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!