BC Juniors Global

Join Barclay College students as they learn about Christian life, service, and leadership in the global classroom.


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Feeling Kansas Good

Today was a refreshing day, started off with a trip to the Belize Zoo. Here we got to see tons of animals that are native to Belize, and we even got to feed and pet a few. We first got to feed a Tapir, a toucan as well as a jaguar. I ended up getting bitten by all of them… except the jaguar thankfully. Phew! Nick and Derek were “baptized” by the tongue of the jaguar, as it climbed on top of the cage for us to feed him. All around it was a pretty crazy experience. No consent form, no regulations, nothing like an american zoo. Some of the fences we could even reach over and touch the animals… that is definitely not Sedgewick County Zoo.

 

Next we went off to St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park, which is a swimming area that is surrounded by jungle and filled and cooled by the caves near it. The water was super cold… BUT SO NICE. When they say that Belize is hot, I don’t think you can fully understand what that means, unless you have experienced it. This water was what I was dreaming of since Tuesday when we arrived. To be able to relax and not think about how hot I was was wonderful. We all seemed refreshed. It was a day of relaxation and fun which I think my team members would agree was needed.

I will admit that this trip thus far has been very eye opening and draining. Since Tuesday the days have seemed to me to be filled with heart breaking stories of so many patterns of abuse and a culture that seems to accept it. Women who don’t know their worth and find their worth in all the worst places, and men who find their worth in gang culture. Then the tried and true stories of those people who see the broken people, families, government, and system and are trying to be the change. At one point I looked down and realized a little girl I worked alongside one afternoon  she was wearing Toms shoes. In that moment I remembered where I was. I was in a place with children who needed those shoes. And all the petty American fights of reasons why “I should not buy these shoes anymore” melted away. Because I saw this little girl. I knew parts of her home life and it made me weep, and with seeing poverty in ways I have never seen it before. What matters? I’m not sure at this point. But because someone bought those shoes she at least had a pair.

Today I am thankful for not needing to think about the heat and being able to rest, the break was much needed.

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A break from the Heat…Kinda

Today was another hot and humid day in Belize. As a person who does not handle hot climates all that well this hot weather has been hard for me to adjust to during the time we have spent here. However every day gets a little easier and usually we are kept busy enough that we dont think too much about the heat. Today i got a little break from this heat and it turned out to be a real blessing.

Every morning our team has been working at youth center that the Barbers volunteer at. We have each been paired with a faculty member who we follow around and help out as needed. I have been  paired up with the guy who does PE and games with witch has been mostly basketball while i have been here. It has been a lot of fun getting to go out and play basketball with these kids and get to know them and see their culture in that way. However playing basketball out side in blazing hot temperatures in jeans really takes it out of me physically and  by the time we leave and go help at the after school program i am pretty worn out. Today was different though, the teacher i am with only had one class and it was especially hot out today so he just decided that we could sit inside and watch a movie. This allowed me to just sit around and hang out with the kids and faculty and have a pretty relaxing morning. This turned out to be a blessing because when we went to the after school program i still had quite a bit of energy and there were some boys there who wanted to play some basketball out back. This gave me the opportunity to get to know these kids and have fun with them and play witch was really encouraging because i had been struggling to get to know some of the kids at the after school program.

So even though it may seem like something small like a break from the heat the Lord used that to bless me and help me get to know some of these kids better and hopefully show them Christ love. This is only one of many blessings the lord has given me through this trip, it has been and amazing experience and i feel like i have already learned so much and i cant wait to see what else the Lord has in store for our team during our time here in Belize.


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this is a tropical

So…

I honestly feel like just briefly going over most of the highlights so far and my thoughts. Is this alright? Anyway the departure was an experience, I knew very well that it would be important to get to bed early sadly it was hard to sleep due to my thoughts of excitement. I kind of feel bad for Kevin Lee to be honest. I’m thankful he drove us, but we were not entertaining to him one bit due to all of us getting as much sleep as possible…well almost all of us Tiffany Graham managed to take a picture of all of us sleeping.

I sat next to Ambur Munsell on the flights. Lol she was terrified, it probably did not help much that our first flight was one of those skinnier planes, that jerk more. She gripped my wrist in fear throughout the first flight. As I sat there I thought of my first flight way back in 2006 to Jamaica on a short mission trip. I can’t really recall being as scared of flying as she was but I also don’t have a fear of heights. I do remember thinking about God and how he can see all of us. Yet, amazingly, he can observe every specific and small detail. What an amazing God we have I would think as the soundtrack of “Back to the Future” would play in my head while we flew through the clouds.

