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

Monday, May 31, 2010

Ode to a PCT (to be rapped)

Ode to A PCT

Welcome to Peace Corps Belize
To other PCVs life’s a tease
Laying in a hammock, enjoying the breeze
Gotta love that Happy Cow cheese!

Healthy Communities building latrines
Business Org makin reality from dreams
Youth Development forming sports teams
Teacher Trainers explain what it all means

Oh host family filled with thrills!
New lifestyle without frills
So many critters it almost kills
Don’t forget to take those malaria pills!

Working hard throughout training
Language, tech skills, who’s complaining?
Forget your jacket and it’ll always be raining
Not a fact, but I’m just saying…

Seeing sights and letting loose
Tasty gibnut, pigtail, goose??
Getting my fill of jungle juice
With 15 lbs on my caboose

See Nurse Jackie if diarrhea hits
Malaria and dengue really are the pits
Matt will fund your stay at the Garden Ritz
Hopefully soon we’ll get those med kits??!!

Austin’s the man who knows ‘em all
Valentino answers to his baby’s call
Mike McGwire lets his garden grow tall
While Anthony T shops at Chetumal??

LCF’s help us to fit in
If you want a Belizean, talk to Erin
All my clothes came from the free bin
Hey Nina—this is Belize 20-TEN!

Stanley can make your hammock a-aight
Kent will hook you up if you get a bite
Daniel keeps his security locked tight
So don’t walk home alone at night!

Sharmaine makes sure all is straight
Anthony W keeps us from being late
Jinny inspires with quotes on fate
And Jerry’s the guy everybody wants to date

HC can tell you Chanda’s a ten
And Bryan Dwyer is so damn zen!
Jaime Brancato is our mother hen
Making training the best it’s been!

Peace Corps Belize, the job for me
Where else would I rather be?
And my friends now can’t you see?
Barack gave me a machete!!

Wicka, wicka!

Swearing In!!!!!!

Friday was the day we've been waiting for..... Swearing In Ceremony!!!! woot woot! We officially became volunteers! REAL PEOPLE! hahaha. (B/c trainees are NOT real people)

We all got dolled up and looked like normal people on Friday to head to the Governor General's House, the Belize House. It was a nice ceremony... not too long, which is always good, but still very sweet! We all took "prom pics" before and after... because, let's be honest, we don't get to dress up too often down here! hahaha. Zach gave our volunteer speech and he was awesome. Then we had speakers from each language give a quick thank you in that language. I had to do the Maya speech and I was so nervous! As is our San Martin way, Matt and Dan came up with me because I ended my speech in a song we made up and we all sang it together. It was cute and I think our host families all really liked it. And they could all understand my Maya!

All three of our host families from San Martin showed up, which was so nice! We didn't really know if they would come or not, so it was great! After the ceremony, we all kinda hung out w/our host families. We took some pics and chatted with them. Out of my family, Mrs Sotz, Sofia, Alana, Recarda, her baby, Anastacia, her daughter and daughter-in-law, Hector, and Bernardo all came. It was so nice! I didn't expect them to all come! It made my day!

After Swearing In we had some time to kill before our big football game!! New PCVs vs all the other PCVs. I have to admit, I had talked a lot of trash to the older guys, so I was hoping I wasn't going to regret it! The new PCVs always lose is what I was told. So we started off and we were down 1-0 the first half...but our team was holding their own! Finally, in the second half we tied it up and even took the lead 2-1 with only 5 minutes left! But, then they came back with a second goal in less than 3 and we ended in a tie! Some people wanted to go into a shootout, but we were late for our next thing on the agenda for the day... and everybody knows shootouts are the worst way to end a game. Ugh, hate shootouts. Even so, I was so proud of our team! They were awesome! And, Bernardo even came to watch our game! I thought he would play and help us out, but he just watched. I was excited he came to see me play for once! Prove my skills, hahaha.

After the game we showered quickly for our dinner at the Ambassador's house! The Ambassador's compound was like going into the Truman Show! Everything was perfect and seemed unreal! His house was gorgeous! We had appetizers and an open bar, with wine!, and an amazing meal!!! It was Indian food... and so delicious!!! I almost exploded, I ate so much!!! hahaha. It was fantastic!!! haha We handed out our superlatives and some of the guys played music for us, and it was the perfect end to the 2 months of training. And we were VOLUNTEERS!!!! hahaha FINALLY!

After the nice and proper event at the Ambassador's house, we all went back to the classy Garden to party! Enough said about that....

Back to Belmo...

Sunday we headed back to Belmopan for our last week of training!!! We got up early Sunday morning to catch the 10am bus, but by the time we got our breakfast at Grace's, we missed the bus. (we spend an hour and 1/2 at breakfast...true story.) So we hung out and caught the noon bus. I was exhausted, so I slept pretty much the whole ride there. I woke up every now and then and talked to this girl from Austria sitting next to me-- she was backpacking through the Caribbean. We got in to the good ole Garden City hotel at 5:30 or so.We said some hellos and such and settled in. Molly and Zach had made me a birthday cake! It was so exciting! We had 3 birthdays that weekend, so there were 3 cakes. We gathered everyone together for "hi's" and cake in the party room! It was a good start to the week!

We had dinner and then hung out for our first night together. I had got a bottle of wine for my birthday, so a few of us split it and it was amazing! I miss wine! It's SO expensive in Belize! We hung out all night just catching up...some of us even stayed up past midnight to celebrate the start of Jane's birthday with her! (Midnight is really late for Peace Corps ppl!!) hahaha. Lucky for us, Monday was Commonwealth Day!

Since it was a holiday, we didn't have training on Monday. I woke up late because I felt like I needed sleep after the business of the past few days. Then we did superlatives for our Swearing In ceremony for the majority of the early afternoon. Afterwards, I went to visit my old host family! It was so fun! They made me kaldo kax and even had coke for me! lol. It was good to see everyone again.... and, honestly, I missed Mrs Sotz's kaldo!!! Never thought I would say that! I also got to see Dan's family and talk to them for a bit. I was glad I went, and I think they were excited to see me again.

I got home and we hung out late again that night because whenever there's more that 2 PCVs (or PCTs!) together in one place, there's a party!haha

Training began Tuesday morning and we had a long day of talks and stuff to cover! Then, I got to do yoga again! so nice! After yoga it was a busy night. We made our paper plate superlative awards, then I worked with Laura and Michelle on our talent show act, and THEN I worked with a bunch of people from HC and others for our OTHER talent show act! phew! busy, busy! I was up til like midnight again with all that stuff!

Wednesday was similar. Training all day and then football (soccer) practice that night. I was beat! It was intense, but so fun! We played with a bunch of local boys... yay integration! hahaha After soccer, once again I rehearsed with Laura, Molly, and Michelle--we did a Peace Corps rap-- and then we finalized our routine for our Circle of Life group...ridiculous! haha! I was exhausted!!

Thursday was the big day!!! It was our last day of training and the day we showed our Community Based Training presentations and our talent show acts!! The CBT presentations were all morning and into the afternoon. San Martin did ours as a spoof of MTV Cribs, showing our houses and where we bathe, go to the bathroom, do laundry, etc. I think most people liked it, it was random and funny. After those were was talent show time!!!! A LOT of people participated in our group! We had funny songs, dances, serious demonstrations, readings, interactive stories.... the whole 9 yards! It was cool to see everyone's skillls and expressions!!! I was REALLY nervous to do my little rap bit, (I wrote it, so it was my creation, lol)... But with the great backup vocals of Michelle and Molly and Laura's random crowd pleasing abilities, it turned out to be a hit! People were laughing for a good part of it... I think! hahaha. Then the trainers did a video of a bunch of different songs they changed the words to and it was hilarious! They were really funny! Chanda was especially crazy! hahaha. It was hilarious to see everyone being ridiculous! Finally, we ended with our Circle of Life routine.... oh my gosh.... so funny! People thought it was really good, but we totally meant it for a joke! We did like cartwheels and tumbles and a pyramid.... so crazy. If I ever get a computer I will upload the video because it's borderline amazing! hahahaha. Anyway, the talent show was an awesome end to training!!! We had one more bonding exercise and a general thank you...and that was it! TRAINING WAS OVER!!! woohoo!!!

