. Disclaimer: Views presented in this blog are those of Roger German. They do not represent the views or opinions of the U.S. Peace Corps or the Government of the United States.
Maybe these are just snapshots. I'm not sure how else to begin to cover this last weekend.
I have had the privilege of living with two different families here in Belize, both of whom took me in and treated me like family. This weekend I spent time with both, the Tzibs in San Antonio, where I first had training, and the Hernandez in Benque, where I learned about the town I would live in for two years.
This is the Tzib home in San Antonio, before Severo and Cefas built Cefas's home just to the right of the existing house.
I know I should have been blogging about some of this earlier on, but the well was dry. I was really busy here, and other excuses, but the truth is, I think I have settled in here so well it seems odd to discuss "family" matters here. My sister at the Tzib house is pregnant, and has not had an easy time. Her sister-in-law just had a baby, about a month premature. They are doing well, but it was touch and go for a while. Cefas, my brother at the Tzib house called to tell me I was a grandpa, so I guess the gray hair tipped the scale on up past brother.
I apologize for the size, I just don't know how to make these pictures smaller, so bear with me. Anyhow, Shama came in a little over 5 pounds, and the doctors had to do a Cesarean. This is me and the proud real grandpa in his living room...
Just out the door behind Severo, you can see the house he and Cefas just built for Cefas and his wife Maleny, about 24' x 30'. Right now there's a stove in it, a table and some chairs and a curtain to divide off the bed from the rest of the house. There's a hammock slung in it too, hung from some of the exposed ceiling joists, where Severo sleeps, as he gave up his bed to Cefas and Maleny until she heals some from the surgery.
This is Febe, she's due in December. I have to admit, she's my favorite. She has a light heart and a ready laugh, and any time I try my Spanish is usually reason for merriment. About a month ago, the doctor thought she was going to die, and said she had to choose between her own life and that of her baby. When she told me the story, she could not believe the doctor would even think to ask; the baby should live of course. She woke up about 3 a.m. with terrible pain in all of her joints and pain in her abdomen. She told her mom, who woke Severo, who woke a nephew who had a vehicle to take her into San Ignacio. It's only about 8 miles, but about a 40 minute ride. It's that rough.
When they got to the hospital, there was no doctor, so they drove to the clinic. Again, no doctor. All the while, the pain. Her joints were swelling, she couldn't even touch them. Couldn't walk. Finally at 8:00 they gave her an injection to ease the pain, and sent her home. Hadn't a clue what was going on. The pain eased, but built again, and two days later she was back in the hospital, which is when the doctor said if they didn't take the baby, she would probably die. Not that they really knew what was wrong, but she chose to live with the pain. For about 8 days. Then it went away. The baby seems to be fine, as does she, and not only that, an ovarian cyst about the size of an orange that had been attached to her ovary was no longer there.
You can see why she's my favorite. And she laughs just like her father, who is also gifted with a light heart that belies his Maya soul. So I spent Saturday and that night with the Tzibs, caught up on what was going on, and had dinner that evening with the rest of my San Antonio "class", the new volunteers there, and all the families. Quite a group. I took a bucket bath at Severo's before I grabbed the guitar and joined the crowd.
While I was at the Tzibs, the Hernandez family was moving into their new home out on the Arenal Road near, a couple of blocks from where I live on Humble Street. When I got there for the usual Sunday bar-b-que at the house in town, most of the moving was finished, but there were a few odds and ends, as there always are.
So I dined rather well before we even headed over to the new house, and tossed back a few Coronas to wash down the chicken and lamb from the grill. Then we loaded some boxes and ourselves into his Silverado and headed over to unload.
Imer's new house. The moving van brought in the furniture Imer and his wife Sharon just bought in Dallas. Pretty nice stuff. All of the heavy lifting had already been done, so I lucked out there...just a reminder; this is NOT the house I lived in when first I arrived in Benque. Just a reminder. Just so you don't forget I am in Peace Corps. And MY shower has no hot. But I do have a shower, true.
Imer at the top of his starway. He designed the house, all of it. It took him 5 1/2 years to build it, paying as he built. And he is a stickler for detail. "It's my dream, Rogers," he said. (For some reason I am always plural.) He has wanted to build it for 20 years while he was building his road contracting business. But business first.
The floors and bathrooms are all marble and tile. The chandelier for the foyer here has not arrived from Italy yet, but it's coming.
Imer's wife Sharon spent the afternoon directing traffic as people helped move stuff into the house. I don't spoze they will be unpacked and settled for some time. This is a shot from the kitchen across the dining room to the hallway off the entrance. Through the arch behind Sharon is the door to the double garage, also tiled. Under the entire garage is a cistern 8 feet deep that the roof drains into. Which should keep the Hernandez' in water if the local water dries up, as it does from time to time. He also has a humongous generator that will provide back-up power when the power fails, as it often does. The house, including the spiral stair is all block and concrete; the roof rafters steel, as is the sheeting. "Termites, Rogers," he told me. Wood just doesn't last.
So, how do I wrap this up.
Hard to say. There are a lot of cultures in Belize, but there are two distinct classes. I have had the rare opportunity to mingle with both, and I find these to be good families with good hearts. And possibly a third class where I work, which would be the class of politicians and Development Agencies, who live in a world of smoke and mirrors.
It raises too many questions without answers for me to even begin to get my head around this journey yet. Perhaps in time, but right now it's a little bit overwhelming.