Friday, August 27, 2010

Tobacco Caye!

Alright so we of course had to celebrate our 1 year here in Belize! A few of us had an adventure out to the beautiful Tobacco Caye for a weekend. It is about the size of a football field, surrounded by beautiful water, and definitely a good place to relax and catch up. We had a good time snorkeling off the beach, swimming off and under the dock (shade is nice), and just hanging out in the hammocks for a couple days.

One Year In Belize

I am not really sure what to say about this. I have been here a year. Some days it feels like forever, and some days I don't even realize how fast time is flying. I remember the last week before I left to come to Belize, I started getting really scared. I knew that this is what I had wanted to do for quite some time, but the reality of it hit me and it was really scary. No one else ever seemed to have this thought, though, so I kept it to myself and really didn't want to talk myself out of doing it. I was always excited, especially after staging when we were making our way here, but I was really a bit worried too. Two years suddenly felt like a long time. I can say, though, as soon as we got here and I walked off the plane I felt the biggest feeling of peace I think I have ever felt. It really hasn't left the entire time I have been here. There are days that are no fun, bad days, days I wonder what I should be doing, but I never doubt that this is where I want to be, and where I need to be.

Since I have been here, as most of you probably know, projects are pretty slow. I have had a really good time working with the feeding program at the school, and tutoring some of the kids for their national achievement exams. Basically I was teaching story writing and helping with math after school. Other than that, though, up until this summer I was really just wandering around talking to the ladies, and enjoying building relationships with them. I think sometimes I discount the importance of this. I know it is important to build relationships, but I think sometimes I forget how much we get to teach each other in these conversations. They open up to me about things I never would have imagined now. We talk about their relationships with their family, they ask about family planning, they ask me to teach them to cook new things, they teach me to cook new things (armadillo, what?), they ask me about the states, and what life is like there, or things like if we too have trees. I don't think you can discount how important each of these little conversations can be. Like my last blog mentioned, we have now started a women's group and I am loving it. Thankfully things are starting to pick up a bit. Development is slow, it takes patience, and it is not always tangible, but that doesn't mean nothing is happening.

I am definitely looking forward to what my next year will hold here in Belize, am very thankful for the opportunity to live here, to be blessed by the friendships my villagers have offered me, and to offer whatever I can in return.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Women's Group

I am very excited to say, that my village has decided they want to start a women's group. I was a bit nervous at first as only one lady approached me with the idea, but it has gone really well. I set out on an adventure to invite every lady in my village to our first meeting about a month ago, and after about a week and a half I manage to get through all 40 households. Those ladies like to talk!

So we have had about three meetings now, and have successfully elected officers. We do not have any kind of income generating project in mind for the future, right now they really just want to take trainings on how to cook different foods. To me that is really exciting! I am excited for the opportunity to teach them to cook different things, and bring in other to help. The diet here is pretty limited, and could without much additions be made a lot healthier. We also plan to bring someone in to teach them to make coconut oil, at their request.

I am enjoying working with the ladies. We have a really good mix of about 12 or so ladies from a few different families participating. At the moment it is pretty much a cooking club, but you know that works for me if that is what they want. :)

coming soon (hopefully): 1 year in Belize update!

Li Ch'ina Ch'o

It may be more accurate to entitle this blog "Eb li Ch'o" (The rats) instead of the little rat, as I definitely have at least three now. I like to think of them as just one little one, though :)

So the battle with the rats has continued and I am pretty sure I am down about 5000 to 1. I was alright and just getting used to having a rat in the house until he ate a hole in the piece of foam I use as a mattress. That was a bit annoying. So was him finding his way into every possible place I have found to hide my vegetables. Stealing two bandanas and my shirt to make his nest was kind of sad too, along with the pieces of plastic I use to pat out tortillas. I managed to recover all of those things as we pulled out three different rats nests.

So one day my good friend Safaria who owns my house told me to come over and borrow some poison to put in the middle of balls of flour. She said the rat would eat them and it would all be over. So I went to her house and made a few little balls of uncooked flour tortilla, her husband filled them with poison as he was concerned I would poison myself. They have this weird idea that I am clumsy or something, I don't know hehe. Anyway I took all five balls and put them in my house in places I see the rat, and the next morning all five balls were gone! I was so excited. Unfortunately there are no dead rats. On top of everything there are now three rats instead of just one. How do you poison a rat with that much poison and it survive?!! Since then I have just been putting out the trap, but with no success.

Last night when I got back from my weekend away, I found my house smelling like dead animal, and again got excited that maybe my rat problem was over. Unfortunately, though I found a dead, half-eaten frog. I hate rats!

My house owner and his sons came over this morning and we chased the rats around the house with machetes, but eventually they went away (it really was amusing). They will come back, but eventually they will die. If they would peacefully live in my ceiling alright, but they just can't seem to handle keeping to themselves.