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, September 29, 2010

The Daring Adventures of San Miguel Village

After computer camp in Crique Jute, I just did NOT have enough village time in my life!! So I headed over to San Miguel village, which is one of the villages our RCP program is in. I was there for a week doing full-day supervisions with our Rovers, while staying with my new PCV pal, Tracy!

I got abandoned for a ride by my organization...again.... so I took the noon bus into San Miguel on Monday morning. When I arrived in at Tracy's, she had made guacamole and cake--instant friends!!!! It was DELICIOUS. We ate and then headed up to work on her World Map project at the school. Pretty much as soon as we started painting with the kids, it started to downpour.... oy vey! So not much got accomplished as far as helping her out that day!

We headed back to Tracy's and Greg came to hang out w/us. (He lives in the next village over). We hung out for awhile before deciding to go to Greg's house for the evening. Tracy brought over dinner she had made and frozen and we went to Silver Creek to stay at Greg and Kevina's. Their house is SO nice! It's a really neat thatch house that's in a compound along with other families--so cool! We had a delicious shrimp scampi meal and then played bananagrams all night--which I had never played before and am now officially addicted to!!

The next morning Tracy and I headed back early to shower and get ready before I met the first Rover, Guadalupe. I had a productive day of supervisions and stimulations, a PB&J lunch, followed by the most amazing and dramatic adventure of my time here in PC.

So Tracy tells me about these caves that are just outside San Miguel village. Loving any kind of adventurous activity, I was immediately on board with the idea. We borrowed a bike from her host family, and I borrowed clothes and sneakers from Tracy, and we headed into the bush to see this awesome cave. Now, let me preface this story by telling you that Tracy is a huge animal lover. She has a dog that stays in her house, Blackie, who she takes care of, as well as two of the neighbors' dogs who hang out looking for food and attention: Mickey and Sleepy. When we walked to the school for the World Map, they followed...and when we biked out to the bush, they followed again. Quite loyal, these potlickas. So anyway, we 2 gringas and 3 potlickas go biking out of town on our little adventure. It's about an hour bike ride or so til we get to the Maya Dam. We have to climb down the side of the dam, cross over the dry rock area, hike in a little bit of jungle, until we finally reach the caves. Quite exciting!

So we get up to the cave mouth and I'm videoing and taking's absolutely beautiful! Tracy has her headlamp on and I'm trying to get close to her light to make my way through the cave. The beginning part is just dark and damp, and I'm stepping in puddles and bumping into things. All of a sudden I see a bat fly past me! We're in the dark and this thing starts swooshing by, dive-bombing us! We freak out like 2 little girls, assuming upward fetal positions on the ground...oh boy! There was screaming and grabbing on to each other, but we finally gained our composure and headed onward. Next we reach a small opening, about the size of a manhole, that we had to climb up through to get to the major part of the cave. It's a difficult climb, but once we made it through the cave becomes lighter in the wide-open space. It was amazing! We are exploring the cave and looking around all the different areas, while we hear the 3 dogs whimpering from outside. They could not figure out how to get in! Tracy and I continue walking around and climbing different areas, just taking in the scenery. All of a sudden, Mickey shows up inside! The brave little dog made it into the cave! Not long after, we once again had 3 dogs at our heels as we explored the cave.

After a good while, we decided it was time to head out. I was hungry and ready to dig into the next amazing dish Tracy had prepared. We make our way back out of the cave--very carefully. We get to the outside and rest on some rocks, once again hearing the whimpers of 3 pitiful dogs. It's kind of amusing, because we know they can get out, but they are just being babies! So Tracy and I are giggling as we wait on the rock for the dogs to find their way. After about 10 minutes or so, brave ole Mickey gets out and is back along with us. It takes Blackie a good number of minutes after Mickey, but he soon makes it out too. So now we only hear Sleepy crying inside, unable to make the trek. At this point, Tracy and I can't see him but we are looking at this giant cave mouth while his whimper echoes out it. If a stranger were to approach the cave right now, they would probably freak out! So I take a video and Tracy is cracking up--it's hysterical!

