Its day 2 of service and we've accomplished sooooo much! We started the day off with a 4:30 a.m. wakeup call (aka Jeff banging on our doors), had our last breakfast at the Tranquility Lodge before we packed up the truck to head to the service site. We managed to finish all of the trimming on the outside of the library and one of the two rooms on the inside. All we have left is one room and the railing! Everyone has been working so well together and always team up on a project, that's probably why we've been moving so fast. Outside of painting the library it has been nice to take break and play with the kids in the village during recess or lunch. They are so light hearted and curious about everything. A lot of the time they are shy but once they warm up to us they are very talkative and rambunctious. I think I will probably miss them the most.
After we finished setting up the second room for a paint job we left the site for the day to head to our new home for the next 3 nights, the Nazareth Retreat Center. Once we pulled up we were greeted by Sister Steven; all of the sisters here are beyond kind to us. We quickly cleaned up from painting and walked around the grounds of the beautiful retreat center. There is a rosary walk right next to our rooms, marked by grey stones designed with colorful rocks to lead you in praying the rosary. On our walk we also saw their church and met Sister Josefina (Jeff LOVES her). However, our exploration outside was rudely interrupted by a stray dog that was barking at us (I guess he thinks he lives here). It's ok though because dinner was about to start anyway. Regina and Desiree graciously cooked us rice with red beans, fried fish, mashed potatoes, plantains, stir fried vegetables and delicious homemade pie, yum. Before the night was over the group had a great debrief session in the lounge. We discussed about how we've acclimated to the environment and how our perceptions of Belize have changed us. Personally, the culture here has truly changed my definition of a "home" and happiness. Though at first glance it may not seem as if they have much, their homes and families are abundantly rich in love, support, humility and faith. I feel as if I've taken so much already from this experience and its only Day 6!
(Mom, Dad and Tra' I'm doing great! I was the only one in the group to not get bitten by any bugs but that winning streak ended yesterday. But I'm having fun and yes, I am safe. See you all when I get back!)
Tranise Garland '13