Central American Journey: BUSted in Beautiful Belize

Maybe it was because it was really warm with no AC.

Maybe it was because I was on the verge of having enough foreign water/food.

Maybe it was because the conscience was not relenting with every snapchat from the deserted crew at home, and Mr Kennell’s pitiful “bring my girlfriend home” row.

Maybe it was because all the previous DAYS (literally) that we’d spent busing on the trip were spent in a Coach that lumbered along and served cold drinks and hot meals.

Or maybe it was just traumatizing. But whatever the reason- whether it’s all or none of the ones listed above- I’m ready to take a break from busing.


We crossed into Belize with no trouble and caught a taxi to the “Belmopan Express”. “Great” I thought “We’ll hammerdown for the capital and be there soon.”

Wrong. Not sure what “Express” means, but we stopped and picked up people 50 times if we stopped once. AND they got off usually about 10 minutes after we picked them up. (Maybe we didn’t actually stop 100 times, but I kinda lost count) Also, the bus boy got off occasionally just to ask if the people wanted a ride. Loud Belizean music pulsated the bus from time to time, and since Belize speaks English- I understood the words. No gain there.

We made the transfer ok. Belize is a clean country “Don’t litter, and Belize will glitter” and the bus stations were orderly and on time. We crowded on to the next bus, but because our body guard/luggage boy stayed out to help put our luggage in, He wasn’t able to get a seat, so he stood in the back of the bus. (We had every intention of traveling light, not sure what happened.)


Anyhow so Mervin was standing in the back of the bus, when the terminal offical came on the bus and said that everyone needed a seat. So Mervin squished onto a seat with 2 other guys. The official came to the back of the bus and chased off the other unfortunate guy who had been standing with Merv, and then said with a very thick Creole accent “c’mon man, you catch the next bus. ” He had to repeat himself about 5 times until we understood him. So I asked if Deb and I needed to get off too- because we were all in this together, and our half of the bus broke into a murmur, with the one outspoken fellow saying “Kick somebody else off the bus, you can’t do that to this man- he got family on the bus!”

So the guy let him slide. We took off in a cloud of dust, and stopped at the first street corner to pick up the other man who’d been asked to leave. So there went that.

I enjoyed my window seat. Belizean houses are different from the rest of Central America. Wooden Houses standing on stilts. Curtains covering the windows, tied back to let the air/daylight in.


We tore through the countryside. Grove after Grove after Grove of Citrus trees. We passed Citrus factories were the air smelled like Orange Juice. We passed lots of Mennonites and Amish- Belizean population has the largest percentage of Anabaptist population in the world (I think it’s 3%)

Then we came to the mountains. I’m not sure what all they do to schoolbuses down there, but they have them running good. We breezed up the mountain like it was nothing, and cannon-balled down the other side. The road didn’t have a yellow line and when we came to a one lane bridge- we slingshotted across it without hesitation. It was a little alarming to be watching out the window and suddenly come upon a ravine. The driver never hit the brakes and we were shifting gears. Hallelujah, we arrived safely.




Placencia was our little touristy spot of our adventure. We rented a cabin with AirBnB and were completely impressed. We enjoyed the breezes from the Carribean Sea, the unique flowers, and culture that the area had to offer. I even enjoyed the mouthy bird that sat out in front of our house and hollered to his friends every morning at sunrise. I wish I could’ve identified him though.


The area brags of the second largest coral reef in the world. It was really fun to explore- the brightly colored fish, the variety of coral- mostly browns and purple, and Deb saw a “sea cow” or a manatee.


All the while, I was trying to get up the nerve for last piece of our puzzle- another bus ride. #22 on the #30for30 is bus across Central America. Woosh- we made it and survived. At the risk of being dramatic, I was feeling worse and worse, and we didn’t have any too much water with us. But we made it, and found a taxi at the terminal who confidently knew where to take us. As soon as he had us and our luggage in his van, he started asking everybody within shouting distance where the road was that we needed. Thankfully someone knew. Soon we were at our final stop.


This place looked like an oasis when we rolled in. The staff was so gracious and we enjoyed meeting “Miss Nancy” (highly recommend this book) A 86 year old New Order Amish lady who has lived in Belize for 51 years. She shared her story with us freely and I was challenged and inspired. Floyd and Miss Marilyn took such great care of us. I decided that maybe I wasn’t going to die after all. (I know, dramatic much?)



