As I type, the pitter-patter of rain drops on the tin roof greet me, the feel of the cool breeze brushes across my skin as I sit on the balcony. I can see the village lights that point to no particular direction, the night sky is full of clouds with promise of more rain, there is a fog descending slowly across everything I can see, and I hear the village. It is a sound I am unfamiliar with. Never before have I experienced such culture rich in taste, color, music, work, diversity, family, friends, and need.I sit in a melting pot that hasn’t quite yet learned the way of melding, but is on its way. The people that I am surrounded by are so lovely and strange. I don’t know if I have ever been in this predicament before. To see a culture that could become great (and in my opinion already is) and not “need” help from outside sources. One thing is clear though, the need is there. The need to strengthen communities, families, cities, villages, schools, hospitals, the people’s unity, and the one that hits home for me, is mental health.
I came on this trip and arrived in Belize with the thought that my team of Psychology had over prepared for what we had planned from the counseling perspective. I thought that the culture we were stepping into was not civilized enough to learn the ways of how to counsel. I was wrong. So very, very wrong. These people are just as smart, kind, happy, friendly, willing, and joyful as the average person that you might run across. They also, just as the average person, suffer in sadness, loneliness, despair, fear, and hopelessness. A good way to maybe describe it would be, “the same, kind of different”.
To stop rambling though, I will state that the psychology team had the opportunity to present a gentle way of producing change in a client or patient by helping them realize the need themselves instead of just presenting the “answer” from the service provider. While my team was presenting, the Educational and Christian Ministry team went back to Billy White Village and ministered to the children and teens there. Oh, how I wish to have been in two places at once. My heart and soul will never be the same once I return to Missouri. Not with what God has shown me. The not so unexpected thing though, is I wouldn’t have it any other way.