Friday, June 3, 2011


Do I really trust and believe…

Healer (Hillsongs):
You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease

I trust in You
I trust in You

I believe You're my Healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You're my Portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus You're all I need

Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands

One day while I was taking a bucket bath, I noticed the earrings that I wear everyday were on the floor. I felt my earlobe and realized I wasn’t imagining it. I started to panic.
I’ve had these earrings for so many years and my parents had given them to me. I thought I had lost one of the parts as I was picking them off the floor. To my surprise all the pieces were there. I was relieved.

That situation got me thinking about my life at this point. Am I still in that place where I’m having trust issues with God? It’s a constant struggle. Why do I panic every time He takes something from me? I shouldn’t be so shaken when life doesn’t go the way I expected. I feel I should be a more solid Christian but I’m constantly reminded of how weak I am. It’s frustrating.

This past month I’ve been trying to organize our preschool’s first graduation. Even though I’m really excited, I feel a lot of pressure. I’m getting lots of help from the mothers’ of my graduates, the chairman’s wife, and the principal & vice principal from the primary school. I’ve definitely been encouraged by their support. However, one thing that makes me nervous are the graduates themselves. They have a lot of energy and keeping their attention is difficult. I’m hoping they behave during the ceremony. Don’t get me wrong, they are cute children who have wonderful, unique personalities. I’m hoping everyone will be blinded by their cuteness and not see the mistakes that happen. Let’s be real. This will be my first time organizing a graduation, there are going to be mistakes. I just hope I don’t look like a fool.

After the graduation, the teacher (Ms. Erminda) and I will be redoing our classroom layout and our style of teaching. She’s currently at a preschool training that will help us in this process.

These are some of the items we need to create the ultimate classroom:
Preschool Wish-list
1.Cubby holes for children’s storage
2.Fire extinguisher
3.Plastic plugs to cover outlets
4.Learning Centers
a.Language Learning Area
i. Manipulative Activities
ii. Flannel Board & Felt Pieces
iii. Matching & Opposite Concept Games
iv. Shapes, Numbers, and Color games
v. Alphabet Letters
vi. Picture Cards
vii. Writing Materials
viii. Feelie Bag
ix. Puppets
b. Dramatic Play/Housekeeping Learning Area
i. Child Size Furniture
1. Thatch House
2. Tables
3. chairs
ii. Dolls
iii. Household Items
iv. Hats, Scarves, Jewelry, etc.
v. Boxes
vi. Dress-up Clothes
vii. Doll Furniture
viii. Telephone
ix. Mirror
x. Blankets/Pillows
xi. Puppet Stage
c. Quiet Library Learning Area
i. Picture Books
ii. Counting Books
iii. Tape Player & Story Tapes
iv. Story Books
v. Alphabet Books
d. Music Learning Area
i. Sand shakers
ii. Song tapes
iii. Tape Player
iv. Rhythm Instruments
e. Creative Art Learning Area
i. Paint brushes
ii. Markers
iii. Blunt Scissors
iv. Pattern making objects
v. Paint
vi. Easels
vii. Paste
viii. Sponges
ix. Play Dough
x. Aprons
xi. Colored Paper
xii. Paper bags
xiii. Containers/old magazines/newsprint (Parental donation)
f. Block Learning Area
i. Blocks
ii. Blankets
iii. Funnels
iv. Wood
v. Balls
vi. Toys
vii. Crates/Boxes
viii. Plastic Tubing
ix. Cars/Trucks
g. Sand and Water Learning Areas
i. Tray/Bins/Buckets
ii. Plastic Toys
iii. Shovel/Spades/Spoons
iv. Soap & Bubble Blowers
v. Blocks
vi. Bottles/Cups
vii. Funnels
viii. Containers/Pailsof all sizes
ix. Cars/Trucks
x. Sponges
xi. Plastic Animals
xii. Sink & Float Items
h. Science/Discovery Learning Area
i. Small Machines/Phones
ii. Sifters, Funnels, Beakers
iii. Flashlights
iv. Rocks
v. Nature Items
vi. Measuring Items
vii. Magnets
viii. Shells
ix. Plants
x. Magnifying Glasses
i. Pre-Math Learning Area
i. Lacing
ii. Matching Games
iii. Color Counters
iv. Pegs & Peg Board
v. Concept Activities- Big/Small, Over/Under, Top/Bottom
vi. Bingo Games
vii. Stacking Toys
viii. Number Counters
ix. Pattern Blocks
5. Ramp and Walkways
6. Teachers Stipend
7. Classroom Wall Design: National Symbols and Cartoon Characters on the wall & Bulletin Board to hang materials
8. Playground (outside activities)
a. Swings
b. Seesaws

