Monday, July 20, 2009

Week Eight in Belize

This week was full of paperwork but included an exciting trip to the Mountain Pine Ridge and then to Punta Gorda on the Southern part of the country.

Around noon, on Saturday the 11th, Rafael and I headed up to the Mountain Pine Ridge to meet with some people from Hidden Valley and to deliver the community development notebooks. We met with the people at the Hidden Valley Resort and were able to go see the Orange Breasted Falcons that they are releasing on their property. The falcons are a native species whose population has been thinning for a while now. They are trying to bring up the numbers around Hidden Valley. The chicks will be flying within the next couple weeks, as of right now they are getting acclimated to their new environment. On our way back down from the coop we saw a coffee field. I had never seen a coffee plant before in real life, so naturally I had to investigate. We then traveled to Blancaneux Lodge where we met with one of their guides and the manager. They are very interested in booking trips for their guests with FCD to the Chiquibul. We started back down the mountain and stopped briefly to deliver a notebook to the Womens Club in San Antonio. It was a very successful and interesting day.

Like usual on Sunday, I over slept and was lazy for the remainder of the day. I spent the day reading and spending time with Kathia. Tomorrow is her Birthday and she will be turning twenty-two. She was pretty sad because she will be spending her birthday all alone. The rest of the day was filled with noise. Next week is the festival in Benque Viejo and the bands have been practicing non-stop.

Monday was a slow day, I was supposed to meet with Edlan, but she was a no-show. We were supposed to work on the flyer for the youth group’s next meeting. Since she didn’t come, I worked on it by myself. I think it turned out pretty nice, I would just need to run it by her once she came to the office

Tuesday morning, I wrote instructions for how to play the Human Chair Game for Pedro. I included diagrams as a part of the directions as well. Rafael and I were supposed to meet with Mr. Amin, of the Lumber Company, in San Ignacio, but he was very busy and wasn’t able to meet with us. Edlan stopped by the office, so I showed her what I had done.

Wednesday, I printed out the flyers for the youth group. They are in full color and should go over well with the invitees. I continued to work on my professional paper. I was finally able to track down their financial records for 2007 and 2008 so I will be able to complete that section of my paper in the next few days.

On Thursday, I finally finished the meat of my professional paper. All I have left to do is some proofing and small edits. I was also excited to see the Land Rover after it was returned from the mechanics.

On Friday, I traveled with Rafael to Punta Gorda, which is on the southernmost tip of the country. We left at four in the morning and drove for almost four hours. We passed through the various villages along the Hummingbird and Southern Highway. We passed by several different wildlife preserves and parks. It was a beautiful drive where I was able to see some of the mountain ranges and also citrus and banana farming. We stopped in a couple villages along the way to deliver the community development notebooks to some of the individuals who attended the workshop in May. We took a detour through the Mayan Village at Silver Creek, so that I could see what a Mayan village really looks like. I was amazed to see thatch roof houses alongside the usual concrete homes. We stopped at a couple homes where I could listen to the families speaking Mayan. It was a very awesome experience. We finally made it to Punta Gorda around lunchtime. We stopped at a small restaurant where we got a close look at the Garifuna life style. After lunch we drove down to the seaside to see a new park that has just been put in. We then made it to our two o’clock meeting with a group from the Julian Cho Society. Julian Cho was a great Mayan Leader who fought for his peoples rights. The society was founded after his untimely death to keep striving for the justice he sought. After our meeting we then filled up the truck with fuel and headed back towards Belmopan. Along the way we stopped at Dangriga, a Garifuna town along the sea. You could hear the Punta Rock and the boisterous people hassling one another. We then continued the long drive home. Rafael explained to me a lot of the stories and bits about the Mayan culture in Belize. We finally arrived in Succotz close to ten o’clock to find the town winding down for the evening.

Saturday I purchased the rest of my souvenirs for my family and friends. I also spent the day with my host family since this is really my last regular weekend that I will have with them. Kathia came into town about midmorning and we got to catch up on everything she will be doing the rest of the month. I was excited to hear that she is getting a raise at the forest department and they will be providing her with further training and she might get to take some classes at Galand University. The Benque Fiesta is taking place this weekend, but due to the heat we decided to stay in Succotz.

I am finding things are beginning to slow and in realization of this I am a little sad. It has been a wonderful experience working with FCD and getting to know my host family. I have one more week left here in Belize and it will be filled with evaluations and preparations for my departure. I hope everyone back home is still doing well and I have greatly appreciated your love and support.

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