This morning, on a walk to the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge that separates north from south Ambergris Caye, I am still in San Pedro Town and take shelter in a bus stand because rain is moving in with dark clouds behind it.
San Pedro Town is in the center of Ambergris Caye in the Caribbean Sea, south of Mexico and east of Guatamala.
As you walk south, away from town, you run into Mahogany Bay Village, an upper end real estate development with a hotel option, custom townhouses, and a three stage development plan starting in the low two hundred thousand U.S. dollar range. As you cross the bridge north you run into the Akbol Yoga Retreat, and further along the road, Captain Morgan’s Casino and Resort.
The land, either north or south from San Pedro Town, is not much higher than the sea. Running parallel to the main paved roads is marshland, lagoons, scrubby trees and tangled roots.
Standing in the shelter with me, three children adjust their trash bag raincoats and talk. The biggest of the three is an older sister who directs her siblings like her mother taught her to do.
Guatemala, to the west, is even poorer than Belize, and Nicaragua is even poorer than Guatemala. The chances these girls will become pregnant and have three kids before they are 21 are large.
As the morning rain abates, the girls leave the bus stand and walk back towards town. I wait for the rain to really stop, not in any hurry.
On an island, you quickly come to the end of the road no matter which direction you go or how fast you travel.
How many kids can’t change their future because no one tells them what their future will be if they don’t change?