Friday, January 21, 2011


She walks with a quiet assurance , but when engaged in conversation meets you with a steady gaze. Her hands are her tools as she works tenderly on her patients to repair whatever illness or incident has befallen them. She must live suspended above all of us as her life is not her own. She is called away from sleep, from her children, from her family with no notice. She arrives ready to work, ready to solve, ready to save.
The warmth that I see in her brown eyes never reflects that horrors and pain she has witnessed, only the hope she conveys. She is a talented surgeon , a witty and wise woman, a mother and a friend. My hat goes off to Dra. Indira Sanchez, she truly is AMAZING!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

By candle light

 This was written for my friend Marlis over a month ago, right now she battles for healing after a second surgery:

 Since I live so faraway from many people that are dear to me, I have created a tradition that in times of labor I light a candle for the women I love as they labor their children so mightily and lovingly into the world.
The burning flame reminds me of the intensity that it takes to grow a child in your womb and then courageously when the time is right ,release he or she into this big wide world. It is a task and a process in which I am familiar, in which I can emotionally imagine the feelings of excitement and fear and awe as you finally see your baby slip into the world.
It is tonight I honor with my burning flame a woman whom I have known since age twelve, who has grown into an amazing , wonderful, vivacious, witty and wise woman.
The news came in the early hours of morning here in Honduras as I brewed coffee extra dash of creamer and lit every candle in the house. It was as the sky turned pink with signs of morning that I sat clutching my mug and imagined  her body raging with this wonderful little girl making her way to us.
 I'm in awe of my friend tonite as  write, not just her hard work today in the birthing chamber, but it's the woman she is and the friend she has been to me, that I have spent time reflecting on!
 She once described me this way;
 "Mostly she is the fire one seeks to calm and comfort oneself in quiet darkness.  She is the fire that is impassioned, radiant, deep and rich."
Tonight, as I think of her with her baby girl curled up in her arms, this is how I imagine  her. This is what she offers to others that she so generously loves.She indeed is the fire,the deep , the radiant, the impassioned!
My candle burns for my dear friend tonite!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I'm sitting at my kitchen table overwhelmed...
It was only days ago I posted a story about a family that needs our help, and I have gotten emails as faraway as Scotland!
I am so incredibly grateful to have so many caring and conscientious people in my life.
It is amazing to me that I can put out a call from so faraway and together WE RISE!
What we have done to date is provided blankets , sheets and pillows. Four beds, some household items and clothing are in transit from the States!
We have a few commitments for cash donations to assist with the repair of the roof and if we accomplish that we will move on to windows.
Now we are in immediate need of FOOD!
Thank you to all the people who have taken the time to help with this.
One foot in front of the other!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In the NOW !

There  are those of us who map out our futures, our lives, strategic planing , I believe it called. Then there are those that live right here in this very moment, with no ability to look beyond present circumstance. Many of these circumstances include hunger, lack of shelter and no money to even buy a uniform for $30 to send your child to public school. This is what many families in Honduras face everyday.
I'm not going to bore you with statistics about daily wages or United Nations stats on this country. You all have Internet , google it if you are interested. But I would like to tell you about a family that I had the pleasure of meeting that is facing these very same problems.
After a fire burned their house to the ground this family's home was rebuilt, but just as a shell.  No windows or doors just a concrete structure. The most surprising thing about this family is the fact there are about 22 children living in this shell. One would expect a kitchen the size of summer camp for this small tribe, but what I found was no refrigeration, a broken stove and a small wooden counter serving as a kitchen.
Who's at the helm?
Two elderly grand parents, with gentle souls and trusting eyes. I was invited into the intimate haven of their bed room a small bed pushed in the corner , with their Grand daughter on the floor, rolling around. On closer inspection the grand daughter has downs syndrome. The unfinished concrete leaves a musky smell that also produces large amounts of dust that  can be deadly for island children with asthma ( a condition that effects almost 70% of all children here.) Looking upwards I notice big gaps in the roofing where rain can pour in at any moment. 
As the children catch wind of my visit the small 8X10 bedroom fills up and soon I have counted 25 souls of all ages.
Apart from the grandparents bed I see no other bed in the house.Why? Because there are none.The kids and other adults are placed on the dusty, raw unfinished concrete floor. No blankets in sight, toys, chairs, food,shoes. Truly is an empty shell. Why so many kids? You are  wondering. I sure the hell was!
One of the mothers died a few years back leaving her daughter ( with Downs ) and about ten others.
The needs are endless....certainly catapulted me into a reality check. I will not continue with the bleak descriptions of their physical situation
The deal is I am,  with a few other individuals who would like to remain anonymous are going to assist this family in covering a few basic needs.
If you feel compelled to help with our efforts please email me
Again it is a privilege to accepted into the home of this very unique and loving family , let's give them a Christmas to remember!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Everyone everywhere has experienced loss. It is a universal truth that ties us together crossing, economic, political, racial, religious and geographical boundaries. But to watch it, hear and touch it, is an experience that creeps into your pores and leaves long lasting images.
We discover parts of ourselves when we love others and in times of distress we find strengths we never knew we had. Last weekend the world lost a woman who was 41! What I discovered in her passing  were a few amazing women that rose up to work as quiet angels in our midst. Because of where we live and what we have access too, often when we lose a loved one the family and community must take care of the details of death. We all know that in times of grief this can be difficult and heart wrenching.
I had the honor of assisting a few women of the family in washing and preparing the body. It was  thru this ritual in a bleak, white walled room at the morgue that I saw a demonstration of love that astounded me. The women's cousin lovingly washed her body as she would wash a newborn baby. Gently stroking her, talking in low melodic tones as big watery tears washed down her ebony cheeks. There were moments I wished I could evaporate in to the air, so she could privately have this time as she said her  good-byes.
It was there on a rainy night in Coxen hole with 150 family members and friends waiting outside that I experienced community in it's truest form.
I leave you with the words of Mary Oliver.........

