The site assignments are in the folders just waiting for us to open them!
Site Placement day was Saturday and it was like Christmas for the trainees. We were all so excited to find out where we will live and work for the next two years and even though we spent weeks speculating and trying to get information from everyone, we loved the surprise of the morning. Our APCD's (they are in charge of our projects and placements) set up a huge map of Belize on the floor of the meeting room and then put folders around all the sites. One at a time a person would go to a site and pick a folder and call out the name of the person on the folder at the site. There were a lot of screams of happiness and jumping up and down - it was so much fun.Trainees sitting in their site areas (we're in the back to the right)
So... the big news is, we are living in Belize City! We have become pretty comfortable here so it's nice to get to stick around and we are in a great spot to be able to get out and visit everyone since the group is spread out from one end of the country to the other! It will also make an easy move for us since we can just hop in a taxi and drive down the street to our new house, can't complain about that. Before even coming to Belize we thought we may end up in the city and hoped for a smaller area, but this is where they see the best fit for us and we are excited to begin our service and work at our schools. We get to meet our principals tomorrow at our counterpart conference in Belmopan. We are both really excited to get to talk to them and learn more about what they need from us and what goals we can set. We will be moving from Miss Udeen's house since she already has new guests coming in next month, and we will miss her terribly, but she's just a short walk away and we know we will be back to visit often.
We've been added to the big map of Belize showing volunteers' sites
After the excitement of the weekend and getting to see our fellow trainees together again we had a great time hanging out and catching up and hearing all the stories from the different sites. With people in places ranging from the city to rural backabush, there is a wide variety of experiences! In two weeks we'll all be together again for a few days of bridge to service training and for the swearing in. It will be a little sad to then head off to all our separate sites, but I know we'll be in touch and be visiting one another throughout the country.
Today has been a nice relaxing day - we caught a nice not full bus back to the city and then went out to the BelConEx trade show at the Princess Hotel where Belizean businesses displayed and sold their products. We found a beautiful bed frame handmade in Belize from Bamboo and Rattan - maybe someday when we finish service we can have one sent to the states - it's perfect and is a canopy bed where the canopy hangs down from each of the four bamboo posts that surround the top. We hope we don't forget about it after two years! On the walk back from the Princess, Mica and John led us through a detour to see a school Mica thought might be the one where Ginnie will work. It turns out it is Ginnie's school - it's small and close to an area where we hope to live when we move out on our own. It's in a neighborhood and near a place where a large dachshund lives - Anthony has seen the oversized Dachshund, Ginnie has not yet, but will likely see it everyday when she walks to work! It will be nice since we miss Maya!
This week was also our camp week. The Belize City group worked at the YWCA reading camp from Monday through Thursday and split up among the grades - Standard I through Standard VI. We all focused on literacy with the varying levels and skills of our students. Anthony worked with John with the Standard IV (similar to Grade 5 in the US) and Ginnie worked with the Standard V-VI students (similar to Grades 6 through 8 in the US). It was a great opportunity to work with the pikni and get to know what levels teachers are working with since we will be helping them to work on literacy programs. The students were fun to work with and just remind us that no matter where they live, children are very similar.
Ginnie's Standard V-VI Campers
We may not be able to update for a while since Harry Potter has arrived and we need to know what happens! Thanks to everyone who's been sending us these amazing care packages - it truly was Christmas when we got to the post office on Friday and had lots of surprises, we love to hear from home! Oh, and a shout out to Diane because as we rode the bus home today they played a Grease song and Anthony and I both looked at each other and immediately knew we were both thinking of you and how we should have brought a copy of some good old favorite movies with us.