After training I had to take care of one last thing.... my little speech... in Mopan Maya! Mr Cal helped me to translate it and made sure all my pronunciations were correct. I took time to go to yoga after that, even though I felt like I needed to practice it more! But it was my last chance to do yoga, so I HAD to go!! haha. And, of course, I fell asleep again during yoga. I swear... I have a problem!

Anyway, I was relaxed after yoga and glad to be done with the talent show. By Thursday, mostly all the PCVs were in town, so there were tons of gatherings around the Garden. I bounced around various rooms before a group of us decided to go out dancing... Always a fun time! I enjoyed my last night as a PC TRAINEE!!!

My Birthday in the Jungle!

Saturday (May 22) I turned 23! It was my first b'day out of the country!!! And it was fantastic!!!

I was woken up at 7:30 am to a phone call from my San Martin host family! They remembered my birthday and called to all say hi! It was so cute! They had me on speakerphone and it was hard to understand all of them, but it was the perfect way to wake up on bday! I got out of bed and it was a FULL house. All of Mrs Assi's kids were home and it was craziness. Cornelia had made me a birthday cake with chocolate icing and sprinkles! It was so nice! I cut it and we ate it at 8:30 am, which was weird, but still so nice! Then I finally met Antoinette, who just came home from University of Belize in Belmopan. She hugged me and wished me happy birthday and we just met! The family was so cute. Everyone seemed genuinely excited for my birthday and tried to make it special. We were supposed to go to the river, but I asked to change our plans because of Cacao Fest and all the Toledo people coming into town that day. So they made me bbq for lunch and we had a lunch party before I left. I helped with making the ariina tortillas and the "salad" (carrots and cabbage with cream stuff). We cooked all morning and then ATE. IT was AMAZING! The chicken was sooooo good! It was, by far, the best meal I've had in Belize. Even the salad, which I hate Belizean salad, was so good! I had seconds! The chicken was so juicy and amazing.... omg, I still can taste that meal!!! It was delicious!
After lunch, I took a family pic of the group because they told me they only get together like that about twice a year!

After the pic, Nester took me over to the Charlton to meet up with Dan, Matt, and Laura! It was a great reunion! lol. Laura and I quickly headed over to Cacao Fest because we were working again. We ended up bartending, this time it was madness! We served beer, sodas, mixed drinks, and wine and people were greedy and angry! I couldn't believe it! For a country where people are so laid back and slow, they sure were impatient at the bar! It was madness! Luckily, as we left our shift, the bossman gave me some birthday beer to enjoy as we walked around Cacao Fest. We didn't stay too long, there were only a couple of tents and stuff, along with a dj and people Punta dancing.... but most people wrapped up because it looked like rain was gonna hit. So we headed back towards the hotel, stopping for pizza and ice coffee and a tour of the chocolate factory before heading chillin at the Charlton. The Charlton was the hotspot for the majority of the evening/night. We just hung out and had a great time... it was a fun bday! Tons of Toledo people were in town, so it was really fun. Later in the night, a few of us ventured out to Reef Bar and later Sports Bar to dance. At Reef Bar there was a band and Laura got me to play maracas with them... it was kinda awkward/hilarious! hahaha. Then at Sports Bar, I met the owner, so he let me in for free! We danced all night! It was so fun--a great way to end my birthday! Awkwardly, we ran into 2 people I work with... the guy who is my co-supervisor and the lady from Cayo who came down to train us that week! I tried to avoid them, but a group of gringos tend to stick out in Belize, so they came up to me. It was strange because they were drinking and it was awkward. I tried to say hi and avoid them, but they kept heading back to us and hanging out by us.... very strange!  It was an interesting end to an amazing day!!!!

Cacao Fest!!

Friday was my last day of being 22! The end of my Golden Year, hahaha. But it was also the start of Cacao Fest, which is this big weekend of fun in PG where there is lots of cacao from the local plants (lots of chocolate!!) and tons of other fun things!

I had to go to our COMPAR workshop during the day, which was long and I was so excited for the night that I couldn't focus. We spent a lot of time doing children's songs and making crafts and all that sort of stuff. It was nice, but I was mentally tapped out after that week! I got a ride home and stopped by St Benedict's school to see Michelle, but she was gone. I ended up meeting Tonya's teacher who is Pablo's son from San Martin (the family Matt stayed with). I had a good talk with him-- he's a smart guy. And, once again, Belize is such a small world! ah! haha.
I ran home and got ready for Cacao Fest because Christine got a bunch of us to work the night's Wine and Chocolate event! We all me up at Christine's and I was able to borrow a Q'echi top to wear--looking very native. It was about ten gringos walking down the street to Cacao Fest dressed in Q'echi tops..... we were totally integrated! lol. It was an awesome night! We were allowed to eat and drink anything we wanted!!! There was so much chocolate!!!!! I was in HEAVEN!!! hahaha. They also had little samples of cacao rum, which was delicious.... it was like candy juice! haha maybe? lol They also had regular food like hummus and dips and all types of stuff.... amazing! I started off working as a server-type person and ended up working in the bar, serving the wine. We were serving Chilean wine, lol, which was weird, but fine. The bar was slammed though! Because wine was all we had and people were drinking fast! But it was fun... my Olive Garden expertise was put to good use! hahahaha. I met a lot of prominent locals and also a lot of tourists. A guy from a newspaper in Dangriga took my picture pouring wine, I guess I looked classy in my Q'echi blouse, hahaha. Then a newspaper even came up to interview me! They asked me about the wines and if they were from Belize, and I told them "We actually only have Chilean wines....we are uh... focusing more on the cacao tonight!" hahaha I'm pretty sure it was a really dumb interview.... who knows if it made it to the big show! hahaha Once it was close to the end of the night, I took time to enjoy the food and drinks and great music! There was the flutist from Benque (he's nationally known) who played like EVERY song on his flute. I took a video of him playing "Heal the World" by Michael Jackson! AMAZING! We danced and hung out, and even though the party was supposed to end at 10, people didn't start leavin til almost 11...Some guy even sang happy birthday to me! (& he was an awesome singer!) Iit was such a good night!

ahh! long time no blog!

Things have been CRAZY here in Belize! I am officially a Peace Corps VOLUNTEER! We were sworn in on Friday... but I will catch you up on the madness that is my life up til then!

Last week was my one full week in PG before heading back for training in Belmopan....and it was a little overwhelming!  I started Monday off being asked to do the supervisor position til they hire someone else because my counterpart quit the first day! They told me everything I had to do and I was goin crazzzy! I moved from volunteer to supervisor in a week! hahaha. Hopefully they hire someone soon because they want me doing monthly and quarterly reports, evaluating Rovers and implementing new lessons, organizing the office, doing inventory, and making a filing system.... I have my work cut out for me! Luckily, I still get to go out and work in the field twice a week in all the Toledo villages that are part of the Rover Caregivers Program.... it's my favorite part! I get to experience the cultures and see so many cool villages!

