By Matthew D. Ruhl, S.J.
Wednesday/May 15, 2019/Punta Gorda, Belize
The country has voted to go to the International Court of Justice to settle a Guatemalan claim against the territorial integrity of Belize. This land claim of Guatemala’s has been a thorn in the side of Belize for decades. Yesterday, in a referendum wherein Belizeans went to the polls, the nation decided to meet Guatemala at the International Court of Justice at The Hague to settle the dispute.
As is my pastoral habit of 26 years, the first year of a new pastorate is spent primarily getting to know the people and seeing how the parish does things. I listen to hopes and complaints. I look for parish strengths and weaknesses. And now my Claver 2025 Team, with the Parish Council, are polling parishioners to discover what they believe the parish needs. The response has been overwhelming. There will be no shortage of input as we put together a five-year plan.
Sargassum has arrived. The algae, not a seaweed, comes from the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic. It is essential habitat to many species of fish and turtles who seek its shelter for breeding and refuge. The problem is that when it lands on our beaches it smells like rotting eggs. The good news is that sargassum is wonderful compost for gardens, very high in nitrogen. So, for the sake of our new garden, we will put up with the smell. Although Claret and Amy, who are closest to the garden, want time off until the sargassum dries.
Speaking of gardens. Yes, we have planted a garden and added to our landscaping. There are no florists in PG, so for weddings, funerals, Easter, Mothers’ Day, etc., we have to go to Mexico or Guatemala, making expensive flowers even more costly. We had to fence the garden for, as you know, our campus is open and every passerby thinks any flower is fair game. We got plenty of free cuttings from a parishioner who owns and operates the very lovely SPICE FARM, a botanical garden of exquisite beauty about 40 miles north.
On May 26th, I will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Scranton. I am deeply touched by this honor and have every intention of enjoying the moment. Some family and friends will be joining me and I am very happy about that too. I was on the Board of Trustees at Scranton for six years in the early 2000s and now have some of my dearest friends living in Scranton. You can bet I shall WIDELY distribute photos of me in cap and gown.
Finally, with summer around the corner, I want you to report that we who have absolutely no air-conditioning have been enjoying daytime temps in the lower 90s, with heat indices in the 105 to 110 range. Our little grade schoolers and teachers have not even any fans and must endure the swelter. No heat days off in PG. The school year lasts until the end of May.