Global Handwashing Day!

Global Handwashing Day!

My Pueblo Viejo Home

My Pueblo Viejo Home

My Pueblo Viejo Home

My Pueblo Viejo Home

My Latrine and Shower

My Latrine and Shower

Some of My Host Siblings

Some of My Host Siblings

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

nurse jackie!

Belize, Belize, Belize!

So Monday night we grabbed some food at a local stand before doing some TurboJam back at the hotel.... Yes, you heard right, TurboJam!! (It's mine, of course!) Since it was a long day and we worked out, everyone pretty much passed out afterwards...

Tuesday we learned about DIARRHEA in training!!!! Nurse Jackie told us anything and EVERYTHING we need to know about diarrhea, among other pleasant diseases! We also had another session of kriol to spice up our language some more!! Otherwise, training was pretty basic. We did learn that we can avoid custom fees for packages sent within the first 6 months, so if you wanna send me a package.... do it now! haha That way we get out of that fee! 

I was exhausted after all the training and hardly sleeping, that I took a nice, LONG nap after training. (On my boxspring bed, haha). Around 8 o'clock we celebrated our first PC birthday! A fellow trainee, Chris, turned 27! My roomie, Kim, along with Molly and Zach made him a cake out of chocolate icing and Belizean cookies.... it tasted like a GIANT Dungaroo!!! Do you remember those things? Mmmmmm!

Today we had long training sessions. But it was worth the wait because after lunch we played jeopardy to find out our CBT sites! (Community Based Training sites where we will be with a host family for 5 weeks). Everyone is psyched!!! I am going to be living in a RURAL Mayan village called San Martin Village (pronounced San Marteen) just south of Belmopan.  There are three people in my training site, 2 guys and me. I probably won't have any internet access except for on Fridays when we come back for training in Belmopan, so I'll keep posting when possible!!! I'm excited! That's all for now!

ps... i miss American food.

Monday, March 29, 2010

How yu didu?

Today we got back to training at 7:30 am this time. It was a long day of learning different things and I felt so tired from the weekend off! haha By now my feet are pretty much stained brown from the dirt we are constantly kicking up as we walk! It's kind of amazing, haha.  I realize that I am still completely in the vacation part of this experience because we are living the good life! We are fed 2 times a day and have a hotel WITH electricity, AC, and HOT water and EVEN CABLE! It's gonna be a HUGE shocker on Thursday when we get to our host families! We're getting spoiled! But I will take it while it lasts!!

The morning's meetings were a lot of talking, which was kind of tiring. But we played soccer at lunch and it kinda livened everyone up for the afternoon sessions! We had meetings with our Program Managers to finalize our placements, and also medical interviews to make sure everything was ok before we left the HQ for 5 weeks. But while people left for those individual meetings, there was also a talk going on...so, of course, I was LATE to my first meeting with my program director! What a bad first impression!!! We were supposed to come back & tap the person after us to go & I was never tapped by the lady before me & ended up showing up 15 minutes late. FAIL! But it was all fine anyway... I was nervous I made a bad first impression..Oh well, no worries!

Our afternoon session was 2 1/2 hours of Kriol! It was SO exciting! I love Kriol! Everything is exactly the way you talk!

Gud maanin. Mee nayhn dah Mallory. I kohn frahn New York. I single. Mee no got no pikni! Tek kyaa!

Good morning. My name is Mallory. I come from New York. I'm single. I don't have any children. Take care!

hahaha! It's great!

I've been spoiled today with the amount of internet I've had!! But I'm glad I could update my blog and fill everyone in!  Everyone here is so wonderful and SO EDUCATED! It's amazing to get all these different mindsets on the world, cultures, politics, and everything else imaginable into one room! It's definitely broadening my horizons....

Ok, I'm off to grab a taco at the Shack! Feel free to send me mail!!  I would LOVE IT! lol
Mallory Begley
Peace Corps
PO Box 492
Belmopan
Belize

Nex taim den!

first day of training & 1st weekend in Belmopan!

Our training started at 8am on Friday (which was 10am back home since we are an hour behind but also don't have Daylight Savings). We started off with a Belizean breakfast... it was egg-type food with papaya. Yum! We also got a treat: juice! Training is a lot of basic information about Belize and the Peace Corps and security and such. Lunch was chicken, rice, beans, & "salad": potato salad on top of a few pieces of lettuce. haha. A handful of lucky people got fish instead of chicken! haha. We did a lot of ice breakers and more getting to know the staff and everything. At 5pm we were done walked back to the hotel. A group of us decided to walk around for food and exploration.... of course, we got lost. hahaha. But it was a scenic experience! We discovered all the places in Belmopan and got some tamales from a local vendor for dinner.... We ate them back at the hotel & watched a movie: worst tamales EVER!!!! They were so bad! Not a good starting experience for dinner on our own in Belize! haha.

