Sunday, June 10, 2012

Halfway Day

Well, today marks one year in our assignment, with one year to go. Steve and I celebrated last night with a $25 BZ bottle of Chardonnay!

It seems appropriate to list a few landmarks and firsts that happened over the last year.

  • For Cathy - Raised a litter of puppies.
  • For Bofus - Ate some exotic dishes - iguana, barbecued alligator, hudut
  • For Cathy - Did art for money ;-) (kids paid money at a fund raiser for face painting)
  • For Steve - Pushed himself to try something really different - face painting. He did NOT want to do it, but decided it would build character. Not sure if he'll ever get talked into it again.
  • For Bofus - Realized that we can be fully functional without hot water - for two years!
  • For Bofus - Some new vaccinations - Rabies!
  • For Bofus - Played MegaBingo.
  • For Cathy - Photographed all the bars and brothels in Bella Vista.
  • For Steve - Had the front wheel stolen from his bicycle.
  • For Bofus - Showed our families around Belize. We were really proud to show off this country!
  • For Bofus - In October, we had to get a blanket because it was getting down to 70 degrees at night.
  • For Steve - Went nit-picking. Washed the heads of 110 kids to get rid of lice.
The past two weeks have been relatively uneventful. I'm still writing writing writing. Steve still goes in to the Polyclinic every day, and SOMETIMES has something to do or a place to go. Look below for a nice description of a trip he took this past week.

Doggy Stuff

The rainy season came early this year. Along with the rainy season, we welcomed the blue crabs to our yard. They live in deep holes in the sand back there, and there seems to be an endless supply of them! They are big big suckers, with HUGE claws. Our dog, FuWe Dog, and her mother, Princess, now have great play toys. They love to corner the crabs and harass them. 

Last week, Steve and I stood on our back porch watching the whole drama of the dogs making the big moves on the crabs, laughing like crazy. All of sudden, FuWe started yelping LOUD, and spinning around and around. Then she ran up the steps to us with a big crab claw hanging from her lip. I would have got a picture to share, but FuWe was pretty insistent that we go ahead and get the claw off. 

The event has not seemed to squelch her enthusiasm for crab play - especially in the middle of the night :-(  These five pictures are worth five thousand words - give or take.

Girls Club

My friend Aidra and I are planning to start a girls club at the end of June. We will invite 8 girls, all around 11 or 12 years old. We are hoping to help the girls with a lot of life skills, but we don't want the meetings to be preachy or like school. That was one complaint we both had with the Pink POWA meetings - too school-y. We are of the opinion that the girls will gain in self-esteem and learn leadership skills just by being a part of a quality group and by the examples that Aidra and I will set.

We'll have some fun games and ice breakers, some silly, some challenging. We plan to have some dancing or Zumba, some music and culture exposure, and some crafts or art. Each meeting I will do something with music from another country, explaining a little about the culture of that country and maybe talking about the lyrics and meaning of the song. Aidra will focus specifically on the Garifuna culture, either with dancing, food, stories, but emphasizing the traditional Garifuna values. 

Every meeting we'll try to have something that the girls 

make to take away with them. I hope that we'll be able to focus on some self esteem issues, or people we admire, what makes a leader. We also hope to have some real artists come in to talk with the girls - expose them to some of the talent right here in Dangriga. 

We have high hopes. No doubt I will find occasion to write about this some more.  


In addition to the rain, we are having some very hot days!

Here's Steve's story:

Friday I went with the public health inspector, the HECOPAB trainer, and met the community health worker in a village up the valley because their water system was testing positive for enteric bacteria. Some of the people were getting gastro-enteritis from drinking it. 

Armed with brochures, we went door-to-door throughout the whole village to ask people not to drink the water without boiling it or treating it with a little bleach to kill the organisms. We started out in pairs with a Spanish speaker in both groups and gradually transitioned to individual efforts. My little bit of Spanish was enough to get the message across, and some homes had a child who was bi-lingual to help me. 

It was especially nice to get to talk with the community health worker as we walked along. I learned a tremendous amount of information about her family and the village. 

It was a hot day with a heat index over 100 degrees. I drank a huge amount of water and produced the most sweat I have seen in years. My hat, shirt, and trousers part way to the knees were all soaked. When I got home I rewarded myself with a seat in front of a fan and a liter of ORS (oral re-hydration salts) over ice. 

When we signed up for Peace Corps we were told that we would do a lot of walking, and I am really grateful for comfortable shoes. 

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