Hoping this blog will make some sense as we try to catch up our happenings over the past couple of months.
Back in early November, Karey went to Hopkins - a small Garifuna village on the ocean to help with some medical assessments at a primary school in Georgetown Village about 20 miles from Hopkins. Working with Nurse Judy - a Belizean, then Californian now Belizean again we set out to get a medical baseline for all the primary students over a weeks time. This included height, weight, toothbrushes w/dental hygien lesson, deworming and an eye exam. Busy time and always when a village finds out there is medical personnel on site many show up to get medical help. We set appointments at the end of each day to take care of all.
One day during lunch a man quietly comes over and passes along the message that there is a lady across the street giving birth. We rush over to this little shack where a very pregnant woman sits quietly on a hammock in labor with pains about a minute apart. She looked like she was just enjoying the day on her hammock. Nurse Judy takes her inside and does an exam and is able to feel the wee one's head. She decides that this woman should be rushed to the next village where they have a midwife. One of our party rushes her there only to find no one is available in the village to help. She then rushes her about another 15 minutes away to a little bigger town to a private clinic. All the while, this quiet Belizean woman never expresses her delivery except with quiet silence. Apparently, she was barely able to get out of the car and that is all we know as she had to just be left there.
Our permanent living conditions are to be changed. We have moved to the outskirts of our village to a healthier living situation. We house sat for a lovely British couple, Jonathan and Lola. We cared for their 2 rotweiller 5 month old pups. They have a lovely thatch in the middle of the bush they are renting while they build their permanent retirement home deeper in the bush on the Moho River. That was around the middle of October thru the end of the month. They have been kind enough to let us stay on the property in a smaller thatch they use for their storage shed. Their is a thatch attachment that has a pipe for washing and a bucket shower with of all things a FLUSH toilet. We are ever grateful. Don't know if we mentioned this in our last blog but can't get enough flushin'.
We have continued to work with the village. We helped them put together a proposal to upgrade the school in the village. We had weekly meetings with the village leaders - got them to elect a new PTA ( the last one fizzled apart) and came up with the needs for their school. It was submitted last week to SIF (Social Investment Fund) a local agency that seeks out funding either locally or internationally to help Belize. Most schools here are Catholic but the church doesn't have enough funds to help upkeep the schools. A lot of the proposals get rejected but heard yesterday that ours was on the SIF list. Hope that is true - it would be a great boost to the village.
We waited for the Peace Corps to decide what is the best situation given the temperment of a small faction of the villagers. They have finally decided to have a move to Punta Gorda. We are at this point still continuing to look for a place to rent. We will miss the bush. It really is quite lovely, quiet and obviously very very green. It can be so still and so wild. The leaves on the various trees are so large that when the wind blows and they begin their dance together it sounds like the rain is coming....AND when it does come it come with a vengance. The birds are migrating and we have had up to 10 species fly through in a day. Parrots, various Flycatchers and others. As flowers are always blooming we are treated to music of many hummingbirds...who at times fly into our house seeking out our cut flowers in our plastic bottle vase. At nite the critters are buzzin' to their own tunes almost to a fever pitch. Our bird call alarm never fails to get us up on time.
Our assignments in PG will be - Karey working at the hospital with Miss Cherry Mae the local health coordinator. Michael will be working with TOLCA (Toledo Children and Adolescents). These two jobs will bring us together working in many villages on a UNICEF project called W.A.S.H. - Water, Sanitation and Hygiene education. It is a 24 village project - upgrading the school toilet facilities to either flush toilets - if they have a water system or VIP (Ventilated Improved Pit Latrines). From this project they will springboard the education into micro behavioral changes to hopefully get families to improve their hygiene for both adults and children. At least to eliminate the worm infestation, tooth decay and overall health.
Our Thanksgiving will be one to remember. About 15 PCV's got together and created a very special day. It began with several of us gringos fetching the "live" turkey and then "preparing" it for stuffin' and cookin'. Altogether about a 4 hour process. One of the hardest parts was trying to start a fire to singe off the last of the pin feathers. Nothing burns here in this climate and finding even dry paper for fire starter is a challenge. Everything here is DAMP/WET. All in all - we ended up with the full works...we all gave our own personal thanks and had a great meal including some local host families and our Ke'eckchi teacher Bartolo.
We had a special adventure with Jonathan and Lola. They took us down the Moho river on their boat to their property in the DEEP bush. It was a beautiful day and there many large Iguanas out sunning themselves on the palms. We even got a picture of a couple of them fighting on the banks of the river. Photos not available yet. We took a hike around their 40 acres. We were covered head to toe with hats, long sleeved shirts and long pants. Sprayed ourselves with repellent and went off. (thanks to all of you for your donation of Cutter's Advanced - it works). An amazing journey - just like the movies - hacking away at the local floral and fauna with a machete to get through.
If anyone has heard of Andy Palacio - we had lunch with him in Barranco. He was chosen as the UNESCO Artist for Peace. Have pics...more later.
We are going to attempt to attach a lot of photos to this blog. One can always click on "Photos" at the top of the web page to see all photos. If the descriptions aren't next to them - holding the cursor on the pic should give a description of the photo.
Hopefully sooner than later we will be keeping you posted