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 relaxing....it 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