Sunday, September 12, 2010


Another week, another dollar. Well, not really. Perhaps I may have earned $15, as I make $60 a month with JVC. So divided by four weeks…..
Ah the high life.

Anywho, this was a festive week. We kicked it off with the mass of St. Peter Claver on Sunday, which was followed by lots of food, some boat rides, and a scavenger hunt for the kids.
On Monday I passed out library cards to Standard 6 down to 3 (8th to 4th grade approx). It is amazing how fast the 600 library cards I made by hand over the course of four days can disappear. I walked around and visited around 20 classes, speaking to them about the library, checking books out, and finding resources for assignments. It was nice to be able to see a majority of the students and let them know who I am so I’m not just the random white guy at school. Now I’m the random white guy who is the librarian! It’s great.
This is our dog Baxter. He got beat up by three dogs the other week and is hurting, but looking better. This picture also has nothing to do with the library or this week at all. Enjoy all the same.

Now, while giving out all the cards and getting to see 600 odd students was nice, I was dreading the arrival of 3:30 on Monday. That is when school gets out and hundreds of students were now armed with their new found library card. Not many students would be found in the library in the US after school, but there is not much to do in PG. On cue, at 3:30, the bell rang, breaking the silence hanging in the air of my small, round hole, and plunging it into an hour of mayhem. Screaming, running, shouting, fighting, reading? Never. Luckily a few older students who worked as library assistants came to my rescue and helped check books out that day, though not to the exact order I had hoped.

Essentially, every student has a library card. When they find a book they want, they bring it over to the desk, their card is taken, and is paper clipped to the index card bearing the book title that is inside the book. The book card is stamped with the return date, as is the book itself. The library card and book card are then put in the box of the student’s teacher, so we know where to find it when the book is returned. Now, this is the ideal situation. When there are children pushing books in your face in an attempt to get it checked out, often you don’t notice that the teacher name isn’t on their library card, or the book doesn’t have a card inside.

Tuesday wasn’t much better, as students started to return books with the same ferocity as they check them out. The one table I had the cards set up at was overrun in seconds. On Wednesday I spent much of the day reorganizing the setup, so that there is a separate check in and check out table. This has helped ease the crowds and alleviate some headaches.

Luckily this week was only a three day week, though there were only really two days of class. Wednesday morning I heard rumors of something going on in the morning, so I asked some teachers and found out there was a literacy fair at the sports complex (an old airplane hanger that now is a basketball court/event place. The students all walked down to the town square and from there we went on a literature parade through town. I haven’t been in a parade in quite a long time and I don’t remember them being so sweaty. At the end of the march, I looked down to find my knees had sweat through my pants. My knees. I didn’t even know that they were capable of sweating independently from the rest of my legs. After the fair, which was not much more than a reading contest (pretty boring) there was an afternoon mass for the students then school was over.

On Thursday, I had no school for St. Peter Claver feast day. Huzzah! Matt, my housemate, didn’t have work either because the parish office, where he works, closed for the day too. To celebrate, we drove out to a nice lodge 20ish minutes outside of town and went tubing down the river. It was an intensely hot day, so floating down a cool river was perfect.
El Rio Grande:

A most excellent tree that towered over the river

Rollin' Down the River

I had a terrible scare on the way home, as my camera stopped working. I was distraught at the thought that my beloved camera, even though it is beat up and looks pretty bad with tape and a chord holding it together. It has traveled with me to four continents and I have taken probably 20,000 pictures on it. Luckily, it started working fine Friday morning after a restless night of sleep by me. Anyway, Friday night there was the Miss Queen of the Bay Pageant, which is pretty much a beauty contest, also held at the sports complex. It was packed and the power kept going out during a big thunderstorm, making for an entertaining evening.

Friday was St. Georges Caye (pronounced “key”) Day. This celebrates the battle in which the British defeated the Spanish and forced them out of Belize around 1781 or so. Now, this seems like a silly holiday to me and others, as this battle simple ensured that Belize would continue to be under colonial rule for another two hundred years or so. Hooray! There was a small parade in the morning,

This is the town square

Bandstand and master of the ceremony

and then we just hung out and sipped rum the rest of the day. We met up with some Belizean friends, as well as Lee and Chris, two British guys who work for one of the conservation agencies in town. They are awesome guys and I felt it was very fitting to celebrate the British victory with some of the Queen’s men.

These fools are Lee, Al, and myself at Ocean View bar, though it should really be called
"Ocean On" or even "Ocean Over"

Yesterday, Al and I decided to make bread, so we did. We decided to make whole wheat bread, so used whole wheat flour. Now, what no one told us is you don’t use only that flour, you in fact use half white flour. We did not know that and made two loaves with entirely whole wheat flour. The loaves weigh at least five pounds each and one slice will fill you up. Quite dense eating. However, they are quite nice and the four hours of mixing, kneading, rising, punching, rising, and baking was definitely worth it.

This was a long post. Thanks for spending some time with this old blog.
Fare thee well!
If you feel so inclined, shoot me an email if you want to know about something specific in Belize. I can talk about a lot, so I can definitely throw in something that would interest you more than my boring life.
Oh, and if you are bored at your computer right now, maybe write me a letter! I’ve gotten a few so far (thanks, you :) ) and it feels great to get one.


  1. Dear librarian,
    I want to know some local idioms and phrases people use and how they sound.

    Do they have a market..what is in the market..who goes to the market..and when..and where does the stuff in the market come from? Do they have more stores or more markets?

  2. does Baxter ever catch a break?? In January a nun hit him with a car and he was nursing his foot and limping around PG! poor thing... give him a kiss for me. give yourself a kiss for me too. and matt. LOVE YOU!