We had an activate librarian who ended up discontinuing her service in February. This was very disappointing for me because it was another person in the village who has decided to call it quits. The children in the village love the library and I couldn’t close it. So, I kept it open and took on the responsibility. I feel that many people in the village can quit and know that I will take on the responsibility. It sucks but I left my home---not to be a failure but to make a difference. Sometimes I will put my foot down and let certain projects go. For instance, when I didn’t have a preschool teacher November and December---I closed the school down until someone took responsibility. That’s when I met our current teacher---who’s awesome. However, there are times when I will take on projects on my own knowing I can handle it. The library has been that project. What’s been a blessing is the children would help me organize the books and clean-up the building. It was real nice but I still had stressful moments. I didn’t know how I was going to continue the library.

Then today (Thursday, 2 June) one of the mother’s in my preschool volunteered to take charge and the ex-librarian said she would like to come back. Now there are two adults going to take charge of the library. It’s amazing how God changes situations. I hope these women can work together and keep this library open long after I’m gone. I’m tired of all the quitting that’s gone on this past year.

Dry season usually begins around February and ends in June. In my village, the water slowly stops flowing by the end of March. For the month of April and May we have had no water in the village. People in the village usually drive to the river (which is about 2 miles away) to bath, do laundry, and wash dishes. I have about three large tanks that connect to the Development Center (where I work). It’s been convenient because they are filled with rain water. So, I would use this water to bath and wash dishes. Then on the weekend I would go to the river with my host family and do laundry and bath while I’m there (talk about privacy being violated---I definitely have NOT gotten accustomed to trying to change while 50 other people are washing and bathing). It’s become a routine.

Recently, my tanks got empty. They were empty for two weeks and I had to start pumping at the well. That was so hard. People in my village do it everyday and I only had to do it once. It sucked. It’s been getting hotter and that’s not fun when you’re pumping water. I usually look like a wreck in the village but this made it worse. Waterfall of sweat was dripping of my face as my hair got all frizzy from the humidity. Believe me it wasn’t pretty and the pump is in the center of the village. Talk about being humbled.

Anyways, I was really valuing every bit of water I had. As the village continued to get drier, I kept hearing it was raining like crazy at home (Michigan). It made me annoyed at some points because in Michigan I’ve never saved rain water to use for bathing, washing dishes, etc. Armenia needs rain real bad!! Fortunately, rainy season has started and soon we will have water in our pipes.

Just remember when you’re at home running your faucets for whatever reason---please say a pray for these villages that struggle to get water and have to work hard to get water that lasts only a few hours before they have to go out and pump again.

FYI------Here’s what happened the last few months

One Year Anniversary (Can’t believe it!) March 25:

For our one year anniversary arriving to Belize, we went to Tobacco Key. It’s a small island, which you can get off of Dangriga (coastal town). I had a nice relaxing time. About ten of us showed up and that was perfect. We went snorkeling for free and the water was clear blue. It was breathtaking. We saw starfish, sting rays, and sea turtles. I’m glad I went it was a great way to celebrate.

Easter Holiday

The weekend before Easter, I went to Guatemala with another volunteer named Allison. We spent most of our time in Flores, which had cobblestone roads that were narrow and tall colorful buildings. We met up with other volunteers from our group on a week long Spanish intensive training. We went out dancing---which by the way love reggae-ton music. The following day we went to see the Maya temple called Tikal, which was amazing. On this trip and every trip outside of Belize, we made sure we ate pizza. They had a really nice Pizza Hut; it was fancy---we had waitresses. Then we swam in a pool at a really nice hotel. We were actually staying in a hostel but with the purchase of food we could swim at any hotel. It was sweet. Then we were on our way back to Belize and back to reality…

Easter weekend, it was filled with cooking bbq and swimming at the river. It was really fun. I went with my host family on Friday and another family on Sunday after church. Originally I wanted to be in Guatemala for all the Easter celebration but I’m happy that I stayed. I got good quality time with 2 wonderful families.

