Sunday, March 12, 2017

First Day in Belize!

The meeting time was four a.m., a middle-of-the-night mark associated with dissociation. Students individually walked in with their set of luggage, past swooshing automatic doors, to find  other team members. It’s four a.m. — a time of night when your brain is still trying to adjust. So they make the small talk like its been done this past month, with heavy eye-lids and encouraging smiles. Sleeping on the plane was the focus for four a.m.

I don’t think there were any good or bad expectations for our travels, at the time of departure most can only bear to think of the destination in mind — and getting there no matter what it takes. Although, I’ll say through the security checks, and lay-overs and check-ins, this group made opportunities out of “just waiting.” By the end of the day it was clear, as we sat on the edge of the pool with our feet in the water. This is more special than a ‘spring break.’ I heard conversations about relationships, jobs, plans for our future and the plans for this week, until the reggae, sun and students trickled out.

We met for dinner, and picked up where we left off. The Caribbean moon hung low on a string, lower than the patio lights. We were sent to bed with “homework,” the 2005 Kenyon Commencement Speech by David Foster Wallace. I’m sure each student will interpret in his or her own way, as they should. I think Wallace summed his advice best when he said, “The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.”

Maybe we were supposed to go to bed tonight thinking about the ways this trip will affect us, and more importantly how we will affect those during our service days. From what I saw today, I hope we have no problem building each other up and recognizing our strengths, and being able to care and send our best back into this community.

Maggie Little - Belize 2017

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