Monday, March 12, 2012

Information and Wellness Expo - Maya Center, Belize

Steve here again. Last week Cathy and I took a $5 BZ bus ride south to work at an information fair for elderly people. It was sponsored by VOICE, which is an advocacy group for the elderly. One of the Peace Corps volunteers works with that group and asked us to help. It was a 1-day gathering in a predominantly Mayan village at the edge of the rainforest.

At Cathy’s table, she talked about healthy lifestyles and nutrition. She emphasized the benefit of regular exercise to minimize the effects of aging. She also did a Zumba exercise session and had one or two people who actually did part of the session with her.

Sharing the table with Cathy was a woman from CARE Belize. Don't confuse this group with CARE, the international humanitarian organization. In this case, CARE stands for Community Agency for Rehabilitation and Education, focussing on helping persons with disabilities. They help in many ways, including providing wheelchairs and other orthopedic devices. 

Cathy and Andrea Coc from Care Belize
I worked at a table near a physical therapist volunteer, and we answered health questions and explained what medical practice had to offer for certain conditions. Several of the people allowed me to photograph their condition to get more information for them from other doctors.

Standing is Shaz Davison, PCV assigned to VOICE
We also had a chance to meet the village chairman and the community health worker. I plan to get information back to people through him.

There is a “health post” in their village that is staffed by a doctor from Hopkins satellite clinic and a visiting nurse. They are there for half a day every two weeks. People complained repeatedly that they can see the doctor, but they still have to go to Dangriga to get the prescription filled at a government pharmacy. The bus fare and loss of work time is too high a price for most of the villagers. For the most part, these are proud, self-sufficient people who are sometimes turned off by a careless comment from a receptionist or nurse at the clinic who makes them feel that they are begging for a hand-out rather than seeking access to basic health care that is free to all Belizeans.

People gathered to hear information from the
Social Security Board
The event was held at the dining “thatch” of local tourist cottages and was very nice. We were provided with coffee, juice, water, and even a lunch of vegetarian tamales.

All the puppies have found new homes. FuWe Dog is settling in with us. She is playful and loves attention. 


Hi, this is Cathy. Just thought I'd mention that my Zumba classes have started up again. We are now meeting twice a week in a classroom at one of the schools where I teach. A Belizean woman was teaching aerobics classes there Monday through Friday. I will take over Monday and Thursday nights with Zumba. My first night teaching, there were four people. The second night there were fourteen! And they are all Belizean except for Ava. Oh, I have missed those classes.

On another note, at Mayan Center I towered over every single person there (except the Americans, of course). Most were under 5 feet tall.

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