They live in a bit of a rough section of town, but Deb and I thought we could go down and talk to children through the gate. We watched them play basketball, and ride their bikes in the street, and felt all secure. Until the one little bundle of energy calmly reached in, unlatched the gate and I’m sure my mouth fell open as no less than 6 children rolled in and took over the courtyard. The girls told us that they “were 4 years old and were COusINS” and the boys ran pellmell around the vans and ran past smacking me on the back of the head and making it rain rocks. It was very exciting. Soon “Brotha Floyd” came and shoo-ed them back out of the gate and things got a bit less chaotic.


As we bid Central America “farewell” and I watched the land get swallowed by clouds, my heart is full. Our travel found a wide range of experiences, but at every stop- we found people who’s heart cry was to serve their Creator. It is so encouraging to know that there are so many Righteous who are seeking His Face.

And that completes that puzzle. We had some pretty unique shaped pieces, but ever.single.one fell into place perfectly, and the finished picture is one that I will talk about for a long time. Thank you, Jesus.

Thanks for all your support and for kindly following along with my tales from our adventure. I’m excited to enjoy things stateside for awhile 🙂



Central American Journey: Gorgeous Guatemala

Back in 2012, I spent several months in Guatemala. I left full of good intentions, and suddenly, it’s 5 years later and I’m returning for the first time. The country was still as beautiful as I’d remembered.


We stayed with Jonathan and Vivian Hartzler and they went the second and third mile to show us their world.


The girls gave us a tour of their school there in El Chal (aren’t their uniforms cute?) One of the teachers did the painting on the wall.


We rode along in the back of the school bus as Jonathan delivered the children home from school.


Cousin Kelly gave us a tour of the “Good Samaritan Clinic” where she’s a nurse.


Deborah made friends with yet another black lab. (This hill is a Mayan ruin. I guess time and nature fill in the stone structures, leaving an abrupt hill occasionally dotting the countryside.)


We spent part of a day exploring Mayan Ruins that had been uncovered in Tikal.


The restoration process is ongoing- I got a big kick out of this transport system.


One of our tour guides from our day. This is called a Pizote or Coatimundi. We had one as a pet while I was in Santa Rosita in ’12- inquisitive little creatures.


Making 90 lbs of Guatemalan cheese.


Jonathan refereeing a backyard turkey fight.




We went over the river and through the jungle to the Jungle Breezes Ranch. This is a new program that is developing, but it’s a 400+ acre ranch where families live and work and take in boys who need a bit of guidance.




The Ranch has an airstrip, and one of the men that lived there said that they hear airplanes coming in from time to time, and they run outside with their eyes to the sky…only to discover that it’s a cockroach. They do grow them big out there.



We ran up the river for just a few minutes and hit another country! Mexico 🙂 We had to wade to shore, so I guess you might say we kinda wet backed it in.




It was so much fun to see so many familiar faces and to be able to catch up briefly. Blessings to you, Jonathan, Vivian, and family, as you continue to discover and embrace your new world! Thanks for showing us a wonderful time!


Bonus Pics:

3 Step Photo Description of the best way to fly using the resident hammock, by Julia. It worked wonderful for her- I didn’t try it-lol




Central American Adventure: Encouraged in El Salvador

We caught an express coach early in the morning and soon we had successfully exited Nicaragua and were making our way through all of Honduras’s road construction and stop and go traffic.

Maybe I should introduce us: Here we are cutting fresh mangoes at our destination. From left to right- Deborah was our translator, I kinda planned the trip, and our cousin Mervin (or Boogs) was our body guard and luggage boy.  What a time.


This is pretty much our view of Honduras:



It wasn’t more than a few hours, until we were safely in the Capital City San Salvador, El Salvador, and had made our connections with the director of the Deaf School we were visiting.

Two facts about El Salvador that I didn’t know: Their exchange rate is the same as the U.S. They were taken over by communist 7 years ago.


The school was fascinating. They have 9 completely deaf students who are also mute. We were privileged to  join them for morning devotions and for the Bible study at the end of the school day.


I watched them sing, none of them making a noise.  Their hands fluttering through the air in perfect harmony- worshiping the One who understands, I was just totally impressed again with how incredible it is that our God knows no language barriers. That He can understand perfectly what we are trying so say- even when our lips don’t make a sound. He listens to our hearts. This means a lot to me.