Finally, we decided we have to go get this mutt or we'll never reach home before dark. Right as Tracy is about to head back in, I see Sleepy come out on a high ledge near the front of the cave mouth! We have no idea how he got that high! But he is still crying. So we think that maybe we can scale the outside on the cave mouth and get up to the ledge he is on. I climb up and get to about the equal height of Mickey, but there is a large gap between his ledge and mine, and only a steep drop in between us. So I scale back down the side and we decide it's time to head back inside. We are able to get all the way up to the ledge Sleepy is on. I was up first, while Trace waited. But Sleepy didn't trust me and wouldn't come down, and I was too nervous that he would bite me, that I didn't try to grab him. So Tracy got up and was able to get him down the first really high ledge.

We're all happy and glad we saved him and we get to the next sort of difficult ledge, and Sleepy freaks and runs back up to the top! At this point, it's starting to get dark and we can't be out in the bush in the dark-- it's too dangerous. So we figure that he's just being a big wimp...if he wanted to make it out, he could. He got down the hardest ledge, the rest was easy. He will surely follow once he realizes we are definitely leaving.

We head home and are confident that this dog will find his way.He's a Mayan potlicka, for crying out loud! Meanwhile, we are cracking up hysterically at the ridiculous afternoon we just had!

We eat lasagna and laugh pretty much the whole night. Officially the best ab workout I've had in country thus far. haha.

That night, there were weird sounds coming from the spare room I was staying in at Tracy's. I wasn't sure what the sound was, but it woke me up a couple of times. Tracy mentioned earlier that she may have rats, which I'm used to, but it didn't sound like rats. I woke up in the morning and we were talking about rats and rat poop, etc. I looked upstairs under Tracy's spare bed and saw there was a MASSIVE amount of poop. Now I know rat poop and gecko poop look similar, but Tracy said she swept under the bed before I came and rats and geckos don't poop that much unless there are millions of them! I shine a flashlight around the ceiling and realize there are bats up there! She has a bat nest in her house! No wonder I heard weird sounds all night!! (She's all clear now though, her landlord took care of them).

Meanwhile, still so sign of Sleepy that morning. The hilarious story was suddenly becoming less funny by the minute. Tracy went into town for the day and I went on supervisions with another Rover, Wilhemenia. During the afternoon, one of Tracy's neighbors comes asking about the dogs and if I knew where they were. I played dumb and pointed to Blackie, asking if she meant that dog. I felt terrible! Tracy was feeling guilty too, texting me to hear if any positive updates happened in the village.

I went to Guadalupe's house during the afternoon and stayed over for dinner. She made some amazing escabeche, which is a chicken soup with noodles and tortillas and potatoes. It's like kaldo, but not red and different spices--hard to describe.
I had a relaxing evening with her family. They were very nice and made amazing food. I left around 7 and her brothers rode me home so I wouldn't walk alone in the dark.

When I got back to Tracy's, the Sleepy tale was now a sad story. We realized that we were going to have to go back to the cave to rescue that dog.

Thursday morning we woke up and Tracy made a hearty breakfast of eggs and hash browns, which I know she was really just buttering me up because she convinced me to stay an extra night to come rescue Sleepy with her.

I did my RCP supervisions that morning with Florita, the final Rover in the village. Then I had been invited to lunch by Wilhemenia's family, but Florita told them I wasn't coming because I was going to her house for lunch. Typical village drama. So Florita was jealous and mad, even though she never actually asked me, just assumed. Ey yey yey... these girls. Basically, there is a lot of drama because there is a spirit curse in San Miguel. It possesses people apparently. So families have been falling victim to it and thus leaving the Catholic church. So now there are feuds between the Catholic villagers and the villagers who are members ofthe House of Prayer. It's very dramatic, esp for a village where there are only 2 last names!! (In other words, EVERYBODY is related!!) Madness! Nonetheless, I was glad to have lunch at Wilhemenia's. We had kaldo kax with cassava in it! Cassava is soooo good!! It was a delicious meal! And her family was extremely nice and welcoming. I really enjoyed myself.

