Saturday, February 9, 2019

Not the same trip

January came and it was Abigail's turn to go to Kids Konnect. She was excited! She was deferred this fall as we decided Zion is old enough to attend.  We were also blessed in that Todd Stone allowed us to ride from the Belize City airport instead of waking up at 4am.  The sleeping a normal amount certainly is a huge benefit.
Abigail at the airport


Abigail and I rode the bus from Orange Walk to Belize City at 9am. We hung out at the airport, talked to Todd, and watched as people arrived. It is always fun to see old friends and meet new ones.
I took a picture of this person's ticket so I would remember the number when going to the registration desk(don't worry it's not a medical number and after registration isn't associated with the person at all)


Wednesday evenings are spent orienting, and sorting. Meds, equipment and people are assigned to correct places. I am ever amazed at the efficiency and organization of the Kids Konnect staff. They have it down to a science!
unloading the medical equipment at Pomona

Abigail and I did clinics in both Silk Grass and Pomona on Thursday and Friday.  Abigail was a people mover, she also counted meds. I enjoy helping out wherever the need is. I usually start in Triage, do some interpreting, and help with patient flow.

Abigail hanging signs at Middlesex, San Augistine School

In Silk Grass we met a young lady. It was a pivotal moment for me. She was Deaf. Both Abigail and I attempted to sign with her but we got little to no response. She had spend 3 years in the Mennonite school in Spanish Lookout (from ages 11-14), but otherwise didn't go to school at all. She spends most of her days at home. No one in her family signs. She doesn't socialize with Deaf in her community. Nathanael did send a video from Orange Walk of mostly gestures asking basic questions. She finally understood enough to spell out her name for us.
Abigail got to hold babies a few times this trip

 If I am honest it was helpful to me. I sometimes get caught up in the daily grind, wondering what I am doing here. I still struggle with ASL. I ask myself if there is an impact?  Communicating with her reminded me that she is a reason we are here. We want Deaf to have access.

Nathanael interpreting Zion, Josue and Zephaniah watching


Access included Nathanael coming to Stann Creek with 5 Deaf from our church. It was a good time, abet a long trip (3 hours drive each way). Nathanael interpreted for the women who were able to get reading glasses.  Alma has had a missing ligament from birth. Julie (the PT) and Dr Harrel provided braces, a cane, and exercises that should help reduce her pain. They all got adjusted by the chiropractor, which I think was especially helpful to the hardworking women of the church.
Triaging some people from our church


My ongoing job is to check if exercises are being completed and medicines are helping. It has also given me a reason to visit a little more with people.




Alma gets a blood sugar taken and Misael watches 

We were honored that the team from Kids Konnect helped make Jesus Deaf Church so welcome.  Thank you for making this an "atypical" trip, for allowing us to be a part of your family.
Abigail was thankful for new and old friends! (even photobombers!) :)


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Goodbyes

One thing that they tell you when you learn about how to care for Third Culture kids is they have to say goodbye often, more often than most kids.  Honestly, all of us have had more goodbyes than I feel like I can count.

The interesting concept surrounding goodbyes is I'm not sure we now are aware of how to "do them better". They are still difficult. We still struggle emotionally. There is a line in a song by Owl City:

I'm weird because I hate goodbyes


I really dislike this line. I believe we all hate goodbyes. They are difficult. They bring grief, they require us to find a new normal.

Nathanael and I interpreting. Me Spanish to English, Nathanael English to ASL




About a month ago, Alma's father passed. He had been sick for a while.  She doesn't have a good way to communicate with us. Nathanael pulled on to her road and noticed it was blocked off for a wake.  Some inquiries lead to the conclusion that yes her father had passed.  Nathanael finished picking up people for church. At church, it was decided that we would attend the funeral. We cleaned up and crowded into the van.

The Deaf who came to support Alma


We found a place for the Deaf to sit. Nathanael and I also obtained two chairs so that we could interpret. Alma was able to have the service and burial interpreted.


The burial


A not so significant but still difficult goodbye happened for us last week. We have 4 dogs. One of our dogs' Cookies, passed. She was Selah's dog. The most "rebellious" (she found multiple ways to get out of the gate). She was ever faithful to come back. We found more and more stuffed animals that she must've picked out of other's trash in our yard. Selah buried Cookies with the stuffed animal that appeared to be her favorite. We had to go out in the bush and find a place to put her. Selah decorated a stone block to put her memory on.

Selah makes Cookies gravestone



There are also the unexpected goodbyes that happen often. A short term team comes down, we make a connection and say goodbye. One that is not so difficult is Hipolito. He works across the border in Bacalar, Mexico.  He takes care of a training center there. Pastors from Mexico and Central America train to work with kids in their communities.  He also travels and encourages pastors in their congratulations. We had the privilege of staying at the training center a few days in November.  Zephaniah made a connection with Hipolito, following him around talking to him and playing with him.  Fortunately, Hipolito often comes for events that Koinonia has. Zephaniah says that Hipolito is his best Mexican Friend.

Zephaniah and Hipolito


Yes, I do hate goodbyes. At the same time, I wouldn't change the connections, love, and relationships we have gained.

Hipolito buys sweetbread from a man on a triciclo it reminded me of when I did that in Mexico 20 years ago


Please be praying for Alma's family.  Also, Abigail and I head to Stann Creek district today to work with Kids Konnect. If you would like to pray with us, here is a sign up: 

Thanks so much,

Spring

PS: I am trying to regularly send out prayer emails via email (every two weeks) if you would like to receive them and aren't, you can sign up to get them.

