Monday, July 19, 2010

Mango Memories

You know when you don't plan on it but you have a flash back.  That happened to me this afternoon as I was cutting up a mango for my baby.  That sensorial memory is something else.

I used to work as a nurse before this mommy gig and had the opportunity to live and work in Belize.  It was quite an experience for me, many lessons learned and lots of personal growth.  I lived in a little town called Benque Viejo del Carmen on the Guatemalan border in a small house with 4 other women, they were teachers.  In our front yard lived a woman named "Sarah."  Yes, she literally lived in our front yard in a little yellow 1 room shack.  They didn't even have a bathroom.  Well, they did, in a separate out-house next to the shack.  A stinky, smelly hole in the ground with dilapidated wood forming wanna-be walls.  Not too much modesty for a young woman using the restroom.  Sarah lived with her 2 young children, "Maybelline" (like the cosmetic company) and "Nere."  They were 1yr. and 5yr. and Sarah was probably mid-twenties pushing 40.  They were poor but they had shelter and Sarah was my friend.

Just in front of the shack and out-house, closest to the street, we shared a large mango tree.  Fresh, yummy mangoes grew for us to have any time.  I often would see little Nere and Maybelline with their fists full of fruit and yellow juice streaming down their chins and their tummies with satisfied smiles on their faces.  When they were hungry they simply could go out their front door and Nere would find a rock, aim and knock a mango out of the tree for his little sister first and then one for himself.  Sometimes his aim was really good and Sarah would share their mangoes with me.  They were good.

One day I looked out of the window and saw 2 men knocking down the rest of our mangoes to sell.  I was so mad I ran out of the house and started yelling at them in my lousy Spanish and waved my arms at them  crazily trying to shoo them away.  "How would Maybelline and Nere have anything to eat if they took all of their mangoes"  I was thinking.  The men stopped and looked at me puzzled then continued to gather the mangoes.  I frantically looked around but could do nothing more and frankly I was scared.  I was scared I would make the men mad and they would come and hurt me.  I was mad I couldn't do anything more and mad that my little friends might not have any more mangoes, I was mad.

I remember trying to explain to Sarah later about what had happened and how I had tried to save the mangoes, defend the mango tree, and she simply looked at me and smiled and shrugged.  I think that day I learned how she survived, she rolled with the punches.  Sarah had no real voice, I mean , she could speak but who would hear?  She was husband less, jobless, but somehow she had shelter and her children were fed.  She never complained and always had a smile on her face.  I miss Sarah and her children.

Tomorrow I will share a mango with my children and tell them about Sarah and the mango tree.

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