After work stuff was done, Tracy and I gathered our gear for the hike ahead of us. Tracy had been telling Roger the story throughout the past few days, so he knew all that was happening. He starts telling us to be careful, that there's a chance the dog is already dead, maybe an animal like a jaguar is eating it, etc. (Which San Miguel has had jaguar incidents recently). So we pack a hunting knife, a large kitchen knife, rope, dog food, a bowl, water, flashlight, headlamp, etc. We were READY! So I'm kind of excited to go on another adventure, ready to go! And as we;re biking over, Tracy is telling me all the stuff Roger has said to her. As we get closer and closer, I start to panic. Tracy says,"I feel confident that if a jaguar pounces on me that I could stab it and get it off me." And I respond with, "I don't!" I started to freak out a little as we made our way! I even made Tracy change the subject! hahaha. So we headed back in, past the dam, over the rocks, through the bush, and towards the cave. Every 5 steps I'm looking over my shoulder and saying, "what's that?/did you hear that??" Completely FREAKED at this point! Keep in mind this dog has been alone in a cave for over 48 hours now... For all we know, he could've fallen, been attacked, currently being attacked, etc...The chances of him being alive, let alone completely unharmed were not in his favor. But finally, as we near the cave mouth, a howling cry starts....the best whimpering cry I've ever heard! Sleepy was alive! And fine!! We were elated!

We climb in and he is back up on the top ledge... but in a matter of seconds he makes it all the way down to the bottom, past the 2nd ledge. I could almost strangle that dog with how easy he was able to get down! Then we got to the manhole part and he freaked. Exhausted from the emotions of this adventure, Tracy and I were NOT letting him escape again. We tied the rope around his neck and I pulled from through the hole and Tracy flat out kicked him down it! Don't worry, he found his footing and was completely fine. Oy geyvult!

We near the opening of the cave, and almost as if the cave wanted to spite me in one last way before leaving, I get knicked by a bat right in the ear as it swooshed past my face! Really? Is this real life? hahaha

So now it's mid afternoon, and we're heading home with Sleepy. Meanwhile, let me remind you that the owner has asked both me and Tracy about the whereabouts of her dog--both of us playing dumb about it. (Can you believe, the one Belizean dog in the WHOLE country who the owner actually CARES about what happens to it! Just our luck!) And Mickey's owner has now tied him up because they think there's a dognapper on the loose. And we are already suspect because everybody saw us leave the village with 3 dogs, and come back with 2. So we are riding home, hoping Sleepy will be glad to be free and run back to the village. Wrong! He is stuck to us like glue! He won't leave our sides! Crap! We're completely screwed!

It's about 4pm, so we decide we'll just wait out the sun before we go back. The sun sets around 530 or so, so as long as we hang out here, nobody will see us with Sleepy. As we are walking around doing nothing, we pass almost EVERY SINGLE person in the village. Two truckloads of men from the farms pass by us, then the young guys come down to the river to bathe while we are sitting there with the dog...everyone! But we still wait it out. The sun doesn't actually set til
around 7! So finally, it gets dark and we make our way home. Right as we walk towards Tracy's house, her neighbor is sitting outside and immediately yells, "Miss Tracy...Sleepy is back!" Tracy smiles and replies with a one word answer and we go into hiding for the rest of the night. Oh MAN!

Basically, we were heroes it what this story comes down to. Even though we had to hide our heroic acts from the people of San Miguel. In a way, that kinda makes us like Batman and Robin... at least, I think!

I ate one last great meal at Tracy's before bed and catching an early bus back to PG in the morning. What an adventurous week!!!

(To read Tracy's version of the story, go here:)

Crique Jute -the Village that Wants to Adopt Me

In July I did a computer camp in Crique Jute, which is Dan's. The camp was at ITVET, which is a technical school right outside the village, about a 2 mile walk from Dan’s house. This is when I fell in LOVE with Crique Jute village. The people are so nice and friendly! The village is a little untraditional, because instead of people’s houses being close in the valleys of hills, the people of Crique Jute have their houses up in the mountains. It’s almost like each family has their own jungle palace, high on a mountain top. There are, of course, some houses down lower and in between mountains, basically whatever land they can get. But as you walk or ride or drive down the dirt road through Crique Jute, you will see only a small number of houses, because most are hidden in the jungle above. It’s amazing and beautiful! The first week of camp was taking it all in for me. I’ve worked in a lot of villages, but seeing a new village always amazes me, especially in Crique Jute! Dan was still living with his host family that first week, which was one of the first houses as you enter the village, completely in the opposite direction of ITVET. So we were in really good shape after making the trek back and forth several times a day that week! His host family, the Pops, lived up on a very high mountaintop. They are my favorite and their house is definitely why I call the houses palaces. They have pretty much every type of tree you could imagine there! Avocado, (which they call pears), starfruit, pepper, mami, cacao, lime…you name it! They basically never have to come down! They even have their own private creek down the side of their mountain where they bathe and do laundry. It’s awesome down there! Like a paradise! It’s quite a hike down, but amazing once you make it! So beautiful—I don’t even have words to do it justice!