One of our group thought is was important to sneak a dog into devotions. 😉


The school director’s sons playing marbles.


We caught this true “mini van” into town for the famous El Salvadorean Pupusa’s



Thoroughly enjoyed meeting Miss Bethany and her friend Beatrix. And the energetic pup who managed to be basically all places at all times.


Today I’m rejoicing that God understands my heart.


P.S Next stop: Guatemala


Central American Adventure: Nostalgia and Nicaragua

Somehow my international travel plans for this past winter/spring got totally out of control. I looked at my itinerary and shook my head and tried decide if the appropriate response was to feel overwhelmed or to embrace it. I tried the overwhelmed option for a little- but it didn’t change anything- so I chose to jump into the excitement thrown my way- head first. What a ride it’s been!

Without further adieu- I present to you pics from Deb’s last few days in Leon. I admit I shed a few tears as I watched her part with the land, the language, and the People who she’d loved as best she could for 2 rapid years. Change may be right, but it isn’t easy. And I felt a little selfish because her friends were really sad to see her go, and I’m really excited to have her back home.



Richard and Andrea invited us to stay with them since our flights arrived in the middle of the night. We spent a leisure morning enjoying the variety of animals on the CAM base as well as the cutest tour guides around. 🙂 Miss Pogo the monkey was pretty sure she wasn’t impressed with our visit. Notice how she has her tail wrapped around Su’s arm



We made it to Grenada- and took a boat tour of Lake Nicaragua and the 80 some islands that dot her surface. The Oro Pendula de Montezuma (I think this is the right name) birds nests had me fascinated.

Oh and since it was “semana santa ” (holy week before Easter) The shore was crowded with lots of people who weren’t very victorious at holy living, I’m afraid. I was glad we had some guys along.


Sunday was a fellowship meal as a farewell for Deborah. The stuffed rice was wonderful.


Estefani’s humor: hold both Deborah and Christine’s hands, and pull them closer and closer… Suddenly small brown hands disappear and assume the 2 white girls don’t notice they are holding hands with each other… then laugh and laugh and laugh



Monday we checked a few last minute things off of Deborah’s list. Visited an old fort from the 1800s, that overlooked the City.


“Catch a dove in Central” was also on the list of unfinished business. (Kendra stayed hidden behind the safety of her camera for this one- no pigeon catching for me.)


The neighborhood children came over for a few rounds of Scum. And to build a wall of protestors in front of the gate and declare that Deborah could never leave. And to follow her like a crowd of mourners when she did venture out on the street. It was exhausting. Dear children


Nate and Angie had us over for iced coffee… and one last pic.


Yes, Leon has a special place in my heart. I’m so thankful that my brave little sis took the initiative to live here and introduce me to so many things from this culture.  My favorite being the friendly people I met. If only there wasn’t that ever present language barrier


And there’s a lump in my throat when I think how time moves on. But I’m excited too. May the next few years be as pleasant as the last.

Thanking God for His provisions,


P.S Next stop: El Salvador






Mission Trip to Nicaragua 2017

I remember the conversation just like it was yesterday. It came on the heels of Deborah’s announcement that she was called- and accepted- at Leon, Nicaragua for 2 years. And Kendra, full of good intentions made a promise:

“I know how everybody says they are coming to visit while you are gone,but then life happens, and schedules stay full, and the opportunity never presents itself. I will bring a group down.”

We batted it back in forth for a long time, and finally with less than 4 weeks until D-Day (Deb’s departure, way to wait until the 11.5 hour, KH) our group arrived on the wings of a snow white dove. [our flight got cancelled because of last week’s snow storm. Shout out to Golden Rule travel who not only got us wonderfully priced tickets, but worked tirelessly getting the new tickets secured]

We had a wonderful time. As I sort back through my 1000+ pics- it’s hard to know what all to include. So anyhow- here are a few of my favorites. I’m missing some of the major highlights, but if you want to know more- just ask the nearest member of our gang 😉

To Team Nica- Bless you for everything- for putting up with a rookie group leader, for willingly and enthusiastically embracing whatever was put in front of you. I loved everybody exclaiming over everything.

And to the Olive Branch Team- thank you does seem inadequate- thank you thank you thank you for everything you did to make this a one of a kind experience.

Nicaragua is a truly beautiful part of God’s creation.