After an overwhelming day at work, I walked home to a quiet house...only Mrs Assi and the baby, Pachy. I relaxed in the hammock and realized that Mrs Assi understands a lot less English than I thought she did. She asked me if I was tired, and I told her the loud thunderstorm kept me up all night. She responded, "oh, I know, you tired because you walked to work!" And I was like, "No, I really did not sleep a lot because the rain and the dogs barking" and she said, "oh, you tired because you wake up early and go to bed late!" and I tried again to tell her it was because of the rain.... she just responded "uh huh" and laughed and walked away.... I'm pretty sure there was no understanding! LOL. That's kinda funny because all this time I thought she would laugh at me because she thought I was funny.... really she just had no idea what I was saying! I should have known because Mrs Assi tends to walk by the tv and randomly repeat words or phrases and crack herself up all the time and it will be silly things like "i'm fishing" and she'll laugh hysterically. But the determining factor was later that night when we watched this spoof movie that was mildly inappropriate, but one part of the movie if a spoof on Indiana Jones and a midget says, "Indiana my a**" and  Mrs Assi walked by and repeated "Indiana my a** " and cracked up hysterically! Being a very religious woman, I KNOW she had no idea what she just said! hahaha it was too funny!

Anyway, I think the rainy season is starting early this year because we've already had a bunch of thunderstorms! (and also power outages!) I hear it may be a bad hurricane season.... but I'm not sure how good my sources are... Probably the worst part so far about the rainy season in Belize is having to run outside to the latrine!! I did NOT think about that before the sky dumped on us and I realized I had to pee.... well, I was screwed. I got soaked to say the least.... lol. Now I know to pee once I see the sky getting dark!

Tuesday we were out in the field, travelling to San Jose, San Felipe, San Miguel, Midway and Santa Anna, all so beautiful! It was an amazing day! I love going out to the villages! The roads are terrible and very bumpy, but the scenery is worth it! One of the houses we visited we even had to take our shoes off and cross the river just to get to the house! I was covered in mud...which went nicely with my business casual attire, hahaha. We also ran over a GIANT snake on the way back from San Jose... it was huge!!! It was still slithering after we had cut it in half with our tire...hahaha so gross.

After work, I headed to meet Chanda because she was in town checking up on all the Healthy Communities people. I basically word vomited my life to her for an hour, hahaha. I had so much to say! But it was nice to spill everything out! After that hour, I was walking home, when Peter, Cali, and Michelle pulled up in a truck and I hopped in the back... I love pickup trucks! haha. We headed to Grace's restaurant to chill for awhile, which was a good little break before heading back to my host family. But when I got home, we had FRIED CHICKEN! Which was so good!!! Yum. I even tried some pepper, but foolish me, I ate some hot pepper and then touched my eye and my eye was dying!! Ah it burned so bad!!! But other than losing my eyesight, it was a great meal!

After I ate, I practiced some Maya and Q'echi with Mrs Assi before bed.... Q'echi is even harder than Maya! She kept giving me tons of phrases and words, but I will never remember that much in one night! I tried to write it down, but it's even hard to write! It was fun nonetheless. And then she told me the story about she and Mr Assi met. She was 16 and entered the village queen dance for Pueblo and she had to perform and caught Mr Assi's eye. He was 19 and came to her house to court her and her dad wouldn't let him til he married her. Mr Assi kept asking her to marry him and she refused because she didn't wanna get married. She wanted to stay at home with her mom. So finally, Mr Assi asked her dad and then she was engaged and they got married the next day! Can you believe it??!  Then she moved out to his village, San Antonio, with him and she said she cried a lot because she missed her family. It was such an intense story. She loves her husband, but it's very interesting how marriage works in their culture. At least, marriage for their generation...because I've also heard her daughter, Romana's story, and it's a lot different. More romantic and modern... the typical boy meets girl story. Anyway, it was a very interesting and cultural night for me.

Before I went to bed, Cornelia brought me out a design she made that she wants as a tattoo. She said she's gonna get one when she's "old like me" haha. But it was awkward because it was a really gorgeous design, but her mom was there so I didn't wanna be a bad influence, so I just made a typical mom comment like, "just remember they're permanent" or something silly like that....but I also told her it was a nice design. But then Mrs Assi told me that people get AIDS from tattoos. Oh man, I normally let things that make no sense slide when my hot family tells me them because I don't want to make an awkward situation, but I had to clarify that one. I explained to her that people don't get AIDS from tattoos, you can only get it from sharing needles with someone who has AIDS and you just have to make sure you got to a tattoo place that uses clean needles.... She basically ignored me and just did her awkward laugh she does when she really has no idea what I just said. Fail. So one of my first seminars with COMPAR will be about AIDS for adult education. Since I think that schools cover AIDS in the curriculum now, but it;s the older generation who doesn't have the knowledge. Then again, Mrs Assi also told me that if I cut my hair it won't grow back...that's why she doesn't let her girls cut their hair.... Some things are just not true. hahaha.

Wednesday I went out again to two more villages: Laguna and San Marcos. It was a great day! I love Toledo so much! After a long day of village surfing, I took a walk down by the sea before heading home. I love PG and I love the water! It's so beautiful and instantly eases any worries. I headed home and Mrs Assi "taught" me how to do laundry. She has a washing board, not a stone like Mrs Sotz had, so it was a little different, but the same general concept.... It still took me 2 hours for a week's worth of clothes...ugh! lol  After I did my laundry, I took a walk looking for apts and houses that were for rent, but was not too successful... I ended up just walking by the sea again, haha. The sea put me in such a good mood, that I decided to go for a run when I got back home. I did a 15 minute run around IndianVille and through the airstrip and back home. It was so nice!! Truly a fantastic day! To top it off, Omar made us crab soup for dinner! It was so good: blue crab in a coconut milk soup.... yum! It took me about an hour to eat it, but it was delicious! The best part was cracking the crab legs because we just used this huge stone to smash on the table.... so awesome! Definitely a stress reliever, very therapeutic! hahaha

After dinner, more family time... and I learned that Mr Assi wrote our Peace Corps Mopan manual! Small world! And he went to school with my language teacher, Mr Cal. Connections are nonstop here in Belize! hahaha

Thursday morning all the Rovers and supervisors and boss people from COMPAR came to PG for a 2 day conference. It was great to meet all the people in the organization and to get more of a feel of my job description. Shawn is the main boss guy and he's great, so I'm glad to work with him. It was such an interesting workshop though because the Belize city Rovers and SO different from the Toledo Rovers. All the Toledo Rovers are Mayan and the Belize Rovers are Mestizo and Kriol. It was cool to see their interactions, because they are not even aware of each other's cultures. The Belize girls were shocked to hear that the Maya Rover's were married and had babies before they were even 20. It amazes me how small and yet very diverse Belize is. But I was even more shocked that people don't even know much about other prominent cultures within their own country! But all of them, both from Toledo and Belize, thought it was crazy that I was 22 and had no pickni yet (children in Kriol). hahaha Thank you, America!

That night I tried to stay in my motivated workout frame of mind, and I went for a run around the back of Indian Ville with Cornelia. It was intense, but so nice. Then I had pigtail for dinner... .yum! I kinda love pigtail, even though there's not much meat to it. After dinner, Mrs Assi taught me how to make the cacao drink! It was really cool. We had to grind up the cacao, then shake out the shells in a flat pan. Then we grinded it finer and added ground wah (corn tortilla) to it. We added black pepper and sugar and mixed it all together in hot water and I made my very own cacao drink! So nice! It was a lot of work though! As I enjoyed my hot cacao, Tonya and Cornelia put on their traditional Maya outfits and danced for me. It was cool and I took lots of pics-which they loved. They are both doing a dance in the Festival of the Arts, so it was practice for them and a free show for me! hahaha. I even did a little Irish Step dance for them to kinda share cultures, hahaha. But I had no music, so it didn't have the same effect.

Ok that was the majority of the week.... new blog for the weekend... hahahha

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sara Hill!

So Sunday was officially the laziest day ever!!!! but I did do one exciting thing that makes it blog worthy!

