Where in the world are we?

Where in the World are We?

27 July 2007

Wi Don Wahn Lata Tingz eena Chree Weeks!

It has been quite a while since the last post, so we've got a long one for today! We plan to put in lots of pictures too.

Our first week in CBT went well - we had a lot of Language and Culture Training for Kriol, spent a lot of time talking with Miss Udeen and her friends to practice our Kriol and get to know more about Belize and one another. We spent a lot of time learning about the city and even hit the streets to practice our kriol and make a map of our training area. On one morning, we went into town to visit the Mayor's office, the water taxi, the post office, the ministry of education, and see the Queen of the Bruk Down Miss Leela Vernon (that was an unexpected surprise trip when Ashley told us how she stayed the night with her host mom and had a show in the tourist village which is on the same street as our other stops). We had just learned the Bruk Down earlier in the week, so it was fun to get to meet Miss Vernon, Miss Alma introduced us. We waited in Tourist Village for nearly two hours and still didn't get to see Miss Vernon perform since she was hired to do her show for a Caribbean group that had not yet arrived when we needed to get back to the training site. {Tourist Village is a very strange place set aside for cruise visitors - basically people can come to Belize and just go into this village where Belizeans are not able to go and then never see any of the country! It's bizarre and we were all pretty uncomfortable in there, don't think anyone will be back there. Not to mention it was also extremely expensive since they had all their prices in US dollars, Ginnie bought the most expensive gross cookie!)

Back to Kriol and Tech Training - it's been fun. We've done a few presentations and sample training sessions for one another and get to hear from current volunteers about projects and other things we may do when we get into our schools. The more we talk about the jobs, the more excited we are to meet our principals and get to know our schools - in one more week we find out our site assignments! Everyone is pretty antsy to find out where we will be, but we're trying to just stay focused on training and all the things we need to accomplish in the next few weeks. We have lots of projects and homework, and with training 6 days a week, we stay pretty busy. We still have found some time to explore, though.

A Weekend Getaway

Last weekend, the Belize City group headed out to Caye Caulker, where we met up with some other trainees from Lucky Strike and Maskall. It was a great weekend and Caye Caulker is a nice little island to get away and relax for a night. We went swimming, ate, hung out in town where we witnessed some karaoke (it's a huge favorite for people out here) and relaxed under a palm tree for much of the day Sunday.

Sign as we entered the island from the water taxi

A dog on Caye Caulker - trying to cool off in the hot hot sun!

Posing with the "locals"

It was a nice restful weekend, and when we came home, Miss Udeen introduced us to a friend visiting from the States who took us out to dinner at a restaurant called Celebrity. It was so nice, and we got to see the area where the Princess hotel is. The Princess is a big hotel where there is a casino, movie theatre, and bowling alley.

Kriol Language and Culture

We've had a lot of great Kriol meals in the past three weeks. One is Boil Up - a dinner with green and ripe plantains, green and ripe bananas, kasava, cocoa root, boil up bread (a flour and water mixture), mashed potatoes, and fish - all boiled and cooked in a tomato and onion sauce. Other versions include even more things, but this is how we have it with Miss Udeen. It's delicious and very filling. Check it out:

We have also enjoyed rice and beans and for the first time tried stew beans last night - they are delicious! We've had johnny cakes and powder buns and fry fish and stew chicken - it's all been good. Miss Udeen heard we like eggplant, so she bought us two when she went to market on Tuesday and tonight Anthony made an eggplant parmesan - a little taste of home. It was delicious and went great with the cheesecake Miss Brenda made for us. We have a lot of great women taking care of us out here. We made fry jacks in class last week and they were delicious with homemade guacamole.

We have a special Kriol tutor named Jordan (Brenda's son) who has come over a few nights to talk with us and have us practice our Kriol. He has also taught us about the culture and shared with us some things he likes to do. He's a very bright and well-spoken young man (just ten years old), he would be a great teacher if he chooses that path - he's quite patient with us as we stumble over our sentences.

We are definitely improving in the Kriol area - see if you can decipher some of these Kriol phrases. (I borrowed this idea from my friend Mica - it's fun to have an interactive post - be sure to post your guesses in the comments section!)

1) Weh no kil yu fatn yu
2) Ful beli tel emti beli kip haat breda

3) Monkey know weh limb fi climb pan
4) Noh evriting wid shuga sweet

5) If kraab noh waak ih noh get fat, bot if ih waak tu moch ih looz ih klaa

Have fun with the translations!

Teacher Training

We had an adventurous tech training week. Belize City worked with Annaliza (our tech trainer) to facilitate a workshop for community based organization members who will go into schools to do manatee education. The goal is to get children to care about the manatees and learn about conservation so they will take the information back to their parents and spread the word to save these threatened sea mammals. It was a lot of fun - we put together a model lesson that the CBOs can conduct in class and then we worked one-on-one with the trainers to help them put together a lesson and then present it to one another. The workshop was in Gales Point - a maroon Kriol village on a small peninsula in a lagoon south of Belize City. It was a beautiful place surrounded by water, and supposedly a lot of manatees, yet we did not see any (despite spending a lot of time on the water in this lee boat that transported us to and from Tiger Point where the research facility is and where we conducted the workshop).

This is where we stayed overnight and where we had all our meals

The boat to Tiger Point

Gales Point

After the first day of the workshop (which was quite a funny day - there were some miscommunications so we had no trainees for quite a while, and then they were on Tiger Point and we were on Gales Point - but we finally got together. Then on the way home from the workshop - we got soaked on the boat! Which happened again the next morning, only worse when giant water splashes just bombarded us!) we had an awesome night. We got to experience drumming and sambai. It was incredible and so much fun - during the sambai the people dance around the fire and then call in a new person to dance, Ginnie was called in and went and danced with Mica and at one time with the drummer. It was a lot of fun even if our dancing wasn't the best!

The drummers

Day two of the workshop went well, our trainees did a great job at presenting their lessons. We got back to Gentle's to eat lunch and prepare to return to Belize City and found out the coastal road we took in was closed, so we had to take the long way and head out to Dangriga then drive up the Hummingbird Highway (which is the most beautiful ride - it was nice that Anthony got to see it since Ginnie had already when she took the trip to Dangriga for Mission Impossible) to Belmopan and then we took the bus back to Belize City and taxi's home - so we had hit pretty much all the major forms of transportation in the one day (which went quite well with the theme for Kriol this week, which is transportation!) with the boat rides, the car, the bus and the taxi!

We spent the day back in Kriol class with Miss Dorothy and rode the Belize Metro through the city to make a map of the route so we can be sure to help others find their way around. After a busy week and a long day, we are ready to rest up since tomorrow is all day Kriol and our group needs to prepare for camp week! Next week we are working with the YWCA on their literacy camp and will be working with kids all week to help them with literacy. It should be a lot of fun and we'll certainly share the adventure with you!

Hope you enjoyed the crazy long post!!

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