Tag Archives: belize

There’s No Place Like Home

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There’s No Place Like Home

What if you could never go home? Or even see your family again except in Facebook pictures? I’m contemplating this on my flight home because this weekend I met a refugee from Syria in New York. He moved to the U.S. a few months ago, and he will never be able to return. Not just because of the civil war or violence that is ongoing, but also because he is gay. He is not homeless in the traditional sense; but if you consider the place where your family, relatives and loved ones reside as your home, then he is without a home.

His culture’s inability to accept homosexuality did not change the fact that he seems to love his home very much. He talked about the food from Syria with passion, as he discussed the different taste of U.S. hummus with our Israeli host. He described the different varieties of pomegranates in his homeland with a hunger in his eyes that expressed his longing.

Although his parents may never know or understand his sexual preference, he still loves and misses them very much. He told me that he would check his phone constantly because he never knew when his relatives would have Internet access to call, and he needed to be able to answer in case they got a chance. Communication was exceptionally urgent recently, as my friend’s mother had told him that Russian troops were just stationed in their village. He explained that this is a very bad sign and he feared for the lives of his family if the village were bombed. He was so worried that he hadn’t been able to sleep for 12 days since.

I could not even begin to imagine what it would be like to be unable to return to Belize, to never see Mamita again, or to only see my little cousins grow up in pictures. It’s hard enough to see my grandparents aging, but to fear that an off-target bomb could reduce my entire family to “collateral damage” in a moment’s notice? I would not be able to sleep either.

Meanwhile, across town, the leaders of almost every country in the world were in Manhattan for the United Nations General Assembly. I cannot understand how Americans, Israelis and Syrians can eat dinner together in peace, but our governments cannot take the time to ensure the safety of entire nations by resolving these issues themselves. Or at least get together over dinner and agree to stop supplying weapons to the governments and rebel groups that insist on causing problems. Real lives hang in the balance, and refugee crises can be prevented by keeping residents safe at home.

We discussed many things that night, including the geopolitical climate in the Middle East. We agreed that the conflicts were about power and resources, not religion like so many believe. We thought that the world would be a better place without governments or borders to separate the individuals that live within these artificial lines that some empires arbitrarily sketched on a map way back when. Just IMAGINE… If we were all citizens of the world instead of countries. Then a man could love a man, a Palestinian could love an Israeli, and everyone could worship the Creator in his or her own way; without arguing over who gets to sit at the UN’s table.

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Snap Shot of a Third World Country

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Snap Shot of a Third World Country

This morning, my dad and I traveled to the sketchy part of Belize City to get some of the BEST meat pies in the country. I had just rolled up my window after taking this picture – to juxtapose my normal shots of beautiful reefs and islands – when a man walked up to my car door. He yanked on the door handle and spun around after finding it locked, then ripped his shorts off before pacing by the car, naked and cursing. Two police officers watched from the shop door and shook their heads, knowing it would be too much hassle to reprimand the crazy man and that I wasn’t in any real danger. I just wanted to post this to raise awareness for the adversity that up-and-coming entrepreneurs must overcome in lesser developed countries like Belize. The rule of law is the only thing that makes it possible for business owners like Dario to sell their products and contribute to the economy, while law enforcement is tenuous at best. This is why we should be grateful to the people who risk their lives every day to make sure that things like this don’t happen in our countries. Meanwhile, police officers in Belize must pick their battles… By the way, the meat pies were worth it!