Monday, September 19, 2011

A Sad Loss for Belize

There are several things to write about, but this must be the first. The Father of Independence, The Right Honorable George Price, passed away today. He was 92 years old, and was the first Prime Minister of Belize after their independence from Great Britain. Very much loved. He died just two days before the 30th anniversary of Independence Day. Of course, this is the only news on any radio or television station. LOVE-FM and LOVE-TV have invited anyone who would like to extend their condolences or offer a tribute to write it on their website. The radio and television hosts are reading all of them to the audience.
Holy smokes! It's fresh off the presses, and Wikipedia has already entered the date into his entry.
I was planning to write about our crazy rainy season and other water issues today.
First off - last week's deluge. In the space of 4 days, we had at least 15 inches of rain. It wasn't a slow steady rain. It was hard, stormy downpours that lasted for hours. Sometimes we'd see the sun for a couple hours (just long enough to get fooled into doing a load of wash), and then it would come back full force. Some roads and properties were knee deep (MY knees - and I'm short - so 18 or 20 inches) in water where it couldn't run off. Our backyard was only about 6-8 inches deep. We could hear the dog sloshing around back there chasing crabs and big lizards.

Good news is I got to wear my rainboots a lot, and people were jealous! 
My counterpart, Michele, was very understanding, knew that I had to walk or ride my bike to the office. She said not to worry about coming in until the rain stopped. I finally went in anyway, because it seemed it would never stop! I found that the office was being moved to another location. (Think she was trying to sneak away? Kidding!) We were supposed to move on Thursday of last week, but now it's been delayed for a number of reasons until this Thursday. We'll see. It will be a longer ride for me, but a much nicer place.
People in Belize are different from us when it comes to getting wet. Not all of course, but many believe that if you get wet you will get sick. If you go to work out and get sweaty, they insist that you should not shower while you are sweaty because you will get sick. In other words, "Don't take a cold shower now. Wait until you are dry to take a cold shower."
Here's a story from Steve about water. In an email to his sister, he wrote:
"I have been working on our second bathroom to get it ready for you. You may remember that there is no hot water here. That is not a problem when the temperature runs 88 to 92 most of the time. Lately we have had some evenings with temperatures in the low 70's, and the water is cold. Well, the second bathroom has a "shower shocker" as they call them. It is a local heater that gives warm water out the shower head. It wasn't working, so I checked the power supply, and found it to be okay. I took the unit down and checked the internal switches; they looked okay also. I was about to throw in the towel when Cathy found a video on youtube that was in Spanish but told how to replace the heating element. I found that that was the problem and got a new one for only $14. Now we have hot water there. Next was the problem with the leaking shower doors. They are the sliding kind. I laid a bead of silicone caulk along the inside edge of the track to keep water from coming out from under the track. There was some improvement, but not fixed. I filed a notch on the inside track to encourage accumulated water to go back in the tub. Better, but not perfect. I now think there is leakage through some holes in the track. I plan to seal them with caulk as soon as the track dries out from my last adventure there. I am glad our parents taught us to fix things. I think it is remarkable how people here seem to tolerate stuff that doesn't work and never consider improving it.

Other stuff:

  • The young pikni have started back to school. They look so adorable in their uniforms. Even the youngest preschool students wear them. At three, Patsy's grandson, Tristan, is proud to be looking like the other kids.
  • I have been voted on to the WID/GAD Committee. Stands for Women in Development/Gender and Development. In other words, we work on gender issues in the country - including but not limited to, domestic violence, self-esteem and confidence in girls (with GLOW camps and clubs - that's Girls Lead our World),  gender identification and sexuality acceptance and equality. We want to add camps/clubs for boys and build our capacity (yes, OURS) in promoting safe homes for women in abusive environments.

    Toward that end, we have several initiatives for the next three months. One of them will target International Men's Day, in November. We will try to organize one-time lessons for Standards 5 and 6 (that's about grades 7 and 8) which will focus on Role Models for boys. The committee members will each come up with a lesson plan, talk with the principals and teachers in their district and get permission to deliver the lesson.

    Well, I'm pretty lucky, because we have a group right here in Dangriga, a large group of talented women called POWA. If you're reading this blog, you have already read about the training they are going through for Life Skills. This will be a perfect opportunity to try out their blossoming facilitation skills. I'll keep you updated on how this works out.

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