January 30, 2014

Two Worlds - A 24 HOUR REFLECTION

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I wake early, the warm breeze blows gently into the room, the day is dawning, the barking of the dogs fades as the crowing of the roosters becomes louder.  We are going home today; our ten day trip to Belize is coming to a close.  A hearty breakfast, lots of laughter with my team members, reflection on our experience and work, accomplishments, building a school and relationships.  It is last farewells to Miguel Medema, the school principal, then on the bus to the airport - morning breezes blowing through the open windows of the bus, over pot-holed streets and speed bumps.  The Belizeans are starting their day, children dressed in their tartan uniforms, walking to school.  Women doing the laundry in the yards in front of their homes, men going about the preparation for the sugar cane harvest - delayed this season because of wet weather - anxious to get started to make their meager yearly income. 

As we make our 2 hour bus ride, I reflect on the past 10 days – the energetic caring team we had, sand and stone carried up to the second floor for making concrete, “the formula” ½ bag cement, 10 shovels of sand, 5 shovels of stone, water and mix with shovels.  The blocks pulled up to the second floor with a rope, laid to make the walls.  The rebar bent and tied to strengthen the walls and windows.

The school children anxious to get to class, singing their praise and worship songs, and doing their school work amid the construction noise, asking  Kristin, Mitch and Nikki during the lunch hour   “Can you come and play?”

I reflect on the dedicated teachers, teaching with limited resources and, at times, not receiving their full salaries because the parents can’t pay.  They continue to work – it’s a calling.  The local workers, Sieene and Jorge give us direction on how to do construction in Belize and after a hard day of work, get on their bicycles for a 10 km ride home.

We go through the airport with regular passport and security checks.  As the plane climbs into the clear sky, I look down on the blue waters and lush green vegetation of Belize.  Four hours later I look down out the plane window and as we approach Toronto and view the white landscape of snow and cold temperature.

As we again go through the now familiar routine of immigration and passport inspection, we anticipate our familiar surroundings of home.  As we leave the airport in our vehicles, warm seats, secured in our seatbelts, we merge into the flow of traffic, onto the smooth surfaced expressways.  It’s now early morning, snow is falling, and roads are snow covered as we make our way north.  As I drive into our community with its well-planned layout, houses silhouetted under the street lights, covered in a thick blanket of snow, pull into my driveway, push a button to open the garage door to allow me to park inside, I turn off my vehicle, and for a moment I sit and reflect,……….. Do I need a place inside to park, a structure better than our brothers and sisters live in in Belize?  I walk into my house—so much room—never thought of it as more than ordinary---- now it appears excessive.

As I prepare for bed – a nice warm shower, heated floors to walk on, brush my teeth under a running tap with safe clean water, I am overwhelmed with God’s blessings on me.
All these thoughts rushing through my mind, the contrasts of countries.

It is morning; I wake late, look out and see snow covered trees, cold temperatures, and not a sound outside.

The contrast in 24 hours is unbelievable.  It is like two different worlds, but-------WE WORSHIP ONE GOD!  Believe it, Live it.


This reflection was written by Cor Kapteyn, a team leader from the Barrie HANDS team that recently returned from Belize. The team helped in construction of a second floor school auditorium at the Presbyterian Day School in Cristo Rey.

Interested in joining a HANDS team? More information can be found here or email us with any questions at hands@edudeo.com.

Follow along in the journey of other HANDS teams here.

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