This trek to Belize is a medical humanitarian mission which I was fortunate enough to be invited upon. Because of my medical expertise and gentle bedside manner? NO, the most I can do is apply band aids and ice packs with a reassuring, SUCK IT UP and Quit crying like a little baby! Was is because of my knowledge of the native tongue of Belize, I doubt it. Although the national language is English; I am skeptical that the people would appreciate my precarious grasp of their language. I was simply just invited. These things seem to fall divinely into my lap almost once a year. Last year I was invited to Cabo, although that was not a humanitarian trip. Unless you count my margarita induced tipping spree humanitarian.
A friend of a friend asked me to go, and it couldn't have come at a better time. After reading this book and watching this movie and this movie, I have felt a strong desire to devote myself in some way to global humanitarian efforts. And I hoped that I would be able to do so first hand and not just in a monetary way.
What is confusing to me though is how hilarious everyone finds it to be when I tell them what I'm doing. Just yesterday my friend said, "my Aunt thought it was funny when I told her I was going, but when I told her you were going she really laughed. She asked me if you had a pink suitcase with hearts on it." Ummm, so maybe I do have a pink suitcase, but there are NO hearts on it! Why does that make it unbelievable that I can survive this trip?
I am the girl who asks to go camping in places where there are no showers or bath rooms. I am the girl who never wears shoes and when asked about what he would remember of me when I passed, my husband replied, " that the bottom of your feet are always dirty." That's not to say that I'm just a dirty, dirty girl (hehehe), but as I was explaining to the people who were at my house last night. I take showers because I CAN, but I am totally cool without them too.
You see, inside this exterior that I am confused as to how people perceive, there is a little hippie just dying to get out. People are shocked when I tell them that I would love to have dreadlocks. Come on people! On any given day you can come to my house and find two dogs, a 27 toed cat, a rabbit, and a turtle wandering around and there used to be a DUCK for the love of foot long hot dogs! The duck I had to reconsider though, because although his nonstop crap was a good source of nutrients for my garden, he would not stay off my patio and for a person who finds shoes to be a regrettable invention, that became a little unpleasant. When people inquire of my daughter as to her poor manners saying, "were you raised in a barn?" She can reply almost honestly, and say, "kind of, and so was Jesus."
But that is neither here nor there. I utilize proper hygiene because I have the tools at my disposal, and also because Jeremy is the resident Dental dictator and germaphobe. But....but, I will be fine on this trip. There is no delicate or fragile constitution to this chick. My temperament and character were forged out of great tribulations and have withstood some powerful tragedies and yet, here I am, still smiling. So, me...I will be fine.
It has always been a dream of mine to visit with children from another culture and interact with people who have no concept of life in our society. They wouldn't know George Bush from Martha Stewart, and I find an untainted purity in that. They live to survive, and they work hard. In two days the realization of this dream will be fulfilled. My spare suitcase (because my other one, you know, the pink one, is filled to the brim with evening gowns, stilettos, and DVD's of the simple life) is filled with basic family packets which include toothbrushes, soap, wash cloths, and vitamins, medical supplies, and toys. I can not wait to hand out these toys, especially the bubbles. Because bubbles are cool no matter where you're from.
A few days ago a tropical storm devastated parts of Belize, and subsequently our itinerary has changed to allow us to visit those areas most affected. Although I am a girl from many miles and customs away, perhaps my experience of loss due to a hurricane can in some way help me to offer empathy and compassion to someone who is experiencing the same thing. If so, everything I lost will not have been in vain.