I woke up early to go to church with my family...which was an interesting Belizean mass by the sea... it was a mix of traditional Catholic and Kriol and Garifina music.... very different. Anyway, I was tired from the early wake, so I pretty much became a bum the rest of the day. I napped and watched tv and did absolutely nothing til 3:30... So I asked Cornelia if she wanted to take a walk and get me out of my lazy coma.... We walked to Sara Hill!!!

Sara Hill is the highest point in the PG area way beyond Indian Ville in the opposite direction of the sea. It's about a 40 minute walk TO the hill from Indian Ville, but it's a long straight dirt road with a bunch of little houses playing loud music along the way--quite entertaining. When you get to the hill it's a straight up HIKE! I felt rugged... it was intense! I was in flip flops--yes, I know, not very smart--- so it was especially difficult. There are giant boulders and crazy trees of all types... it's literally the jungle up there! You can climb up about half the hill and then you need to use wires to pull yourself up the rest of the way. At first I thought I may get electracuted because we were grabbing broken electrical wires, but after climbing up the hill, I think I'm still alive so it's all good. haha But it was INTENSE! I broke a SWEAT! hardcore! It took us probably about 45 minutes to get up the hill- where we met 6 billie goats- but it was totally worth it!!! You can see the whole town!!! PG is NOT that big, hahahaha. But it seriously was so gorgeous. We just sat up there looking out at the jungle, the small civilized town area, and the sea.... it was picture perfect. If anyone comes to visit me, I will definitely take them up there..... amazing!  It started to rain a little, so the way back down the mountain was a little more intersting. I fell six or seven times because my sandals had no traction on the wet dirt.... Of course I was wearing a white tshirt, so I was nice and caked in mud by the time we made it to the bottom. Totally worth it! It really was an awesome afternoon. With that one hike, I felt like my day was the complete opposite of lazy!

The rest of the night I relaxed around the house with the family. We had kaldo...shocker! for dinner but Romana also made a pasta dish which was awesome! I haven't had pasta in forever!! Cali and Peter stopped by later in the evening to chat for a bit, which was nice... I love American contact! hahahaha

Also, Mrs Assi wants to have a bbq at a river next weekend for my birthday! So I'm pretty excited about that! My first birthday in another country! Eeek! So I think they are taking me down to Santa Anna on Saturday if the weather holds up.... we shall see!

Ok, I'm off to see a puppy! Because apparently I need to get one of those!

workin hard.... or hardly workin....?

Thursday I went to work! I was pretty excited to finally start doing something! (other than being a tourist for the past 2 months!) I got into the office at 8:30 and we headed in the field to San Jose for a day visit. San Jose is the farthest village we travel to. As we are driving through neighboring villages, I spot a little gringo in a bike helmet.... And who is it? Dan! We stopped and chatted to him and his host brother and it was pretty hilarious b/c we thought we weren't gonna see eachother for 2 weeks! oh man. Then when I got into San Jose, I saw the volunteer of that village, Patrick. It was a pretty weird day because UNICEF came to monitor the program, so there were lots of pictures and sucking up to the donors type stuff happening, so I couldn't really get a feel for my job. But I watched some of the stimulations with the babies and tried to practice my Mopan with the families! haha

San Jose is beautiful tho! It's in the hills and all the houses and thatch huts and it's huge! Such an amazing place to see.... that definitely is the perk of my project!

We got home from our trip before lunch and that was pretty much all I had to do for the day. I took advantage of the computer and internet access (wohoo!) to update my blog and such before going home. MY co-worker, Samuel, walked me home so I knew the way back and I got a little bit of a feel for PG. It's only a 1/2 hour walk to Indian Ville--not too shabby! I met Michele after she got off from school and we walked around town a little more to get a feel for things.... basically, we did a lot of circles and got lost. ahhahaha

On Friday I got up for my second day and basically did nothing! Oh Belize! MY counterpart came in to quit that day! So now I am pretty much acting as the supervisor of the organization! Yikes! I don't know about all this.... So once again I sat on the computer and caught up. Boy, totally not what I was expecting to get in to down here! We shall see....

I took the opportunity after work to explore the market and such. I tried some musse melon juice (that might be completely wrong) which they served to me in a plastic baggie with a straw--the norm. That afternoon Cornelia took me on a looong walk around all of PG to kinda get a feel for things.... it was awesome! We got sweet tortillas, and gingerbread, and ice cream all along the way.... yay fat kids!

That evening I hung out around the house being lazy. Our neighbor, Rena, is from El Salvador and really sweet so I chatted with her in the yard while Tania picked mangos for us. She is only 20 years old and she has a 3yr old and is pregnant with another! She's sooo young!

My new host family eats kaldo nonstop! I had kaldo kax for lunch and dinner friday. Oy. I'm ready for a burger! hahaha. That night Cornelia and I watched scary movies... I hate scary movies, I was so scared!!! I could see the screen from my bed, so I watched from under my mosquito net.... Yea, I'm cool. Of course, as I'm screaming and hiding under my net is when I meet Mr Assi for the first time. I'm sure he thought I was a crazy gringa! lolol.

Saturday was soooooooo hot!! Oh man! I didn't have a fan because it broke, so I was sweating my you know what off when I woke up! & ya know when you wake up sweaty and you just feel gross and miserable? yea, it was one of those days.... lol

so i didn't actually get myself moving and out of bed til after 10am... they thought i was a LAZY gringa! haha Plus, I got a cold since moving down south...yea, I'm in the heat and I have a cold, what's up with that? So I decided to skip breakfast and have lunch as my first meal.... You can guess what I had.... KALDO! haha Anyway, I decided since I couldn't taste or smell, maybe it would be a good day to try pepper!!! So I threw a habanero pepper into my kaldo.... BAD LIFE CHOICE! My brains pretty much came out of my nostrils!!! It cleared me out! My mouth was on FIIIRE! To top it off, I was outta water, so I had to run to the Crystal jug, try to get it open--which was an ordeal-- and filled my water bottle, spilling water all over the floor, and then chugging! It was bad. I had to mop the floor after the incident. I swear my lips were numb after that! Phew! I mean, I'm a wimp when it comes to pepper.... but this was madness! My nostrils were like Niagara Falls! So bad! I think I lost 2lbs just from by whatever came out of my nose... I'm not doing that again....

After that experience, I decided it was the perfect time to take a cold shower. And it was. I felt instantly better after a rough morning. By the time I finished, Michele, Nate, and Erica had come by to go walking and looking at houses. We spent the afternoon out around town. It was nice! We went down to the sea to get a little water time, but it was very unsuccessful b/c I ended up slicing my foot open! Fail. Dengue of the foot. Just kidding. But then a drunk man came to visit us down by the sea and became best friends with Nate. Nate told him he was with his wife, so when the drunk man learned Michele was his wife, he came up to me and kissed my hand and stroked my arms.... creeper! Then it was time to leave.... Thanks a lot drunk man! hahaha

Later on I got my second round of lunch at their host mom's. She is Garifina, so we had a traditional soup with coconut milk and plantanes and shark in it! (I forget the name). But it was really good! I think it's the first time I had shark too! Yum. Who's the king of the sea now??? hahaha Wow. By the time I got home, it was another meal. So I had some kaldo (yes, kaldo!) for dinner before headin back out. We all grabbed pizza (or 8th meal for me) that night at this little shop at the edge of town. It was pretty good! Yay, I know a pizza place! To top it off, BELOW the pizza place is a chocolate factory where they give you free samples!!! Mmmm Mmmm good! I tried the cacao -- the local stuff-- so good! Plus, free samples rock! hahaha

Which, by the way, I was told that my blog is constantly about food.... which is funny, because meals is one of the things I dread in Belize! But I love to eat.... It's a catch 22 situation! hahaha So I guess you will just have to keep hearing about my food experiences.... hahahaha. OR SEND ME FOOD!!!! Wow, that was my hunger yeling.