Praising God who arranges life so that even my smallest dreams become reality,


Bonus Pics:



The guys put a roof over a kitchen in this neighborhood. This family has a daughter who is deaf, blind, and mute. She cries when nobody is touching her. Heartbreaking



At the other site, they built a new house for Maria. When they took the metal off, the entire structure collapsed. Here they are moving the bed back in before they finish the last wall.


Maria explaining to Deb how God answered her prayer that morn- She was thinking how nice it would be for Deb to see her new house- and soon here came Deborah and company. 🙂


We gave out Baby Bundles in the local free hospital. There were 4 or 5 new mothers per room. It was so much fun to hand deliver a bundle and exclaiming over the new arrival. Precious little people.


And we shopped a bit 😉


And we embraced the culture in various ways 😉



Children’s Church is always a highlight. Different ones of the group brought crafts and it was all hands on deck until the  evening was over 🙂 There were a few hectic moments- but we made it. We also taught the song “Bind us Together ” with the motions. For those of us whose Spanish is less than fluent, it was a stretch- but they seemed to understand what we were singing. A video of that is here  The language barrier is never ending and so frustrating- but I love that God is not limited by language. We as Christians are one body, under one God, and that is why we sing 🙂



Ah the Pacific 🙂


We had the option of Red fish for supper. We stopped by the restaurant before sunset to warn them that our huge group was arriving and they took us back to a cooler to look at the catch and make sure it was ok. It wasn’t just ok. It was the most delicious fish ever. I wonder if leaving the head on and eyeballs in made it better-lol


And on the way home- we stopped and Deborah pointed out the Southern Cross. This constellation is only visible in the Southern Hemisphere. It was a gorgeous night and the stars were bright and it was awesome. It’s also #21 on the #30for30




Another highlight was the several hour trip to Esteli to visit Sarah and Delmar. Sarah led us up the mountain to an overlook. It was so much fun to see them again! Blessings to y’all as you are faithful where you are called!






See the little white boards on the trail on the side of the volcano? Those guys are with us 🙂



Volcano Boarders, also with us 😉


Nica culture from Deb’s window. This picture reminds me of a form of a “where’s Waldo” picture



Our early morning alarm clock every day… “Who let the dog out?”




And just like that, the week was over and it was time to sail off towards the next adventure. And  so, with a full heart, I do just that. Thank you Jesus, for allowing us this privilege.

And bless all the home folks who covered for us in our absence. Maybe next time will be your turn 🙂





3 of 3: Hitchhiking (by default) in a foreign land

Once upon a time, 3 girls summoned their favorite tuk tuk driver and headed off on a little excursion in a beautiful, but foreign land.

In no time, the tuk tuk man had delivered them to the first stop on the journey- Central Bus station. Without too much drama, they climbed aboard the nondescript red bus, AND, because their given seats were taken by some nonnegotiable tourists, they moved to the back of the bus, and prepared to set up camp for the 3.5 hour bus ride.

Travel moved along fairly well, a few of the travelers napped, the one in particular kept her nose pressed to the window drinking in all the sights she could see. And there were a lot of them: Ladies hand washing clothes among the lily pads in the ponds in front of their houses; Families gathering rice straw in from the fields;  Herdsman moving their cattle home for the night.


This country has a lot of factories and after quitting time- there were so many trucks with workers on the road. The girl at the window wondered if it would be exaggerating to say it was 100s of trucks loaded like this one… (P.S I guess she could count all of her attempts to get this pic to have a fairly accurate idea- taking a pic out the bus window of oncoming traffic can be rather tricky- great shot, Em)


They were so excited to be traveling, but one small detailed niggled in the back of their minds. The nondescript red bus had a manual transmission and they noticed as soon as they left the station that the driver was having trouble with first gear.Less than an hour into the trip, the very unmistakable smell of something being too hot, joined the party in the back of the bus.

Hour 2.5, things weren’t better at all, no matter how hard the girls were praying. Another passenger went to notify the driver, and he pulled to the side of the road, dug out several handfuls of wrenches and proceeded to the back of the bus. Everybody else got off, but since he was working in the aisle in front of the girls, they stayed put and watched with interest and wished that they were fluent in Khmer as well as transmission knowledge- but neither was the case.


After several trips between the bottomside of the transmission and the topside, the driver had adjusted the clutch to his satisfaction. He pumped the clutch several times and blew the horn and the bus was ready to roll again.

