All kinds of things

Essentials: On the plane next to me was a girl from the UK spending a month in Belize and then a month in Fiji doing some kind of medical internship. On the other side was a lady from Belize City who told the med student and me everything we need to know about Belize City. She had been visiting her daughter in Florida and thought it was hilarious that we came from the UK and the US to study in Belize, and her daughter left Belize to study in the States. She wrote out her address and phone number on an index card and gave one to each of us. She told us to call if we need anything, like lunch in Belize City. We’ll go out, she said. Unless it’s hot, then we’ll order in.

After spending an hour in baggage claim and immigration, and another 15 minutes with no power—200 of us clamoring for carts and luggage and air—somehow the three of us landed right back in a row in the customs line and were able to say goodbye as our personal items were spread on a table for all to see.

Onward!

The minute I caught that first campfire and coconut smell and saw my first raccoon on a chain in the back of a truck (what?!) I knew I was home.

Racoon

David picked me up, and when I turned to thank the baggage guy, he was climbing in the front seat**. That’s Belize. Your luggage guy is your neighbor. The postal guy is your grandpa. The checkpoint guard is your cousin. **This guy would turn out to be Antonia’s principal at a new school 2 years from that point, and a good pal of mine.

We took off down the Western Highway at sunset—my exact favorite way to drive the Western Highway—and an interesting topic came up. I learned that the city is having a meeting tomorrow about a dam that was built a few years ago. It was contested by the Belize Zoo lady, along with many different environmental groups, and pushed forward by the electric company, the Belizean government, and those who wanted Belize’s electricity to come from Belize, not Mexico. The only problem was the entire dam. Environmentalists warned that the rock wouldn’t hold, the river would suffer, the quality of the water would decline, energy prices would go up, and the flooding would kill off the Scarlet Macaw (side note: The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw is a must-read. It’s a story about the Belize Zoo lady who fought against the dam, and the rich descriptions of the Belizean government and the people here are unbelievable. It’s full of history about Belize and Cayo District. And the author is funny. His first impression of Belize City had something to do with a pedal-by shooting.) Anyway, I read this book before I came, got really into the dam issue and had meant to ask about it, then right there out of nowhere, David brought it up. He said they were calling a village meeting to discuss the dam. Apparently the water is orange. The orange water is downstream from the dam, right in San Ignacio. This is the water they bathe in, play in, clean with, wash clothes and dishes in… It has something to do with the chemical makeup and silt that have filtered out and around the dam, and worse, in order to remove or fix the dam, they’d have to release the wall, which would flood all of San Ignacio and the surrounding valley villages, like Santa Familia. David said they came around this week to the villages with a blue siren and said: If you hear this sound, you have 2 hours to get out before the flood comes. Omg. I just knew that Zoo Lady was right!

I arrived in Santa Familila to a welcome surprise, and also termite season in my room. Antonia, Ricardo and Inez had spent the day rearranging all the rooms so Inez and I could be roomies and each have a bed in the room that doesn’t rain!

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Before I could even unpack or think about how tired I was, they whisked me off to the Miss Bullet Tree pageant.

(I am trying to upload a video of a punta dancer, but it’s taking forever…)

Sunday I went to church, and then to Guatemala in the back of a pickup truck, then squeezed into a cab with 6 people and spent an hour in the Melchor hospital. Richard (the son of the principal I am staying with) had a cough that wouldn’t lift because of the dusty roads and needed to see a doctor today for asthma. But there are no doctors in Cayo on Sundays, and so we had to cross the border. There are apparently also no doctors in Melchor on Sundays, which is how we ended up in the hospital. He got his treatment, and I bought all my little Belize gifts for you all at 1/3 price from the Gulatemalans. Finally a Guatemala stamp in my passport… although I’ve already been to Melchor. Figure that one out. Wink!

Today I am supposed to meet with my supervisor and she will accompany me to Mary Open Doors to begin the internship. But I have not been able to reach anyone. None of us have ever met each other, and the last contact I had with them was 2 weeks ago, by email. I still took (read: chased after) the 8 o’clock bus, and if I have to hang around the French bakery eating Mennonite cookies until I figure something out, so be it.

I have a phone number, and I will soon have a phone- hopefully by the end of the day. I can receive calls for free, but your carrier will charge you for the international call. I can make calls sometimes. And I can text sometimes.

My phone number is: 011-501-621-8102.

If you see this number, answer it! It’s me.

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Brooke vs. Kriol

Today the standard 6 students had an exam in San Ignacio, so I was in charge of the Standard 4 & 5 classes—and after my 40 minute lesson, I had nothing to teach them.So, they gave me Kriol exercises with the Kriol-Inglish Dikshineri, instead.

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I copied some words and created a quiz for your reading pleasure.

1.Does “backarop” mean

  1. to sing a rap about having one’s back
  2. to hit on one’s back
  3. to go in reverse
  4. a bag you wear on your shoulders

Context:Ah wahn backarop di kaa, soh moov owt a di way.

2.Does “memba” mean

  1. participant
  2. a large cat in the puma family
  3. a type of dance
  4. to remember

Context:Yoo neva memba yu oan bertday?

