So, I'm sure you have been waiting weeks, anxious to see glorious pictures from Belize. So, without further adu, here they be! (Please enjoy them, I have been uploading them for hours. There are pictures in the beginning, stories of this week, then more pictures at the end as a reward).
So this is a view of the street in Belize City.
Here we have Matt my community mate, doing some cooking. On our second night in country we had an Iron Chef competition, where everyone paired up and made different dishes. It was most delicious.
This is the famed Jade Skull at the National Museum. Pretty neat.
We went to a small cultural museum where we were taught how to dance and drum. I can still do neither of those.
Tapir! This was the only animal I got a picture of at the zoo before my camera ran out of batteries. Most sad.
Here are the sweet waterfalls we visited...
And here am I jumping into said waterfall!!
This is my bedroom (it could use more pictures on the walls....)
This is the view from my bedroom
Our upstairs living room
My front yard
A view from my hammock. I love living here. So do my feet.
An artsy photo of my art. Get it? Never mind.
I began the week in great pain, with the tonsillitis very much putting a damper on my well being. Swallowing is very nice when it doesn't cause you to cringe. However, I persevered and decided to be a productive member of society. I bought a bunch of cloth and brought it to a tailor so he could make my pants and shirts of my teacher uniform. Olive green pants with a white shirt on Monday Wednesday Friday, and cream shirt Tuesday Thursday. I have never worn a uniform before, so this should be interesting. It is also cool that I am having my clothes handmade by the man down the street. After two weeks of annoying the administration at my school, I finally got a key to the library. The St. Peter Claver library used to be a water tanker, so its a large, circular, cement structure, one story high. After opening it up, I realized the large task ahead of me. All the teachers store their books in the library in the summer, so there were, and still are, piles of boxes all over the place. School starts in three days. Its fine.
I also decided to search for the materials for teaching reading. I will be working with around 25 children a week for the semester in the hope that they can catch up to their grade level in terms of reading skills. Sadly for me, there are about six different reading programs in the library, but none of the materials are complete. I'm trying to go through each one to find and pull strategies that could work. We shall see. Mostly I focused on the books in the library and moving boxes to try to get at them. Since there is no electricity, or current as they call it, in that part of the school right now, it has been very hot work. However, the library does have a pretty good selection of books, from children's picture books to young adult novels to a solid non fiction section. There are about 30 Judy Blume books, 60 Harry Potter books (1-4), 9 million National Geographics (including a sweet 1924 hardcover), and a wide selection of out of date encyclopedias. While the work has been tedious this week, I have quite enjoyed myself, especially since taking a break in the library means picking up a random book and reading it.
I have had some great visitors this week, mostly the neighborhood children who are bored and see the library open. There has never been a male librarian/reading specialist, so I hope that gets some of the boys who are more reluctant to read. The kids are a lot of fun though and would come in asking, "Sir! Di library open? We play games? Sir, who di you?" (My kriol is pretty bad so far, but hopefully it will improve for you to read, as the children really don't sound much like that. Children are really hard to understand. Kriol seems like you should be able to understand it very easily, because it is essentially English, but it is more like a Boston accent plus New York plus what you would hear in reggae music, aka not proper English at all. Should be fun teaching reading!) Children also refer to adults as "Sir" or "Mr. Jeremy", which is quite cool but will take some getting used to. I played some games with the kids, and then enlisted them to help move furniture. They were quite keen on impressing me with their amazing strength. Six and seven year olds are quite amusing.
The rest of the week was spent cleaning the house, reading, and getting quite excited at letters that arrived. Thanks mom for sending the camera chord! Because I have to pay for items that arrive, I suggested that the chord be sent in a box of granola bars. Now, I meant that to be placed in a larger package, but sure enough, I got to the post office to find a box of granola bars addressed to me. I had to open it for the post office guy and I looked in to see the chord. However, being a quick thinker, I pulled out two bars, said that it was just a box of granola bars, and gave him two. He looked quizzically at me, then only charged me 75 cents. Hooray bribery! I'm told I can do that with candy too, if you feel so inclined to send me some.
I have been totally cured of tonsillitis right now, which is nice. The combination of strange liquids and pills worked surprisingly well. Our dog, Baxter, got jumped the other night while on his chain and is now nursing wounds on his head, nose, tongue, front leg, hind leg, and back. We gave him a good bath yesterday though to clean them out. There have been some awesome storms lately, which are great to watch from our veranda. During one we all went out onto the pier across the street as the waves were crashing into it, sending spray over our heads. Sadly I forgot that my Ipod was in my pocket, so it is not doing very well. The charge lasts all of two minutes. So, if you are bored and feeling friendly, mail down some CDs for our lovely house!
Matt and I just got the inflatable rafts out and floated down the coast. After a mile or so, we came ashore at a strange clearing area, and found ourselves at a weird abandoned marina. We walked down the road and found a huge area, fenced in by barbed wire fencing and looking very secure. Matt said that he had heard that the Voice of America radio station is close by and we theorized that this is the complex. Very bizarre place.
These pictures are taking so long to upload. Ah ha! They're done.
Well, enjoy the rest and check in next week for: THE FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL!!!!!
Thanks all for visiting!
Hanging out at Orientation. Such a college photo. I should sell it to BC.
A shot from the retreat center we stayed at during the end of orientation. It was lovely and relaxing.
The dawn on the way to the airport in Boston to catch our 8:30 flight...
Which we didn't make because it was cancelled. Instead we took a nap in Boston Commons.
And got to explore the harbor.
These are also the people I went to Belize with. From left: Christin, Jon (both of whom are living in Belize City, Allison, and Kathleen (who are with me).
I enjoyed this sign.
Looking out the window on the flight down to Belize.
When we first got to Belize, we went immediately to the Belize City house.
They have a nice living room too. With walls you can't see through like ours.
A nice kitchen.
Jon ate some crazy hot peppers. Thus I leave you with this picture. Farewell!