The bus eased into the rapidly approaching nightfall. The 3 damsels in the back went back to their before mentioned worlds of their own, and noticed with a sinking heart that the ugly hot smell joined the party again too soon. In fact it got worse and in no time, the light in the top of the bus was dimmed by smoke. Somebody had in earbuds and commented on the smoke a little louder than she’d intended and the rest of the passengers panicked. The bus driver pulled off to the side of the road and hurried back the aisle, this time to open a hatch in the roof of the bus, to let the smoke escape.

The no longer, nondescript red bus was barely limping along by now. It was moving only because there was one gear. The driver kept valiantly trying to find another one, but they were all MIA. And before the bus covered very many more miles, that last gear took sick leave, and there the bus stopped along the side of the road. 100 Cambodia Boondocks, Cambodia.

The girls sat in the back of the bus in silence, as the ambitious driver again dug out his wrench set and went to work. At this point, it seemed like the best option was stress eating, and the girls sure were glad for the endless snack bar that was packed in the one backpack. The rest of the travelers looked on with interest and the girls plotted out how they could make the supplies reach around to everyone as they spent the night on the red bus.

But, that was useless chatter, because God was providing. Less than 10 minutes after the bus reached its breaking point, a white van pulled off in front of the bus and stopped, four ways blinking. The one Khmer traveler got off and soon was back on the bus talking excitedly. The most knowledgeable of the 3 ladies got off too, and soon reappeared frantically motioning to shut down the snack buffet, gather the belongings and bid the bus by the side of the road, adieu.

So they did. They threw their luggage in among the vegetables this family was hauling and off they sailed in the darkness.

The van made mulitple stops, dropping off people and veggies.  And thanks to the help of google maps, and a call to the gals destination, soon the little white veggie van was pulling up in front of the most beautiful motel ever seen.

That night, as the girls stood on the balcony watching the small green lights from fishing boats, shining out in the Gulf of Thailand- their hearts were filled with praise to the Almighty Father who provides all things (even  vegetable vans) at the best time.


His timing is perfect!


Bonus Pics:

This trip to Kep was a #30for30 for me… 3 large bodies of water in one month- the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Gulf of Thailand (I thought maybe this would be the Indian Ocean, but according to google (who knows everything) it’s still the Pacific…


Fishermen taking it easy after working all night



The crab market at Kep, Cambodia was so fascinating! We did not have enough time there!


The wild mama monkeys and their adorable babies hanging on for dear life added another dimension to this experience 🙂


And the final adventure- ferrying over the Mekong (I think) river to visit Silk Island. (notice the difference between a loaded and empty barge in the background)


The ferry captain and cutest first mate ever.



Silk comes from dissolving the cocoons of a silkworm in boiling water. The fibers are wrapped on a reel, then sent to the next location where they are spun into a thread.


The thread is then dyed and sent to the loom. They said that it takes up to 20 days of labor for 1 yard of intricately woven fabric. Wow.


I was so amused by the hammock travel. The tuk tuk drivers would even string up hammocks in their tuk tuks while they waited for their passengers to finish shopping. I tried to visualize how how I could do this in my van. ha


Exotic Asian fruit. My favorite was the eyeball fruit (Kendra’s made up name) on the right. 🙂


Ladies, thanks for allowing me to tag along on this incredible whirl wind of an adventure! What a priceless memory! luv you!

Approximately 7 different flights and 44 hours, 2 buses and 9 hours, 1 van and 1 hour, 2 ferry rides, countless hours on the back of a tuk tuk, and miles on foot- in 11.5 days- we are home. PTL


2 of 3: The Trees in Siem Reap

The little lady spoke English well, as we stopped by her booth in the middle of the Russian Market. “Can I help you with something? What are you looking for?” We were on a quest for an adorable stuffed elephant- a gift for a baby- and she had just what we needed. We entered the bartering game easily and soon had agreed on a price. “What else do you need?” I watched Em’s face and she was doing the exact same as I knew that I was- her face was expressionless, as she focused on looking at the merchandise in front of her. Barely making eye contact with the store opener. You see, the store owner’s face was blown off. Her nose was mostly missing and horrid scarring covered her entire face. It was impossible to look at her and not stare. My mind raced at what had caused those scars (Cambodia is one of the top countries for active land mines) I wanted to cry over the amount of courage that it must take this lady to head out the door every morning… As we finished up our business, her parting words were “God bless you” and I thought of the tree.