Alright, I’ll send out another update in a couple of months. Please let me know what’s going on with all of you.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

To Know You (Casting Crowns)

A couple of weeks ago (Tues,Jan4-Sat, Jan8) I was really stressed. I had a wonderful time being at home for Christmas and New Years was nice as well. I was able to help with my host sister's Quince (15th birthday) and really relax. But the week before preschool started I began to get overwhelmed. I had to prepare for preschool and still had no teacher, chess club was starting and wondering if anyone would show up, and I was starting to teach Adult ESL with no experience.

What got me through that week was this song...

To Know You by Casting Crowns

To know you is never worry for my life
To know you is to never to give in or compromise
To know you is to want to tell the world about you
Cause I can’t live without you

To know you is to hear your voice when you are calling
To know you is to catch my brother when he is falling
To know you is to feel the pain of the broken hearted
Cause they can’t live without you

More than my next breath
More than life or death
All I’m reaching for, I live my life to know you more
I leave it all behind, you’re all that satisfies
To know you is to want to know you more

To know you is to ache for more than ordinary
To know you is to look beyond the temporary
To know you is believing that you will be enough
Cause there is no life without you

All this life could offer me, could not compare to you
Compare to you
And I count it all as lost, compared to knowing you
Knowing you

I'm so glad God continues to remind me that He is there and watching over me. I always question Him---Does He really know me? Why does He put me in this place? Why does life get this way? Am I ever going to make it through?

When life gets dark and hopeless---which I've experienced so many times. I continue to look at Him and light eventually comes...whether it's what I hoped for or something totally different.

Anyways that first week went really well...

Preschool---a woman who was previously helping recommended her niece who just move into the village. Her niece is a licensed teacher and has been doing well with the kids. She has awesome ideas with decorating the classroom, comes early and stays late to lesson plan, is patience with the kids, and overall knows how to handle the class. I pray she stays. We now have 18 children and about 15 come everyday. Last year only 8 children came to class. I pray this continues. Also, my preschool application is complete and I'm going to be making an appointment this week with the Ministry of Ed. I hope things go smoothly. BTW--my host sister Cesi is coming to class and she is too cute. Even though she cant down---she loves playing with the kids and has gotten closer to me. She brightens my day.

Chess---the teacher (one of my preschool student's dad) is really great at teaching the game and about 11 children come. I'm really happy with how that is working out. Plus, I'm relearning how to play chess---I'm learning to appreciate the game more.

ESL---it's hard preparing for the class because you want to be an excellent teacher and I really want the students to learn. It's alot of pressure I place on myself. However the adults that attend the class are very motivated and eager to learn---it's really precious and makes this so rewarding. I just pray that I improve in teaching and really reach out to these adults.


I know it's been awhile since I've written but there have been lots of blessings these past few months. Besides what's written above...

1) Housing-My house finally is finished and you can see pictures on facebook. I love it! I feel comfortable there and am so proud of it. God really showed me His faithfulness. Men in the village helped built it and the chairman's wife helped decorate it. It's cute.

2)Mom& Dad visit- Really happy they got to meet everyone here. The trip helped eased their fears and reminded them of India. We saw the Maya temple (Xunantinch), saw both of my host families, met two Malayalee families, and had a great time together. Plus, they brought me yummy treats and other goodies (thanks Joslin and Joshmy). Overall, it was comforting for me to have them see this part of my life. Now when we talk they know what I'm talking about and who I'm talking about.

3)Thanksgiving- Went to Southern Belize called Punta Gorda and had Thanksgiving dinner with the volunteers there. It was really special and even though it wasnt home---it was wonderful. I felt closeness with all of them and genuine care. PLUS, this was the day Joslin called saying friends from home were buying my ticket home. It was an awesome day and totally icing on the cake.

4)Christmas- LOVED IT!! I'm so happy I got to see most of my friends and family.It was great, even though it went fast and was intense. I ate great food (cutlet, puffs, pizza--Jets:thanks Joslin, burgers, sweets---redvelvet cake:thanks to josh)---mom's awesome cooking, chachi/Lori awesome sugar cookies,etc. The trip overall reminded me of how blessed I am. I have people who love me and I love them:)

Alright that's it for now...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What's been happening these past few months...

Okay, so I was doing well at first with this blog. Then, I went back to my old habits. Sorry about that.

Anyways, now that the school year has started the village has been very active. We have a new principal at the school and he's been getting the community involved with all their activities. This is really great. The children get to shine and the parents are impressed that they get involved.