Toledo, Toledo.... I love ya, Toledo!

We moved out of San Martin on Tuesday! Toledo bound! It was pure madness b/c we had to move everything we owned into the vehicle headin south and, of course, my stuff was misplaced and thrown away and all over. I was a DISASTER! We had a few sessions in the office before leaving, but I really couldn't even listen to anything that was happening..... Finally, we boarded the van for Toledo! There were 10 of us in the southern crew... We were pumped! After 4 hrs, we made it to the good ole Charlton hotel! We finished our last night strong with dinner at grace's and a rooftop party.
Wednesday we met our counterparts who we will be working with for the next 2 years! Mine was awesome! She played futbol in high school and was a marine biologist and was really awesome..... til she quit on Friday. That was a long relationship.... hahahaha. After the long workshop, we all packed up to head to our new host families!!
Me, michele, and nate are in PG together, so we were all in the same car. We dropped them off first before heading to my new home! My house is very different from the last one! I'm in Indian Ville, which is the outskirts of Punta Gorda. My host family is very friendly! My host mom is SO talkative, which is odd for a Mayan woman! My host mom has 6 children between the ages of 25 and 7, which is also not very stereotypical of a Mayan family. The oldest, Romana, lives in the second house of our 2 house complex with her 2 month old baby and husband, Omar. Then Cornelia and Tania are the only other 2 living with the family, they are 16 and 7 respectively. Mr Assi only comes home on weekends because he is a principal in a village almost 3 hrs away by car called San Benito Pointe. So I didn't actually even meet him til Friday night. Our house is a wooden house on stilts. It has 2 buildings: one is Romana and Omar's and the other is the main building that has our kitchen, and 3 rooms: Mr & Mrs Assi's, the children, and mine. I have my own room!!!! Yay! So it's a pretty sweet setup! Outside downstairs is our latrine and shower... sadly, I'm done being spoiled with a flush toilet and back to peeing in a hole! hahaha. But at least it does not smell nearly as bad as the original one we had in San Martin!!! hahaha. And my shower is wooden this time and in the back of the house, so I;m not on display either! lol. My family is not traditional Mayan in any way... the kids are all educated, even the girls. Romana is a principal and Cornelia goes to the high school.  Also, we have a tv with cable! Which is not very traditional at all! I've grown very fond of Wizards of Waverly place.... that's pretty much the favorite show of the household, ahahaaha. We also see a lot of Hannah Montana... I'm not as much of a fan.... lol.  Mr Assi is also one of the guys who wrote the Mopan book we used during training classes! Which is cool because he's practically famous! hahahaha. I really like talking to him b/c his english is very good and he is well educated. So he is very familiar and honors a lot of his Mayan roots and traditions, but he also disregards ones that are detrimental to a family. He told me that in their culture you are expected to have lots and lots of babies as soon as you get married or else it's an insult to the family. But he tells his children to think about how many kids they want because they have to feed and educate them and children are expensive. Like I said, they are not very traditional at all! But it's a nice change! Mr Assi even helped his wife iron some clothes because he said Mayans expect the wife to do everything and never help, but he respects his wife and helps her!  I really enjoy talking to him because we can actually understand eachother and he knows enough about his culture that I can learn about Mayan traditions and languages, but he is also well educated and knows the difference between good and bad traditions.
So my first experiences with my new family were great. I got some tv in and got to eat a lot of fruits.... and then... I drank some tap water. FAIL. It had dirt in it, I thought I was going to die. I tried my best to not drink much and also to not offend Mrs Assi. Surprisingly, I didn't get sick tho! (& it's been 5 days!) Overall, they seem like great, really nice people!

Now speaking of Belizean tv.... well that's an experience! I think most cable is just stolen from the US, so we get pretty great channels! haha. But on the local station, you get all the Belizean commercials and EVERY SINGLE commercial is a song or jingle! Belizeans love singing commercials!!! hahaha The most popular one rite now is a cable commercial to the song "I;ve got a feeling" by Black Eyed Pease that goes:
"I've got a feeling. That tonight's gonna be a good night. Because I'm gonna watch some tv." And goes on and on about 125 channels and all this stuff! Hilarious!!! hahahaha It's so funny because literally every commercial is a song: the census ad, the phone companies, the cable companies, everything! haha love it!

Oh Belize.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mountain Pine Ridge

Monday was my last full day in San Martin! Chanda took us on a field trip to Mountain Pine Ridge!! It was a looooong and very bumpy ride there, but totally worth it!  So beautiful!! Our first stop was the 1,000 foot falls which basically was a large waterfall in the distance of the jungle. It's all unchartered forest around it and you can go to a lookout point, but it's still very far away from the falls. We took a lot of pictures because it was beautiful, but quickly loaded up for the next spot. Our second stop was the Rio Frio cave. It was a short drive away, but we had to stop to get 2 soldier escorts because it was a high robbery area. They escorted us through the cave with their very large guns....hahaha. The cave was beautiful!! It had a river flowing through it and tons of rocks to climb on.... I don't really have any words that can do it justice. (Once I get a computer I can post some pictures to my blog so you can see it all.) We spent awhile exploring the cave and such before heading to our final spot: Rio on Pools..... AMAZING! Rio on Pools was about a mile drive from the cave and we parked and ate lunch at the top and then headed down a staircase to the pools. Well, the staircase abruptly ends halfway down and you literally have to scale rocks down the rest of the mountainside. I seriously thought my life was going to end. My legs are too vertically challenged for mountain climbing without stepping stones or harnesses!!! Luckily, Owen helped me down the steeper part of the mountain or else I may have plummeted to my death.... Just saying. hahaha Once we got to the bottom, it was immediately worth the near-death experience! The first pool was perfect temperature! It was cool and refreshing and had a waterfall flowing into it. I relaxed in it for a little while before heading up to the other pools above it. It seemed the pools were never-ending! It was seriously such a site to see! Unfortunately, being in our bathing suits and climbing practically on our hands and knees (& often falling!), no one brought up their cameras to take any pictures... But it was one of those amazing experiences in your life.... At one point, Matt found a tiny pool that was really deep and had a waterfall that had enough pressure to make it feel like a natural jacuzzi... it was awesome! Another spot we found had a huge and heavy waterfall that was a perfect back massage! I never wanted to leave that spot! We climbed all around Rio on Pools for a few hours before heading back to the bottom first pool and back up the side of the mountain. We were actually able to find an easier way to get back up than we came down. Thank God!!  After Rio on Pools, we headed back to San Martin... it was a bumpy 2 hour drive back to the suburbs.... hahaha.
That night we finished our CBT video footage to present during our Bridge to Service week in Belmopan... it should be a pretty good video... or it will be ridiculously bad... hahaha.
The rest of the night I spent with my family. Of course, my last night in San Martin, little Hector starts to like me and wanna play with me. He's Alana's little brother who's 2 and HATED me til that night. (He lives with his mom in the next village). So he was being so cute and friendly and I played with all the kids in between packing my stuff up before Eluvia and Hector went home. I said bye to them and Eluvia started balling her eyes out. She was so upset I was leaving... it made me sad! She cried all the way down the road... it was really upsetting!  I finished my packing and took a few more family pictures and just hung out with everyone before bed. That night I took my last shower...and I was able to see because they installed a light in there!! Amazing last shower! hahaha... It was a great last day in SM.

Last Weekend in San Martin!

