Saturday, December 15, 2018

Library fun

I have failed in my advent weekly newsletter. I have a pretty serious subject coming up next week for both the blog and the newsletter. ( I let it set in for a little suspense) :) I am still planning 4 weeks of letters, we will just have missed this week.
Zion and Zephaniah at the Library

I have written in the past about the library. It is actually in a building that was formerly a hospital. It was expanded by a man named Sandy Hunter (thus the name of the building)




The younger 3 kids were able to attend a library program over the summer. They learned about how oil was discovered on Belizean soil. They designed a shop with cardboard and other recycled materials.
Zion with the group project she helped make this Summer


We don't go to the library as often as we would in the states. Only the kids have library cards and they are currently allowed only to check out one book per card.  The other issue is that I am still not skilled at driving the three-wheeler. (I stink at it and my carpal tunnel kicks in, leaving my right hand numb; needless to say, I don't really drive it at all)
a rice dinner on the lawn in front of the library


We were blessed to be still invited to the Christmas program for the library.
The kids watched a movie then sat on the lawn for a lunch of rice and beans.

Abigail enjoys her cookie


They were given cookies, candy canes, grapes, and an apple to take home with them.  I consider ourselves blessed to be a part of the community.
rice and beans and plantain. The kids won't eat the plantain or the potato salad


How else do we get books you wonder?  We use our cards from Bucks County library to access them online.  Abigail uses Hoopla a lot (it has a wide selection of graphic novels). Selah and I use Overdrive which has books and audio books.  There is also RB digital which offers magazines.

Selah's cookie


I have to say I am very thankful to be alive during the digital age.  There are occasionally books that aren't available in both the library and electronic form.  I actually haven't figured out why this happens especially with a newer book.  I totally understand preferring the "real, physical" copy. For us, it is about access.  We are thankful that we can have access to books in whatever way is best for us.


Hope you enjoyed our fun and interesting library excursions.




Monday, December 3, 2018

Finding a better way

Nathanael took a Statistics class this fall.  In his "spare time," he is working towards his bachelor's degree. He has one class left, we are all so proud of him.


Zion peeling veggies for Friday night


For his class project, he was to collect life applicable statistics.  Nathanael decided to research the eating habits of the people we work with.  The research was astounding to me.  Most of the people he asked admitted to never eating fruit or vegetables.
Fun Friday night



The main issue for people sums it up to have cost. A lot of healthy foods cost more. In addition, they often aren't filling.  One can buy a plate of rice and beans for 7$ (which includes rice and beans, stewed chicken and coleslaw as the veggie) Buying vegetables is just as expensive or more and it doesn't fill the stomach.
Wednesday Ladies night after eating Taco salad. We played Apples to Apples pictures


We struggled with what this could look like for us. We aren't equipped to be a feeding program. We decided to initiate change in the way we can.

Geneli and Elizani on a Friday night. Chicken Chili is a hit!



We have chosen to use veggies on Friday nights instead of high-calorie non-nutritive snacks.  Both the adults and the children are given veggies. The children are also fed a meal of chili or dirty rice. Wednesdays we changed the menu also. We had been feeding hot dogs. This past month we did taco salad. (we repeat the meal weekly for a month since it's a different group of people that comes each week). We are open to different suggestions. Since most Belizeans eat rice and beans just about every day, we aren't too worried about variety.

Nathanael peeling oranges



Sundays Nathanael thought the best solution would be oranges and bananas.  Oranges are not easy to peel here. They require a knife to peel. We aren't that talented at it. Nathanael asked people how to do it. Next, he's been practicing weekly. In no time he'll have it down to a science.



Thanks for learning a little more about our quest!

Spring



Saturday, November 24, 2018

Language(s)

The official language of Belize is English. It was a colonized British colony until 1981.  Most people who know a little bit of Belizean history know this.

