Friday, April 1, 2011

Going Incommunicado

We got our host family assignments yesterday. Steve and I will be going to Camalote, a small town outside of Belmopan. We'll be learning Kriol as our primary in country language. The other languages being taught in six other locations are Spanish and Q'eqchi, a Mayan dialect. Some of you know that Steve and I spent a fair amount of time boning up on Spanish before we left Chapel Hill, but it was with the knowledge that we might not be sent to a site where the people spoke Spanish.

So, here we are, learning Kriol, the lingua franca of Belize. The official language is English, because of the British influence. In addition to Spanish and Q'eqchi, there are two other Mayan dialects and Garifuna spoken here. The language that pulls them all together is Kriol. EVERYBODY speaks it. So when we travel on the bus or go the market or eat at a restaurant anywhere in the country, we can use our Kriol to communicate.

And you're asking, "Why is she writing Kriol that way? It's supposed to be Creole." Well, yeah, unless you're writing in the Kriol language. More about that later.

Main reason for this entry is to let everybody know that there's LOTS to write about, but we won't be able to post for a week. Our host family does have electricity, but we are told there will be no access to the internet. If we find an internet cafe, we'll be excited to email and Facebook and Skype (if we ever get that VPN set up).

Layta den (Later then) - Cathy and Steve


Jim Weaver said...

Best of luck. If you get home sick, and I know it's early, tune in to for some Americana.

e.hutton said...

Camalote looks to be a tiny village off the western highway about 10 kilometers from Belmopan.

Most of the country is served by very expensive DSL and much less expensive satellite internet connections.

Satellite Internet is cheap - for Belize - about US$60. a month for unlimited use. The speed is about 28 KBPS up and 600 KBPS down.

DSL service from the local telephone company is available in major population centers - but it is horribly expensive compared to most other countries. The maximum speed available is 256 up by 512 down and this costs a whopping US$250. a month.

DSL doesn't run very far from the phone switch. So I would guess satellite would be the only thing available in Camelot. There does seem to be a cable plant going out to Camelot but I can't see where it has data; probably just video.

But Belmopan is only 10 Km away, sounds like a good bicycle might be a worth while mode of transportation. Or a moped depending on the price and availability of petrol.

An Indian pedicab running on propane might be a big deal locally. Basically a three wheel moped with a flat bed behind the driver.

The village roads look a tad rough, but the Western Highway looks pretty good.

Take good care of each other,


Steve and Cathy Burnham said...

Thanks, Jim. YES, I'm homesick. Will read your blog TODAY! XOXOX