Saturday: we planned for our thank you party for the host families. We woke up and cleaned the Resource Center with Mr Cal before going shopping for bbq chicken stuff! We shopped and seasoned the chicken all morning and then relaxed before the bbq time. We started the bbq part around 3pm because we were having dinner at 4:30.... well in the belizean way, dinner didn't really start til after 5:30. ah! I was a little panicked for time because I told the PC team I would play futbol that night at 7 (but it was an hour away). Even so, the thank you dinner was really nice and mostly everyone showed up from our families. I think they all really enjoyed it...and the bbq chicken was fantastic! Mr Cal gave us all certificates for completing our Mopan course (woohoo!) and the families got certificates for hosting us... certificates are a really big deal in Belize. You get them for everything!!! hahahaha. Then Mr Cal gave us all little gifts, the guys got Belize keychains and I got a little wallet. It was nice of him. And Mrs Sotz made Dan and Matt gecko bracelets! She's so cute! So after all the awards were over, I had Mr Cal quickly run me to the bus station so I could get over to the game. Luckily, the futbol game was on Belizean time too, so I got there before it even started! We played co-ed against a co-ed Belizean team b/c neither team had enough for a full guys or full girls team. They warned me beforehand that they were pretty bad.... and they were, hahahaha. But it was so much fun! I think we scored 3 goals, but we got killed....maybe 7-4? (a belizean guy scored for us!) It was really hilarious and fun tho! & I scored too! hahaha. Afterwards we pretty much celebrated like we had not only won, but won a major championship... it was amazing. There were beers and game jerseys and all that jazz... Fabulous! hahaha We all piled into the back of the Esperanza coach's pickup truck and headed in what seemed like a cross-country journey to bring everyone home. (I think there were 17 ppl in the truck...if I remember correctly!) We headed from Esperanza, where the game was, to San Ignacio to drop off people, then to Benque to hang out at Roger's for awhile--which he has an amazing place!-- then we dropped off Emily and others in Benque and then headed all the way back to Ontario for another drop-off before finally bringing me back to San Martin. I had to go home that night b/c I was the only trainee... sad. But it was worth it & luckily I had a key so my family didn't know I came in at 1am that night!!

Sunday: Officially the laziest day ever. I did absolutely nothing on Sunday! It was amazing! It was Mother's Day, so I ran out to Brodie's w/Alana to grab some little trinkets for Mrs Sotz. I got her a little teddy bear, shampoo, and a candy bar (yes, I know I'm a horrible person b/c she should not eat candy....) but those were what I was told she would like & I didn't have many options!! I think she really liked it all. That day she gave me a matching earrings, bracelet, and necklace set that she and Alana made together. It's so pretty & was really sweet of her!
The day was one of those bizarre and random days. Dan came over and got his hair buzzed off by Choni, even tho he only asked for a little trim.... Then Bernardo decided to scale a coconut tree in our yard and shake down about 30 coconuts for us to eat! All of Dan's kids were over, so it was a big feast of coconut. We drank the water and then machete-ed (yes, I made it a verb) them open to eat the inside. It was pretty delicious! That afternoon I had Dan and Matt come over to get a family picture of the Sotz's and me. It was fun...and funny. haha Whenever you bring a camera out in Belize, almost everyone gives bunny ears.... which is normal for young children in the States, but teenagers and people my age do it here! and they find it hilarious! It's very interesting to see what they get amused by!! hahaha Then Mrs Sotz made a big chicken lunch and fed me, Matt, and Dan. I dedicated that night to laundry.... much needed!!! hahaha Sofia and Mrs Sotz helped me because I am an incapable gringa, but I enjoyed the help because it probably would've taken me til the next morning! (Plus, I was able to catch up on my San Martin shoosh with them!) I learned about the Belizean peeper man -- he's a crazy village drunk.... then I learned that Mrs Sotz's brother lives next door! But they don't speak because her daughter got in a fight with him.... hmmm. It was interesting gossip for the evening. That night Matt brought over chow mein that Na Peran made for me and it was pretty good! I don't think I've had any Asian food since I've been here.... Later on my family called on speakerphone because the boys were all home for Mother's Day. It was nice to get to talk to everyone at once! I ended the day playing cards with Eluvia in the longest game of War that ever existed. Meanwhile, a lady with a bag of clothes came selling to Mrs Sotz and Sofia, which was an interesting experience! I guess it's pretty smart to go around selling to people in villages b/c they don't have cars or get into town much... very nice.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Judgement Day!

Today was the day! Site placements!!!! Woohoo! Everyone was anxious and nervous to find out where we will be spending the next 2 years of our lives! It was madness! Being the sarcastic jokster I am, I decided to wear a sign around my neck reading "Caye Caulker" all day. (Caye Caulker is the party island where no PCVs even go...more touristy). It kept it a little more lighthearted.... I think! hahaha

So we had morning sessions and shots.... yay rabies! Then we got a break while the staff set up for revealing. We were separated into sectors: Healthy Communities, Business Org, Youth Development, and Teacher Trainers. There was a huge map of Belize that they drew and posted all of our faces on the sites we will be in, covered up by the appropriate team color. We had to play taboo/million dollar pyramid style game where 2 ppl per sector would pair up and go in front of the room and try to guess 2 different words. If you got it right, then you got to reveal a place to find out who was going there! It was SO exciting and an awesome way of revealing everyone's sites! The first one HC revealed was Santa Elena and it was Matt! After all the last minute doubts we had, he got it! It was like a massive wave of excitment and hugs! It was the moment of greatness! B/c pretty much after that, Dan and I knew where we were going. Sure enough, Dan and I tagged up and got ours right and we picked Crique Jute and it was Dan's face. We both hugged in excitement b/c that meant that I was in Punta Gorda! It was awesome! We all got exaclty where we thought and wanted to go!

The rest of the day was pretty much chaos and excitement and pictures.... and also lots of hugging.... because we do that. haha  I love Peace Corps Belize!

Oh, and then I got muscle relaxers from Dr. Craig because I think I hurt my back doing yoga..... wow. I'm lame. Literally. hahahaha

Yay Punta Gorda! Life on the water! Who wants to visit now???!!!


Toledo Trip!
 Wednesday morning we woke up to head to Toledo! Five of the 8 HC ppl are going down south, so we had a 2 day field trip to all the different sites! (All the Mopan people are heading to Toledo in either: Crique Jute village, Santa Elena village, or Punta Gorda town). We left early, after meeting the Cristo Rey ppl at the bus station. We drove down on the Hummingbird Hwy, the most beautiful road in Belize! Such a ride! Our first stop was Independence Village, which is where one of the Cristo Rey ppl were going to serve at the PolyClinic there. It was a really cool place! Very unique and beautiful. Plus, it's where you can get the water taxi to placencia! I was a little less interested otherwise, since I knew none of the Mopan-eers were going there... We stopped at a town called Big Falls for lunch before heading to the backabush!! Our next stop was Santa Elena. It was straight up JUNGLE going into Santa Elena... the road was so bumpy, it was hardly even a road! But so, SO cool!  We passed by Santa Cruz, the neighboring village and only other sign of civilization, before getting into Santa Elena. It was absolutely gorgeous! Matt really had his heart set on Santa Elena: no water; no electricity; very limited buses into the town. We met the alcalde (village head), who was an awesome old dude. He was surprisingly progressive for a very rural Mayan village. I really enjoyed the visit! We stopped by the school and saw the principal and finally went to the host family one of us would be staying with at first. The host mom chatted with us for awhile and then let it slip that a girl was staying with her! We all were in shock! I would have loved to have a video of our reactions, because I was like "come again?!!" and Matt was devastated! It was crazy! So pretty much that left madness for the rest of the Toledo trip, because the three of us were SO sure that I was going to Punta Gorda, Matt to Santa Elena, and Dan to Crique Jute. Even on the trip there I told Dan that someone was gonna spite me because I was so confident that I was going to PG and watch them put me in Santa Elena.... how funny! So that was Dee-rama! hahaa
We left Santa Elena and visited a little bit of San Antonio, which is a bigger town in Toledo. We then had an interesting little adventure into Crique Jute, where the chairman we were supposed to meet with was out of town so we met the family....weird. So basically we drove around Crique Jute a little bit and then headed to PG a few hours south. We stayed in a hotel in PG and pretty much had dinner and the night to ourselves. It was a BLAST! Some volunteers from PG and other southern villages came out and we all hang out and drank a little rum on the roof of our hotel.... it's the PC way. =) haha There were a LOT of intense discussions about site placements! hahaha