The beautiful young girl moved with grace and confidence across the room to where I was seated, enjoying the luxury of a glass of cold ice water. She sat down on the floor in front of me and proceeded to give me the best foot massage ever. We chatted some, but the ever present language barrier made the conversation brief. I watched her gifted hands work, again I wanted to cry. We were visiting   Open Arms   which is a vocational training center for rescued women. (The night before the team at DNI had taken us on a brief drive and we happened through the redlight district. 100s and 100s and 100s of beautiful young girls. My heart broke as I wondered what each story was.) So here we were, doing the only thing that we could to combat the problem, in the week we were there: supporting the system that was already in place and successful, and treating ourselves. This hardly seemed fair. Impulsively, I wished that I could be the one serving her, and then I laughed to myself at the thought of me attempting to covey that request… And I thought of the tree.

Approximately 400 years ago, a little Spung tree shot out its first leaves on a hot day in Ankor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. The tree was surprised out how good the view was so soon. You see, it had chosen to grow up on the Ta Prohm temple wall. This fact totally changed the life of the tree. As the sun beat down on the little tree, some-days, it was so thirsty, it wasn’t sure it was going to survive. But then the rains would come and it would drink and drink… One day, life changed again, for our little friend. Just like that, it’s feet hit solid ground and made their way into the cool moist earth where endless water supply was available. And although the cool smooth stones that shaped the trees existence in the past were still a reality, the tree was able to move past the wall, and make some choices of it’s own.


Today, there it stands. Unashamedly, lifting up ginormous wooden arms 70 feet in the air. The lacy root system rushing over any obstacle in it’s path. Whispering gentle reminders of courage, strength, and overcoming.


Yes, there are lots of people who remind me of the tree. Because they chose not to let difficult things in their life paralyze them. Because they move past the pain and embrace the Giver of Grace. Because they can fully claim 1 Peter 2:4 “chosen by God, and precious to Him…”



Bonus Pics:

Our short visit to Jody and Siem Reap was wonderful. They are with ALAM from OH and also work with CAM’s well drilling project in Cambodia. We shadowed the team as they taught English out in the village and were impressed with how the children were learning.



After class was a game of football (soccer) this is my kind of a goalie 😉

Exploring the countryside and 1000 questions about agriculture in Cambodia was another high point.



Water Buffalo that were used for plowing the rice fields. They are being replaced by a machine that appears to be 2 wheels and an engine.


Watched this lady carefully planting the Khmer version of potatoes with her barefeet


It was hard to leave this gorgeous countryside

And Ankor Wat 🙂 We visited at sunrise- Em, I and our tuk-tuk driver, along with half of the country. Em said she had “no idea there were so many motivated people” and I had to agree. Anyhow, we waded into the crowds in time to watch the sun begin its daily trek across the sky.


Ankor Wat is a temple complex, that was constructed in the 12th century. It is also the largest religious monument in the world. There are over 100 temples in the area, but we only had a few hours to explore. (As it was, we walked 6 miles by 8 am, small wonder I needed a foot massage)




And one last pic (since I don’t have photo document of Jody, Em and I tearing through the darkness on one moto- destination- night market and souvenir shopping) This little farmer boy wanted me to take his pic, so I happily obliged while Em helped his mama catch 2 piglets that were out.🙉


What a wonderful 24 hours! Thanks again, Jody, for everything!

1 of 3: Ah, Asia

Dear Cambodia,

The whirlwind week that we spent inside your borders is not one that I will forget.


Your history touches me. The Khmer Rogue/ Cambodian genocide from the 70s where 25% of the population died is hard for me to imagine. What crippling pain. How can a country overcome that?


It takes 4100 riel makes up $1 USD… this is equivalent to $2.70


Your transportation is a marvel. The 3 wheel motorcycle taxis called tuk-tuks running redlights, easing out into oncoming traffic, deciding who goes first by who blows the horn first. ( Kandace, our delighful host lives in a dorm and their motorcycle gang made me smile- they always pulled their motos into the living room before they locked the 14 padlocks for the night. This is the livingroom after curfew:)


Your people are wonderful. And your culture fascinating. I’ll admit- I was wide-eyed the entire week. Sorry for the times I forgot to take off my shoes at the door… Or when I wasn’t very good at sitting cross legged on the ground… Or when my “Joom riep sue” greeting was totally butchered… Thank you for being patient with all the millions of questions.