3.Does “nyoo” mean

  1. new
  2. me and you
  3. yoo-hoo!
  4. 12 noon

Context:We ga wahn nyoo Faada da fi wee choch

4.Does “prosikyoot” mean

  1. sort of cute
  2. prosecute
  3. prostitute
  4. still a youth

Context:Polees di tek lang fi prosikyoot di teef.

5.Does “bizniz” mean

  1. show business
  2. cheese whiz
  3. big nose
  4. personal life

Context: Stap poak yo noaz eena mi bizniz.


Bonus Round

Does “pis-a-bea” mean

  1. bed-wetter
  2. bee killer
  3. little green nut
  4. type of flower

Context:Mei lee gyal ten an ih da reel pis-a-bea.


When the Kriol lessons were over, I showed the kids some card tricks and then taught them how to play Kemps so we could have a Kemps tournament, which went well and was very educational, I think.With an hour left until lunch, even after the tournament, we had no choice but to resort to hangman.

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Me studying my Kriol, while they play hangman

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This is random, yes, but every day I stare out the window at this tree shaped like a duck, and I just wanted to share

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After lunch, it was volleyball until 3 (their big volleyball tournament is Thursday), and I am proud to say I took one for the team.This time it was teachers vs. students, and I did not have to play on the boys team.Although, now that I think about it, all the teachers were boys…

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Cheering squad

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My “one for the team”

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Tomorrow is my last day at San Marcos school, so we’re having a party.
Classes break on Thursday for a 2 week Easter Break.

It’s the beginning of the end for me here…


ANSWERS

1.C
I am going to put the car in reverse, so get out of the way.

2.D
You don’t remember your own birthday?

3.A
We have a new priest at church.

4.B
The police are taking a long time to prosecute the thief.

5.D
Stop poking your nose into my personal life.

Bonus:A
My little girl is ten years old, and she’s a real bed-wetter.

Week Nine

1. I just found out I got a scholarship to Tulane. I don’t know details, as I am in another country and finding out super important news through friends and family on gmail chat is difficult. But I know it’s for the social work program. I am still waiting to hear about the public health program. But the fact that I currently have no income and am living in another country gives me an edge, I hope.

2. Yesterday, the high was 101 degrees. I am not exaggerating. AND, I spent all day outside watching this huge canoe river race from San Ignacio to Belize City: La Ruta Maya.

We left at 6am to watch the start of the race in San Ignacio, then drove around all day jumping out at different river banks to watch the teams pass. I rode with Ms. Elda (the one who took me to the zoo & the blue hole) and Diana (the one who took me to Xunantunich) because Ms. Elda’s husband and Diana’s father were on the same team.

The start of the race

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Ms. Elda & Janeissey (her daughter)

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Running across the field and down a hill to the next river bank (fall #1)

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The fam

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Our team

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Iguana Creek river bank

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Our team (again)

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I forget the name of this place

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A pic of the girls team

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After a long day

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Our team, at Banana Bank- the finishing point for day one (it’s a 3 day race, and the teams camp here)

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(cute)

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Antonia and Inez getting ready for parent night at school

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Hot mama & Ricardo

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Britney Spears and Confirmation (unrelated)

Did you guys know Britney Spears was committed?

I did, because I got a fantastic package today from my mom with the February 18th issue of People Magazine.Yesssssss!I also got hair clips AND mini packs of chips ahoy AND Valentines Day cards AND Mucinex (I was desperate for this because my chesty cough has been very unproductive, if you want to know) AND dove chocolate and little Crystal Light water bottle packets.It was a good day.

Before the actual Confirmation and confirmation partying (for those only tuned in to see Teachers, Preists and confirmation candidates gone wild) took place, we had to decorate the church.

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(I am super serious about this bow)
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Not thrilled about me and my camera
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My important (and tall) job of hanging curtains, then taking them down because they weren’t ironed, then hanging them back up
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Finished project:
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View from Church

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Water system (this one’s for you, Denise)

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Confirmation

Girls

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Boys

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Me & Antonia

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Noreli & Juliet

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Francis & Javid

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I hate this pic, but its the only one I have with Stephanie and Ronnel, who both confirmed.
(I was laughing, okay? Can’t a girl laugh?)

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Lined up and ready to go

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Fathers & Bishop

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David & Nelly

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The way we roll, dresses or not

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Inez & David Cabb Sr.

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Parties!

We were invited to a bunch of confirmation parties in the village, and made it to about 6. I ate 4 dinners, and like, 10 pieces of cake (I took them for the team, okay? It would have been rude to not accept :)

The fam- From top left: Rosio, Rachel, Inez & David Sr., baby Imanuel and the Bishop

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David Sr & Imanuel Jr.

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Santa Familia Teachers & Adan

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Me & Frances

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Rachel

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Me & Diana (Ms. Mig’s daughter)

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My 6 yr-old boyfriend

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Me & Father Foley (they made me take this…)

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Stephanie’s Par-tay

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And…the afterparty. The crazy looking one is Inez. And I picked out her dress in Chetumal. It’s just like mine only a different color. So there.

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Dwayne, Inez, & Me- VIP

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