The next morning we woke up early for breakfast and meetings! We met with COMPAR (the PG agency) and PLENTY (another gereral organization). They were the business part of the morning. We finished up pretty early, so we swam in the ocean and did some yoga on the pier before heading north to Trio village. In between we were able to stop for lunch and a quick dip in the river before continuing on. Trio was another Cristo Rey site where Owen was really hoping to go. We met up with the current volunteer there, Zander (who;s getting replaced by one of us soon) and got a tour of the village. It was a very large and spread out village, but also so nice. Zander introduced us to the vice chairman and showed us the big banana farm. SO MANY BANANAS!!! It was cool to see and there was a man pulling the bananas by the waist on an assembly-like pulley system! He also took us to the river where the locals can swim and such... so nice. Trio is an awesome place. Very jungle and Belizean! We also got to see Zander's house which he built himself! (with the help of neighbors!) But how cool! Build your own house! Wow. Anyway, it was a whirlwind tour of Trio before heading back home. What a fantastic trip!

We hung out and did yoga and dinner before actually going back to our host families that night. That night I must have been EXTRA sleepy because I not only fell asleep during yoga, but I was straight up snoring!!! ahh! Everyone heard me too! It was hilarious!  I guess I was deep in meditation..... maybe... hahaha. San Martin ppl walked home that night under the amazing Belizean sky. Stars are gorgeous! (Random nerd comment) When I got home I found out the Mrs Sotz had gone to the hospital that day. Apparently her diabetes is really acting up. But I don't know that she is modifying her lifestyle accoringly.... hmm. It was sad though. She spent the day in the hospital and was exhausted that night. I feel so bad. I tried to convince her to cook with a lot of vegetables and eat fruits for the next while, but she said she doesn't like those things. It's hard to change a person's habits and you can't force them to like things when they don't understand why it's better for you because nutrition is a foreign concept. It's just a sad state....

Anyway, we are all very excited for Toledo now! Team Toledo is the running joke the southern PCVs use that tends to anger those up north.... but I'm happy to be a part of it now!



Sunday I woke up & was fed bacon!!!!! Yes, you heard rite... bacon! Dino is working at the chiney & he brought it home just for me! Most amazing Belizean morning yet! hahaha We still didn't have water that morning so I had to bucket bathe.
So just for the record, bucket baths are quite practical and kinda amazing.... Just throwing that out there. You save water and time and it's just pretty awesome.... Well, especially when you have no other choice! haha
So Mrs Sotz and I were both filling our buckets at the same time at the spicket...She looks up to me & says, "Mal, I win you!"  Cutest thing ever! She laughed hysterically at her own joke and then really did beat me and left to bathe. haha I'm an amateur basin filler! hahaha They all went to the Agricultural Show that day but I had homework to do, so unfortunately could not join in. Sunday we worked all day at the PC office.... ahhh, air conditioning! hahaha Matt and I walked back around 4 and my family had guests over. They were bragging about me and my Mopan to their friends.... I could only understand every 15th word, but it was still funny. Mostly I noticed them pointing and laughing at me and I just assumed it was positive.... isn't it always? haha That night I worked on my TFS presentation all night... It was kinda hard because I never got left alone to work and had about 1000 questions, but it got done eventually. Mr Sotz was in a very happy mood and was trying his best english out that night! He was too funny! He asked me if I had a lot of work and I could understand him... I really think he's picked up some english since I've been here! Very cool! That night I had eggs and HOT DOGS for dinner.... yes, real life hot dogs!!!! I was in heaven! As they sat the food down, along with a stack of 50 corn tortillas, Mr Sotz says: "Mal. You eat ALLL. You need get fat!" hahahahaha Cracked me up! they are so funny. So I acutally did eat all my food, but not the 50 Oh host family.... fun times.


Monday I woke up to no water...again! But this time even the emergency rain water was gone, so we couldn't even bucket bathe. So Matt, Dan, and I were smelly for class. Eeek. I tried to be really sly and pull a fast one on my family that morning. I spotted fish frying in the pan, so I knew that was for breakfast....but then on the table,  CornFlakes caught my eye! I quickly asked Mrs Sotz if I could have CornFlakes for breakfast and thought I was in the clear from morning fish head! I got dressed and ready for class and Sofia comes in to get me for breakfast!! I told her I ate CornFlakes and she was like, "but your fish and ariina" Ahhh! No escape! I had a nibble and told them I was full and ran off! I can never escape meals here!!! Yikes. Chanda picked us up for our last Tech Training session in Cristo Rey! Yay! We gave our TFS presentations and wrapped up all the last things we needed to cover. I also had a choco-banana for the first time! Kinda weird... lol. During lunch, the Mopan ppl all went into the river in our clothes. I really could care less if I was soaking wet for the rest of the day...hahahaha. It was worth it! After sessions we convinced Chanda to take us to Hanna's in San Ignacio, which had the biggest quesadillas in the country! They are HUGE! And SO delicious! mmmm.  We headed home and I was finally able to shower that night before going to Matt's. Matt's host family had a million people in town! It was a madhouse! One of his host "sisters" (technically) was visiting and sells jewelry. I'm pretty sure they were trying to sell me earrings, but I had no money. But she did give us all these bracelets that are really from Guatemala! hahahaha. Mine has a scorpion in it! It's pretty rockin....


Tuesday was our last language session! Woohoo! (And we had water!!! hahaha) Mr Cal walks in and tells us, "I don't really have a lesson planned for today." OMG we were so mad! He's such a slacking teacher. So we wasted a beautiful morning.I was productive and did my laundry during lunch...go me! And when it was time to leave for afternoon session, Mr Cal texted us that it was cancelled. Afternoon off! haha. We filmed some footage of our host families for our CBT presentation and then headed to PC for internet and yoga.

Ok, so what's up with yoga?! I'm horrible at it. I'm not bendy or flexy or cool enough to do those poses right. I flat out fell on my face last week during one of the poses! (And Marla definitely called me out in front of the class...ahhaha) But I just cannot bend quite as much as everyone else it seems. AND to top it off, narcolepsy gets the best of me and everytime we do the lying down meditation parts, I pass out! I completely fall asleep! day I will own you!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

tales from Dan

So I told Dan I was going to blog about his stories at some point because they are just too hilarious to not be told....

Dan is in a house w/7 young children and 2 adults. The youngest child, Charlene, is the cutest little 3 year old girl you have ever seen! She is really bossy and demanding, but she is so cute you can't help but to obey her! (She will definitely be the devil in a few years.... lol). So anyway, she still breastfeeds (even though she also eats normal food) because their family is rather poor and many Belizeans breastfeed a lot longer than we do in the States. Anyway, Dan has grown quite accustomed to Charlene randomly going up to her mom and just yanking out her breast.... B/c, like I said, Charlene is quite bossy so when she was a little snack, she gets it. haha.
So one day at lunch Dan was super excited because he had Ramen! He is eating his noodles, and Charlene whips out her mom's boob. She then continues to say, "Danny, Danny" & points to her mom's boob, essentially offering him a little taste! AAH HAHAHA! Dan quickly looked to his Ramen for the rest of the meal..... Amazing!
To make things EVEN BETTER, about a week after that incident happened, Dan was walking to the shower in his towel. Charlene yells, "Danny! Danny! Nice doo doo!" And Dan was utterly confused. His poop? He comes to find out from the other children that "tzoo tzoo" is nipples in Mopan!!! hahahhaha He told us the story that morning and I told him that she was probably wanting to try them out... I'm just saying... hahahaha. So now Dan's entire family constantly makes fun of him and says "nice doo doo" all the time!