Living in Belize presents a different picture. Yes English is the official language.  It does seem that it is the language in the street. That being said it's mostly the people's second language.  Nathanael likes to say that the US is the most diverse country he's ever been to, Belize is the second. 
the different countries represented at Koinonia


The most frequent languages spoken are Spanish and Kreol.  There are also many Chinese, Indian, and Nigerian immigrants, not to mention the Garifuna people.  

In our house, we speak English. Nathanael's second language is ASL (obviously) and mine is Spanish.  I never went to school for Spanish beyond level 2 in college. We are trying to navigate helping our kids become second and third language users while figuring that out ourselves.
A celebration of culture 


I (Spring) struggle with understanding the Kreol. Nathanael has a good grip on it. Our kids have some of the words down (like Ketch which is tag here).  There is also a mixing that happens (as I referred to in the last post) It is funny that I can go workout, and yet there are so many things I miss. I know English and Spanish, but I don't always understand what they are saying. The mixture of words is confusing for a second language user. (that and the accent)

Zion and Zephaniah often come with me to work out, other moms also bring their kids


Two weeks ago we had surprise visitors. We saw a family at the local hostel. The hostel was full, they were unsure of where to go. On a whim, Nathanael offered for them to stay in the apartment. It was a couple with a daughter the same age as Zion.  They are riding their bikes across Central America. What initially attracted them to me was the fact that they had a tandem, and the exact tandem I had wanted for Nathanael and I.
we ate a meal together with the French Family



We got to spend two days with them.  Communication consisted of halted Spanish and lots of use of Google Translate. Why you ask? They are from France. Their second language was Spanish.  Nathanael actually did a better job communicating. I guess I speak too fast?  Nathanael also has a degree in communication and I don't.
Playing Apples to Apples at Ladies night

All of this to say we're still learning. I have worked at engaging in ASL. Nathanael is learning some Spanish. Abigail and Selah are each taking classes in ASL and Spanish for school.
Abigail and Selah at youth group this past week

When the rubber meets the road though?  We are getting closer and closer (slowly) to be better communicators.

 for "fun" Selah stuck her finger through the hole in the ladder. She was smiling about it but it was stuck for about 15 min. We had to use oil and soap to get it out. 

Hope you have a lovely week!


Friday, November 16, 2018

a different Sunday


There isn't anything to review in Bible Study this week.  Why you ask? Nathanael didn't preach. We weren't even at the church building.


We were privileged to be a part of the communal worship service of Belize Evangelical Mennonite Conference.  Nathanael interpreted for the service. They provided an interpreter (from Spanish to English) and he interpreted into ASL.  They didn't have anyone for worship, so I did my best. I am by no means a trained interpreter. That and being in Belize makes me lazy. Any words I don't know in Spanish, I add the English instead; and I am fully understood.


We were also very close to the speakers, the base booming in our ears(not to mention shaking my entire body!) It was a great place to be for the Deaf, they could feel the music!


The preacher was actually originally from Guatemala. Interestingly Nathanael and I had a conversation with him after the event. I told him that I can understand his Spanish better than the Belizeans. He pointed out that it's similar to Texan's Spanish, this mix of Spanish and English, using words that aren't actually words in either language. (Ie an English word with a Spanish ending)  Here we also have a Caribbean/ Kreol accent.


The interpreter who helped during the service actually had more trouble with the speaker, probably because of the accent.


It was a good experience for all involved.



Thursday, November 8, 2018

October Kids Konnect trip

"I am the worst patient/mother of a patient ever," was the mantra running through my mind this past week at the Kids Konnect medical trip.
the very full bus after pickup at the airport


Zion and I were blessed to be a part of the largest and most diverse (amount of states involved) medical team.

