Monday, March 25, 2013

Wrapping Up Our Peace Corps Service - Saying Goodbye

We certainly did have the joy of getting to know and love some very special people while we were in Belize. As our time approached to go home to the States, I became a regular "leaky tear faucet," anticipating the new homesickness I would feel leaving my home of two years in Dangriga.

We let select people know about our early exit for several reasons:
  1. I wanted a smooth transition for Aidra and the Garifuna GLOW Girls.
  2. I hoped that someone would take over teaching the Zumba classes.
  3. We wanted to make sure that there was no financial problems with our apartment rent, and that Rafi would be able to find a new tenant.
  4. We wanted to find good homes for all the STUFF we were leaving behind.
And so it began. Our last weeks, and especially the last weekend in Dangriga, were spent tying up details with utilities and moving furniture and other items out of the house. Some of the things were sold at a very reasonable price, and a lot were given. Our last night in the apartment, we treated it like a hotel room, because there were no items in the kitchen in which to cook, or on which to eat! Slept in a bed that Rafi bought but left for us, and took a shower with borrowed towels.

We also tried to get around to all our friends for one last goodbye. In no particular order . . .

Pen and Ingrid Cayetano gave us some of their beautiful art as a way to remember them. We've been lucky enough to keep up with them since we returned through Facebook and Skype :-)

Rafaelita and Anthony - they were our housemates. Rafi taught me a lot about being Belizean and being generous! Anthony grew several inches in the 21 months that we lived with them. Look out young ladies! Missing from this picture is her beautiful son, Michael, born just a few days after our grandson, Burke. By the next time I see him, he'll probably be walking!!

We saw a lot (but not enough) of Norielee, Aidra, and Daytha Rodriguez during our last few days in Dangriga. Those gals, especially Aidra, were just the light of my time in Belize. I learned so much about honesty, caring, community service and thinking of "we before me." I feel so lucky to call them my friends. Norie (on the left) and Daytha made the drum. It has a picture of Steve and me (well, the Belizean version of Steve and me). They got EVERYBODY - all the Rodriguez family and all the GLOW girls - to sign it. SO special. Aidra (on the right) made the beautiful doll that I'm holding. It's sitting in a special place here in our apartment so I can enjoy it all the time. The drum is, too, and "one of these days," I will take some lessons so I can play it.

On our last night in Dangriga, Kim (in the center with black scarf), and Ava (on the right), both PCVs, made us a scrumptious dinner. Ava was our companion for many things we did in Dangriga, and was always ready to lend a hand, share a joke or a gripe, and suggest great ideas for GLOW activities. We have left her all alone in Dangriga for her last couple months there. Kim is winding up her extended duty in nearby Hopkins. She'll be coming back soon to her home in Detroit with her hunky Belizean fiance!

Many GLOW girls came by the house to say goodbye. I was so touched, because I didn't think they would be comfortable showing their feelings about me. They were very sweet and open about saying they would miss me.

The Zumba ladies threw a surprise goodbye party for me on the last night of class. I am so pleased that TWO of the women who took the class, Carla (2nd row, 4th from right next to me) and Jolene (2nd row, at the right end in white and blue), agreed to keep the class going! They are sharing duties to cover the class, sometimes teaching together. They took the big speaker and paid for my old iPod. I've heard from Jolene via email several times, and she's even added some new (!) songs. I'm thrilled to think that there might be a little "sustainability" with the class.

Well, the desktop is getting wet because my eyes are leaking again. Did I say this in the last blog entry?  My life will be forever changed by these wonderful people.

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