Friday, January 18, 2019

NYE 2018

The New Years eve party was a tradition started by Nancy. It always promises a full house, food and fellowship. This year didn't disappoint.
Nathanael and Misael set up for the party, which involved welding the broken gate



Nathanael had a small devotion.

enjoying the party




We then broke out games and food.

many played Apples to Apples big pictures 


I made chicken chili which is a church favorite. Two instant pots full got eaten!
Chilling outside


The children lit some fireworks.

First family picture of 2019


The church went to the park for the big celebration at 12 am.
In the park at 12 am to ring in the New Year



Nathanael dropped kids off. He arrived home around 2am.  The neighbor got a new sound system which he used. I finally was able to fall asleep at 3:30am with ear plugs and the fan by my head.
Adrene, Selah, Morene and Zion stopped in the park for a picture on their way home


The next day Nathanael drove Moriene and Adrene home. I slept until 11 am. Our friends from Koinonia invited us for lunch. Sandra who came for the party also came. Lunch was a mix of Spanish, ASL and English. What fun. No pork and sauerkraut for us. Dirty rice with chicken was well received!

Dirty rice for the first day of 2019


Apples to Apples pictures really is our "go to" game in situations where there is language mixing.  All 12 people (3 Spanish speaking, one Deaf) were able to enjoy the game together

We enjoyed ringing in the New year.

May your New Year be blessed!

Spring and the Davis family



Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Presents, staying up late and lice, Oh My!

This is our third time we have celebrated Christmas in Belize.  That is comforting to us. We kind of know what to expect, we are feeling "settled".  We have developed some traditions and adopted new ones this year.
Koinonia prays for us on a Sunday morning

To begin the holiday season we had a new tradition with friends from Stann Creek, the Groff family. They also serve with EMM, and it is a blessing to be in Belize together.  We occasionally get together. It is difficult at times, since their kids are in school during the week, and we have weekend commitments. We decided to get together for Thanksgiving but were unable to until closer to Christmas vacation.

playing a quiz game with the Groffs



Tim decided to call it Friendsmasgiving. It turned out to be the perfect name.  We had a great time eating a traditional American Thanksgiving Dinner, hanging out and playing board games.  Of course, we enjoyed Bubble Tea, our favorite Orange Walk drink.
Adults snuck out for a childless time of bubble tea and dumplings


Christmas Eve is what Belizeans celebrate as Christmas. It is often brought in with a "bang" ie fireworks.  We stayed up till 2am at Pastor Ed's house, playing games, eating and hanging out.

Dyna and I chatting Christmas eve. Zephaniah eventually fell asleep next to me


Christmas day we spent as a family. The brunch was awesome. For some reason, our dinner was kind of a flop. Everyone survived. ;)
Pastors Ed and Dyna


We had two cookie parties. One with local friends, and one with the Deaf Youth.  At the end of it all I was exhausted. Thankfully Anna came and cleaned/washed the dishes.
a wonderful family sent Oatmeal cream pies. Nathanael says they "made" his Christmas

While we worked on cookies, Nathanael and Misael took the three wheeler to villages. They invited the Deaf in villages to our New Years Eve party.
The van packed full before our first cookie party



the Deaf youth event 



One not so fun thing that happened in our house over Christmas vacation was lice. They were discovered immediately following the Groff visit.  I spent way more time than I wanted to picking out nits.  The good news out of all of this is I've found the best method that works for us! Now to get a nit comb that works! I had to pull every nit out by hand.  If you were wondering, that is why Ni lost his dreds. He is actually fine about it. Since kids here can't wear them to school, there are no boys his age who have them. I was probably more upset about him losing them than he was.

nitpicking takes hours



there go the dreds




Next week I'll share pictures and stories from our Annual New years eve party. Stay tuned!

Love Spring


Sunday, December 30, 2018

The post that I've been hesitant to write

Good News, Great Joy, to ALL people

If you read our newsletter this past Tuesday, I shared some of the spiritual things that we come against in this area.
The back area behind Koinonia


As I became more and more aware of the fact that a lot of the Jehovah's Witnesses live on our street, I was overwhelmed. They seem like there are so many of them. Their building is huge. They seem to have different concepts on if helping hurts.  (in other words, they seem to spend a lot of money on it and a lot of the people who go locally have a good amount of money)

hanging around before Bible study Friday night



As I stated in the newsletter, Nathanael reminded me that we have more on our side.  I would also like to mention that in the same area of street, we have 2 Christian churches. (one Spanish speaking and one Kreol). It is comforting to know that in the physical sense, there are more buildings devoted to Christianity than JW's.
an intense game of "kings" on a Fun Friday


All of this to say I was personally challenged. It is not my responsibility to convince or persuade. It is my job to do what I'm called to do.  I have felt that calling in the way of doing prayer walks on our street. This is where the title of the post comes in. I haven't done the prayer walking yet.  I am hesitant to post this because then I need to hold myself responsible.
Thanksgiving time at Koinonia, everyone brings things to share and we pay for the treats. The funds go to the church's mission trip to Central America


I will be starting to prayer walk on Jan 8. I am hoping to do it every Tuesday, 7am our time.  If you would like to pray with me, please sign up for the prayer emails. (which yes I also need to take more responsibility for!) I hope to share short snippets of the prayers and pictures of our street so you can picture it while you are praying.

we went to Corozal with Koinonia as they did baptisms. Nathanael helped as people were baptized



Thanks for joining with us on this journey. Thank you because without you we would be unable to do what we do.

Happy New Year!


Spring

PS please be praying for us as we prepare for the New Years party, our biggest event of the year.

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