Walking down the dusty streets of Belize, a microscopic country in Central America, so many thoughts race through my head. Sun rays strike my skin and sweat beads roll down my entire body. The spectrum of colored houses shape the country, showing the enormous amount of poverty: holes in the walls where windows should sit, cracks in the wood just asking for splinters…
The first day, I venture into the Xunantunich Archaeological Reserve and go canoeing in caves. But when the second day hits, it’s straight to work. As I approach the building where the clinic is held, I begin to hear the chattering of Spanish-gibberish, for none of it makes sense. I can smell “dead-animal” breath from neglected teeth and am suffocated by body odor from those who consider showering a luxury. Then a road, twisting and turning unto the horizon, catches my eye. Along this road stand many people, people needing us to empower them with wisdom of healthier lifestyles. After traveling miles by foot, they wait for hours. My feet go numb at the thought of walking this far. I am amazed at what they will do just to better their lives.
Approximately an hour before the clinic starts, needy eyes eat away at my flesh. I want to help each of these helpless souls, but I can’t. Cries of pain and agony fill the air, as blood gushes from the mouths of children and adults of all ages. I want to escape from this dreadful reality. In the desert-like heat, parents focus on the crew, learning how to take care of their families. Pills of blue and Pepto-Bismol pink are separated into snack size Zip-Lock bags for distribution. These vitamins are just a start on the road to a new life. As for me, though, my mind isn’t with the parents or the health care; it’s with the kids.
Children. They are amazing, but the Belize kiddos are something else. These kids are sweet, innocent, and yet so naive. What did they do to deserve such a horrible living environment? And why am I so blessed? As I ponder these issues, a certain baby captures my undivided attention. The little gift from God, in a lavender onesie, couldn’t have been more than ten pounds. The chocolatey-brown, curly hair and deep, dark eyes draw me closer. Standing with the baby, are three girls. As I talk to the trio, I learn they are the proud sisters of this tiny angel. I soon discover the baby is a girl, only a month old. After holding her, I realize her skin is smooth as silk and her laugh drowns out the hectic atmosphere. I don’t want to let her go, I want to put her in my suitcase and take her to America. Once there, I can make sure she has proper health care and education. But that’s called kidnapping, and my father wouldn’t be happy.
The final days of my adventure consist of rest and relaxation with the Iguana Squad mission team, on San Pedro Island. It is breathtaking. Only golf carts fill the streets, so pollution is non-existent. Everything, from the sand to the sunset and breakfast at Rico’s to beach-side Bible studies make the trip completely priceless.
Looking back, I began to notice some of the smallest things to be thankful for as I approached home. Without the journey to a completely different culture, I wouldn’t have gained an appreciation for my life and the country I live in. As human beings, many times we overlook the blessings around us, both big and small.
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