Oh the life of a Mopan-eer. hahahaha

busy busy


I tried to skip breakfast again by being late and Mrs Sotz sent Choni on bicycle with a packed breakfast for me instead! Ugh, I felt so bad & didn't even want to eat! I guess skipping breakfast is really not an option.... lol
That morning we had class w/ Mr Cal and got to go visit with a bush doctor! It was a really cool complex where he lived & we got to see a bunch of herbs he uses for various cures. The guy was a tiny man with about 2 teeth and really not the healthiest looking individual. Still it was a cool morning session & we got to explore the Maya Mopan village as well. That afternoon we gave our HFLE presentations at Kuxlin Ha Gov't School. I was kinda nervous about teaching kids, but it ended up turning out really great! I taught Infant II, which is the equivalent of 1st grade, & they were pretty well behave & seemed to learn some things about personal hygiene by the time I was done. It was definitely a good experience.... and at least I didn't have to do private parts! (that was Dan's topic! hahaha)
After our presentations, we went to PC for sessions with Chanda, homework time, & yoga again. So many ppl went to yoga that night! (b/c all the Dangriga ppl were in town for the night). It was really fun & we all hung out at the good ole Garden City hotel afterwards. It was actually the latest the San Martin crew stayed out yet! I had gotten a key to let myself in the house and Dan left his window open & Matt's room is separate with a key of his own, so we all could stay out w/out keeping our families up waiting! It was a hilarious night and we had a blast!


PC Day! I woke up trying to act like I hadn't been out late the night before, but I still got weird looks and questions. Oh how I love being a teenager again! lol.San Martin didn't have water again in the morning, so I had to get clean as best as possible. Fail!
Our sessions on Friday were actually really fun! (the constant lecture sessions had been getting a bit tiring). We did like 2 hours of group games, which were hilarious and funny. One of the games was a spiderweb w/38 holes for all 38 of us and we had to get everyone through the holes without touching the string & every hole can only be used once. It took us over an hour to do but it was awesome! I went through one of the top holes and had to be lifted through and caught on the other side.... I guess it's kinda hard to describe in writing. We also got to meet our new Country Director that morning! She is SO nice and seems really genuine! I'm excited to work with her!
The rest of the day was a lot of crammed sessions with Nurse Jackie before our last Development talk with Bryan! Bryan is amazing. He gave such a great motivational talk. It really made you reevaluate your reasons for coming here and why even little changes are so important. It was definitely an inspiring end to the day and week....

That night we ate in Belmopan and hung out at Andy's for awhile before heading home. It wasn't really a late night for us b/c pretty much everyone was exhausted from the night before. When I got home, Mrs Sotz was sick again in the hammock. She was sitting with a bowl of burning hair under her... I was so confused! I asked Nardo what was happening and he explained to me that she had gotten frightened by something which had caused her to get worms which caused her stomach pains and thus she had to burn her hair and cleanse herself with it and then each person in the family had to cut a chunk of their hair to burn and cleanse her with. It was so fascinating, but totally strange! The entire kitchen house smelled like burning hair.... It was weird!  Just another piece of Mayan culture I was introduced to!

May! I can't believe it's May already! Saturday was a great day! We had a meeting with NAVCO in the morning before the Agricultural Show, which is a huge 3-day fair in Belize. People come from all over the country and it's  complete madness! We went around to all the booths, drank some beers, went to the river, & rode some rides. It was a very long and fun day! Choni and Dora, my host nephew, were both at the fair and every time I saw them they were WAY drunker! It was funny, but I was glad they never saw me drinking b/c that could get me a worse rep than I already have! hahaha. Afterwards we all went to one of the 2nd year PCV's house to hang out. Of course, Matt went to Brodie's to get some rum and who bags up his purchase? My other host brother, Dino! I can't escape them! On top of that, Alana was outside the store and talked to Matt asking when I would be home and what I was doing. OMG! haha. We had another late night out, but it was a great day!

peeping belizean


There's never a dull moment as a PCT.... or at least not for me! So I woke up early motivated to run... (mostly b/c something fell onto our zinc roof at 5:30am and woke me up). Matt and Dan weren't out so I decided it was safe enough to venture on my own... The run was good and i sprinted the last stretch into our front yard. I was pacing and trying to catch my breath as I turn around to a guy who I thought was peeing oddly close to the road.... Well, as I walked around my front yard I realized he wasn't peeing.... yea, awkward. You fill in the blanks.... He stood there for awhile, being creepy. Yuck! Bad news bears! Only things like this happen to me! Yikes!
That was a great start to my Monday morning!!! Eeek! We had Tech Training in Cristo Rey all day & I was exhausted when I got home, so I decided to watch a movie w/the fam & let Alana paint my nails.... I now have bright teal nails that are about an inch thick! hahaha So I decided to watch Along Came Polly with my family, thinking it's pretty harmless and good to watch with both the guys and Alana. Well, you know how you don't notice small little jokes until they are about people you are with? That totally happened to me.... If you know the scene where Ben Stiller clogs the toilet and is tryin to use the loofah to get it out ...Well he says, "please God if you make this go down I'll do anything... I'll adopt a small Mayan child....etc" Talk about AWKWARD!!! ahhh! What are the odds???!!! hahaha
The next day I had a cute family moment looking at some old pics Mrs Sotz had of the family... The most recent ones are at least 5 years old, but she was so excited to share them with me! It was so cute. Language training was pretty boring and pointless both in the morning and afternoon.... I'm over training!!! hahaha It was so hot & Mr Cal didn't really care about the lesson either.... Blah. The only good part about Tues was our meetings with Austin about our permanent sites! All the signs seem to be pointing me to Punta Gorda....we will see if that's what happens!
That night we did yoga at the PC office.... Talk about stereotypical PC experience! hahaha but it was fantastic! We ate dinner in Belmopan before going home.... A pretty boring day for the most part. It seems like the heat has made me so lazy!
Wednesday I tried to wake up late in order to skip breakfast.... it didn't work. hahaha We had no water, so I had to bathe in a makeshift way to try to not smell for the day (luckily I had showered the night before!) In class we learned about some Mayan traditions like the Greasy Pole ceremony & watched a bunch of clips of different festivals.... It was really cool! Then we all took a trip to Matt's host grandpa's house to talk to him in depth about the ceremonies. Pablo is the funniest old man! He speaks pretty good English and is just a riot! But his house was a little bit gross and covered in flies and dirty dishes and food & it just had a general stench. Ugh! We went to leave and Mr Cal's truck died! So Matt, Dan, and I had to push his truck up a hill to get it started & it actually worked! I felt like a real country girl... go us! hahaha They would think I was lame for saying that...... hahahahahaha.

That night was one of the weirder/sadder ones at my host family. Mrs Sotz has diabetes and she was having some sort of severe stomach pains that she attributed to that and also "worms". I'm not sure what was going on, but she couldn't get out of the hammock and it was really frightening! Sofia and I spent an hour pushing as hard as we could on her belly in various areas to try to alleviate the pain. It was intense. I felt so bad for her and also so helpless b/c I didn't know what exactly was wrong and how to fix the problem. She goes to a bush doctor, so I'm not even sure what they told her was wrong. It's just complicated I guess. Anyway, after helping her I decided to do a pilates workout video and TurboJam b/c I wanted to keep working out. My whole family laughed at me and thought I was crazy, but I was glad I did it! After I finished, I came to find out that Mrs Sotz had added $10 worth of credit to my phone for helping her out! (We buy credits here, not phone plans). It was the sweetest thing in the world and so unncessary! But I was glad to have that little bonding moment with my family =)

Washing Pan Di Rock

Washing Pan Di Rock
Crique Jute Village