Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Like No Other Easter Celebration You've Seen in the States!

I hate it when I wait so long to write in the blog. I'm sure I'll leave our some "good" stuff. Here goes -

It's been a very busy two weeks. Steve spent a good amount of time working on plans for the Community Health Workers' training manual, and I put together an outline and gathered graphics for one of the first chapters. Mix that in with Peace Corps (Volunteer Advocacy Committee and WID/GAD - that a gender issues committee) and training manual meetings. Steve and I made four bus rides to Belmopan in five days! I also taught Zumba and some aerobics classes, HFLE classes, too. (See, right there in a couple sentences I covered a week's worth of activities. Details have flown from my head!)

The week before Easter really heated up. As I mentioned, the Dangriga Youth Alive group was planning a big carnival-type event on the beach at WhyNot Island for Easter Sunday and Monday. In Belize they observe Good Friday, often called Holy Friday. But THEN, I guess because Lent is over, they celebrate like it's New Year's Eve.

Steve launched into making some of the "money" games. Some of the wood he used was what we call Masonite. Belizeans call it beaverboard. We needed one board that was punched full of holes. Back in the States, we'd run over to Home Depot to buy some pegboard. Here he used his drill on the beaverboard to make punchboard. I painted it, drew swirls and a sign for the name. Aidra made the little rolled up pieces of paper which indicated what prize the kids would win. Voila!

He also used more beaverboard and the ever-present mahogany 2X4s to make a cornhole game (we called it Bean Bag Toss) and a mini-backboard for basketball. Aidra made beanbags. (Actually they were bags filled with with dried corn. She called me up to ask if we could use something besides beans because she liked the beans and wanted to eat them. Made sense to me! I like beans, too. Seems a shame to waste them for a game.) We used a laundry basket and colorful bouncy rubber balls for the basketballs. Remarkably all beanbags and balls made it through lots of use in two very active days.
Adding the name to the cornhole board

Note the T-shirt. It was supposed to look like
the graphic above.
We were operating on NO budget. Uncle Harry's Hardware and everything else store donated paint (used for the games AND the T-shirts). Aidra's sister, Daytha, went all over town to get companies and individuals to donate prizes for all the non-money games. (They also donated money; this was, after all a fund-raising event.) And she got some GOOD stuff - night for two on one of the Cayes, cases of drinks (Guinness, Fanta, other), bottles of rum for the "carrot" at the top of the greasy pole, gift certificates for different services. BTL gave several cards worth $20 each for use on cell phones. What a go-getter.

Aaron Ferguson, the Community Liaison officer and leader of the Police Cadets, pulled together the sports games - Greasy Pole, Water Pyramid, Tug 'n War (Belizeans don't say Tug of War) Kayak races. He also arranged for the DJ, our only expense. I'm hoping they won't pay him the entire negotiated price since he was four hours late for the first 8-hour day !@#$#%#!$
Greasy Pole. Can you see the bottle of rum at the
top? Actually there are two! It took the 8 different
teams an hour and a half to finally retrieve the prizes.
Two Girl Guides leaders, Tanisia and Paula, organized the kids' games, MORE Tug 'n War, watermelon eating contest, sack race, the ever-popular Lime and Spoon, among others!

Both days were very successful, with hundreds of people coming out for the festivities. Enterprising food and drink vendors provided snacks. Some of them paid a daily fee to sell at the beach bash. The beer distributor (who provided a huge tent for free, also gave us 20% of their profit. Yay, Bowen and Bowen, the distributor - and Belikin Beer!

I won't know what the take was until our debriefing meeting on Friday. Will report in the next blog entry.

Steve is in the States for a week, left on Monday. He's there visiting his kids and grandkids. Shout out to Chris, Jim and Kaleigh, and Laura, Jason, Jack and Olivia!

Here are a few pictures to give you a flavor of the Beach Bash.

Kids' games
Fergie. Nobody calls him Aaron - either Fergie or Ferguson.
Steve worked ALL DAY Sunday. I'm such a lousy photographer,
it's a shame that the only picture I have of him he's sitting down.
Yes, that's Rafi and Anthony, our neighbors.
Swimming at the mouth of the river, right beside WhyNot island,
where the Beach Bash was held.
Best friends, Jada and Filippa, just got their faces painted :-)
Aidra and Daytha, with Daytha's daughters, Shinoah and Malicka
Meghan VanDeventer, another PCV, helped manage the
money games.
At my post with the poster paints. 

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