Thursday, November 04, 2004

What's this "ball foot" that you're talking about?

There is this journalist who's coming over soon and she wants me to show her some of the more colorful characters of Belize. Well, one person that she will have to meet is Walter Friesen. He is the spiritual leader of the Mennonite society in Barton Creek. We once bought a horse of him, which really was quite an experience.

After galloping round the fields and doing a little bit of bartering we decided to buy the horse. "So, will you take him or do you want us to bring him to to you?" Walter Friesen asked. We didn't have a trailer with us, so of course we answered "Well, it would be best if you could bring him". See, Barton Creek is quite a long way from Belmopan. It's about an hours drive. So how could we take him back without a trailer?

Anyway, it wasn't until we got back home that it dawned on us that Walter wouldn't have a trailer either. The Mennonites don't use cars, they have no electricity, no telephone and of course they wouldn't have trailers. How dumb of us to not even think of that. How on earth would he get this horse to us?

On the agreed morning, Walter did show up with the horse. His son was on the horse's back and Walter had walked next to the horse all the way! We couldn't believe it. That must had taken him hours.

Anyway, he and his son were as stunned as we were. They looked at our house and couldn't believe their eyes. Here was this huge round house and there were only two people living in it! (Lucas wasn't born yet)

Walter asked how it was possible that young people like us could afford a house like this. Andy tried to explain that he used to be a professional footballer and made a lot of money with that. "What is this ball foot that you are talking about?" Walter asked. Andy tried to explain again, but Walter really wasn't getting it. "You kicked a ball and was given lots of money for that?" It totally baffled him. "We don't have games in our community" He said.

In the meantime, his son was frozen on the spot, staring at our big-screen TV. It turned out that this boy (17 years old) had never set foot outside of their small community yet. We invited him to sit down on the sofa and then noticed that he was acting kind of strange. He was moving his body from side to side with this weird grin on his face. Walter explained that he had never sat on soft furnishing before. "We don't have that in our community either" he said.

Wow, how different lifestyles can be. Andy drove them back (Mennonites are allowed to get lifts from others, they just aren't allowed to drive themselves) and they talked some more about "Ball foot".

I'm looking forward to visiting Walter and his family again. Who knows, they may have started to play ball foot themselves?