Modesto Pop is the nicest, cutest little Mayan man. He is married to Dolores, who I am determined to challenge in an arm wrestling contest once I get in shape because her guns are HUGE! They have 12 children (yes, you heard right!), which no wonder she has huge guns- washing 14 sets of clothing on the rocks and making tortillas for 14 people a few times a day! It’s hard, HARD work to wash on the rock and flatten tortillas! You’d be surprised how much of an arm workout you get! Anyway, they are the sweetest family. The children are so cute and respectful. They have really become one of my favorite Mayan families! The first day of camp, Dolores prepared a kaldo kax with some amazing lime juice since she knew I would be visiting. Yum! I got to have a few meals with the family that week, and got the kids to come out of their shells a little and play with me—which meant teaching the girls Miss Mary Mack (they LOVED it!) and never hearing the end of it til this day! Whenever I make a random visit over there, at least one of the daughters tries to play it with me! Hahaha.

During that first week, Dan and I fumbled through teaching kids, most of whom had never even touched a computer before, the basics of computers. It was very difficult and frustrating at times. Some of the kids were quick and got it right away, while others were lightyears behind. Having no experience in really teaching kids (or camp for that matter!), it definitely tested my patience and tolerance levels! Luckily, I was the more calm and tolerating one than Dan! (I was also the brains behind the operation…hahahaha). At least the computer lab was air conditioned!!!

In the after hours of camp, Dan showed me around the Jute—we went through the trails behind ITVET and swam in the creek. We saw the creek down behind Dan’s future home, and painted some of the walls in his house to try to make it look less cruddy. The house had been vacant for over a year and needed some work. We also took advantage of the Crique Jute movie theater! (aka: the projector in the ITVET computer lab that we could play movies off of in the AC!) I also became friends with the security guard, George, who told me he would miss my face when I left Thursday afternoon!

By Thurs, I had to get back because I had RCP stuff to do on Fri. I hung out w/PG folk at my temporary home at Nate and Michelle’s for the evening. Early morning Friday I had to get up and prepare our agenda for the Fourthnightly session. It was a loooong, long session- an all day workshop. Ugh! It was a little frustrating because one of the supervisor’s didn’t even show up to the meeting, and the Rovers didn’t take things seriously. Luckily, Allyson our intern from Barbados is strict and has her act together, so she laid down the law. I'm a big wimp... hahaha.

I was exhausted by the time the session ended! But I was planning on moving out of Nate and Michelle’s and in with Taylor that evening, so I got a second wind of excitement. The plan was that Taylor’s landlord said she was a building a second story above Taylor, so Peace Corps approved me to live with Taylor while construction was underway. Unfortunately, construction was supposed to start July 1st…. we still have yet to see anything! Anyway, I had some help from people moving me in that day, which was good. Dan came into town and Pedro, a guy who works with Nate, brought me his truck to load stuff into. After out mini-moving party, we hung out after. It was a nice Friday evening! I spent one last night sleeping in Michelle and Nate’s before moving in to Taylor’s for good!

Saturday I was supposed to be out of town with football (as usual) but our game got cancelled, so I was actually in PG town on a good market day! I spent the morning shopping and buying groceries- it was so great! I love the market! Something about it makes me feel so grown up! Hahaha Plus, you pretty much see EVERY Toledo PCV on Saturday market days, so it’s like a big reunion! Haha.

Saturday night was my first night in my next temporary home! (PC vagabond!) Somehow I left my Rainbow sandals on the front step, and when I went to take them in as we closed the door for the night, one was gone! I still can’t find it to this day!! I think maybe I potlicka ran off with it. Sad. Another pair of sandals lost to Belize. Belize: 2, Mallory: 0. So my living situation at Taylor’s was a mattress on the floor. My “room” was separated by a small couch and a dresser. I’m a very classy lady. It was actually quite a cozy corner I had set up there!

