided it was time to take a chance and see if he could make a go of being self-employed.
In spite of being slightly nerve racking, self-employment has presented some amazing opportunities. Hubby obtained a contract in Belize, Central America and as a result, our family lived there for two months.
I know you are thinking, 'Wow! I hear Belize is a fabulous tourist hot spot." According to the brochures you are exactly right. However, we were not in the touristy areas, or even remotely close. We were in the part that most tourists never see; the part that is called a third world country.
Amenities were few and conveniences were practically nil. We were fortunate to have electricity most of the time, and we generally had running water when we needed it. It might be shut off without warning, but after a few hours it would come back in the prettiest shade of brown.
We stayed in a little, pink, cement house, in a row of cement houses on the edge of the jungle. Tarantulas regularly appeared on the porch and lizards of all shapes and sizes had to be routinely chased out of the house.
We had screens and metal shutters, but no glass in the windows, so it was hard to keep the house cool. Finding familiar ingredients, and food that we felt was safe, was also difficult. Eventually we decided that if the Belizeans manage to survive on chicken that was being butchered in 100 degree weather, on a dirty table, covered with flies, we could probably risk it ourselves. Believe it or not, that was preferable to the beef, and we never even considered purchasing pork.
The country itself is absolutely gorgeous. The mountains, foliage, jungles, and rainforest boast a beauty that can not be accurately described in a few words. Since hubby was working 12 hours a day, six days a week, the children and I were pretty much left to our own devices.
I promised him I wouldnft venture too far but I didnft realize 'scenic Hummingbird Highway" takes you straight through the Mayan mountains with no opportunity to turn around. It was breathtakingly curvy, and dangerous, and totally jungle all the way.
The younger children lifted their arms in the air as though riding a roller coaster, while our eldest chose to hang out the window with the video camera and narrate our adventure in a heavy Australian accent. She noted that, 'This might not look scary, but if youfve ever driven with my mum you know how scary it is!"
Ahead of us were three 18-wheelers loaded with oranges. The incline was steep and fruit was bouncing all over the road, occasionally hitting our windshield. Every time we came to a curve someone would jump out, run ahead to check for traffic, and then signal the trucks that it was safe to use both sides of the road to maneuver the curve.
All bridges were single lane and my heart flip-flopped every time a bus would come barreling across without slowing down in the least.
The tiniest children you can imagine would stand right next to the road, desperately trying to sell a few ears of corn, or still warm tamales hand-rolled by their mothers. While our eyes were taking in the beauty, our hearts were breaking over the plight of the children and the stark realization that a huge portion of the earthfs population lives well below what we consider poverty level.
And this was just the beginning of our adventure.
Ginger Truitt writes a weekly column for The Paper of Montgomery County and The Weekly of West Central Indiana. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.