Well y’all, I’ve officially been here for two days, and I’m still pretty seriously liking this place. But since I shared so many highlights yesterday, I thought today I’d tell you some of the stinkier things about being here in PG…
- How ridonkulously hot it is here. I just walked back from lunch with Noemi and Akiesha, and I feel like I am going to pass out from heat stroke. This heat is the kind that’s so hot that even drinking water just makes you feel heavy and tired, and eating is much less appealing. (That said, I did manage to eat a sizable lunch, which brings me to my next point…)
- Lunch in Belize is VERY heavy, and breakfast is also a sizable meal. While I love the food that they serve here (today’s lunch was stew beans and rice with chicken, served with a bit of coleslaw and a plantain slice), after I’ve eaten a full lunch plate, I feel like I’m carrying a load of cinderblocks around in my belly. Right now, I feel like it’s not entirely unlikely that my stomach will explode in the next half hour or so. Breakfast apparently consists of a similar set of options—Noemi, for example, breakfasted on a bunch of corn tortillas, each rolled up with some slightly spicy chicken inside. While I might be able to eat such a thing for lunch or dinner, having so many meat-based breakfast options reminds me of back when I lived in Costa Rica and ate similarly savory breakfasts until I could stand it no longer and subsisted on fruit as my morning meal. I will probably start doing that this Friday, which is the approximate day when I will have run out of the Nature Valley granola bars I brought from home. That will be a sad day. For any intrepid snail mail senders out there, a box of granola bars would make my week! 🙂
- The bathroom available here in the bunkhouse is a little less immaculate than I was expecting…to put it nicely. This I plan on rectifying with a scrub brush at my earliest convenience (proud of me, aren’t you, mama?!).
- Learning about the status and expectations of women in this country. The women who work for ProWorld in Belize are close to my age, yet their lives are so vastly different from mine. One staff member has a husband and three children, and another has two children and is planning her wedding for some point in the next year or two. One is 28, and the other 24. In a conversation with ProWorld Belize’s Country Director and one of the female staffers, I learned that physical abuse and infidelity are both considered common activities among married Belizean men. While I got the impression that things are improving a bit overall, I was surprised to learn that marriage in Belize typically exists far, far apart from passion or from the sort of love that we often assume of marriages in the United States. On the positive side, ProWorld can help to actively reduce instances of loveless and abusive marriages by working to promote education for young women. Without undermining the capacity of women to become great homemakers, wives, and mothers, we must also encourage them to explore their academic and personal strengths, and to perhaps give themselves a bit more time to explore who they are as individuals before entering into marriage.
I will stop at four items, partially because I only can think of four, and partially because that means that my ratio of positives to negatives is 12:4. There are three times as many great things about Belize as there are not so great. Awesome. Although, if I did have to add a fifth downside, I would say that I sure do miss my beautiful family. Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this (which you’d better be), come and visit me if I haven’t scared you away with my complaints about the heat!
Oh, and a few positive aspects of today….
– I met Emmett, Jill’s husband, who is known to be one of the best drummers in all of Belize, and I am going to take an African drumming lesson from him this afternoon at 4 PM. Psyched.
– I think that Belize could possibly turn me into a morning person. I went to bed at 9:30 PM last night, and got up at 7:30 AM this morning. I went for a morning walk while it was still reasonable outside, and felt like I’d been ultra-productive even before the start of the workday. I hope that this can become a daily habit that I will continue upon return to NJ!
– I bought a book lamp! Excited for evening reading that can immediately be followed with sleep. Because, seriously, who wants to get out of bed and turn the light off when you’re super tired and curled up in bed?