The next week I was scheduled to go to San Jose village to do RCP supervisions for the week, along with a parenting session. I was all packed and ready to head out and the other supervisor never came to pick me up. I was scheduled to leave by 7:30am in order to get to the village by 8:30. By 7:45 I was calling and texting people and nobody would answer. So I hopped on my bike and headed to the office. Samuel, the supervisor, was running around doing God knows what! He said we didn’t have the car until noon, then we didn’t have a car at all, then we did again. He basically had no idea what was happening. The Rovers only work til noon for stimulations, so if I left at noon it would be pointless. I got really frustrated and decided I would just show up to Crique Jute to finish the 2nd week of computer camp, (since I really enjoyed my first week there and I was already packed to be gone for a week!) I had some time to kill, so I went to the market with Laura and went to lunch with Matt—since people were in town for the afternoon. I then hopped on the noon bus to San Jose and got off at Dan’s house, since he had moved into his own mountaintop palace over the weekend.

Week 2 in Crique Jute was fun again! This time there were a lot of other PCVs popping in and out to help. Nate came Tues to Wed, Sam and his friend showed up Wed, and Matt and Rion came Fri! It was a full week and so much fun! We visited the Pops a few times, all of which we were fed. One of the days I wore my Mopan dress that my old host family gave to me. The family really appreciated it. Modesto’s parents, (who live in a house at the bottom of Modesto’s mountain), saw me from behind with a braid in my hair and asked Dan where he found the Indian girl! Hahaha I was a huge hit with the Pop family, and I was glad I wore it! Now his village likes me better than him and I’m officially banned from Crique Jute! Hahaha. Just kidding, they love him. But Dolores did tell me she liked having a girl Peace Corps around to help. When Sam and his friend were in town, we did graffiti on Dan’s kitchen walls. It was really relaxing to paint and Sam’s friend did a really cool Mayan drawing! It was awesome! I may take up graffiti-ing as a hobby!!
On Friday, camp ended with us giving the kids certificates and taking pictures with the Dean of ITVET. They loved it! All in all, I think the kids learned a lot and it was a successful computer camp!

After camp, Matt, Dan, and I were heading into the junction to catch the bus to town, when my COMPAR truck drove by and we were able to catch a ride in. Good timing. The perfect way to end a week is in the back of a pickup truck! Since the three of us hadn’t seen each other and been all three together in awhile, we spent the afternoon/evening just chilling at my house with a little, much needed, Mopan reunion. Good times….

Then Saturday was an awesome/depressing day... All the 2nd year PCVs are starting their COS (close of service) process. Saturday night we had Rion's going away party because he was the first one to leave of my 2nd year friends I'm gonna miss! We had a nice time at Nate and Michelle's playing card games and being silly all night. I miss you, Rion Smith!!!

Sunday: Roo, Taylor's cat, pooped all over my bed. That's all I have to say about that.

Holy Toledo!

So Toledo gets the most rain out of all the districts in Belize. And pretty much during rainy season (June through Nov) there are thunderstorms EVERY night! there's a thunderstorm happening right now as I type!

On July 8th, (I made a note of this date!), there was the LOUDEST and scariest thunderstorm I've ever experienced in my life! I was woken up to an earthshattering crack complimented with the brightest lightning show I've ever seen! I jumped with each bolt! Literally, it shook me to the core! I was in a solid, cement house, but I've never felt so scared! I tried to cover my head with the pillow, but alas I decided to appreciate Mother Nature's power.... I went to the front door of Nate and Michelle's and watched the crazy storm. The power blinked in and out with each strike of lightning and crash of thunder. I was really in awe by the sight! It made me feel like a little girl scared in my room at night.... except if I was a little girl, I would've been balling from this storm! Intense! I was in awe of the show, watching the rain pour down over the empty streets of Punta Gorda Town. It was right as I was about to end watching the storm when I saw the most interesting sight! A pack of seven potlickas (local dogs) came walking down the street like a gang. They were all adults, all different types of mutts, all walking together and waiting for each other when one would stop to mark his territory or sniff another.... it was really quite a sight! I couldn't believe in this whirlwind of madness outside, these 7 dogs just strutted down the street like they owned the town.... which, I guess, they do! Anyway, I watched them confidently stroll away in the wicked storm before I returned to my foam padding for bed....Holy Toledo! What an interesting night!

But like most stormy nights, I woke up to another hot and sunny Belizean day....

