Wednesday, May 7, 2008

First Impressions of Belize

Here are a couple entries from my personal journal I'd like to share here:

May 7th
It's about 5:30 PM in San Ignacio. This is the time of day to be outside. The oppressive heat is gone for the day; now the sun hangs at a low angle and a gentle breeze blows. Betsy and I are lounging on the grassy banks of the Macal River reflecting on our day.

Today we received our initial orientation to the people and resources of the Cornerstone Foundation. We visited several area schools and had the opportunity to pose a few questions to their principals about areas in which volunteers may be able to contribute to a positive cause. Later we ate a Belizean lunch of white rice, beans, and a delicious stew consisting of an assortment of vegetables, noodles, and unrecognizable parts of chickens that I'm pretty sure we don't eat back home. After lunch we met some local schoolchildren and Betsy made friends with a six year old boy named Aaron (Eron? Arron?) who apparently is a big fan of basketball. We spent a little more time familiarizing ourselves with the Cornerstone office, then succumbed to the heat for a siesta.

It has only been two and a half days, but so far I love Belize. The weather is beautiful, the food is fresh, delicious, and inexpensive, natural beauty abounds, and the people are quite friendly. Of course, I know next to nothing about this place now, nor have I gotten sick yet. Let's hope it stays that way and my impressions stay positive.

May 5th
Betsy and I are relaxing on the top balcony of the Belcove Hotel in Belize City. Below us, three men in a long wooden motorboat pass through the canal towards Belize's famous hand-operated swing bridge. The men in the boat proceed cautiously, as it is night time and the boat lacks lights. Near the bridge a couple men are fishing by casting a large white net into the dark water and slowly retrieving it. There are dogs barking everywhere, but the people are quiet.

The air here is heavy with humidity. The temperature is perfect for lounging in shorts and a t-shirt. A light breeze carries the smell of the sea down the canal. I am sleepy from a long day of traveling, a hearty Belizean meal, and three bottles of Belize's local beer, Belikin. It has been a good first night in Belize.

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