by Diane Brady

Every morning I sweep what has entered my board house from the day before – pieces of ash from the fires burning around the village, dead ants, beetles, cockroaches, termites; I keep hoping the larger critters stay out and don’t crawl through wide cracks in the walls, and aside from one frog the size of my fist and several gecko friends, the snakes, tarantulas and lizards have not visited me yet. On Saturdays I usually do the wash, soaking my clothes in a plastic tub on my second-floor back porch before rinsing them downstairs in the adjacent building where the toilet and coldwater shower are housed; the water is hard with minerals so it takes a lot of powdered soap and capfuls of softener; the clothes then hang on a line around my huge kitchen, drying quickly in the tropical breeze that moves with force through the windows. My limited supply of dishes, silverware and coffee mugs are washed in two, large plastic bowls, the thin water pipe emerging from a gaping hole; there is no inside drain, so I hurl the dirty water over the side of the porch, occasionally hearing the sound of a spoon hitting the rocks below. After four months in my little Belizean home, far inland where the sugar cane grows, I have settled into this routine with little effort. But now I have another house to clean, and I am resistant to the idea and continue to procrastinate; I find distractions at all of the most opportune moments. For inside this great, haunted mansion, cob webs from my past still hide and cling in the most remote corners, and I am hoping that after 27 months in this developing country I will have the courage to sweep them clean, too.


Diane Brady is a Peace Corps Volunteer currently serving in Belize, C.A.