Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Sunday Reflection

"There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle."
~Albert Einstein

Forgive me blog for it has been a year and a half since my last blog entry.


My time as a Jesuit Volunteer finishes in June, less than two months away. I am eager and excited for what is next for me, unsure of what exactly that is, but at the same time I can't imagine leaving the prison. I can't imagine saying goodbye to the young men at Wagner's Youth Facility. Many of them have been there longer than myself. Many of them have become my brothers. I frequently ask myself, "Self, what are you doing working at a prison in Belize." The answer usually is absent. I also ask myself, "How do I measure my success here." These questions are difficult for me to answer. In this moment my answer to these questions is: I am here to share myself, my past experiences, my smiles, my sorrows, what I know, questions of what I don't know, but mostly just to be, to learn, and to grow. My success is defiantly not marked by my outstanding abilities as a teacher, nor my MVP worthy skills on the basketball court during recreation. I measure my success in moments. Moments when my boys drop the gangster mask, the killer eyes and  the threatening tones to unveil their smiles, their laughter, their sorrows. My success is marked by these moments, moments when these  "thugs, animals, murderers, rapists, thieves," become real, honest, and vulnerable, inviting me to see their truest selves. My boys have taught me so much. About their country, my own country, the drug trade, God, myself, just to name a few. But if anything I have learned that our criminal charges or cases, a single event, whatever it is, whatever the manifestation of our darkest moments are, are not what defines who we are as individual human beings. We are beautiful, brilliant, and extraordaniary beings....WE ALL ARE....just because someone has the charge of murder,  and the public has them marked as a murderer, does not mean that their humanity, their body, mind, and soul, are meaningless. We are all people, we all matter, we all have a purpose. Some of the kindest,  most considerate,  honest, respectful and intelligent people I have ever met are behind bars. I just want to make the point that "gangters, prisoners, criminals," etc. are humans as well. They each have their own story, their own pain. If you treat a human like a dog, they will act like a dog; if you treat a human with dignity, value, respect you will have quite a different result.

This is just a simple reflection on a relaxing Sunday afternoon. Current going ons:

Currently I am teaching Science twice a week with a select group of boys at the prison. Right now we're learning about the cardiovascular system. Tuesdays and Thursdays we have a Basketball Camp with three coaches volunteering with Community Rehabilitation Department.
This weekend my class for University without Walls, visited Mr. Torres organic farm and got a tour of the El Pilar mayan ruin and medicinal tree and plant garden. Our class was on defining wealth and poverty and the pardigm shift of a few profiting on the resources of many, to living in tune with nature. Mr. Torres farm is a great and inspiring example of living a take and give relationship with the land and his community . "There is enough on Earth for everybody's need. but not for everybody's greed." ~Gandhi
This week two staff from JVC are coming down to visit each volunteer site and to host our Reorentation/Disoreintation Retreat.
After that I'm helping to facilitate a group of students from Auburn University and University of Belize visiting Mr. Torres's farm.