In September, Belize celebrated 29 years of independence. There were parades, dances, and games going on all over. I was able to see two parades in Belmopan; the christian parade and the city parade. They were both colorful and entertaining. Afterwards, I was able to celebrate with my village. They had fun games for the children like potato sac races, running with the egg in the spoon,etc. They even had a game for the adults. The men climbed a greased wooden pole to get the prize on top. It was hilarious. Everyone was together celebrating. They even had dance parties too. It was fun dancing with them. They do know how to have fun.

My host family took me out to the blue hole. It's about 2 miles from the village and is clear water. It's basically a small pool of water that is shallow (crystal clear water) in the beginning and has a drop. They area where the drop is a beautiful dark blue color.

I've also seen other parts of the country; Belize City and Orange Walk Town.

Belize City is more populated and the area seems much smaller (compared to Belmopan);roads are more narrow, lot more cars, and bikers.

Orange Walk Town I feel is a combination of both Belize City and Belmopan. It's a nice town that has cute shops. I ate awesome ice cream at a place called "Ice Break." It's the best I've tasted so far. I went there twice in one day...yum!

Lots has been going on...

Unfortunately, a little boy from my preschool died. He was anemic and turned 3yrs old while in the hospital. Its a sad story and everyone in the village was in shock.

Circumstances like this one, continue to remind me that life is precious and to value the people in my life.

So, I'll do my best in posting blogs.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Yay God Moments

When I lived in Ann Arbor(MI), I attended an awesome church on campus (Harvest Mission Community Church). During my time there, we had opportunities to share "Yay God Moments." These moments are blessings from God that we want to share with others. I've been experiencing a lot of "Yay God Moments" this past month.

-4th of July weekend-
Succotz: I finally went back and visited my first host family! It was like coming home again. I feel very comfortable with them and so welcomed. I also went to each of the other host families homes (those who housed my fellow teammates). They were very happy to see me and I ate lots of yummy food.

Sarita & Steven: I meant this wonderful couple through a PC alumni. They opened their home to me and treated me like family...I'm sure you're noticing this theme throughout Belize. They made me delicious home-made pizza, Sarita gave me a pedicure, and very fun to be around. We went to church together, sang songs familiar to home---which was nice, and made me a very tasty Belizean lunch (the best rice n' beans & chicken I've had yet). I'm grateful to God for this new relationship.

I knew this year would be tough being away from home and so I was prepared for a low key birthday. It was real nice getting phone calls from my mom, dad, brother, and my best friend joslin. They each called me at my host families house. It was really touching.

Afterward, I made cake (homemade yellow cake with strawberry frosting---yummmy) with my host sisters...which is always a treat. I enjoy making food with them. They get really excited and are funny to be around. It makes me happy doing something they enjoy.

We had cake and chow mein for lunch, which was very special to me. So, I was really happy for that.

BUT the big surprise was when my host mom brought women from my cooking class and surprised me at the meeting I had to attend that day. They came when it was over and brought chips/dip(home-made), cake, and drinks (horchata--rice water). It was wonderful and I even cried...I know...not a big surprise. I felt so loved. This is yet another example of how loving and selfless these people are...Yay God:)

Other "Yay God Moments"---

1) Heard "Mighty to Save" in Spanish on the radio 7/19
2) One of the women in my cooking class came to my "potential house" and helped me clean the stove. This stove was pretty filthy but now it looks brand-new.

On a side note--- here are some interesting observations/experiences i've had here in Belize and forget to mention:

-Unripe fruits (mango) eaten with hot pepper/salt
-Halls is consumed as a candy here
-Specialty meal: BBQ, rice n’ beans, and coleslaw
-Stray dogs are everywhere-most of them don’t bother people
-Coke tastes so much better here---I crave it more here than I ever did in America
-Saw three Iguanas in a tree while living in Succotz---they were huge/green/ugly but pretty neat
-Buses here are like the yellow school buses we rode to school and feel like saunas--when its raining and they close the windows
-Pipes dont always have water---and when there is no water---you pray for rain!
-People hiss like snakes to get your attention
-Saw a big black, hairy tarantula in the community house in my village
-A scorpion was climbing up my wall at my host family's house---that's when they decided to give me a mosquito net---hmmm...I'm not sure that's going to help:)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Inconveniences---Teaching me a Lesson

For the past few weeks I've been trying to get familiar with my village. During this time, I've realized one of my struggles here in Belize is inconvenience. Right now, I'm searching for a place to stay and can't find a home with both water/electricity...inconvenience. This has nothing to do with the people of Belize, who are warm and welcoming, it's just circumstances that make me uncomfortable. At these moments, I'm always wondering...what is God trying to teach me and what needs to change in me. But believe's easier said than done.

