Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Week in a Nutshell

I was going to tell you about my busy weekend, but I think I will start a bit earlier.

I started the week earlier than I had hoped. Michael, the wonderful guy who delivers my water, was yelling Ms. Alli through my window and knocking on my door at about 8:30. Most mornings I am beginning to be conscious since my alarm goes off the first time at 7, this was not one of those mornings. I had stayed up late playing on the computer as a treat since I had worked a lot over the weekend and knew a lot was coming.

Tuesday was especially busy. I was at El Pescador, a local fishing resort, with the owner's dad Steve working on revising all of the materials for the Apprenticeship Program. After Steve and I finished I dug up a turtle nest that had 108 eggs. Since the nest was about to hatch around the time of Dean most of the eggs didn't finish developing, but 36 turtles made it out of the nest.

I finally finished my Fish ID powerpoint- 85 slides and over 200 pictures with descriptions. This is HUGE! in both the time it took to create and send out. It is going to help studying for the surveys which are fun but exhausting.

After working on the Education Project all day I had the entire committee actually show up for a meeting at my house. Why is this surprising? I didn't call anyone about the meeting. (The last meeting we were supposed to have got canceled since no one showed up, despite calling them, and I had made a very large pot of chili. I ate chili all week and froze chili and gave chili away.) So, as they come expecting to be fed, that was the previous agreement, I thawed chili.

After the meeting I worked until the earlier hours, went to sleep, woke up- kind of, packed, washed all of the dishes from my 6 guests, rushed out the door- almost without any money, even though I knew the boat had probably left. I reached the dock as the boat was pulling away. One of the guys I know- Ellsworth- asked me what I was doing. "Hoping the boat hadn't left." I no more than got the words out of my mouth before he was yelling to the boat and calling it back to the dock. To my surprise, it came back for me. I found out that it was the second trip back to the dock. A few of the people on board were smiling and shaking their heads as I boarded, and then two others, I didn't feel as bad. My trip to Cayo was nice. I was almost there when I looked up and Ashley, one of the new volunteers, got on board. I met up with my hostess Catherine and roommate for the night Rebecca, also first years. We hiked the "hill of death" by Cahal Pech from the bus stop to Catherine's host family. (I am happy to say it wasn't nearly as brutal as the first month I lived in Belize!) They haven't reduced the better than 45 degree angle of the hill, but they have smoothed it out some. We went to town for a fabulous dinner at Cafe Sol. We returned for Cayo Twist. I know that I must have burnt off every calorie plus more returning to the house. The next day I went to Benque, about 5 miles or less from the Guatemala border. I met with the printer for our Education Project, returned for lunch at Cafe Sol, then went to Belmopan. I was waiting on Maggie, another second year, she was on the bus headed to Hopkins. I looked up and a young man asked me what I have been up to and how am I. It took me only a second to realize he was one of the kids from The Guardians in Armenia. He was my assistant for the day camp we had last year. I had to ask his name, Rony. (in the blue shirt) I was excited to hear that he is still in high school and will be finishing up his tour guide license in about two months. He told me that the volunteer from Armenia was on the bus so I went and talked to "Epic". Maggie arrives and we are Hopkins bound. A few hours later we arrive and Christine meets us at the bus stop. Christine is as happy for me to unload my bags as I am. I remove a comale (said- kuh mall) and a box with three bottles of wine. Christine's house is perfect and Hopkins is peaceful. You open the window, there is a covered porch, a strip of beach and a few palm trees, a shelter to hang a hammock, and the sea. The full moon rising Friday night was gorgeous. Debo and Micah (second years) joined us on Saturday. We had a wonderfully relaxing weekend full of pizza and my now famous grilled cheeses.

I was the only one to stay until Monday, I had a meeting in Belmopan. (I stayed up reading the final Harry Potter, I am sad to know the series is finished.) Christine walked me to the bus stop at 7. At 9:45 I was in the office. I don't know what time I was supposed to arrive, but I can not imagine that it was supposed to be before 10. The driver was a lot quicker than the one Maggie and I had on the way to Hopkins. I met with Anna for career advice and was excited with what she had to say. Anna believes that I am very organized and am an excellent planner, despite what many of you believe. She suggested a few things: corporate trainer- similar to what I was thinking before; program evaluator- paperwork and designing paperwork for other people, ok, not really, but that is what I thought of; corporate giving- I would get to designate which groups receive money, do fundraisers, and stuff like that; and Peace Corps Country Desk person- I would help people getting ready to go in- country, their families, and lots of organizing and planning. My favorite probably would be the corporate giving but I would probably do better starting with something like the Country Desk position to get more experience planning for large groups. I also spoke to her about how these employers might view traveling after PC. She said that they would probably see it as an asset, but definitely not detrimental. YEA!!!! I love options that allow me to travel.

Yesterday I felt bad most of the day, same as the day before. I went to a meeting about de-reserving 2,700 acres of Bacalar Chico- my park- and literally millions of acres in other parts of the country. A lot of people showed up and there was a demonstration today. The government claims that they will not be de-reserving it, but agencies around Belize, residents, local government and associations are strongly recommending that they put it in writing.

I worked until about 4 am this morning to finish revising and typing a booklet for the Apprenticeship Program. It was so nice to have peace and quiet to focus.

Despite needing to focus on my project I baked absurd numbers of mini and normal chocolate cupcakes. I also made dinner, including my own tortillas. I haven't mastered these yet and I had to place a call to my friend Enes for help. They ended up being the best I have made yet so that is a good sign.

Ok, now I am going to buckle down for a few hours before heading to bed. Goodnight.

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