This has nothing to do with Kids Konnect, Zion just wanted a pic of her helping carry groceries


Of course it threw a wrench in my "plans" as I know what to do in the triage area.  I realized that there were enough qualified nurses.  I ended up being more of a circulatory person. I had the privilege of  to interpreting, give out instructions in the pharmacy, and just go where the need was.  One thing they changed this time that I really valued was having a constant prayer person.  I had the privilege of doing this several times throughout the 3 days.
The table set up for triage



I was asked to help find a plan for a family. I talked with Dr Ed because I was certain that the issue had been addressed with the family in the past. I felt like it was non-compliance. He gave me a gentle reminder that has stuck with me. He said sometimes people are just trying to make it through the day. They can't add one more thing.
Zion found this guy on the toilet paper


Although I can't say I was in their particular situation, I have felt like I am just trying to slog through my day.    Honestly I know that my situations have probably been easier.


The lovely view from St Augustine school


While in the pharmacy, I explained over and over to patients that it is very important for to take all of the antibiotics. One shouldn't stop when they feel better. Yet I have done that with my own children. (out of forgetfulness, not because they felt better).  We don't know where someone has been or what their current journey is.
Zion helps set up the tables for triage


It was also a reminder to me today as I read Liturgy of the Ordinary. This week the focus is on work. You could be in Belize doing wash, or in the US. (or have one of many other important jobs). We are called to bring Him with us. To allow him to work through us, to find a place with Him in our daily tasks.
Sherri reads to the kids



Zion takes a turn reading


May you be spurred on towards holiness in the everyday tasks of your lives,

Spring

“It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God: but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes” 
― Oswald Chambers

Friday, November 2, 2018

Everyday life

I have done several posts with reference to how life is different in Belize. I actually am working on one that talks about the smells that entice and turn up our noses, how we wish we could share that with you!

Family game night




The "different" is not what I am focusing on today.  I had the privilege of reading All the News that's Fit to Tell, and How to tell it.  by Amy Young of the Messy Middle blog. It was a help to me, and I intend to continue to return to it. I believe I have a lot I can improve on in both the blog and newsletters I write.  Amy explain the lengths she had to go through to wash her clothes.  I fully understand as I had similar experiences in Mexico 20 years ago.  I won't describe it as she does a much better job than I do. I will, however, leave you with a video.  Although this was taken in the US, and the Youtuber makes it sound cool, imagine doing your wash this way every day. ( or doing wash for 6 people)



Amy uses her washer woes to explain that the majority of what we do, even on missions is mundane, everyday activities.  After posting a picture of Zion hanging wash for a chore one day a  friend serving in Honduras had a response. Her mission Org told them 80% of what one does on the field is "life". As a part of the Velvet ashes book club, I have been reading Liturgy of the Ordinary: Scared Practices in Everyday Life.   Even in this book, the first chapter talks about a man in India who found that the majority of his time was things he would be doing at "home".

Zion and Ni at a park while we wait to see if the used washer will work. (this one didn't work)

To me this is a relief. I recognize that I am pretty normal. I make dinner, wash clothes, homeschool our kids, remind them (constantly ) to do chores, wash dishes, pick up discarded items, ect. Yet in this ordinary, we can meet with a Sacred God. What a privilege we have!

We went to the bush with the dogs to have a picnic, and this happened. It is rainy season

I thought this week it would be good just to share some photos of our everyday life.

one of the supermarkets we frequent always has a "photo booth".  This one was to mark the 3rd anniversary



Zion and Zephaniah do a mural for art 


Zion and Zephaniah ride their bikes to go to the workout place with me. Our sky almost always looks this amazing! 


Abigail works on math


By the way in the process of writing the blog, our washer broke. It took a process to find someone to look at it. We were told it's broken and would cost 600$ to fix, or 700-900$ for a new one. This past Monday we went on an excursion. Tuesday we finally had a washer. I discovered in the process that the Shipyard Mennonites aren't allowed to have a circuit board in their washers. We seriously considered getting one of theirs. I had to face the reality of the type of person I am. If I had that type of washer, I would be dumping gallons of water on the floor. I did it in Mexico 20 years ago when I didn't have a home of my own or children. We finally found a used one from the US. We are hoping and praying it holds up for years to come!

Thanks for joining on this amazing yet ordinary journey with us,

Spring

One of our dogs had 8 puppies. We kept one and gave 7 away. It was fun but I don't want to do that again!