So this may be the last update that I am going write from my desk in Belize for this calendar year. We leave for Winston Salem on 12/20 and we return home to Belize on 12/31. We are excited to get to see our friends and family and ready for some time to relax for sure.
Anyway, that got me thinking. I should provide a year in review (albeit only 4 months) of being in Belize for you all. Then that got me thinking about all the HILARIOUS things and good things that have happened just in these few short months. Many of these stories have been screened or heard by Amy and my good friend Jason, both of whom say I should write a book. Who I am kidding when am I going to have time to write a book right now? So without further ado I present to you…
Belize….The Good…The Bad…and the Poop!
So I decided to deal with the poop first because well, I think the stories are funny AND if I waited to put poop at the end, you might scroll / skim the update and miss the good and bad. So hopefully, I will grab your attention with POOP and then you stick around for the rest! POOP
- Geckos – I deal with a lot of poop. Right now Amy feels so sick and nauseated that she does not clean out Jojo’s diapers which means I get to do that. That’s really not a problem and a conscious decision that we made when choosing cloth diapers. But you know what other poop we deal with a lot…gecko poop. I mean they poop everywhere. And it is little tear drop shaped turds all around, on my counters, on the walls, on the porch. It’s not that one gecko poops a lot; it’s really that there are a lot of gecko around and because of that there is a lot of poop. It has strong adhesive power too because it is on the walls and it doesn’t really fall down. See below for pictures.
- Septic – So when we moved in, we had a slight septic problem. Our pipes from the washing machine were sloped incorrectly and bucked up to a low point. That low point created a back flow problem when the washer performed the rinse cycle, water backed up from the septic line into our bathtubs. Well we fixed that and had a second septic built. But it’s an open septic (like not covered with concrete and buried with dirt as in the states). People actually just call it a pit. That’s all well and good but when it rains (and it rains a lot) the septic which is in general usually full because of the washing machine water, reaches high beyond the walls of the pit. Then septic water mixed with rain water spills out on flat and already wet land. If we get a day of solid rain our side yard is a POOPY mess! POOP! (And I didn’t even mention the smell..ICK)
There are several things about Belize that “bad” isn’t really the right word. Really nothing much is bad or unbearable in Belize. BUT there are some things in Belize that are different and because of that, many people (even us) would consider some of these items bad or inconvenient at times. I have attached 3 examples just for your reading pleasure.
- Food scraps: We can’t leave any food scraps in the kitchen trash because ants will sniff it out and we will be infested with ants of all shapes and sizes. We also don’t have an outside barrel (or trash can) to place food scraps in, so we keep all food scraps in the freezer in the little pink bathtub thing you get from Rex when you have a baby (you know the one that you fill with warm water and give tiny babies baths until the umbilical cord falls off). I have attached a picture of that too so you can see our freezer is usually filled with scraps. When I empty the scraps, usually at night, I triple bag it and place the bag in the bed of my truck….Well then if I am heading out right then I run it up to the dump (which is really just a road people through trash on…seriously that’s it) or I leave it there until the morning and take care of it then. Well the other night we had snapper. Whole snapper. It was really quite nice. We had the bones and the head left over. Well I left the trash in the bed of the truck and the next morning I go out there and see the bag of trash open in the back of the truck, the bones picked clean and fish heads looking at me….It was almost like in Godfather when they send the dead fish back to the Corleone Family saying that Luca Braci sleeps with the fish or when the movie guy has the horse head in his bed. Just really interesting. That’s just normal life.
- Nightly noises: Our house sits directly on the Western Highway. Right across the street is a bus stop so all day there are buses that go by and stop. The windows are open so you can imagine living say on Capital Blvd in Raleigh or a HUGE interstate but without the stop lights and that’s our street. Ask anyone who has spoken with us on the phone and they say it sounds like an airplane is taking off from inside our house when any truck or bus goes by. Then there are the dogs. Everyone around us has HUGE fences with minimum of 2.5 ferocious, vicious, rapid dogs that bark at everything at night. Madeline HATES the noise so she just yells “Sorry dogs, please don’t bark at the top of her lungs.” It’s quite funny actually. Nightly noises are something we adjusted to but we are truly thankful to the dogs because they did alert us to the person breaking into our car a few weeks ago.
- Burning Bush– Another thing that is interesting….many people burn the brush (which is called “bush”) on the side of the road instead of cutting it. Once again imagine driving down I-40 or any major road and instead of a road crew cutting grass there is a small to large brush fire. In the states, that situation would illicit a HUGE 3-4 alarm situation. Not in Belize. In Belize it’s normal! So one day I am driving my car and the fire is going across the road. I had to continue to go and there wasn’t much I could do about it so I just punched it through the very tiny (<1′) flames. But still fire on the road…glad I didn’t have an oil or gas leak.
Really there are too many good things about living here and Amy and I pray that we NEVER take anything for granted. Just some of the many examples
- Being able to wake my kids up every morning, eating every meal as a family, seeing the joy in Madeline as she runs to pick flowers or play outside in puddles, learning to live on what is truly needed and casting away wants, the food, the people, the friends, understanding that the local church is the hope of the world and being able to sit down and talk to pastors about their plans to restore / redeem Belize, getting to do things like pet monkeys, go to Mayan Temples, and snorkel the second largest barrier reef in the world (our task for January), hearing Madeline say “Jesus is my best friend, and I just have to go to Hattieville Baptist Church”, watching Jojo being passed around from person to person wherever he goes, letting the kids get hugs and kisses from everyone in Publics (our grocery store) because people love them, being in the center of God’s will for our lives right now, Amy being able to volunteer with at risk children at the Youth Hostel, and on, and on, and on…..
Praises / Prayer Requests:
- Family Day – We had a great family day on Friday. We went to feed Black Howler monkeys in Bermudian Landing. Madeline had a BLAST! Praise God for a great time of fun with the family!
- Pastor Ed’s Children’s Ministry – Saturday we traveled to Champine Ridge for Pastor’s Ed’s Christmas Children’s Fair. He had over 180 kids and 50 adults there. It was AWESOME! What a blessing to know that just June 2011, he started this ministry with his family and now he is influencing kids all over Belize.
- Amy – she has been feeling a little bit tired the past few days. Pray for her to get some energy back and feel “normal.”
- Travel – We travel on 20-Dec. Pray for smooth flights, lots of room on the plane to spread out, and a good time flying with the kids. In Winston-Salem, pray that our time with our family and friends is cherished and restful!
- Belize Teams – We have two teams coming in to finish the year. We have a team landing in a couple of hours. Pray for their hearts as they prepare to do ministry today. Pray for our last team arriving on 29-Dec. Pray for our staff (Eustace, Burton, Jenecia) as they lead these teams.
Thank you so much everyone! We are so blessed to have some many friends, family, partners in ministry. I really thank My God when I think of you all! Thank you for continuing to love and bless us!
Because they haven’t heard,
Josh, Amy, Madeline, Joseph