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Barron Our house for the night was on the far side of town, where the water pipes and power lines had not yet reached. The land seemed pretty bare and cultivated for Belize as we skirted the forest. Soon though, the trail led inside and we were back in the lush wild that had led me to think of this entire country as my own Secret Garden. We made it down to the creek to find three children cleaning their clothes and dishes. We informed them that they had invited us to stay with them for the night and they seemed pleased with the proclamation. We had a total of four kids; five year old Norris, two girls of seven and nine, and a fifteen year old girl who seemed more second mother than daughter. Norris reminded me of my own adopted brother, Olzhas, as he splashed in the river and threatened us with the snapping and growling of an alligator. With all but his head submerged he inched closer displaying a fiendish smile that tried to tout the ferocity of the alligator he was; but failed to conceal the joy of the little boy that was also him. Our feigned fear inspired to croc-boy to explode from the water and land on his stomach in perfect position to repeat the act several times. Before long we were handed clean pots and pans as our prizes to present to the mother. Soon we were caught up in a soccer (futbol) game and baseball after that. Everything was in play. If the foam ball held up on the roof it usually resulted in a triple. A line drive into a stick holding up the laundry line bounced back behind home for a double. After dinner we colored with all our three youngest siblings by candlelight and did word searches for almost an hour as the sun went down. Here when the sun set and the candle burned low it was goodnight for everybody. We found our bed to be a Mayansized wooden box that held us both… snugly. It wasn’t the most sleep I’ve ever gotten but laying in the dark at what must have been about eight o’clock I was completely at peace. Waking every couple hours I was cramped and maybe sore but every time infinitely happy to be there. A fantastic breakfast of eggs and tomatoes preceded a morning soccer game sans shoes. After the game we tossed handshakes and smiles all around, hoisted our duffels, and headed out. We walked through the village seeing new meaning all around. A yard full of chickens and happy kids is only a rowdy household until you’ve been a part of one and eaten the chicken’s eggs and colored with the children. I wondered how my brother from Kazakhstan fit into my family in the Midwest so perfectly and yet be so similar to a little boy in Belize? Ours is a world full of people like Norris, because he’s more than just one boy; he is every child that has ever lived and ever will live. His joy is my joy and walking the streets of Maya Center, Belize it was clear that Norris was there among those people but he’s also here, and in Kazakhstan, and everywhere that any people are. We are one people but the only way to know it is to look past race and age and nationality and see joy.