Open our blind eyes
Take a look

Peace is with you always, take a deep breath and enjoy the moment,


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Coconut Gratitude

well like always, where has the time gone?
wow. I really don't know where to begin? I've had dengue, witnessed the arson of my neighbor's home (the house of the eight year old that was killed by a stray bullet) enjoyed the wonderful feeling of coming to work in the morning to see kids, that left prison, back on another charge, felt the absence of  my friend at work after his car was fired upon by an m16 (a women guard was shot in the head, I walk past her post multiple time a day), experienced my first hurricane, hurricane richard, a.k.a. the dick storm,   biked over 60 miles one weekend with Brian visiting different kriol villages out in the bush, seeing the baboon sanctuary, feeding monkeys leaves after calling them down from trees (very fun), making random rasta friend (he greeted me by saying "are you looking for me," apparently we were), then staying at Shayfon's house.
Shayfon and his brothers Jamal and Tereek live in Hattieville, just 3 miles away from the prison (I walk there after work about once a week), in a one bedroom house, I think about 8 people live there, no kitchen. They are brothers through and through. Everytime I'm they're it's like I walk into the presence of God. They are 23, 22, 21. There is an infant, she's real cute, always welcoming when I come. Brian introduced me to them on our bike trip. Brian met Shayfon last year in the hospital. He was visiting his friend in the hospital and there was a sheet over Shayfon, who was i the same room. Brian exclaimed "Oh my god is that person dead?" From inside the sheet answered Shayfon, "No mon I di live!!!!!" then unveiling his face, smiling, to Brian.  Shayfon had just lost his legs. He was shot up real bad and they had to be removed. Also the hospital, KHMH, doesn't have the best reputation, as it's said to stand for "Kill him, murder her." One day, after hurricane richard, I walked over to their house to help Tereek chop the trees that had fallen, these trees being their fruit trees, a main source of their food. (chop is the Belizean verb for using a machete to chop and cut anything and everything, i.e. I'm going to chop the yard). It was a real hot that day, and as I was playing dominos with Shayfon and friends I had a thirst for some cool water. I decided to go to the chine to get a shilling water (a bag of water, that costs a shilling).  "No current mon, no cool water." So I drank some of their water, still thirsting. Tereek and their friend Peanut promptly arrived, bearing freshly fetched coconuts. Everyone got excited. I drank mine, rather I chugged mine, chugged and chugged and chugged, dripping from my face, cool, cool, fresh, coconut water. I smiled. Everyone around me was smiling, laughing, grateful. I was grateful. How could something like a cococut, bless me so. It gave me happiness, they, Shayfon, Tereek, Peanut, Rondean, Darrel, gave me happiness. They have nothing, yet they are happy. All they're trees were just blown down, they have no mom no dad. Yet they were happy. Gratitude is a gift. This is a moment I will never forget, and will live with me until I die. I hope that I may be as grateful for all the things I have, food everyday, clothing, books, a house, friends, as they were for those coconuts.

I could go on and on, but I won't. If you have any interests or something you would like me to elaborate on, send me an email,
There is one thing I realized this past month. They culture I grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Mi is equally disconnected to the culture of Belize City as it is the culture of Detroit City. It took me to come all this way to realize that, and just how segregated our world is. But despite the violence, there is music. In the next room there is a Garifuna music practice getting ready for Garifuna Settlement day on Nov. 19, I must go listen.

Love always, always love, and be grateful,

Tomorrow was born
from today

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The other day

Where does the time go?! I know this is a question I posed on my last post, but as you can see and tell by gap in blogging I am not the best at keeping track of time. As my community mate and co-worker slash "boss" at the prison (haha...boss), Pat, once said, "Days and weeks go by slow, some slower than other, but months go by fast."

