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

Monday, February 28, 2011

This is What I Call Life

So this weekend I felt was typical in my sense of the word these days. Saturday the boys and I caught a ride up to Machaca Hill—this beautiful jungle resort 5 miles off the Southern Highway—to do some extra rowing before the big race. We rowed for a few hours in the hot morning sun and called it a day around noon.

It was a pretty happenin’ Saturday in PG. Toledo Community College was having its annual fair, so tons of football and food was happenin’ at the field. We grabbed some bbq for lunch before I had to jet to get my team organized. It was our Big Falls “Lil Swaggers” first match of the Delhardt Courtney Cup!

Of course the 3:30 match started around 5pm…. But we put in a good showing and ended in a 2-2 draw. The field was ROUGH and after only a few knocks to the ground, both of my knee caps and one elbow were pouring blood. I can honestly say I don’t think my knees have ever been scraped up so badly—they are still oozing 2 days later! They feel like 3rd degree burns! It’s quite terrible….especially since I need them for the canoe race this weekend! I can’t afford any extra scrapes or bruises!

Anyway, it was a really fun game! There were a TON of people, though I know most weren’t there to support us, but still! It was awesome!

The next maanin it was a party on Bol’s bus at 6am! A bunch of us were heading to Santa Elena (Matt’s Village) for a next football marathon! We were representing not only the lone gringo team, but the lone team with females on it! Our name was Team Suk…. Now, now don’t confuse our name with Team Suck, because even though we kinda sucked, we were named suk, (pronounced “sook”) because it means “white” in Maya. So we were the white team. Very politically correct, I know.

We were a lee bit nervous to play… these guys were for serious! And we were apparently playing round 1 versus the best team there—a team from Guatemala! Doubly international! Hahaha. But we held our own. Apparently, the first time I received the ball there was a massive wave of laughter from the crowd—a white gyal with ball skills! But I didn’t even hear it; was just told about it after the game. We ended in a 1-0 loss in the last 2 minutes. I think we were spent. We basically left Dan the whole half of the field to defend on his own: an easy breakaway, 1v1, and goal. But we didn’t embarrass ourselves! We put on a decent showing…and it actually worked out better that we didn’t win because Dan and his friends had plans in his village and they were able to catch a ride heading to San Antonio earlier than the bus… so it was all perfect!

After the game, the rest of us chilled in Matt’s village. They were selling caldo kax and tamales and all sorts of goodies to support the newly started feeding program in the school. So it was not only a good cultural experience, but it was for a good cause! We enjoyed some homemade meals, soaked in the HOT HOT rays, and had an afternoon of football. Nice, nice!

Lucky for me, Gomier, our local Rasta vegetarian chef came all the way from town to see Matt’s village and the marathon. He’s SUCH a chill and nice guy! He gave me a ride back into town that evening, saving me 2 hours and 5 bucks! Wohoo! Haha. We even stopped to bathe at the San Antonio Falls….so beautiful and refreshing.

I got home around 4:30 in the evening and took a moment to realize that this is life….. How did I get this lucky?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Amazonian style

So as I mentioned in previous posts, the Mopaneers are planning to tackle this year's La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge. It officially begins one week from tomorrow!!! Eeeek!!

In preparation for this event, Matt, Dan, and I have been working out on our own--with whatever makeshift weights and activities we can get our hands on. Personally, I filled up pvc pipe and oats cans with cement and made faux oars and weights. Nice, nice.

Anyway, in recent weeks we've tried to get all three of us in town to train on the rivers. At first it was pretty rocky---we are not really canoeing competitors or experts by any means! The guys are pretty comfortable and know what to do, but I think I can count the number of times I've actually been IN a canoe on one hand prior to this! During our first practice, I asked "what do you mean by paddle forward?"-- which now is the source of a good make-fun-of-Mallory joke every now and then!

Still, we've been getting some time in on the river, and things are looking up! We finally got out rowing strokes in unison, can turn fairly well, and have a general stamina that I think will lead us to successfully complete the race. We will not win it by any means, (those people are insane!), but we want to finish.....preferably not in last! haha

The entire race starts in Cayo and finishes in Belize City, crossing the whole country of Belize. We will row 49 miles on Day 1, 60 (!) miles on Day 2, 34 miles on Day 3, and 25 miles on Day 4! 170 miles total~! Our arms burn with our workouts now so I can only imagine how miserably sore we will be after each of these intense race days! But we can't complain too much. We practice rowing along the Toledo rivers in straight jungle. It's like the Amazon! Literally, it looks like out of a movie. One day we paddled right beside a crocodile! (Which caused massive paranoia for the rest of the day). Another time we got caught in random patches of torrential downpour, where we felt like the cloud was raining just over our heads and nowhere else....but no complaints because it was very refreshing! MY favorite practice was spent following a snow white egret, who would perch a few hundred yards from us until we almost reached it, and then fly off just to perch a few hundred yards again. It was like our unofficial river tour guide for the morning. Rowing in an environment like that really makes you take a minute to stop and think about life--how beautiful everything is! It also reminds me how lucky I am to be living in this untouched wilderness so close to home....

Nonetheless, I am confident in Team Bembes, (which means strong women in Kriol). We are representing WIN-Belize (Women's Issues Network of Belize), which focuses on a special interest in women’s issues and a commitment to the improvement of social and economic opportunities for women and their families in Belize. WIN-Belize has been fighting for women’s equality since 1993.

So not only are we participating in one of the top 5 hardest races in ALL the world, but we are doing so for a good cause! Our bodies will be tired, blistered, sunburned, and in general pain--- but it will be worth the experience!

So keep your thoughts with Team Bembes March 4-7, 2011. If only we could have a waterproof video camera to document the ridiculous antics that will be occurring in the boat.....

Washing Pan Di Rock

Washing Pan Di Rock
Crique Jute Village
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