This past weekend turned out to be a quite eventful pre-holiday event!
It all began on Thursday, when we had our Christmas party for the Rovers and Toledo staff. It was a nice luncheon, and they even had rum and beer for everyone! Even though hardly any of the Rovers drank, being noon on a weekday and them being Mayan women...it's not their culture. But the food was a nice change of pace and it was good to be out of the office for the afternoon.
Then the real party started on Friday! I was lucky enough to be invited to the Ministry of Human Development's Christmas party. The event left from Tourist Village in Belize City on a big Catamaran boat! It was all government employees under the Human Service's Dept, plus two PCVs, (I was allowed to bring a guest). Unlike most things I go to in Belize, this was a pretty elegant affair- probably the nicest thing I've been to in this country thus far! I even had to have my mom ship down one of my cocktail dresses from my closet just for the occasion, having nothing suitable for the event in my wardrobe down here!
So the adventure began about noon-ish Friday, as we headed up in the Ministry's truck with our driver, Fido. The deal for the party was the Ministry provided transportation but not lodging in Belize City, which was huge because it saved us $50 a piece and we just stayed with another PCV in the city. We got into Belize in record time, heading to a fellow PCVs house to make Christmas cookies and get ready for the boat. Around 7pm we headed to Tourist Village, all spiffy in our elegant-wear. Of course we were one of the first few people there, because we should've known the boat was leaving 7:30 sharp, Belize time. People wandered in anywhere from 7:30-8-ish, and the boat didn't actually pull out til a little after 8:30. It was a nice boat, decorated in Christmas lights and red ribbons, and PACKED with people. I had my doubts that all the people on the dock would fit on the boat, but I it was deceptively smaller from outside. The PG Vibes, a local band, played for the evening. They threw down some Beliezan punta-renditions of classic Christmas carols along with a lot of the popular Belizean music. During their breaks, the dj blasted wedding-style old school music, which is always my favorite. Even though, I must admit I thought I was an expert in "wedding/old school music" knowledge, but these Belizeans gave me a run for my money! It would be the first beat of a song and they were already yelling and singing along! It was truly amazing-- I felt like a failure! haha
But overall the event was really nice. We had a delicious ham and turkey Christmas dinner, with dessert and tamales to go, lol. There was also an open bar with RED WINE--yes, you head right--WINE! We danced with some important Ministry staff, even trying to get some moves in with the Minister, who started the night by saying, "Tonight I am not the Minister... I am here to party!" He even jumped in and sang with the band, (but his son IS the lead singer, so he has some pull...haha) It was quite spectacular... a night sailing under the brightly lit up Caribbean sky! Awesome...
We finally rolled back into Tourist Village around 1am, and our partying shoes were ready to be hung up. It was a great night!
Saturday, the Ministry brought us back to PG, again in record timing. I was exhausted from the night before, so I called it an early night.
Sunday morning I woke up at the crack of dawn to catch Bol's bus into Crique Jute to attend a Mayan wedding! I was pretty psyched for the event--I even wore my Maya blouse and a long black skirt to match-- I'm practically a Maya gyal already.
I met Dan by his hill before walking to the church. The service was Baptist and lone Maya-- aka, there was 3 hour of clapping and very little dialogue that I understood. But it was a very nice and lively ceremony. The bride had a beautiful dress and there were cohune leaf arches framing the doorways of the church. Contrary to the very elegant attire of the boat ride event, the wedding consisted of women in mostly traditional wear and men in jeans, though that was still pretty calssy. The mother of the bride was even barefoot in the church, which made me smile in appreciation of this culture. Overall, it was a nice, nice ceremony.
After the service, everyone packed on a bus to San Antonio village, which is only the next village over, to go to the reception. San Antonio was where the groom's family was from. We got served eken (pig) and it was so nice! Pig, rice, beans, and red fanta- the combo of champs! We hung out talking to Dan's villagers and meeting new ones from San Antonio.
After a long period of repetitive conversations, we decided to take a walk around the village. There was a football marathon down at the field where 21 teams were participating in! It was huge! There were tons of people and music playing and it was a big party vibe from down there. We saw some of our friends from the Indian Ville team, and watched their team win the first game. (They ended up winning the whole tournament after we left). San Antonio was a hopping place! Not only was there a big marathon going on, but up the hill the school was having a bizarre. They were selling tons of food and had various prizes for people. I couldn't believe how much activity was happening in this village on a Sunday! It was busy for ANY day of the week, for that matter!
We headed back to the wedding after hanging out for a bit and ran into one of Dan's villagers on the road. I know the man because he works at ITVET, where we ran both the computer and chess camps. He just told me how his son had a baby and they named her Mallory! I have officially made my mark on Belize! hahaha I left a legacy.... in Dan's village, hahaha. How random! Anyway, we danced a little merimba at the wedding before expressing our gratitude to the family and heading out.
What a pleasant (& quite diverse) weekend!!