Throughout last week I had the idea in my head that I would go down to PG (Punta Gorda) for the weekend to see the other JV community and get out of the city for a bit....When Friday morning came I put on the same outfit that I wore this morning for 7:30 am mass at St. Peter Claver's in PG and that I'm stilll wearing at the moment and put $30 belize in my pocket, well aware that it costs $44 Belize round trip to PG. my outfit: my favorite plaid shirt that I call my tunic, as it only buttons up from the breast to the neck, my sweet reversible belt that I've had for ages, my semi-nice pair of kakhi pants I purched at the thrift store down the street from my house back in Michigan. I think Miss Lena Noecker helped me pick them out. Thanks Lena! Over my usual bowl of oatmeal breakfast I decided that if the spirit moved me to go during work I would go. Go to PG....but I would only be going with the clothes on my back, the money in my pocket, and my prison id, which most people in Belize, authority included, seem to respect. That's all I carried physically, yet I carried more.
Perhaps what I carried was the front, or mask, that I put on everyday as I walk to and from the bus stop, or when I walk into the prison. I show no fear. I'm tough (or at least I try to be). My skin is thick. I make jokes that I normally would not, just to try to connect. Perhaps I do this out of fear. I mean I feel I'm beginning to connect just fine with the boys, at least as much as a white person can with a group of Belizean teens in prison. Well I know most of their names now...slow steps.
 Maybe the mask I wear is just a mirror of the mask that almost everyone in there wears. Some of the boys wear it out of fear...there scared shitless...there 13,14,15 years old. They should be in a real school, not locked up like a stray dog. I used to think I was a wild stray, perhaps I am, but this wild stray has never actually been sent to the pound. I would be scared too. The real gangsters, the murderers, they seem to be the most personable and nicest ones, and some of them are big boys, and if I was one of the little ones and maybe only in there for something less, I would be scared. Maybe I wear my mask just to see them eye to eye. Maybe take it off here and there and see what happens. Maybe when I take it off, some of the kids will take their's off too...and I've noticed this..they're scared and when you show them a little light, they run to it...and open themselves up....just a little their mask, their wall, whatever you want to call hard to unlock and break down...but that's all I can ever hope for, is that they try.
When I got to work the threatening clouds, drove me into the Directors office to see what the head guard had to say about classes happening or not....As Sambula is in Canada on vacation for three weeks, the new guard in charge, Dugul, was more worried about solving recent issuses at the camp. The moment the rain begin to  drown out any sound in the office,"No class." Any rain puts the entire prison on lockdown. Rendering my job useless, though my presence is always welcome during those times to hang out with the guards and other staff. It was 9 am....maybe this was the sign I was waiting for. I questioned myself about leaving right then and there. But I thought staying dry for the meantime best. From that moment on I was going, and nothing was going to stop me. I decided to stay until lunch and then leave right after. Good thing I stayed, we got our weekly dose of KFC (Kolbe Fried Chicken). My belly now full, I was ready for the adventure ahead.
I knew I made the right decison to go and leave the city for the weekend after 5 minutes of waiting for a hitch to the roundabout in Haitiville, an SUV stopped and said they were going to Belomopan, right where I needed to go to get to the next highway. His name was Omar.
With western highway out of the way, and the sun beating down on me as I walked to the junction to the Humming Bird Highway, I decided to treat myself to a water. $29 dollars left, I walked to the junction a half a mile down the road and waited for the next ride. A man waiting under the shade of a thatched roofed covered bus bench said "You waitng for the James bus?" "Well I'm just going to take any ride." "Good man," he replied to my reply. The James Bus coming from the city went round the round about and headed into Belmopan to the bus station before doubling back towards us, just as a green pickup stopped to the wave of the man The cute country couple in the front smiled as I ran to the back.. I waved to but it seemed the guy new these people. This other man was Clarence, a 26 years old garifuna farmer the lives about halfway down the humming-bird highway. Becoming friendly with him was easy, and his interest in my presence at the prison, seemed to help. He was a very kind, gently, and laid back man. I quickly found out that the people giving us the ride were  his neighbors. As we shared stories, he would point out views or random points of interst out for me. He got off at the town before his house after inviting me to come visit him at his farm, where he could show me around. After giving me a fist pound good bye and the truck began to take off, he yelled "They'll stop at their house house, mines the green one just past their's, walk up the highway and you'll get to Valley (a small town). Easy hitchin at the speed bump!"
I said thanks to couple and got a ride out of Valley..first try...."easy hitchin." I saw the green house.
After a total of 9 rides, $1 dollars spent on a 4 mile ride on the James Bus, I made it to the JV house of front street. Only 6 and half hours after leaving the prison, I breathed in the fresh sea air and thanked the breeze on my face. I happyily greeted by everyone, as was happy I came. I was humbled by the people I met, and thankful to be safe and sound down in PG, where I can be unmasked a little more. Many of the people I talked to on my trip down, would tell me and elude to a fear they had of the city once they knew I live there. They all mentioned their sorrow for the killing of the eight year old girl that took place last saturday night, the weekend of Carnival. I told them each that I live a block away from that little girl and the 8 gun shots that were sprayed upon the wooden house, one of which caught her in her sleep, woke most of my house up at 4 in the morning. The shooters were after her brother, who's in a rival gang. This caused much uproar in the community, and many, if not all of the elementry schools marched down the boulevard to the cemertary for the funeral. I remember when I told this news the day after to my boys in class, I felt sorrow from each of them. That same night the girl was killed, a boy that they all new from prison, was shot and killed. Pat says all the kids are good kids, but he said that kid was a really good kid. I think that sorrow led me to this adventure down to PG, but I must say I miss my community back in Belize City, my friends and I miss Belize City. I can't wait to go back.
I  must also say I'm excited to be down in PG at the moment. It's great to be down here, and at an exciting time, as this tuesday is the 29th anniv. of Independence day. It's quite interesting to celebrate such an event in a society where many of the it's population remembers the Independence Day.