The next day, Saturday, was our first day off! Well, technically is wasn't "off" but it was Cultural Day! We took a field trip to the Bermudan Landing, which was a small village where there is a baboon sanctuary! It was about an hour bus ride--now when I say bus ride, I mean yellow school bus-- before we arrived. We got a brief introduction to the Kriol culture ("creole") and the baboons they live with. Then our tour guide, Robert, took us on a walk through the rainforest, pointing out all the plants and trees and their medicinal purposes as we went. It was so impressive what he could tell us about the plants! You could solve everything from warts, to natural pregnancy tests, to fevers, to sedatives! I was in awe! Then as we are casually walking down the path, a couple of baboons came to join us! First it was just a mother and her baby on her belly, which was TOO cute! Then the father came and had a verbal fight with Robert, which was weird, hahahaha. THEN, another family came to join! They were so friendly!! It was amazing! Robert gave us pieces of banana and we even could feed the baboons right out of our hands!! I fed the mother and the baby...so cool! The baby was so tiny and he grabbed onto my hands for dear life. The mother would casually prop herself on people as she ate. It was great. Oh yea, & we ate rice & beans....& chicken. Shock! haha

After the tour, we had lunch and enjoyed some Kriol music and storytelling. It was neat, even though I can barely understand the language yet! The men played their music on turtle shells! (along with other, more traditional, instruments!)  Following lunch, we watched some cricket across the street before having to come back for more presentations. The women of the village taught us to dance and we danced for a LONG time! It was quite a workout in the hot Belizean heat!!! The women never stopped! & they event started getting down and dirty, grinding on each other and on us! It was so funny! The next presentation they showed us was making a mosquito broom, which is hard to describe, but when I put up pictures you will understand. It looks kinda like a broom, but it's lighter and to swat mosquitoes and you make it by beating a branch of this certain type of tree against a rock! So the guy showed us the demonstration and then he picked a volunteer to try & I was able to do one too! It was SO HARD!!! I beat it as hard as I could and barely busted it! But it was so great to try it out!! Hilarious!!! Once that presentation ended, we got a rice and nut grinding presentation (I don't know if that's the best word to describe it). We were all able to try that out. So fun!
And that ended our Cultural Day at Bermudan Landing.  Great!

When we got home, I was able to run to a local phone store and get myself hooked up with a cell phone! So I can get calls now!!! Yay! Then we went to dinner at a local place and bought some rum before going out! We drank a little in the hotel and then headed down to the main part of town to meet up w/some others of our group. The some older PCVs found us and told us about a club that was on the other side of town! So we went to "Twilight" for the night and it was so great! They were playing Belizean music and the 10-15 of us stuck out for sure in the tiny club. The DJ then started playing some 70s, 80s, & 90s classics and we went crazy on the dance floor!!! It was so much fun!!! Favorite moment of the night: Grease medley. I'm pretty sure they only kept that music on for us! hahahaha! But it was a good night out, especially since we are all getting separated on Thursday & won't have another weekend all together.


Sunday we were completely off! We had an optional trip to the river, which most of the trainees went to. It was SO fun!!! There was a rope swing and all the local boys were showing off and showing us tricks for us to do. We even went cliff jumping! (Which I literally thought was gonna be the death of me!!) But after the initial jump, you just can't get enough! It's a thrill!!! There were SO many families in the river: children swimming, dogs playing, mothers washing clothes.... I couldn't help but to watch and take in all the culture around me! Plus, the scenery! It was gorgeous! So native! It was a fantastic day AND I officially got some sun!!! (& I'm now a little burned even! haha) Immediately following the river, the PC staff set-up a kickball game at the local field. It was really fun!!! Most people came out and if they were playing, they cheered and watched.  We divided teams by sectors, so Business Organization and Youth Development were against Healthy Communities and Teacher Training. I'm not sure who won, I think my team lost... But I kicked a home run & it was a winning moment! hahahaha (along with a couple of great catches!) I was glad to play sports again! I felt like I hadn't done that in forever!!  Then all the girls had a girls night in the hotel, where we chatted and did hair and nails.... it was so fantastic because pretty much ALL the girls came: & our ages span from 21-71!!! So it was really cool to get everyone together outside of official PC stuff!!!

what's for dinner? oh! rice & beans!

Ok, so I'm finally taking the time (since I have internet right now!!) to write a REAL blog update!!  It's been less than a week & I already feel like I've been in Belize for months!! It's fantastic!

