Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Full work, foul play, feasting, and festivities (and alliteration)

Huzzah! I greet thee on a fair Tuesday. Why not Sunday, my avid readers may ask. Well, the school has far faster internet, so uploading pictures is much more pleasurable while at work. Yesterday I was forced to substitute for infant 1, preventing me from uploading then. So, away we go!
This was my second full week of school this year. If you are confused with the date, I will remind you that this is the second week of November. Yes, school began in September. Don’t worry, I don’t think there’s another full week until Christmas.
To celebrate this happy occasion I got some solid work done with the reading program. It was awesome to have one group go find some books and have a child read a sentence to me. I couldn’t have been more happy.
Fun fact for the week: Back in the 1700s, there were a group of men who lived in Belize and cut down trees to send to England. These men were called Baymen and were governed by laws similar to those used on pirate ships, which, surprisingly, were quite progressive and democratic. Everyone, including slaves, had a say. Anyways, these men would, on occasion, travel up to the American colonies, and in particular to Boston. While there, a number attended the Old North Church. At this time the church was without a steeple, so the Baymen went back to Belize and raised funds from selling lumber. These funds were donated so the steeple could be built. As you know, from this steeple Paul Revere hung two lanterns to signal the arrival of the British by land. Today, supposedly, the front row of the Old North Church is reserved for men of the Bay, or anyone from Belize. Quite cool.
This month has also been a busy one on the sports scene in PG, and when I refer to sports, I mean marbles. Since there’s drier weather, the conditions are much more favorable to the marble players, who tend to have battles in the drier patches of dirt. I, being quite intrigued by this huge phenomenon, had some kids teach me how to play. After a few games I seemed to understand the many rules, though I don’t think I’ll go professional any time soon. I was playing with some kids when the vice principal walked by and she commented that she could beat me. I was devastated.
Apparently the excitement got to the heads of the children, as Friday culminated in a great violence spree at school. Kids kept running to me, exclaiming stories of “bust eyes,” “bloodied lips,” and “kicks in the stomach.” Now, when trying to describe the scene of school to you, I will make you imagine yourself in 1950. Perhaps earlier. Maybe Huckleberry Finn era. Break time consists of marbles and fighting. Children just start brawling as soon as school ceases, and not just the boys. I see girls waging fierce battles with some of the boys, haymakers a-flying. The teachers make no effort to stop it, except when one child comes crying to them. Perhaps the wave of injuries will spur some crackdown on break time antics. I doubt it though.
On Saturday I woke up early to do laundry. Around 5am. I tend to wake up at that time as I’ve been working on a book. Anywho, I threw my laundry in, then decided to make some tea upstairs at home. Walking in I noticed things looked a bit askew, with the window above the sink open and a bottle of wine, recently procured from the Jesuits, sitting in our sink. Then I noticed the drawers in our dresser in the living room were open. At that point I realized we had been broken into at night. Luckily no one was hurt nor were any items of great value stolen. Only some wine and chocolate that had been given to us by Father Jeff earlier in the day was taken.

In the face of such adversity, we performed valiantly. While Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Belize, we decided to have our own on Saturday. We invited some people we are thankful for and threw a big dinner for them. Included in which was a 13 pound turkey, sweet potatoes, coleslaw, rice and beans, fruit salad, corn loaf, and a number of other dishes. We had twelve people over and feasted our stomachs out. I’m still full and we’re a day removed from the food.
Al squeezing limes for lime juice.

Kathleen cutting up some sweet potatoes.

The table was set. Included are awesome autumn leaves my mom sent me this week. Thanks mom!

Festive table setting.
Friends and guests.

Passing the food around.
Our quite lovely house.

After the meal we headed over to The Battle of the Drums. This is the big event that PG has every year. This coming Friday is Garifuna settlement day, and the Battle of the Drums kicked off the week of festivities. The Garifuna culture and language is on some list of endangered cultures, as there are less than 600,000 people left in the world that can claim Garifuna heritage. According to Wikipedia (sorry) "In 2001 UNESCO proclaimed the language, dance and music of the Garifuna as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Belize."
So, on Saturday, six of the best drumming groups from Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras competed for the big prize of best group around. The sports complex, where it was held, was totally packed. I loved it.
The face-off portion of the event, where two drum groups were on stage together, one following the other.

The group from Guatemala doing their thing.

One of the trophies, for second place I believe, with the judges in the background.

Each group had a few women who would dance at various portions of their songs.

This is one of the dancers who was dressed up in the quite elaborate costume and mask. I'm still not sure what they represent, but when I find out, you'll know.

Perhaps my favorite non-scenery photo I've ever taken.

Well dear friend, I must bid you adu and get back to work.
I hope you enjoyed reading my stories and procrastinating your work. Until next week.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, thanks for your writings. I will be visiting PG and meeting with your Ass't Principal in December. Your writings have given me greater insight into St Peter Claver School and PG. Unfortunately, School will not be in session while I am there, as I will be traveling during my school's Christmas break. You mentioned the reading program with which you are working. What types of materials do you have for teaching reading and with what grade level(s) do you work? Is there anything in particular that you need in the way of resources? Please e-mail me at chardin04@gmail.com. I teach for the Cincinnati Public School system and will be bringing supplies and materials with me to give to your school. I will also be bringing "pen pal" letters from some of our students to the students at your school with the hope of developing an ongoing correspondance between the students. Thanks, Cindy Hardin