The following day, I went to San Antonio to visit Rion, a fellow PCV. His village is one of the larger ones in Toledo, so the buses are pretty frequent. It's relatively close by, so it's an easy bus ride. It was a fun adventure. We hung out and made pizza! (real pizza!) and then went to the San Antonio falls for the day. The falls are so beautiful!! It was a nice, random, little get-a-way for the day!

Updates, Updates, Updates!!

So I have been procrastinating on my blogging and it has become a this huge daunting project now.... So here goes on the updates of my life:

Ok, where to begin! These past few months have flown by! I can’t believe I’ve only got ¾ of service left! It seems like yesterday I was stepping off the plane. It’s been an amazing ride so far, and as each day unfolds I cannot wait for what’s in store.

After I got kicked out of my host family's house, I moved in with Nate and Michelle. I lived with them for about 10 days or so.... maybe. (this is all the first week of July, by the way). It was fun!
In the meantime, our security guy, Daniel Mendes, came and approved a new house for me and another PCV, Taylor, to live in. The house is currently one story, but they are extending the top to a second apartment......Temporarily we are allowed to live together in the bottom, and the plan is to then have me move to the top. The only glitch - oh Belize- is that they were supposed to start construction on July 1st and they have yet to start...... oy! So we shall see....

I cooked my first meal in Belize.... the very ethnic spaghetti and meatballs! hahaha BUT for someone who has no cooking skills whatsoever, I did make the meatballs from scratch! go me! Speaking of cooking, I’ve been trying to learn to cook, but failing miserably. Yesterday I tried to hard boil an egg…. The yolk came out all liquidy (yes, it’s a word) and the rest was hard boiled. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna get sick from that! Hahaha. But I DID cook eggplant with pasta and onions, peppers, and garlic the other night…. I was proud of myself. That counts as a legitimate meal! I think I’m gonna need somebody to send me cookbooks…. Preferably cooking for dummies!!! Hahahahaha

I’ve also become quite acclimated to the bugs and rodents of Belize. Call me dirty, but I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor in Taylor’s house for awhile, and I had a cockroach crawl on the mattress in the middle of the night and I was just too tired to even bother knocking it off. Yep, it’s true. I’m much less creeped out by bugs these days. Last night a HUGE cockroach crawled in my hair in the middle of the night. I woke up and brushed it off and thought it was a piece of hair itching me. Then it crawled back on my face and I realized it was a cockroach. So I knocked it off again—very casually. And then got my spray and killed it. And I wasn’t grossed out at all! Weird. I’m officially Belizean.

Throughout most of the summer I spent the majority of my time in the villages of Toledo. I was either working for RCP or doing summer camps in Crique Jute village. So that’s my big excuse for not blogging! Haha Being in the villages makes it hard to get computer/internet access—at least long enough to write a blog!

Meanwhile, I enjoyed a lot of the World Cup in Belize.... everyone-both Belizeans and PC alike- seemed to really get into it! It was exciting! Except every team I rooted for would I would move on and find a next team and they would lose.... it was a vicious cycle! haha

But, my absolute favorite thing about Belize is the atmosphere of a rural Toledo village. Every village you go to has its own feel, dialect, and little ways to make life work. Some have no running water, some no electricity, and still others have neither. And yet, they get by, day to day. As an American, it’s surprising and hard to get used to this simplistic lifestyle. We tend to try to fill up every second of our days with work or entertainment of some sort. You rarely ever find a family who hang out after dinner in the darkness, just enjoying each other’s company. I sometimes think of Belize as just a few generations behind the States, but in a junglesque environment. When I was in San Jose village for the week, we had no electricity or running water. We bathed in the river around 4 in the evening, just before dinner time. We prepared dinner and by the time we ate it was dark out, so we sat around a kerosene lamp. Once dinner was over, the family gathered around the transistor radio and listened to the news or music for the remainder of the evening before going to bed by at least 8pm. Can you even imagine the last time you went to bed at 8? Most people probably haven’t seen that day in awhile! But then they were up again at the crack of dawn, starting the daily chores all over again. Washing, preparing breakfast, etc. It really gives you time for self-evaluation. That’s what I like the best. You are forced to sit alone with your thoughts, which are easy to avoid in the States. Whenever I get overwhelmed and stressed, watching a movie/tv, surfing the internet, or listening to music is an easy way to avoid what needs to happen and have some mindless enjoyment. In the village, you find plenty of time to read and write and THINK! Oh, to think without distractions! It’s fantastic! Maybe it’s just me, and I have no will power when I’m trying to get something done and a tv or computer screen is in front of me….easy choice! I immediately opt for entertainment! To not have that option is refreshing, really.

