Belize | November 15

An Unexpected Journey

Jerome

I’m the second of twins—born 20 minutes after my brother. I grew up in the village of Burrell Boom. The village got its name because years ago logs were brought down the river from the Caya district in the west and were held here by a big boom. 

My grandfather was a pastor, so my dad grew up in the Adventist Church, but later he left it. My mom raised us as Adventists, and when I was 13 or 14, I was baptized. We traveled eight miles to church each week. As the years passed by, my father built a house nearer to the church.

My dad was into trucking. When we were old enough, we started driving for him. Later he went into business with Belize Electric Limited. He was responsible for planting large electric poles. It was hard work to dig down six feet, then use a loader to lift up the pole. My dad’s workers would then climb the poles and install everything to make them functional. After a few years the crew wanted more money and started stealing from my dad.

The Fall

Then my twin brother and I started climbing poles for our dad. It’s very hard and dangerous work. One day as I was climbing, the safety strap was biting into my leg. I put my weight on it and fell 40 feet onto a rock, landed on my back, and went unconscious. When I awoke, I tried moving but wasn’t able to from the waist down. My brother went to get help, and after a long, arduous journey to the hospital, we finally arrived. The doctor put a big needle in my foot, but I didn’t feel a thing. They said I would never walk again. I was 21.

But the faith I was raised with brought me hope. I felt so calm and peaceful. As my mother stood at my bedside crying, I told her, “Don’t worry, Mom. I’ll be OK.” I always remember that little moment. It matters how your parents raise you. God allowed me to handle this crisis and go through it, not stressing out, but having faith that something good would come out of it and that I would be OK.

Building a Bike

For the first few years after the accident I was in and out of the hospital. One day while on the Internet at home I found a picture of a hand-pedaled bike. Downloading the picture, I saved up some money to buy materials, and then built my own bike. When the bike was ready, even I was surprised by how everything worked so perfectly. No one knew what it was. As I rode places, everyone was waving at me, and I felt positive and happy.

One day two American couples were riding their bicycles. They had biked a long distance and were trying to find a place to stay. Someone met them on the road and told them it wasn’t safe in the city, so they stayed close to where we live. I went to a nearby shop, and they saw my bright-yellow bike and started taking pictures. They came back in the evening and took more pictures, telling me that they would send them to me by email. They sent the pictures to others as well, and soon I was contacted by Channel 7 Belize for an interview. That gave me the opportunity to tell my story and share my faith with the entire country! 

Raising Awareness

I also wanted to raise awareness of disabilities, so I partnered with Care Belize, an organization that works with individuals with disabilities and their families. I planned to bike across Belize—a 90-mile trip. A business from Germany heard about my plans and sponsored materials for me to build another bike, as the first one I had made was very heavy. I trained on the heavy one, then made the actual 90-mile trip on the new aluminum-frame bike. I did the ride in just three days! 

Since that first trip I have made numerous bicycle trips across Belize, over all of the major highways of our country. My message is: Don’t look at someone who has a disability as if they aren’t able to do anything. With God, if you put your mind to it, you can do anything He wants you to do!

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