In all our years of living in Belize, we learned to speak English-Creole…well most of us anyway. (Side bar – I never learned how to read it, I mean ever! I tried and tried and a pastor ONLY texted me in Creole and still nothing)
I continue. Perhaps no one learned to speak Creole as much as our most Belizean boy – Jojo. Jojo was 10 months old when we moved. More or less his entire language formation was developed in Belize, most often while being passed around by women and youth speaking Creole to him. From 10 months to 3 years old Jojo spoke nothing but Creole.
This past week was Jojo’s birthday and as part of his birthday present he wanted me to come to his class and tell them about Belize. As I prepped the presentation, I road down the memory lane of Facebook, looked at pictures and listened to videos, and heard that accent as Jojo started to speak.
At school, when I was “teaching” his classmates Creole, Jojo beamed. He was proud of the language he knows but won’t speak. (2nd Side Bar – Even now, we can tell Jojo formed language in Belize….his “r” are never HARD. They are soft almost like a “Boston R”)
Then I saw a little bit of sadness as he looked, laughed, and shared about a country we love and really the first home he knew. I looked at him telling his friends “No watch me buay” that he missed being there sometimes and today was one of those days. And I realized…today son, I miss it too.
Happy Birthday to that dude. Our Belizean buay in every since of culture. A buay that refuses store bought food because in Belize mommy made everything homemade.
Happy birthday to the buay that wants flour tortillas and fry jacks.
Happy birthday to the buay who says bananas here taste funny and would rather have a mango fresh off the tree and eat his oranges with salt and hot pepper.
Happy Birthday to the buay that is fiercely competitive and fiercely loyal. That loves his friends and deeply desires to please others.
Happy Birthday to the buay that is ready to the big kid but wants to cuddle at night with mommy or daddy or his blanket.
Happy Birthday to the buay that deeply desires to serve others and learn much. To the buay that refuses fiction books at the library and dives into non-fiction.
Happy Birthday to the buay that loves passionately, is wild and free, and is waiting for God to form and shape his heart.
Happy birthday day Jojo, our Belizean Buay, we pray that you always know and remember everything we have tried to teach you. You try our patience many times but that’s parenting. May the Lord take your loyalty, passions, love, deep desire for learning and position you to pursue Him relentlessly in whatever avenue He directs. We pray that you meet Jesus at an early age and do not stray from the right or the left. We pray that your testimony is filled not with sin the Lord had to redeem you out of but rather sins that He kept you from because of your relationship with Him. We love you buay!
Will you join us in praying that over Jojo?