Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Moving tomorrow!

I am leaving for community based training tomorrow, and will finally be learning some K'ekchi. From what our training supervisor said, we will not have any days off in the next 5 weeks except for the 2 national holidays. It will be great to finally meet my host family, and get some hands-on training. We are going to take a trip down to the toledo district to see all of the sites the 11 Healthy communities volunteers will be placed in, and apparently some of the most beautiful parts of the country while we are at it. They are all really remote, though, so our trainer bought us hammocks and said we will get to know each other well :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

We have been in Belize a couple days now. We have some more general training at PC headquarters for the next few days, and then Thursday we are leaving for our community based training sites! I will be staying with a host family there for 5 weeks while having language (K'ekchi) and technical training. I am really excited for this part! I am sure it will be hard, and definitely a bit different than where we are now (in the air conditioning).

Saturday was cultural day! We spent the morning driving to a little village by the border with Guatemala. We went to the Maya Mestizo cultural center and then had an awesome lunch while listening to Marimba and flute music, and watching traditional dances.

After the cultural events we stopped by Xunantunich, which was absolutely gorgeous! In order to get to the ruins you have to cross a river on this little ferry. It could take one car at a time with a lot of people standing around the car. It was a hand crank wooden ferry! The ruins were on the top of the mountain surrounded by rain forest. First Maya ruins trip, and it was definitely worth it. Saw my first howler monkey, and made it to the top of each of the ruins. We were close enough to the border, and could see so far from the top that you could see into Guatemala. Definitely worth a visit if you find yourself here :)

Swimming in the river was also amazing!!! It was really nice to have a break from the heat and humidity. Families, pets, random horses and all were swimming and everything.

It was a very good first weekend :)

We leave for community based training on Thursday  I will be staying in a little village with a host family and all of the other healthy communities volunteers. Time to learn K’ekchi

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I made it!

So after checking out of the hotel in Georgetown at an hour of the morning I don't often like to wake up for, and making through some craziness at the airport, I made it to Belize today! It was amazing how much chaos 41 Belizean Peace Corps Volunteers can make at an airport before 4 in the morning. To make it even better, the Dominican Republic group was there too, so I saw Ryan and said goodbye.

We made it here this morning and were greeted by a very enthusiastic and welcoming group of current PCVs and staff. We had a nice lunch with them and then came into the capital to see the PC headquarters and get settled in where we will be for the next week. We leave next Thursday for community based training.

I don't have a whole lot to say, but I am glad we finally made it here safely. It feels good to see even the littlest bit of the country that will be my home the next two years. The country looked beautiful from the airport coming in this morning. I can wait to travel around and see a bit more of it, and find out some more about what I will be doing. Its really hot, really humid, but what else would you expect?

Love you guys!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The adventure starts soon!

Two weeks from today I will be getting on a flight from Washington D.C. to Belize. I received my invitation to volunteer in Belize at the beginning of March and it has been several months of excitement, patience, no patience, and most emotions you could think of. I am excited that it is finally about to begin, and can’t wait to see what the next two years has in store with me.

I may as well start off with what I have learned from my volunteer assignment description, and the teleconference I had earlier this summer with some of the staff in Belize.

I am a Healthy Communities volunteer. This includes water and sanitation, as well as health education (and I am sure random other activities). I will be living in a K’ekchi Mayan community in the southernmost district of Belize. Like many other developing communities their places to do laundry, shower, and use the restroom are the same area in the river. So education on sanitation and the connection to health will be very important.

When I arrive in Belize on the 20th all 40-some volunteers that are arriving this year will attend training together in Belmopan for the first week. After this we will be split into smaller groups for community based training. During this time three will be 10-12 of us in the same community, each with a different host family, and we will focus on language and hands-on training. The national language in Belize is English, but I will be learning K’ekchi since that is the language of my community. During community based training we will come back together as a large group every Friday in Belmopan to have some bigger training sessions. When training is over in October we will have a swearing in ceremony, and I will begin volunteering in my own community.

So that is a lot of what I know right now. I should add that it is what they have told me so far, but flexibility is always a good idea :). It could, and I am sure will, easily change or have things added and taken away depending on the needs of my community and resources available.

So how do you contact me over the next two years? Good question :). At some point in time I will probably have a Belizean cell phone. However, I love emails, letters and messages on here :)

My email address is:

My address during training will be:

Megan Abbott

Peace Corps
P.O. Box 492

If you want to send me letters or a package, a bit of advice:

-Put postcards in envelopes or else they might end up on the wall of the post office.
-If you want to send a package, use a padded envelope instead of a box if possible. Boxes tend to be taxed and opened more frequently.
-Be patient! It can take a while for things to get to Belize from the US (date the letters!)

That is all for now!