And the food… What an adventure! My favorite was the fried rice. The pork/egg/rice combo wasn’t far behind. The fish egg cake- not so much… And I didn’t get the courage up in the short amount of time we visited to try any of the snails and other little creatures your people are so fond of… I will miss the iced espresso coffee with sweetened condensed milk sold by the neighbor right outside our front door… And the fresh squeezed sugar cane was a delicious treat as well. 🙂





Oh and Em and I wandering into a little restaurant and managing to order a complete meal with basically just hand signals was classic as well..


And the beautiful precious children. These beggar children with their trick dog was about more than my heart could handle… And the children on the street that Katrina lives on- all heart eyes.



Oh Cambodia- you still have the chance to know the truth- there are so many people dedicating their lives to show you God and and His love. Please listen! (Cambodia is “95% Buddist with Islam, Christianity and tribal animism making up the bulk of the remainder.” -wikipedia)



Yes Cambodia, your land of extreme opposites showed Emily and I quite the eventful week.



Thank you,


Experiencing the Migrant Work of Turmeric Harvest



noun: migrant worker

a worker who moves from place to place to do seasonal work.

synonyms: immigrant, emigrant;


Turmeric or tumeric (Curcuma longa) /ˈtərmərɪk/ or /ˈtjuːmərɪk/ or /ˈtuːmərɪk/[2] is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae.[3] It is native to southern Asia, requiring temperatures between 20 and 30 °C (68 and 86 °F) and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive.[4] Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes and propagated from some of those rhizomes in the following season.


Kendra Dawn/

proper noun

a gal who’s hobby as a van driver gets her in on the most unusual experiences

adjectives:  adventure, blessed

I guess the best place to start is the beginning- once upon a time, I received a phone call that made me scratch my head a little. “Would you be interested in taking us to Florida in January for turmeric harvest?” She had me as soon as she said “Florida”, but what on earth is turmeric and how is it harvested?

Fast forward 2 months, and our jovial band of 5 ladies were southern Florida bound. We made the 915 mile trek without incident and were transported back to our childhood thanks to an audio series of Pollyanna- so many reasons to be glad. 🙂

Our destination was White Rabbit Organic Farm, where our base was the second floor of this big barn- which was very comfortable living quarters. (pictured is the nearest neighbor- a goat that lived downstairs)


We had the free reign of the house, except that they left an entertainment committee in charge of our gang… Bijou (French for jewel) was a 23-year-old cockatoo that stole the show and possible damaged a bit of hearing… She was a very endearing bird that seemed determined to help me get over my fear of fowl. After the week was up, we had made some progress, but there were no good-bye hugs, to state it mildly.


And we were 10 miles from the Atlantic. No more words needed.


But anyhow, all the preliminaries aside- we were summoned to harvest. There is a lot of info on the benifit of turmeric right now, maybe you’ve noticed, it’s kind the bandwagon thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are health benefits, but I’m a bit skeptical that it eliminates all arthritis, Alzheimer, AND cancer… But that’s great if it does.

Our product was heading to a whole foods market, where I understand it’s popular as a juice…

So Step One: The plant grows to be about 3 feet tall, and was dying down when the farmer’s daughter came through on their 1655 Oliver and dug the plant- we were interested in the root.



Step Two: The plant was then placed on the washing table, where the tops were cut off and the roots received their first bath. (pic of the harvest crew)


The product is then wheelbarrowed in to the next station…


Step Three is mainly where I was joined in the efforts… Here we separated the original bulb (the mother) from the new growth, trimmed the roots off and sorted the fingers for shipping.


Here is where we strengthened friendships and fought the common cold that threatened to kill a number of our group. We also did an intense nature study:


We solved a few world issues, and even prevented a murder. We discovered that a lizard can lose multiple parts of his tail. Wilda rescued the brown one from the jaws of death of the green-eyed monster. He thanked her by kicking off a part of his tail, beating a hasty retreat. The next day, she met him again, and recognized him by his stub tail… And was amazed when he kicked off the second section of his tail and left it writhing in the dust as he scurried for greener pastures…


We basked in the glorious southern Florida sun and really it was the perfect temp, even if at one point I thought for sure I saw a mirage- a Dr Pepper with my name on it. The next day, my mirage came true 🙂 There it stood on the final washing table (Step Four) in all it’s beauty- I had to blink several times to make sure I was seeing correctly. (I blame the cold for a semi foggy brain)


Step Five: the finished product- drying before being boxed for market. In the 4.5 days we worked we had approximately 1500 lbs ready to be shipped.

