The wisdom of Nelly

Trip Start Jun 14, 2004
Trip End Jul 30, 2006

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Flag of Belize  ,
Wednesday, March 23, 2005

As my good friend Nelly says "its getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes."
Its hot. Hot hot hot. And miserable. Right now I am sitting in a restaurant, drinking an overprices watery ice coffee and trying to visualize everyone at home freezing. Yesterday it must have been 95 or 100 and the humidity was so thick I could barely breathe. All I wanted to do was give up, lie down on the side of the road in a pool of my own sweat. Ahhh, but such is life. And a good life I have.
I have lots - o - news! I officially have a roommate for the next five to six months. Dominic was living in Belize city and transferred out to Cayo where I live. Since we both are into saving money, we decided to live together until summer and then he'll move out. Which turns out, he'll only be moving across the street.
Its really nice to have Dominic around. One night I don't know why he decided or let me do it, but Dominic decided to cut all his hair off. His hair is about the same length as mine, but decided he's done with it. I enthusiastically offered to do it for him, assuring him that I knew what I was doing. Of course I had no idea what I was doing, had never cut a person's hair in my life, most likely because no one would ever let me near their hair with a pair of scissors.
As Dominic put his hair in a ponytail for the last time, I began to feel a lee nervous. But then again, it couldn't be too hard, right? Well . . . things ended out fine, although dominic started to get scared when I said that there might be a few holes in the back. Fortunately we found a buzzer and all is good.

Last week I had another friend come to visit. Im not sure how many of you know Henry Steinberg, a good friend of mine from high school. We hadn't seen each other in four years, mostly because Henry was studying in Vancouver for two years and spending his summers in Germany. It makes me feel old to say that im old enough to have good friends that I haven't seen in four years.
The entire visit was amazing. It was really great just to sit and talk with a person who knew me before peace corps, before Fordham. When I was still a girl living out in the woods wearing carhart overalls and singing to garth brooks around a fire in the middle of the woods. Its good to have people like that, people that knew you then and know you now and still love you. Love you through all the infinite changes and decisions you've made, good and bad.
I just watched Stand By Me for the first time the other night. Both Ben and Dominic couldn't believe that I had never seen it, but I just think that their Stand By Me is like my Dirty Dancing or something. The movie made me think about childhood friends though and Henry. That friends you have when you are younger will always know you. The bare qualities that make it so that no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you will always be able to connect again. And as we get older, we become more layered through experiences. So the friends we meet down the line don't necessarily see those bare qualities for a long time, if ever.
Hmmm, I don't really know what im trying to say here. Only that it was amazing to see Henry again and that it is comforting to know that he will always be there for me, no matter where in the world we are.

The other thing is that work is going really well. This past weekend I spent Friday and Saturday across the Guatemalan border in Melchor. Friday people working in the cayo district of Belize, including myself, went to meet with people working in the peten district of Guatemala as a sort of meeting of the minds. To discuss how we can collaborate together to strengthen HIV awareness in both Belize and Guatemala. On Saturday we did outreach work on the border and then in brothels in Melchor. It was an intense experience. I have never been in a brothel before. I guess in my na´ve and biased mind, I always thought of commercial sex workers as hardened women. Women who are too skinny, that wear trashy clothes and addicted to crack or something. I now realize how ignorant I was to think that way. The girls that I met were just like me. And maybe that is what shocked and scared me the most. How is it that life leads to so many directions. That I ended up they way I am and they ended up the way they are.
I don't want to say that it was sad because although it was, it is also just the way of life for them. The girls were giggly when we were talking about condoms and making sure that they knew how to put them on correctly. They laughed with us and made jokes. It felt like just another group of women, talking and laughing with each other. Yet it was different. Because these girls are doing things and have done things I can't even begin to comprehend. Why did I get to enjoy my childhood. Why was I blessed with a loving and supporting family and always enough food on the table. How is it fair? I guess we all are confronted with this issue and there is no answer. Only that we live with what we have and learn through the decisions we make.

I was going to write more, but its so hot I can't think.

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