Forgive me blog for it has been a year and a half since my last blog entry.
But for real, WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?!
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,