Sunday, September 23, 2012

Belize Independence Day 2012

(Steve here.) This has been an interesting week for us. Friday was Belize Independence Day, and all of us were in the parade in Belmopan. Our friend Daytha and a couple of the young Garifuna GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Girls also rode on the Peace Corps float.

Aliyah, Shaniah, Daytha and Cathy
The front part of the float was covered with thatch to shade the riders, and the back part had a dove of peace that looked a little like a chicken.

The "Dove" of Peace
Most of us marched out in front of the float. Cathy and I got to carry the banner most of the way. We all danced along the way to the tunes from the float in front of us, but Cathy did Zumba whenever the music permitted. We were exhausted after marching in the tropical heat and humidity, but we all made it without incident.

We have also been preparing for next week’s anniversary event at the US Embassy. The Ministry of Health and Peace Corps will celebrate 50 years in Belize (Peace Corps has been around for 51 years), as well as formalize the invitation to work in Belize. On the day before Independence Day, I was at the embassy to help the audio visual man start preparation for our event. The arrangements will be very professional and will be detailed in next week’s blog entry. I found the security arrangements to be impressive, but some things should not be posted on the internet.

The day after Independence Day a bunch of of us crazy volunteers worked at a nearby school on a number of projects. Jess and Melissa painted a mission statement on the wall outside the gate. So the statement would look good, we made a level. We used a bottle mostly full of water except for a bubble and put it sideways on a straight piece of wood.

Making a level for Jessica
I worked mostly with the team pouring the foundation for a library building. There were half a dozen professionals in charge of the work. We helped with the vapor barrier and the heavy wire mesh over it. Then they cranked up the  cement mixer. We carried hundred-pound sacks of cement mix and buckets of water. The most physically demanding job was shoveling a lot of sand into the mixer. When it was mixed, it was transferred to wheelbarrows to get to the pour site. And I thought marching in the parade in 90 degree tropical humidity was challenging. Ava’s picture of me shows the sweat line down to the lower edge of my shorts. I think all of us guys who thought we were tough enough to work without gloves wound up with blisters on our hands, but everyone survived without heat stroke.

Trying to rehydrate


Just a little postscript from me. Our GLOW girls are doing another fundraiser - bottle cap Belizean flags. Aidra's idea. The one in this picture has a little fishing line so it can be worn around the neck. Only $2 BZ. We also made earrings for $5 BZ. I made the Belize coat of arms on the computer, using mailing labels that stick when you peel off the backing. One sheet had about 72 of those little suckers. Had to cut every one out and stick it on. They sold "like hotcakes."


Just a couple more pictures from Independence Day -

Setting up the afternoon before Independence Day

Adding de tatch

No vehicle went undecorated

Some people really get into the spirit

Steve and Nina Hernandez, our Country Director

Something to do while waiting for the parade to start

GLOW girls on the float

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