So Thursday we left Dallas for the airport.... which, as most things in my life are, was an interesting blog-telling experience! Our staging trainers abandoned us on a charter and left us to fend for ourselves in the airport, which none of us expected! So after that random abandonment, our bus driver gets HIT by a terminal shuttle at the airport! And instead of dropping us off and reporting the accident, she decides to pursue the other bus in a high-speed chase circling the Dallas-Fort Worth airport numerous times!! It was an insane start to this adventure! After she calmed down and let us off the Speed 3 minus Keanu Reeves experience, Paul Blart the Segway airport cop finished the chase.... AMAZING! hahahahaha!

We had about four hours to kill in the airport, which was enough time to have our last American meal..... the worst sushi of my life. Note to all: don't eat airport sushi! But once we boarded, it was a pretty straightforward 3 hour flight! except they played "everybody's fine" which is the most depressing robert deniro movie where everybody is clearly NOT FINE & it was the worst thing to play with 40 ppl aboard who just left their families for 27 months!!!! lol.

As we flew into Belize, it was a beautiful aerial view! You could see the coast and the rainforest and it was so amazing!! Once we pulled into the airport, the captain gave the PC volunteers a shout out on the plane & everyone cheered for us! It was the coolest thing! Then as we got off the plane, all the older volunteers came from their different villages to cheer for us as we arrived.... it was so sweet and made everyone feel so important and great!!!! It made the whole first experience in Belize great! After all the cheering and picture taking, we all headed on buses over to a restaurant for dinner.... We had an AMAZING meal: rice, beans, chicken, & "salad" & then some kind of bread dessert. It was amazing, until we ate that for every other meal following! hahaha! Dinner lasted a few hours before we checked into our hotel. (Let me describe a hotel: there is no lobby, no locks to secure the hotel entrance, our beds are split between box springs and mattresses- so if you're lucky your room has a real mattress, but we have AC, cable, and hot showers! (for thsi week!) We leave for our 5 weeks in our host families on Thursday! )  Once we settled in our first night, all older PCVs came and had a party on the top floor of the hotel... It was great! We drank some Belikin beer (the only beer you can get in Belize) & got to know about a million people!! haha. After it got later in the evening, we all headed to one of the guy's house, which since we are in Belmopan, is relatively nice & large! He even has a makeshift washer type thing! (Since I'm in Healthy Communities, I will be more rural, so my hopes are not high!)  After a long and amazing first day, a bunch of us walked home before our first day of training......

to be continued.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

belmopan!!!

So Belize is AMAZING!!!! So far it has been a vacation because we are fed, hotel-ed, and all together. It is fantastic! Belmopan is a capitol, but it is probably the size of my subdivision at home! It's such a cool and different experience! The other people are so great to!! Probably the hardest part is living on $10 a day, when things you really crave--like a bag of cheetos-- is $7.75!! Practically a day's wages!!
Unfortunately, I don't have time for a "real" blog right now, but I will definitely update and get some detailed blogs up soon!!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dallas!

My trip has begun!!! Dallas today.... pre-staging!!

Of course, I barely slept because I had a million things to think of and take care of before I left, so after a mere 1 hour nap, I woke up to get to the airport (4:30am! yuck!)   My whole life is packed in 2 duffel bags, a backpack, and a purse.... can you BELIZE it???!  Wow! To top it off, I'm pretty sure I was on the tiniest plane man ever invented on the flight to Dallas.... but by 9:30 central time, I was at staging!

Staging was a lot of general paperwork and information. We did some icebreakers (made me think of Converse! lol) and just went over a million different things!  Of the 38 of us, I met the other 7 who are in the Healthy Communities project with me! Everyone is so outgoing and friendly and just really great thus far!! It seemed like we were close friends after knowing each other for only hours... A bunch of us even went to have our "last meal" and some good ole American beer tonight before heading home to re-pack and get ready for the major part of our adventure. (We also got to experience Dallas locals.... crazy.hahaha Only in Texas!)

I'm so exhausted and trying to get everything in before tomorrow... I'm not sure how much internet access I will get from here on out, but I will post whenever possible!!! Hopefully more in-depth as things settle down!

Otherwise, I'm so excited for tomorrow!!!

over & out  =)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

You Better Belize It!

Hello, hello! This is my first attempt at blogging, but I promised everyone I would keep in touch & this seems like the most effective way!
I leave in 4 days for Dallas, TX for my pre-staging event... & then off to Belize the next day to start my in-country training! I don't know how much internet access I'll have once I'm in Belize, but I plan to update whenever possible.
Meanwhile, I would LOVE everyone to keep in touch!!! So here's my address:

Mallory Begley
Peace Corps
PO Box 492
Belmopan
Belize

Til the next blog.... Peace! haha

Washing Pan Di Rock

Washing Pan Di Rock
Crique Jute Village
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