Thursday, June 4, 2009

Week Two in Belize

My first weekend with my family was a lazy one. On Saturday I traveled to San Ignacio with Krizia to go shopping. She showed me how to catch the bus and how to avoid any extra costs. We arrived in San Ignacio and went to the market. There was an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits. The fragrance from the herb vendors floated lightly in the air. We stopped briefly to purchase sodas as we weaved in and out of the shaded tables. There was also furniture and a variety of clothing and jewelry. After the market we headed downtown to go shopping at the little tourist shops. We finished our trip with a pepperoni pizza at Martha’s CafĂ©.

On Sunday, I went with Ms. Olivia to visit her sister’s family and try some escabeche. Escabeche is a local favorite. It is a soup that consists of chicken and lots of onion. It is served with corn tortillas and rice. It was very tasty but extremely filling. I spent the remainder of the day lounging in a hammock chatting with the family. Life is so relaxed on Belize time.

Monday began with a staff meeting. I met a majority of the rangers who keep watch in the jungle. In the afternoon I traveled with Pedro to Spanish Lookout. Spanish Lookout is one of the larger communities of Mennonites in Belize. The land they own has been cleared for agricultural purposes and they use heavy machinery and pesticides. It is a complete role reversal from the United States. We view the Mennonites as somewhat backwards in the U.S. and in Belize they are viewed as being on the cutting edge. It was interesting to see the difference between the native Belizean farmers and the Mennonites. Pedro completed a presentation for one of the primary schools while in Spanish Lookout. He also brought Scarlet, the Chiquibul Maya Mountains Mascot, who was an instant hit with the kids. They all danced with Scarlet to his theme song. Afterwards the children assisted Pedro in planting trees. On our way back to Succotz we stopped for some ice cream at Western Dairies which was delicious.

On Tuesday, I attended Pedro’s briefing with Rafael. We learned how he was progressing towards his goals. Afterwards I worked on my own formal reports. Wednesday I was asked by Rafael to sketch out some ideas for a poster and fact sheet for an upcoming campaign.

Thursday was a slow day; I tried to work on my reports a little more. On Friday we finalized our choices for which poster will win the biodiversity poster and poem competition. The winner must have a well thought out poem and a poster that represents the importance of biodiversity in Belize. The winner will go on to compete nationally against posters from the other districts. The winner of the entire competition will win a laptop. I finished out the day mailing out the FCD newsletter.

I am slowly beginning to accept that it is going to remain hot down here and that I will just have to get used to it. I am grateful for showers and insect repellant and look forward to the adventures yet to come. Next week I will make my first trip to the Chiquibul and camp for a night. I am looking forward to it. I hope everyone is doing well back home and will keep you all in my prayers.

If you want to learn more about Pedro's work with environmental education you can check out his blog at this website:

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