Well until next time.....Infinite love to you all,

subtle glimpses shown
emotion's of mayan's
ruins visited

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I have been in Belize nearly one month. Where does the time go? SERIOUSLY, where does it go? I mean does time even exist? I'll stop now, before this post turns into a philosophic/quantum rant.
I work at the one and only prison in Belize. Currently I'm a teaching at WYF (Wagner's Youth Facility), a.k.a. boot camp. It's defiantly not a "normal" teaching gig. Rather, more poignantly, it's absolutely not a normal teaching gig. I actually have trouble calling it a teaching gig. Why do I keep saying teaching gig? (again!? blast!). I teach math, but I say teach very loosely, since some days I more or less just hangout.
Kolbe, the prison, is a very fascinating place. I've only been there a week and I can already see that every day presents a new unexpected roadblock to trying to follow any plan that may or may not ever existed. Maybe a guard won't come to work....class cancelled....maybe an inmate escaped last night, entire jail is now locked down and the two adult inmate teachers, Charles(life skills) and Sergio(trade) that help Pat and I at school can literally not come. So the schedule that Pat and I made is trashed and now instead of 3 classes for one period, pat teaches English, in the life skills class, and I teach math, while the third class is now with level 1, which does not attend school, doing drills. Just another day. Tomorrow I'm suppose to teach 3 classes, but perhaps there will be a repeat of Friday and Sambula, the head guard at WYF, awesome guy, will come into our office, "Hey Dudes," he likes to joke at us white boys by calling us dudes, "all the boys are high, we can't have class!" "Ok, Sambula, we'll stay until after lunch." Days like these, instead of waiting for the 25-30 minute bus ride, back to the city, Pat and I leave the front gates, and head down the mile and half stretch of highway back to the Western Highway, waving down any and every vehicle going our way to try to catch a ride. Sometimes we walk the mile and half, and then try to hitch back to the city from the highway until a bus comes and we hail it to stop. And sometimes we get lucky and get rides, mostly in backs of pick-up trucks.

That's a pretty typical day. And thus far....I f-ing love it! I'm so happy about my placement. When the plan melts away, it opens up opportunities to just be with the boys, which is why I'm here. At least at the momemnt that's why I think I'm here.

For today, converse with  someone you wouldn't normally converse with,

books I'm reading
Gracias!-Henri Nouwen
Pedagogy of the Oppressed- Paulo Freire
Autobiography of a Yogi- Paramahansa Yogananda
The Perks of Being a Wallflower- Stephen Chbosky

movies recently watched:
Almost Famous (I'm will be on a 60s-70s music kick for the next month)

looking close
but so far away
cross culture

check out Jeremy's new blog post Photographic Goodness, which can be accessed on the right collum of my blog. It has some pictures of my house!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

blogging is hard

How una da du?! (how you all doing?!) Yes, I'm slowly learning some Belizean creole, and yes I'm slowly learning how hilarious I sound trying to do it. I've witnessed it received many different ways in Belize City. Some are: amazed, confused, curious, intrigued, excited. I know I can absolutely survive without attempting to speak any creole, but I myself am amazed, confused, curious, intrigued, and excited about creole. I feel if I at least make an attempt, I'll be able to connect with others on a deeper level, especially with the youth at the prison that I will be working. With any new language, it's difficult at first, I can barely understand what anyone is saying.  But ya know it's all about humility anyway, no true? Luckily one of my community mates, Brian Peck--a second year volunteer from Warren, Michigan--speaks some creole and taught me a little. But the best way is to just sit and listen to belizeans talking to each other. Everyday, I learn and understand more and I'm slowly getting used to the accent. I mean it's based in english, it could be harder.

Let me just say that this whole blogging business is hard. There is just so much to write about: what I've done, what I've seen, what I've heard, what I've learned, what I've ate, what I've thought, what I've blah blah's endless. Another thing is that it's hard to find a balance to how I want to convey my experience. On one end I don't want to romanticize Belize and it's people and on the other I don't want to exploit them. Being mindful of that will certainly be a challenge, as well as the fact that I'm not going to be able to share every shaping aspect of my experience. That being said, I am open to suggestions, throughout my shaky blog experiment, to what sort of things you as the reader would like me to shed light on (But let's first see how the first few blogs go, if at all).

I guess I'll try to fill in a tiny bit of the gap I've created since my first entry.
I last left off as I was leaving NY for Boston College for a two week orientation (also known as the Big-0, which is phase I of orientation--I'm now currently in phase II, in-country orientation).

So the BIG O.Yes, I know,  euphemism sounding for sure.

I finally arrived! I crossed the f-ing country to get there. I was so excited, but at the same time emotionally exhausted. What do you expect?, I had spent the previous 4 months saying good-bye. All 33 JV's of the 2010 class were there. Whooho! Early departures to Belize and Micronesia and late departures to Chile, Peru, Nicaragua, and Tanzania. As well as 16 Rostro de Christo volunteers going to Ecuador.  49 of us in total. I'm still amazed at how a group of strangers and form such strong bonds in a couple weeks. They are all in my thoughts and prayers and I truly feel connected to them and look forward to keeping in touch. They're a wealth of support as I begin my experience in Belize.