I know there is alot that needs to change in me but it's hard discovering the root of the problem and then picking it out. Its also hard going through struggles without family and my dear friends who know me so well nearby.

So, these past few weeks I've been trying to recite common verses just to keep me focused and with a good attitude. "All things work together for good..., My God shall supply all my needs..., I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me..."

Even though I'm still looking for a home, going to miss my dear friend Anju's wedding, getting darker everyday, and getting more scars from scratching my mosquito bites...I remind myself of all the blessing---I'm in a beautiful country with BEAUTIFUL people....they are simply amazing. They definitely work hard in trying to make me feel comfortable with village life. They are truly selfless people.

Last year at a retreat I attended organized by Harvest Mission(Ann Arbor---miss you and love you guys---IMPACT rocks), I was challenged by the message on what it means to truly follow Christ. One of the verses used was...Foxes have wholes, birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to rest His head...

It continues to remind me that Jesus sacrificed alot and challenges me to think how much am I willing to sacrifice...

The Pastor used other verses but I dont have them on me right now...but it was a real slap in the face. I've lived my life selfishly and the "inconveniences" i've experienced (and continue to experience...) remind me that my attitude needs to change, I am blessed, and these inconveniences are used to draw me close to the Lord...and rely/trust Him.

So for those of you reading...dont worry---I'm going to be okay---even if I feel uncomfortable, anxious, and fearful at times. I'm reminded that God is all-powerful and good ALL the time.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It's Official!!

On May 28 I officially became a Peace Corps Volunteer. We had a typical ceremony that was held at the Governor General's house. After wards, we had a futbol game between the newbies and the older volunteers. Then in the evening we had a wonderful dinner at the US Ambassador's place (whose actually Indian:). There was tasty Indian food and good music.

Now I'm serving in a new village. I will be in this village for 2years. The people are really nice and very welcoming. They had lots of volunteers come through, so they know the drill. The language in the village is Spanish, there's a beautiful river nearby, its very hilly, and full of vegetation. Its common to have mango, lime, coconut, spinach, and papaya plants growing in their backyard. At night I see lots of frogs hopping around and there are fireflies..

The people of the village are active as well. There are cooking, painting, computer, and yoga classes. They are really excited and motivated for new ideas. Its a privilege to be apart of this village.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Village Life is Managable

“Gud Manning Belize, Gud Manning! How are you this morning?”

I’ve waken up to this song while living in a small village near Guatemala. On that same radio station I hear music ranging from worship to classic songs (Michael Jackson, The Beatles, etc). Hearing the music makes me happy and reminds me of home.

Overall the village is amazing. It has the beautiful Mopan River where we swim, bath, and do laundry. It’s such a great place to meet the locals and a wonderful relief from the HOT HOT HUMID weather. The village also has rocky, dirt, and hilly roads. It really reminds me of India. Everyone here grows coconut, papaya, lime, oranges, and so many other fruits and vegetables in their backyard.

The people of the village speak Spanish and are real friendly. You meet one family in the village you meet them all because everyone is related. Its really a very welcoming and hospitable community.

My host family has been really great. They have welcomed me like another member of the family. Fortunately, I have a washing machine but all it does is spins (and usually in dirty water:). They have taught me so much. First of all, they taught me how to wash and properly hang my clothes. They also taught me how to make rice and beans, tortillas, and chilly sauce. They eat mango raw and ripe. With raw mango they put salt and pepper on it, which is different but popular in the area.

I had the pleasure of visiting another PCV in their village. It was very eye-opening because she literally lived in the bush. She lives in a really cute thatched house that she decorated really nice. She also relies on the rainwater and has a latrine. Talk about making sacrifices. Even with these changes in lifestyle, she is truly happy and it gives me comfort. She’s around a community that loves her, protects her, and is really fun. I enjoyed swimming in the river with the little girls of the village, who are full of life and really funny. We sang songs on our walks to the river and they played pranks on me while in the water. They were a real treat.

I’m enjoying my time in this country and looking forward to all the adventures that lie ahead.