Where in the world are we?

Where in the World are We?

03 July 2007

You Better Belize It! We're Finally Here.

June 21-24
We made it to Belize today, finally!! We were a bit worried that a few members of the group, including Anthony wouldn’t make it since they were on standby when the tickets were rebooked. We all said goodbye and those of us with tickets got on the plane and as it came time to close the doors, we saw one-by-one that our fellow trainees were making their way onto the plane and everyone cheered. We all made it! We then had a one hour bus ride to Belmopan from Belize City. It was nice to see our new home for the first time and see the scenery of the country – it’s quite green and beautiful. Once we arrived at Peace Corps headquarters, we had a Belizean lunch and got started on training. After a few hours together, they took us over to the Garden City Hotel for our first night in Belize so we could repack bags for our first home-stay, where we’ll live for 2.5 weeks and didn’t want to bring 80 pounds plus of luggage! The first night in Belize was fun, we had dinner with some other trainees at a little restaurant, Alawin’s, just across from the hotel where we split some dishes and hung out for a while. We even hit the market to gather some things we might need. This was also our first introduction to living without hot water – but it’s not so bad, the cold water here is not as cold as at home, and it’s actually more refreshing to take our showers with the cool water! (Note – showers in the sense of filling a 5 gallon bucket and proceeding to splash clean yourself) Friday started the full training schedule and we spent the day at headquarters in different sessions (which has been pretty much the make up of each day since). This was also the day we moved to Armenia to meet our host families for the first weeks of training. We had a fun Jeopardy session about living in this village and then we all split off with our roommates (Anthony and I are with our fellow trainee, Mary) and headed out in the vans/jeeps to the village to find our families. Our family is so great! Maira and Manuel are our mom and dad and Julisa and Daniel are our siblings (Julie is 7 and Daniel is 4) and we have a puppy, Manueco (aka Chuchito by Daniel). They speak Spanish, which is nice because we are practicing our language and having fun talking with the children and having them correct our words. We are lucky to have an indoor toilet! The bucket baths are a new experience, but they are nice – the cool water is refreshing. We’ve been at the home stay for a few days and have started to settle in nicely. Things are quaint and quiet aside from the testosterone charged roosters who compete with one another around 3:00AM each morning…it’s really quite entertaining to listen too, so much so that it lulls you back into a deep sleep, well not really a deep sleep, but rather drives you crazy to the point that you would like to turn them into dinner for the following evening. Breakfast and dinner are provided by our host mom and usually consist of tortillas and other sorts of foods (bananas, rice, beans, chicken, etc – and any of those are at either meal – eggs for dinner, beans for breakfast, etc). Water is the staple drink here, that is unless you prefer to live like the locals and drink Coke, Sprite, or Fanta with your breakfast. We are having a really great time in Armenia aside from the occasional giant tarantulas that for some reason, find it necessary to accompany us to bed each night (It’s quite fortunate that our little sister is a great exterminator – she helped Ginnie out by getting all the “diving” beetles out of her bag, we haven’t figured out the purpose of these giant beetles but evidently they dive toward things and end up upside down flailing – it’s an odd little bugger). Today is our day off, so we met up with a bunch of other trainees and went to Blue Hole National Park – just a few miles away from the village and not to be confused with the famous other Blue Hole reef! We hiked into a cave and then to a lookout tower. The lookout tower was a rough walk – ½ mile up! But, we all made it and we got to see the views of the landscape. After the climb and hike (in the jungle that is quite hot) we went to Blue Hole where people swam in the cool little “pool.” It was a fun day and we spent the rest of the afternoon lying in our hammocks reading and writing in journals – it was the first relaxing day!
Here are some pictures of our home in Armenia and the trip to Blue Hole:

The Home Stay sign Our "siblings" Our house - we stay in the
thatch roof hut on the left

Daniel, Julissa, & Manueco Ginnie & Anthony, Blue Hole Park Ryan, Matt & Ginnie

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