Saturday, July 7, 2007

Sahil Ch'olejel - formal Ke'ekchi greeting meaning "goodness in your soul"

We are currently in Dangriga on the coast in a combo "internet cafe" and landromat. While our laundry is being done for us we work in a cell block (cooled by fan) with 4 other people connecting to the "other world."

Tomorrow we head deeper into the jungle. The village is called Medina Bank you should be able to find it on any map. It is on the main highway thru Belize heading south. We are told it is Mayan village of apprx. 150 people. They have never hosted Peace Corps folk before and it is all quite new to them. Our biggest concern is getting clean water as boiling water for 3 minutes is something that has never been a concern for them. These 6 gringos however, may be a little more sensitive to the "beings" sharing our water. We are attempting to strengthen our systems with what little we have left of our supplies from the states.

We will miss our Mayan family in Armenia - Cruz, Santa, Alexander, Irma, Brian and Geovannae (what a charmer that one is). Hopefully we will be successful getting pics out but I do hear Michael swearing over there despite the noise of the fans. It is a slow process from here.

Some of the Maya in our new village have backed out of the hosting process as they are fearful they will not take good enough care of us but apparently others stepped up. We will have one solid week of language training in the village school house (school is out for now in Belize). After that it will be 24 hours a week.

The Maya wake at 3:00am to begin their day (????) so, our classes will beging around 5:00am in the morning. Our training day will end around 3:00-4:00pm and then shuteye around 7:00pm. In these latitudes the sun begins to smile around 5:00-5:30am and closes its eyes around 6:30-7:00pm.

The weather is somewhat cooler as we are in rainy season. We get the ocean squalls that dump about an inch of rain and then clearing. No special frequency - we actually had two days of no rain and we were grateful to not be picking up 2 lbs of mud (each shoe and legs) as we trekked to the bus stop from our home. It's everywhere. We have purchased knee high boots 'cause in the jungle down south the rain frequency exponentiates (si that a word?) to the 'nth' degree. Always having to check in the a.m. for the perverberial turantula or scorpion. Always be grateful for what you have or don't have!

Our training will be intense but in the midst we will get to travel to Punta Gorda (on the sea) a couple of times as it is not too far. Also, we will be taking a boat, from where we are not sure, to Placencia, also on the sea (a tourist area on the peninsula if you are looking at a map). We will check out future vacation places.

The reason we are in Dangriga as this is typed - is - we had one day of freedom - we chose to go to the coast. A noisy hour and a half bus ride in the dark with some rain and maybe an alcoholic or two. All good. We stayed at a resort last nite right on the water. Our last hoorah for many months to come. It was such a nice getaway we were not sure if we should have done it...but we are not complaining as we realize how fortunate we are. It was in Belizean terms way more than we should afford on our salaries but again we give thanks....and needed the space.

Our experiences will increase now and we will try and get word out as we can. Punta Gorda has an internet cafe we are told - but our time is limited for now.

Much love and many hugs

excuse all grammar and spelling or made up words!