We are settling in but yet life never seems to hold very still for us. We are either traveling to villages, house sitting for expats or back and forth between Belmopan and Punta Gorda for Peace Corps activities.
Last month Jody and Mark (Karey’s sister and brother-in-law) came to visit for too short of a time. They got to be involved somewhat in our daily activities. We traveled to Dolores a remote village in the southwest corner of Belize to be part of a health fair and brand new school/hurricane shelter dedication. It was our first time also visiting the village and we all found it very beautiful.
Jody and Mark also got to attend an annual Mayan celebration in Tumulkin where the children in high school (small boarding school in a village) still learn current curriculums but observe traditional Mayan practices. A shaman opened the day with traditional burning of herbs and incenses giving thanks to all four corners of the earth. After that people came forward for traditional healings by the shaman. There were traditional foods being served and games for both adults and children. Corn grinding and tortilla making competitions….catch the greased pig or climb the greased pole…all had a good time. Photos are on the way but we were not allowed during the shaman’s ceremony to take pics.
Mark and Jody treated us to a lovely dinner at Machaca Hill Lodge. Can check it online. It is located up a hill high in the canopy of the bush. The biggest thrill for us all was the visitation of howler monkeys in the trees including a mama and her baby. We all got photos and hope to get them to you soon.
The rainy/wet season has surprised us and began last Wednesday in full force. Today is our first day with no rain. The northern and middle parts of the country have taken a big hit. We’ve had two tropical storms hit at once Alma and Arthur. They are saying that this is the worst flooding since Hurricane Mitch in ’89 and Hattie in ’61 when 275 people were killed. So, far we only know of one fatality. Our area, while heavily rained upon remains in pretty good shape. The biggest worry is a bridge that connects us to food and supplies has been destroyed. So, far no one has panicked and the stores haven’t been picked dry - but this is the first day. We will all have to rely on each other as supplies get scarce. We’re just happy for a moments break to get our laundry done. Without a dryer you have to catch those brief moments this time of year. Nothing will ever really feel dry until just past the end of the year. We are “almost” used to that by now.
Our biggest hassle right now are the ants. They don’t like the water so they are trying to take over our house. It’s quite annoying – especially as you try to cook or sleep. You know they would take over the world if it wasn’t for bug spray!! Our natural remedies don’t work on these tenacious little buggers.
All schools have been closed – our computer class has been doing well – we are just running out of working computers and gaining students. We are hoping by tomorrow schools will be back in session. However, all our students come in from the villages via bus. Here, once momentum is broken it is hard to get the action going again. We hope for the best.
The Peace Corps has granted us driving privileges – this will help our WASH project immensely. We anxiously await the UNICEF dollars to take up the project again. Now that the flooding has started clean water education and practices become even more important – it will just be the travel that will be challenging. The rivers do flood a lot but patience is a true practiced virtue here – you wait two hours in your car and then move forward.
We have daily visits from local children. Even in PG town some living situations can be worse than one can imagine. We are going to have to put some rules in place as some of the children stay around expecting/wanting to be fed and entertained. They are very beautiful sweet children but we are not equipped to take it all on. Everyone of them is their own special story.
Well dear family and friends – trust all is well back home – spring blooms and hints of summer breezes.