Anyway, enough ranting about technology…. Back to my actual life down here!

Monday, September 27, 2010

sorry, sorry, sorry!!!!

Hello, hello!!!

I'm so very sorry for keeping my oh-so-interesting (maybe?) life private the past 2 months!!! I think I procrastinated and then....well, it became a daunting task!

I'm working on giving you a full-updated blog --in separate it's not overwhelming....

But here's the recent jist:

I have officially been in Belize for 6 months!! Can you believe it?? I can't! Essentially, it's the end of "freshmen year" if you wanna look at it in college terms.... Wow. Time has flown by! I feel like I just got here! It's crazy!!!

We survived Tropical Storm Matthew!! It was supposed to hit us directly and there was quite a lot of panic around Belize! The WHOLE country closed school down! I thought it was kinda funny to go watch the news at the local restaurant and hear her say "All schools are closed." Kinda crazy how small this country is!!
Anyway, Matthew ended up to just be a little bit of rain.... I guess a good bit of rain, but no real wind or anything exciting... I actually did my laundry while we were getting "into shelter." hahaha

In other news, I'm slowly becoming the emperor of Belize... Yes, you heard right. Emperor Maaaallly. I am officially the ONLY person working for my organization in Toledo District. Unfortunately, though I am really digging the whole almost-Emperor status, this is not really my role as a PCV.... so I'm working with Peace Corps to figure out a happy medium with my org, so I can help them out, but not be running the show... I'm not here to replace Belizeans for free labor... I'm here to help Belizean counterparts in a sustainable way-- it's not sustainable if there is nobody here to sustain it in 2 years!!!

As far as housing goes: I'm am no longer the nomad of Peace Corps! I officially have a house! Hurray! I'm living no longer in Indian Ville, bu on the south side of PG. It's my first house I've ever lived in on my own, though I am living with another PCV who will be in country for another month or so. But essentially, I am finally settled! So that's one thing that's off my back!

In other news, my football team won 2nd place in the Belize Women's National Tournament.... and I made it in the newspaper! It came out about 5 days after the game--news doesn't travel fast here, I guess!-- but it's a full article about the Gentle Touch Strikers, (yes, that's our name), and it's got color pics! And I got a medal! wohoo- best souvenir ever!!

Oh, and then I biked 26 miles in a relay triatholon!! My team came in 11th place... but not last!!!! hahahaha We also got a medal! (But everyone who participated I guess that doesn't say much! haha) BUT, I was very proud of myself for completing the 26 miles of biking. Of all the 3 sports I could've been in, I got the one I've never done before!! Running and swimming are wayyy more comfortable for me! So I was proud I didn't die! OR get hit by a car--because they didn't stop traffic! Even though I did get lost twice, once in a traffic circle and I ran into a street sign with my bike and broke my toe.... The other in a ghetto neighborhood in Belize City.... well, let's be honest, all the neighborhoods are ghetto in Belize City... hahahaha. Nonetheless, it was an awesome day! So many PCVs participated and we teamed up with the Embassy, so that was really cool! We had a good group of supporters who came out to cheer as well... it was a really fun day! And we ended the morning with a mimosa brunch at Pat and Kerry's house, which was the perfect end to an exhausting, but rewarding morning!

More exciting news, I am back in the technological world! I now have a netbook and thanks to the computer stylings of Greg, it's all suped up (I'm positive that's spelled wrong) with goodies that will make it awesome! yay! thanks greg!!

In Final exciting news from the Belizean desk, Dan, Matt, and I have decided to do next year's La Ruta Maya. A 178 mile canoe race from San Ignacio to Belize.... oy vey! So I'm gonna need lots of support in coming months to motivate our training!!!! We have 6 months!!! eeeek!!! I think we can do it.... maybe...I hope! hahahaha

Ok, I promise to do a real blog and give some more details, but I'm running to try to miss this GINORMOUS rain cloud about to erupt on my head....

But shout out to my Dad for quitting smoking! I'm so proud of him :)

Washing Pan Di Rock

Washing Pan Di Rock
Crique Jute Village