The only rain cloud on our project was that we didn’t finish the job as we’d hoped, but the boss’s wife assured us that in India, it takes 100 workers to harvest an acre/day. Small wonder our group didn’t suceed in the alloted time.


As the sun set, and I trudged for the house in my rubber boots, occasionally I found myself lost in an imaginary world of a migrant worker- depending on the harvest in various communities and the generosity of the farmer to exist.


It’s not too hard for me to relate- the love of the land, the addiction of the fresh air and sunshine: and the challenge of producing another crop.  No, these are not foreign to me at all…

And then, we loaded up in our stationwagon  van, and waved cheerfully out the window, as we headed on for the next adventure…

My God who promises rain and sunshine, seed-time and harvest, is a Good God!



Bonus Pic:

The icing on the cake was a morning kayak tour through the Indian River Lagoon, where our very knowledgeable tour guide had us paddling right through the middle of a dolphin feeding grounds which we watched amazed… And I got practically splashed by a little shark. And she had us lick the leaves of the mangrove tree. These hearty plants have their own salt filtering system which sends the salt onto the leaves, where it dries in the sunshine, and falls from the plant. God’s World is Wonderful.




12 pics from Christmas


For the 12 pics from Christmas, Nicaragua showed to me:



12 Old Colonial Churches (This is Central… I actually didn’t see all 12, but I love seeing the beautiful churches strategically placed throughout the city)


11 Pelicans Fishing I love watching the flocks of pelicans flying up the coast in a line- skimming along each wave- rising when the wind current changes- Fascinating


bonus pic: the sunset over the Pacific was breathtaking


10 Cottons Snowballs Deborah found cotton snowballs in the supply closet and we had quite a few rounds of battle during my visit. Here the troops (neighborhood children) are advancing fearlessly.


9 Hunted Geckos Every night Deb picks up her beloved cat Moron, and proceeds through the house. Both of them craning their necks to the ceiling hunting Geckos. They really have put a hurting on the population too..


8 Launched Bottle Rockets I think this number was closer to 8,000…. The city exploded day and night with fire crackers. And, thanks to my little sis who thought it was necessary to set off a few herself- in the house while I was cooking- Pretty sure I lost some hearing. I’m sorry, were you saying something?


7 Stands of Fresh Produce I love the action and the colors of the market place- so much takes place here and it’s so different than what I’m used to… I do not love the smell…


bonus pic: the meat part of the market is hard for me to deal with. Guess how far it’s possible to walk without breathing?


6 Exploding El Veijo We sent 2016 out with a bang again… This year was almost more traumatic because we just missed witnessing a motorcycle wreck, and the ambulance came rushing through the crowd, and a bunch of drunks set off their dummy at 11:53 and THEN we discovered that our truck was parked between 2 firecracker strips- a hissing snake of fireworks that shot explosives back and forth and cinders flew through the air and we smelled like a firework factory. More hearing loss for KH. (Last year’s version of this tradition can be read here : Out with the Old )


5 Excited Children We went visiting through one of the neighborhoods, and I loved watching Deborah interact with the children from Children’s Church. When the little guy in the orange was younger, he dipped his hand in hot oil, and wiped it off quickly on his shirt>>>which melted into his skin… He has a pretty decent scar that he was sure to call to our attention.


4 on a bicycle This pic needs no explanation


3 Smoking Volcanoes I was reading Ps 104 in my devotions while I was there. I think the Psalmist had Nica in mind:

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

33 I will sing to the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.


bonus pic: this crater lake wasn’t smoking… but a refreshing place to swim! Not sure what the bull was doing here, but I wonder if he was responsible for pulling the cart that was left up at the top of the crater


2 Iced Mocha Frappes (and one mint drink) I loved spending time with these ladies. Sadie moved in in October and her sense of humor added a sparkle to everyday.


And 1 Loro Staring at Me Can you tell that I don’t trust that pointy beak? 


Deborah, Thanks so much for sharing another incredible adventure! May God continue to give you grace for the day!

Love you,