Former Craig resident writes from Belize

To the Editor:

I’ve been back in Belize for one and a half weeks. Mom and Lee are both gone, so I’m on my own again.

I’ve been so careful with my back, I wear my back brace 24/7 except to bathe and change clothes. It’s really hot to wear since the temperature hovers around 100 degrees and over 90 percent humidity. It rains every day. I do not lift anything. I do the exercises that were prescribed. I WILL BE WELL by the 19th of November, Garifuna Settlement Day, which is the biggest annual celebration in Punta Gorda. The African/Belizeans have dancing and drumming every night then for almost a month. AND I PLAN TO PUNTA (their dancing) A LOT!!

The clinic continues to be so rewarding. We were without water for 11 days and each time I contacted the water dep’t. they said, “We’re coming right now,” but never showed up. So my friend, Jimmy, who works for public works came and fixed it for us. Hooray!!!

I had been soaking my instruments in pure bleach and that is not a good idea (whoever said that stainless steel doesn’t rust …) I had a patient yesterday who is 36 years old and has been pregnant 18 times, including three miscarriages and two babies who died when they were less than a month old. She has six grandchildren. She just heard about our child-spacing (family planning) services and she cried when she understood we could help her not have more babies. And THAT’s why I’m here!!

Last night I went to a “Sweet Sixteen” party for a Creole gal. It was just like a wedding without the groom! Mass at the Catholic Church dedicated to her, then a formal reception for about 200 people with a sit-down dinner and music and a dance. Her parents asked a few people (including me, the only American) to give speeches about Brittany. She was dressed in a beautiful ice blue formal with a rhinestone crown on her head. What a great festivity!

School starts again tomorrow. Jeremy (my 13 y.o.buddy) and I went shopping for school supplies, including handmade uniforms and a backpack. It’s unreal to me that these poor people here have to spend between $150-$200 for elementary/middle school students to start school. Especially when most of them in the villages have between six and 10 kids!

We’re getting towards the end of summer. The crabs are running (even through my living room), the geckos hang out on my walls by the dozens (they eat the cockroaches), the howler monkeys wake me at 5AM, and my neighbor found a LONG, HUGE boa constrictor in his house yesterday … guess I’m not in Colorado anymore!

Love you,

Nurse Donna Reishus,

Punta Gorda, Belize

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