Our daily routine mainly consists of us spending time with kids and being a positive role model for them since some of them do not have that. It always breaks my heart when I think about it for too long. Even though I may have spent most of my teenage years here I still feel for the country of Belize. I look over at my team’s faces and actions as they learn of the poverty, abuse, and grief that many belizeans face on an everyday basis. Derek Brown has been a great leader for juniors global. He seems very concerned and wants to know what makes the people of Belize tick. He does his best to prepare us for anything and is very understanding. He’s always asking questions about Belize. Even after his brief visit in december It surprises me how much he learned of Belize It honestly was nearly as much as my rusty memory could recall, I suppose that’s why he’s the Teach. Tiffany Graham on the other hand has gone out of her way to become a belizean. She gets along very well with everybody. She seems determined to learn belizean creole, and I honestly will not be surprised if she speaks it in a presentation for chapel. But I’m getting off track she gets along with nearly everybody and is comfortable no matter what. She also has shown herself to being beneficial in keeping the team’s morale good. Nick Entz probably has been the most unpredictable to me. He seems genuinely interested and curious. He’s always looking around and trying new things and just really soaking it all in. I’m honestly believe he could at least appear comfortable just about anywhere, it’s really impressive. Finally Ambur Munsell, has shown a lot of concern for the people of Belize and is very fascinated with everything she comes across. Its really a gift to me to observe, relearn, and guide, members of my team through our Belizean adventure.

-Robert Barber 🙂


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Jeans! Why the Jeans!?!

Today we had a pretty busy day, which is why I am blogging again in order to give the rest of the team a break. We left the house this morning and went to Gateway, the school we will be helping at. We have to wear jeans while we are there it turns out. Which… is really fun in the heat of course. Silly Americans. Anyway, the four of us were split up and spent time with a different person we will be working with while we are here. I will be working with a teacher, Mrs. Danderson. There wasn’t a lot to do for me today, but it sounds like there are a few specific students that I will be working with in the future, which I am excited about.

Later, after lunch, we went to WaterWalkers, an after school ministry for elementary aged kids, for the second time. The rooms are hot, small, dimly lit, and often over-crowded, the kids who come are mostly from high-risk backgrounds, and the humidity makes you feel like you just got out of the shower… Without the nice clean feeling. But it’s really cool because the kids are excited to be there and seem to love hanging out with each other and the adults who are there. There seems to be a lot of competition and the expected level of disfunction that comes when there is a large group of young kids from such mixed backgrounds, but there is also a level of belonging that I can see in all the kids. They treat the place like somewhere they can be comfortable, safe, and accepted. That is really cool. I like that.

Also, we found a lizard in the bathroom today. We all crowded into the bathroom and watched Amber try and grab it. We took a video. It was really funny. You will have to see the video soon.

Also, also, everyone is bullying me for talking about Cambodia in my last blog. I told them they can write their own blog. So just for that, this is my honorary mention of Cambodia. Cambodia.

Also, also, also, I have about 30 bug bites.

That is all.

~Tiffany Graham


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That Faint Whiff of Sewage

Upon arrival13221568_10154167835959254_704626866824558080_n.jpg to Belize City yesterday, I was greeted by a smell that I had somehow forgotten I  remembered. The air outside of the airplane had the unique flavor that comes from humidity, garbage, and a faint whiff of sewage. We were greeted by the Barber family as we scurried through customs and were quickly hauled off in a van. During the brief drive to the Barber’s house, I looked out the window at the tropical city and was overwhelmed by memories of last year.

Memories of riding around a city surrounded by tuk-tuks while singing silly American songs at the top of our voices. Memories of walking through a dusty street, shadow hopping to hide from the sun. Memories of bartering in a sweaty marketplace over an uncut pineapple.

Memories I love. I couldn’t stop smiling. And nearly couldn’t stop myself from crying.

And it was the smell that did it.

I was so thrown off by how familiar that smell was! How could I feel like I had missed something I had forgotten? Something so unpleasant? Who misses the smell of sewage? What a strange person God has made me.

It’s morning now and we are all beginning to relax into our temporary home. We had a driven tour of some parts of the city last night and will be leaving for a walk around a different part in a little while. I can’t smell anything unusual anymore. Im sure I will catch it in small puffs throughout the rest of our time here, but for now I have adjusted to the scent that lingers in this city. I still keep smiling. I know this place is different from Cambodia. I am finding the differences slowly, and trying to be intentional that I remember them. I want this experience to be new and not be tainted by un-met expectations or an unrealistic mind-set. Or by familiar scents. But there is something about the tropical culture that I think I have fallen in love with.

Maybe it’s just traveling that I love, or maybe it’s just the memories. Or maybe it’s something deeper. Whatever it is, I think… I hope… this is going to be a good trip. Humidity, garbage, and stench in all.

~Tiffany Graham


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Summer: Coming Soon to a School Near You

As the semester is wrapping up and deadlines are looming, I find myself increasingly looking forward to the the beginning of our trip to Belize. It’s only about four weeks away now, which is crazy because I feel like there is still so much left to do. I have been blessed by my family and friends giving once again to support my second trip with Jr’s Global, and have raised nearly $3,000 out of the $3,500 I will need. It’s also strange to think that it was very nearly a year ago that I was sitting in a tuk-tuk, driving through the streets of Phnom-Penh, Cambodia for the first time. Remembering my experience there and the love I found for a new land, only increases my excitement as Belize comes into sight. I have so many hopes for what I will see and learn in Belize. I can’t wait to throw myself into something completely foreign and new. But first, I need the focus and the motivation to make it through the rest of this year. Finishing fundraising, wrapping up classes, completing projects, and the most dreaded of all, getting my Typhoid vaccination. needles… eeeeeehhhh… So here is to praying that I can stick it out for the next month and finish strong. Thank you everyone for all the support, whether that be financial, emotional, or spiritual, I know that I am not alone.

~Tiffany Graham