I don't know where to go from here because I'm not a fan of chronological explanation, so I'm just going to write about how I feel right now, probably a bit scattered/stream of conscience, but thus is my sorry.


I'm in Punta Gorda (PG), with the greater JVC Belize Community for the finale of phase-II orientation, on the parish computer, the parish being St. Peter's, which is also a school, which is probably one the largest in Belize, around 900 students from infant-one to standard-four (first to sixth grade, schools are based on a British education system). One of our volunteers, Jeremy (whose blog can be accessed in my blog list. and is much more concise that I), works in the school library teaching reading.

I have f-ing fire ant bites on my left foot. And they hurt! Just as I was sitting down to blog, John, who works here came in and introduced himself to me and said "where do these supplies go" He had Father Jeff's (the JV ICC, In-country Coordinator and head of the Jesuits in Belize) truck from Belize City(which I may sometimes refer to as the city) packed full of all sorts of great stuff. John literally just pulled up from the city. I open the the back pulled the tarp, and like 15 machetes spilled out. Which got me really excited and also think to my self, "Self, all this food and tools would be very handy in a zomby apocalypse." So I day-dreamed as we moved the tools (weapons), books, beans, beef broth, and futbols (This is the last time I will write soccer on this blog) into the parish shed. When there was nothing else to move, my day-dream continued, only until I felt a hot pain igniting my left foot. Fire Ants!

Last night we had a spirituality night, which I and the other 1st years lead. It was a sort of examination of conscience/meditation with the theme of transition, as each first year and second year are in a transition into this new year of volunteering. As I looked back throughout these last 4 weeks of orientation is said to myself, "Self I have so many amazing memories and feelings to look back on these last four weeks. As major feeling was the feeling of numbness. Perhaps because I'm in  this new country filled with an amazing bouquet of diverse culture and I'm living in community with 6 complete strangers. Really, who are this people!?  I mean it is what it is. Community is hard no matter who the others are. You really have to learn to sacrifice and forgive when you live in community (I'm sure this subject will come up in a latter blog, so I'll move on).

The preview I have received since I arrived in country (A day later than planed, Thanks American Airlines :)) has really excited me for this upcoming year, let alone these next two years.(Which I recently realized is a long time). I also feel very grateful and a lot of awe. Last night when I thought of these feelings I thought about my trip coming down to meet up with the PG house. We had to be down here Saturday night, as on Sunday we were going to Baranco, a Garifuna village (an afro/ameroindian people), for mass and a tour of the village and temple. We, the Belize city house, were also invited to the wake and funeral of  the mother of one of the women, Miss B, that works at the St. Martin Parish in the city(which is right behind our house). The ceremonies were taking place at Gales Point, which is sort of on the way to PG. By map is looks right on the way, but by road not so much. If you google map gale's point, you will find that it is a thin peninsula, 50 yards at its widest and 20 at in thinest, surrounded by lagoon, which is filled with manatees and crocks. The village miss B is from inhabits this thin peninsula. The peninsula itself, is split by the one road in town, which is literally the only road capable of being built on this thin piece of land. It's crazy that people call it home, I'm so jealous. It's a creole village, and bwai the creole they speak is the real stuff. The wake was Friday night, so 5 of us took a bus along the western highway that goes towards Belmopan (the capital), and then got off at the road that goes towards gales point, a dirt road know as the coastal highway, to hitchhike the rest of the way, and two of us, I included, waited for one of the 3 buses that left at 5 (but didn't leave until 545) which the family paid for. I'm very happy Jess and I took the bus, one because the other group waited almost 4 hours for a ride and two it was a lot of fun. We got a ride out of town (which is what Belizeans call downtown, confusing, I know) to our bus from our neighbor Lennox. We waited a bit, the crowd increased in dozens by the minute. By the time the 3 buses arrive there were around 300 people waiting to go down to the wake. One thing Jess forgot to tell me about buses in Belize is that when your bus pulls up YOU RUN! By the time I cognitively understood there was a race to win I saw Jess already on the bus, and miss B stopping the crowd from entering the bus yelling "This one's for family only! JON GET ON!"  The ride down was an exciting, crammed, whirl wind of sensory overload. The only thing I was certain of was that this wake was going to be one hell of a celebration for Miss B's Mom. The wake started at 9 and went until sunrise. It was filled with singing, libations, drumming, dancing, eating, and more singing. When the drumming began I had to remind myself that I was in a Caribbean nation and not back in Ghana. The rhythms were creole and from gales point, but  obviously rooted from west africa.  I couldn't believe my eyes then, and now I feel immensely honored to have been able to witness and partake in such an event.

