The first week of August, the head guy from COMPAR stopped by my house, (while I was having a little dinner party!) to tell me that he was leaving to do a 2 year education leave in Jamaica on top of letting go of the other supervisor in the office…. In addition, our intern Allyson was leaving at the end of the month to go back to Barbados. So I officially turned into the ONLY worker in the entire Toledo COMPAR office! Ahhh! Oy vey! And before he left, we had to take care of conflicts among the Rover girls in the village. There’s been a lot of petty fighting going on among them. In many of the villages you can find one small dispute will turn into a major break between villagers. If you do something to piss off my family member, then I won’t be friends with you or ANY of your family or help them in any way. That’s kinda how it works. Anyway, I do not deal well with being a person of authority when it comes to confrontation, so this was extremely hard for me. So work has been difficult lately, trying to find my appropriate role without actually becoming the boss. Luckily, just last week they hired a new COMPAR supervisor and finally a new RCP supervisor (all in the first week of October! It only took a few months!). So I’m excited to start working with them. Now I can actually try to implement sustainable practices! Peace Corps just gave a Designing for Behavior Change workshop and I formulated a conflict resolution plan and I can’t wait to present it to my counterparts and get the ball rolling on this issue! It was really helpful… and motivating!
Around mid August, I went to San Jose with Allyson to do RCP supervisions and begin the pilot stage of our Literacy Corner program into 15 homes. We each stayed with one of the Rover’s families in the village, which of course was fun for me! And it was fun to be with Allyson in her first village life experience! We bathed in the San Jose river and explored the large, mountainous village. The village has no electricity and both families we stayed with didn’t have running water either—we were roughing it! It was so much fun though! It was so nice and relaxing. We ate by kerosene lamps at night and went to bed around 8pm! It was a very simple and pleasant week. I got to work on my tortilla skills that have sadly been wasting away in recent months! And we listened to the Tumul K’in radio station at night, which is a Mayan radio station playing songs and broadcasts in both Maya and K’echi. We also listened to Love FM, the national station, and my final soccer game was on the news! That was cool to hear!
During our San Jose trip I tried groundmole for the first time! Mr Peck, the dad who I had stayed with, had just killed it before dinner time. I have to admit…. Groundmole tasted like sewage. They gave me groundmole feet and they still had the hair on them! It was not a dish I care to explore again!!
The trip was successful. We got all our literacy corners set up and had a very cultural week together! It was a good week! The final day in the village, our Belize City supervisor came with all the Belize Rovers to see what our girls do. I love watching their interactions because their work styles and lifestyles are so different from each other. Toledo is like a whole separate country compared to Belize City. So the Belize girls got to watch our girls do their work and then we all came back for a workshop on Friday.
The Belize supervisor took me out to karaoke Friday night. I was SO excited for a night of karaoke fun…. It was very different than what I expected! Haha We basically sat at a bar and sang songs off an old school computer monitor that was behind the bar. It was definitely an interesting experience!
In September, I was able to head to Belize City to do a workshop with the Rovers up there. While I was in Belize, I was able to take advantage of the various September Celebration events. Since September marks Belize’s Independence Day, St. George’s Caye Day, and Carnival—it’s a BIG PARTY month! I was able to see the parade for St. George’s Caye Day and even march (or shall I say dance?) in a crowd behind one float! It was so awesome! My counterpart even gave me Belizean colored beads to give me some pride! (Ironically, they are red, white, and blue beads! Haha) But it was a very, VERY fun day! Carnival was also an awesome experience. There were tons of elaborate costumes and dancers and it was an amazing sight to see! I loved all the excess—it was fantastic! It was one big party in the streets of Belize!!
By the time Independence Day rolled around, I was back in PG. (Sep 21st). We celebrated by going to the parade and then hanging out with locals in the area all day and night. We partied at Sports Bar til 4am on the rooftop! They had a tent and no amount of rain stopped the party! It was crazy! We left around 4am and the postman told me the next day that he didn’t leave til 8:30am!! We were early birds!! Hahaha But it was one of the most fun days I’ve had in Belize! I sported a Belizean football jersey and got so many compliments and words of appreciation. It was really cool!
Following Independence Day, we had a Mopan review training at Tumul K’in Learning Center. Tumul K’in is a Maya high school that has kids from all over the country study and also learn about their Maya heritage. It’s a cool place. It’s in Blue Creek village, which is a beautiful place. While we were outside the classroom, we hiked to the caves and around the river—it’s truly amazing out there! (Hence the pic at the top of my blog!)
Unfortunately, our training was cut short by a hurricane evacuation! Hurricane Matthew stormed in and we were consolidated to PG for a few days….aka, home to me! Luckily, Matthew did not bring any damage to us, but it looked like it was gonna be a bad one at first! It was an exciting end to the “summer months” I guess you can say! Haha