"When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world."
— Mary Oliver

Friday, September 24, 2010

Calling all Ladies!

Last week I was in La Cieba waiting for the arrival of Croucher #3 .. While there I discovered  on the bed side table at my friend's house sat the novel " The Red Tent" by Anita Diamant.
Immediately I was taken back nearly seven years ago when I read the book for the first time while pregnant with my daughter. I nostalgically remembered reading about the heroine Dinah from the Old testament, while patting my growing little girl inside me. For those of you who have not read the book here is how describes it!

"The red tent is the place where women gathered during their cycles of birthing, menses, and even illness. Like the conversations and mysteries held within this feminine tent, this sweeping piece of fiction offers an insider's look at the daily life of a biblical sorority of mothers and wives and their one and only daughter, Dinah. Told in the voice of Jacob's daughter Dinah (who only received a glimpse of recognition in the Book of Genesis), we are privy to the fascinating feminine characters who bled within the red tent. In a confiding and poetic voice, Dinah whispers stories of her four mothers, Rachel, Leah, Zilpah, and Bilhah--all wives to Jacob, and each one embodying unique feminine traits. As she reveals these sensual and emotionally charged stories we learn of birthing miracles, slaves, artisans, household gods, and sisterhood secrets. Eventually Dinah delves into her own saga of betrayals, grief, and a call to midwifery.

"Like any sisters who live together and share a husband, my mother and aunties spun a sticky web of loyalties and grudges," Anita Diamant writes in the voice of Dinah. "They traded secrets like bracelets, and these were handed down to me the only surviving girl. They told me things I was too young to hear. They held my face between their hands and made me swear to remember." Remembering women's earthy stories and passionate history is indeed the theme of this magnificent book. In fact, it's been said that The Red Tent is what the Bible might have been had it been written by God's daughters, instead of her sons. --Gail Hudson --

After surrendering once again to the story of Dinah, the daughter, sister, lover , midwife and Mother I felt compelled to reach out in feminine spirit to invite all those who have not read this book to do so in haste!
Although it is true there are many parallels to my life and Dinah's what was so profound for me is the call to return as women to the " virtual Red Tent."
Our culture encourages us to compete with other women rather then  to commune. We are pressured to convey that we have it all together all the time. We are continuously under the pressure to look a certain way, keep our homes a certain way, present our kids in certain way. That we can do it all.
This is a fallacy and a myth that leads to isolation as women. The very source of our femininity is too nurture . We are intuitive, gentle , caring and  bright. And in the darkest moments we are MAMA Lioness's with sheer strength.
If women spent more time supporting one another , listening to each other's stories, being real, suspending judgement, letting go of masks we would be a much stronger force!Im looking forward to welcoming my daughter and all those before me and behind me into the RED TENT!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Coxen Hole Revealed

A few days ago I took my high school students on a walking tour of Coxen Hole. The objective was for them was see beyond what they see everyday and glimspe the beauty in this thriving community. I encouraged each student to see beneath the obvious exterior. These are their images and their words. Enjoy!

"Like everything in the world, this meek town is riddled with layers. Peel them back, and you get a jist of its rarely-noticed beauty." -Cheyenne Schaub

"I was able to see through the tourists’ superficial view of a “dirty town”. Chaos is beautiful. The old buildings, the new buildings, the dilapidated buildings, and the ostentatious, were all there. The sun shining on the water below the cloudless sky, the breeze brushing against my face as I viewed the boats and the docks that make the fishing community..."  Kaela Watkins

''The people were friendly, and the environment was calm, calm enough to see the beauty in the city.
Walking through the streets of Coxen Hole was beautiful, and refreshing to see that it isn't a bad place.''
Dimitri Midence 

'' The markets were stacked with vegetables, all on top of each other, some vegetables barely got air"
Karl Falkenroth 

''I noticed Ms Valerie’s mural which had various HIV/AIDS patients write about how they worked through the sickness. This was very deep
and inspiring because these people suffered through the virus and managed to still keep hope despite what was happening to them.''
 Jordan Watkins

" People spend their whole lives in one small area. The comings and going's common knowledge for all. Daily life in the forefront people working , living , suffering, loving. Just like people everywhere." 
Ms Berna


"The people have a compassion for everyone. They are so tightly knit and

help each other with their daily works. They show their love for
strangers with a smile and a "Buenas Dias".
Michael Moore