Needless to say I didn't sleep much that night, but I did manage to find some rest out on a dock, lying under a sea of stars, where my community mate Alana came looking for me as I didn't return from my night's swim.
Thankfully, during Saturday's afternoon, after our privileged witness of the funeral, the 7 of us got a hitch down to Dangriga in Kareem's pick-up, a little less then an hour away. Flying down the rocky road, crammed with 5 other bodies and their luggage in the back of the pick-up, I felt only right to pull out my harmonica and harp my feelings' melody.  We arrived at the Dangriga bus station to catch our bus down to PG. As we hauled pass a brief vista of Victoria Peak, the countries highest point, I was in the midst of telling Brian a climbing story when both my arms and stomach began to swell out to hive status and itch like the fire ant bites on my left foot. "I don't think this is good," I said, and Jess our chosen go-to community nurse agreed, so I took some benadryl. The sleepy side effects of the drugs mixed with my lack of sleep caused an induction of off and on consciousness making a frequent stopping bus ride very confusing as everything I looked over there was a different person sitting next to me. As the bus made it's final stop my brain was out of my head as I stepped off the bus into PG and walked to the house. I was greeted by the PG community, ate some chili and then slept in till midmorning. When I woke my brain was back. I was in PG and I have been enjoying my time here ever since. I'm going back up to the city on Thursday, taking Father Jeff's truck, as on Friday I have my first meeting at the Prison. It's pretty nice that I already knowing my boss, as Pat, another community mate, is the principle of the youth school. My first day of work is Monday. And this Saturday our house is having a giant bbq, inviting much of the local community to come meet Christin and I, the new JVs in the city.
That's all you're getting for now, (way more than you probably wanted) until next time.


squished in pick-up back 
with curious mayan family 
few words shared but smiles

days go by
new smiles are now gone
more to meet

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Next Chapter

In the last four and a half months I have traveled an estimated 5314 miles by foot, car, train, and bus, (not including one way flights from San Jose to Portland--thanks Chrissandra!-- Portland to Denver and Detroit to NYC) crossed all four continental time-zones, met and made friends everywhere I went, ate incredibly well most days and had the time of my life. From the coasts of California and Oregon all the way to the coast of New York I have seen much of this country. But how can I begin to sketch such an odyssey for you. How can I describe to you what the sun looked like as it set off the coast of Big Sur, California, on a warm april night or how I felt as I watched it silently as I sat next to a friend I hadn't seen in a long time? Or what it was like to experience a Lakota sweat lodge, praying, sweating, chanting, scared, alone, feeling my skin's pain as it began to bake in the immense heat of the lodge? I could easily write a post on each of these experiences, describing them in more detail, but these were experiences that had to be felt to be truly understood.

I think both experiences pale in comparison to this next experience I present to you in question form. How can I tell you how humbled and amazed I am that in every single city I visited, there was always a friend, a family, or a kind heart to welcome me to stay in their home, not as a guest, but rather as family. My name is now Jonathan James Lawerence Schindler Redmond Hill Weaver Smallwood Corbetta Trucco Lloyd Otten Kunz Koenen Bablonka Steacy Steinle Hayner Kessler Landolfe and a whole cast of names I don't know nor remember. Yea, I haven't paid rent in a real long time.

Despite this incredible love and beauty I have witnessed this year, my heart grows heavy. Not because my travels end, but rather because in a way they are about to begin and I have to say goodbye to this long-chained family I am apart of. It's the end of one era and the beginning of a new. Tomorrow I leave NYC for Boston for a two week orientation with Jesuit Volunteer Corp. International, only before I depart for Belize City, Belize Aug. 1st for two years, where I'll be teaching at the Belize Central Prison.

As I said earlier, my experience is my own and as for anyone it is hard to truly understand someones experience without being there to feel the feelings involved. So this blog is going to be my attempt to try to share those feelings with you as they happen, to both update you and involve you in my experience. And since I won't have access to internet daily, don't expect there to be a pattern to the consistency of my entries. Typical me anyway. Would you want it any other way?

I am quite ecstatic to walk through the threshold of my awaiting two year journey tomorrow.
And as we all do, I walk into the unknown,


I laugh at today
not alone