Have you ever set out to do something for someone but they ended up blessing you instead?
I went to visit someone and took over some fruit from our yard. She recognized them immediately and called them "bluggos". Her husband explained that they are a cross between a banana and plantain. And he told me that if you have bluggos in your yard you will never go hungry.
I left their house that day with all of this:
Those little bananas, plantains, the mami fruit, plums, the cashew fruit, and the cactus were all growing in their yard. The cassava and cocos were harder to come by. She had walked and hitch hiked and walked some more with a friend to a village several miles away where the friend's family farm was located. They picked the 'ground food' so that they would have something for dinner. She was actually cooking when I got to her house. She explained various recipes to me while gently teasing me about giving me a Belizean education. Tears fill my eyes when I think of how much I don't know. And not just about Belizean food.
What impressed and overwhelmed me that day was her generosity.
She didn't have much but she wanted to share what she had. She shared her knowledge, the fruits of her garden, and the food that she labored to bring home for her family's meal. I had asked her to braid my hair. I thought I would help her earn a bit of money so that her family could buy food. She taught me about the resiliency and tenacity of Belizean women. She was not sitting around whining or waiting for a missionary handout. She got up early to search for food...to make sure that her children would eat that day.
I have met other women here who are doing the same thing in their own way...
Women here, just like in the US, who work full time and go to school in the evening. Some are working on Bachelor's degrees while others are trying to finish up high school. Some sell what they can, they bake, clean houses, sew, or do crafts. I see them hard at work in the market. Most days my neighbors have clothes already on the line as I am getting out of bed. They work outside and inside the home. They stretch dollars and kiss ouchies.
Women, mothers, are so industrious...all around the world.
Mothers do whatever they need to do to keep their homes and put food on the table. They make sure their kids get what they need. I met a single mom this week who has a son with hydrocephalus. She goes to his school regularly to learn from his teacher how best to help him with his school work. A tenacious mom trying to make sure her son gets the best education he can get. There are foster moms here who have not given birth to their own children but their home and their hearts are open to children in need. There are grandmothers here who make hot lunches everyday for neighborhood children whose parents cannot get home during the noon break from school.
As Mother's day draws near I think of my mother's work ethic, my grandmother's hands that were never still. My aunts, my sister in laws and my cousins...all hard working women with children making sure that the kids get what they need. Generous women. Resilient and tenacious women. I am grateful to be a part of that lineage. And I am grateful to be a part of a sisterhood of mothers that spans the globe.