Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The gang briefly flees

Guten Tag! Dumelang bomma ee borra! According to the bios posted in the Jesuit Residence in Belize City, I speak both German and Setswana, so there you have it.

This week was quite long and eventful. There will be some pictures up, but I don’t have the time I normally do to upload mad sweet pics. I have school in an hour, so I’ll do what I can. More shall be up next time.

So Tuesday was Independence Day, though Belizeans didn’t wait until then to start celebrating. Beginning Monday afternoon and continuing into the evening, music was bumping and people were partying. At around 11pm, we headed into the central park in town to watch the flag rising. There were some mildly important political figures, along with our own Father Mo, who is the pastor at Peter Claver. We were shocked to see him up so late, though that was quickly replaced by Jon, who was visiting from Belize City, to notice that he bears a striking resemblance to the professor from Futurama.

At precisely midnight, the park, filled with a few hundred people including children who somehow weren’t asleep, watched the flag slowly and choppily go up the very lopsided flagpole. Instantly, fireworks started going off by the water (as in the pier across from our house) and thus followed a mad dash to the road by the sea.

The parties continued to around 3am. At 6am, a firetruck rolled through town, sirens blaring, waking everyone up to begin celebrating again. I awoke, but only to roll over and continue my slumber. There was a parade around 9am, and we spent the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying the festivities.

After the holiday, work on Wednesday went pretty slowly, though I was cheered up to find that Thursday was a half day. I still don’t quite know why. Perhaps something to do with a teachers meeting? Anyway, that day was quite nice. While cooking up some friend chicken and mashed potatoes, I began to hear rumors of a storm somewhere nearby. These rumors quickly snowballed into school cancelled on Friday, Peace Corps packing their stuff to go to Belmopan (the capital), and a large and ominous tropical storm named Matthew bearing down on Belize.

Wake up. Make some breakfast. Continue reading Empire Falls (read it!). While sitting out on the veranda, admiring the lovely dark clouds looming in the distance, the phone rings. Father Jeff (Jesuit provincial for Belize): “Father Mo is heading back to PG now so you’re going to be staying at the rectory tonight to weather the storm.” Alright, that doesn’t sound bad. At least we aren’t evacuating to Guatemala (secretly/not so secretly we all want that to happen). Reading continues. I go to the market to buy some peanuts.
Get back. Matt: “Jeff called! We’re heading up to Belize City! In the next hour! We have to catch the service group, on the road, driving towards us, we hope, to get the good truck! Pack your stuff! The basement/our rooms might flood!” Whoa!!! A mad rush to pack the essentials into my bag and bring up anything I didn’t want to get ruined from my room to the upstairs. I also manage to get the two boxes awaiting me at the post office and wrap them up to protect the precious contents (thanks mom!!!) Much shouting and throwing of things upstairs ensues. We lock up. Free Baxter to his own devices. I hope he makes it.

We pile into the crappy truck, bags and the two girls in the back. Prayers are said continuously that we run into the service group that has the “nice” truck. It really is much nicer. Until later.
After one false alarm and a confused driver who was unintentionally flagged down, we drive past the service group and switch vehicles. Now the concern is Kendall Bridge. The nice one washed away a year or so ago, so the one now is very low. The rivers are rising and we need to get across before the water covers it. Two anxious hours later, we find the water level about a foot or two below the bridge. Huzzah!

9:30pm we pull into the Jesuit Residence at St. John’s College in Belize City. Father Jeff is waiting for us outside. We come in and find a tasty spread of food waiting, along with some expensive liquor and canned Mexican beer. We eat, drink, and chat. Bed.

We awake to the sound of curtains flapping. The wind is blowing something wild. Go downstairs to the cafeteria, eat cereal for the first time in Belize. Tasty bread too. Mmmm good food. Meet some nice Jesuits. Check the interweb for information and find the storm suddenly became lame. Belize City gets some wind. PG gets some rain. Nothing big. Rivers are high though, so we’re here til tomorrow. Visit the Belize City volunteers and go exploring through the city. Matt cuts off his long locks.

Father Jeff gives us $100 Belize for a hurricane party. The party ensues. Slumber.

Wake up. No wind. Nice. Cereal again. I’m gonna milk this. Read Tom Sawyer. Matt comes in and says we’re good to go. Pack up the truck with donations. Food, clothing, school supplies, shiny black leather shoes (for barefoot farmers?). We hit the road. Pleasant afternoon drive through the mountains.

Two hours in, I volunteer to drive. We cross the Kendall Bridge. Pull over. I hop in the driver seat. Car don’t start. Car don’t have juice. We open the hood. Not looking good. Cars stop and help. We get jumped. The good one. We start driving, though we’re worried about the lack of battery power. The sun start going down. Matt turns on the headlights. Car dies. We coast to a stop. Open the hood. We’re in the middle of not anywhere.

A truck full of men stops. We explain the problem. They drive off, and return with a car battery. We buy it for $280 Belize. Continue the drive home. Arrive five hours, forty five minutes after leaving Belize City. It’s a four hour drive.

Peace out cool cats. Drop by next week for more pictures!!
Shanks for visiting. Mail me CDs if you get bored.

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