Tuesday, February 10, 2009

January 31

After an early start from home, I made it to Belize on time and with all my luggage. Keith and Julia were here to meet me.

We're staying in the church. The girls anyway. Keith will be staying down in the school, in the eating area.

Discovered that if you keep the ceiling fans on while trying to heat water for pasta on a gas stove, it will take about half an hour. Funny how fast it went once we turned the fans off. Note to self: keep the fans off in the kitchen, no matter the heat.

Speaking of heat. It's warm, low 20's tonight. Not as hot as I was expecting. But that's OK. Anything is better than snow, ice and freezing temps.

Did a quick drive by tour of Belize City tonight. Will do a more complete tour tomorrow once Jen (Julia's cousin) and Janice (friend of Jen) arrive. They arrive late tomorrow morning. "Downtown" Belize reminds me very much of Panama. Particularly the difference from the rich to the poor. And how close one is to the other. Sometimes no further than across the street.

Have so far been introduced to Charles, Ishmael and Isiah? I can't remember his name! Kids that live just on the other side of the cement school fence. Julia & Keith played soccer with them before dinner. They played to 5 goals. It was pretty funny. Those kids may be genius with a soccer ball but the hockey sticks are awkward in their hands.

Monday we'll start work at the Divisional Commanders' (DC's) house. Mostly organizing, painting and new flooring in there for the new officers coming in to the quarters this spring.

These kids LOVE Julia. I can see that already. She's a magnet. Right now they're huddling close around her and playing Spider Solitaire. They can't get close enough.

It's been a long day. Think we're all pretty much ready for bed. Our bathroom is out the church door, down the flights of stairs, along the alley and in the school building ... hopefully won't need too many middle of the night visits.

Belize apparently lives off the tourists but none of that wealth is trickling down to this people in this area. The people around us are living in shacks - it's hard to believe. Many don't have a proper roof, windows, not even proper plumbing it seems. Garbage pick up looks to be nothing more than taking it outside to the curb and then letting the street dogs loose on it. How do these people survive?

What do people earn as a "good" living here? What's going on that they are so poor? It just doesn't seem possible that they can go on, day after day, like this. It's hard to understand.

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