Thursday, September 2, 2010

One Year Living in Belize!

Beautiful Hummingbird Community, Mile 25
Mile 25
Tobacco Caye
Jr. the Jag enjoying a chicken foot!

Mom and Dad came to Belize for almost the entire month of July! We had an amazing time exploring Belize together. Here are some pictures for their trip!

ATM caves... You have to swim into the Cave System
Dad and I after the hike in..
Fran makes some damn good Lobster on Caye Caulker
Benji choppin' Coconuts for us to drink!

Josephina and her family!
Dad getting trimmed up at the local barber shop in San Antonio, Cayo.
What does a haircut run you in this Mayan village? $1.50.
This was a highlight of Dad's trip!
My Family in San Antonio, Cayo!!!
Mom and her new pet!

A few weeks ago I hit a real milestone in my service- the one year mark. We were warned that the days would drag on and on but the months would fly by. I could hardly imagine this to be true during the year spent preparing for my 27 month service...saying those words.. "27 months" always brought cringes hidden beneath smiles from friends. Nor could I imagine that time would actually move quickly during Pre-Service Training, my first 2 months in country, where we spent days in a makeshift classroom, learning languages, strategizing how to best help and serve, and adjusting to the suffocating heat and humidity that peaks during the exact months of our arrival.

Yet here I sit, having lived in Belize for an entire year. An entire year spent living in this foreign country, sharing meals and laughs with village friends, learning to make tortillas, swimming in the river, helping the pikni (kids) further their educations, working with the women's group in achieving their goals, starting a community library, summer school program, and sporting program. This last year has brought some of my highest highs and lowest lows. It has been challenging in ways I will never be able to articulate. This makes me feel so alone in this adventure. Sure there are other Peace Corps Volunteers working alongside me in Belize and around the world. But everyone's experience truly is unique here. For example. PCV Adam, lives in Belize City- 3 hours by bus from me. He lives in an apartment, has cable TV, wireless Internet, A/C, Hot water, washer and dryer, and a water cooler in his Apartment. He works with the Audoban Society of Belize. He dresses in business casual daily, has a gym membership where he works out along side high ranking Government officials in Belize, and he has a queen sized bed with 700 thread count sheets. I kid you not. Granted the sheets were sent from his mom, but still..... He esentially works a 9-5 office job- and he loves it... That is his Peace Corps experience and he really brings invaluable skills to his work place in order to better the capacity of his counterparts in better working to protect Belize's natural resources. It is a perfect fit, and he could not be happier.. That being said.. I did not sign up for the Peace Corps work 9-5 and live in a big city with all those ammenaties...

I have closer to the ideal Peace Corps experience in Hummingbird Community. I share meals with neighbors. I attend church events in all 3 different churches in my community. I bathe in the river with the kids. I help them with their homework when they hail me at my house after dark. I go along with neighbors to visit their relatives that live all over belize. I attend wakes, funnerals and weddings. I attend birthday parties all over the village. I never say no when I am invited somewhere from a villager. I live with a family in the village, in their home. I go to bed when the sun sets and rise with the roosters at 5 am. I fight ants, cockroaches and rats in my house. I talk about the weather in Spanish and Kriol. I greet and hail everyone. Through these few examples, you can clearly see how Adam and I live very different lives, full of very different challenges while serving a few hours away from one another.

One of my biggest challenges here has been my own loss of autonomy. Living in a small village, I really am on display 24/7, 7 days a week. If I don't open my front door in the morning, people will say, "Miss Emily, you just get up? You like sleep too much." Just because I don't open my front door to announce to the entire village that I am awake at sunrise, does not meant that I am still sleeping! It is mostly because I am walking around in my underwear and I don't want the Chickens to come in my house, which they tend to do when my door is open! If I am waiting on the roadside for the bus. People will always ask where I am going and what I am doing and when will I be back. Everyone knows everybody's business! And if they don't, they make it up! It is very frustrating.

I am so lucky to have one family in particular that makes this whole experience that much richer. The Guerra family are my neighbors. Pete and Glendi Guerra own one of the three shops in our village. They have two kids, Evelyn, 13, and Benji, 11. Pete and Glendi have adopted me into their family and I participate in most of their family events. I eat dinner with them most evenings and spend most of my free time with them. They are so kind and generous, and above all, have made we feel welcomed and comfortable in my community. We joke about what it would be like if they ever got the chance to ride in and airplane, and come to the states to see me. They challenge a lot of my thoughts and ideals about family, religion, life and development. I engage in those conversations right back to learn more about how they work as a family, what they think about development, religion, education and so on. I have learned so much from them. It truly is a unique experience I am having, being adopted into this family and having the chance to learn about the intimate inner workings of Belize through the eyes of Pete and Glendi and the entire extended Guerra Family.

I digress... I think I started this blog post about reflecting on this past year and how time flies...... back to that... Time is wiiiiiizing by!!!!!!!!!!! Which is good and bad... I only have another year to live in this Central American Paradise?! I have so much work to do so much to see yet, so many more experiences to have, so many more!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Things here are Great!!!! I feel like I am right where I should be here! Village life is going great. I spent lots of days at the Riva over these past few months, cooling off. Now the rain has come as we enter Hurricane Season. Everyone keeps talking about how it is supposed to be one of the most active hurricane seasons this year.. I'm kind of scared. I have experienced the heavy rain over these past few weeks.. I went out and bought my black rubber boots to slosh around the muddy village in...

This past week we swore in 36 new Peace Corps Volunteers to Belize! It was a great event to come together and celebrate. We enjoyed another night at the Ambassador's house with delicious food and free Wine!!!!!! I was selected to represent our volunteer group by giving a welcome speech to the new Country Director that just arrived. It went really well and was very funny :) I then spent the weekend up north in Kevin's Village. We went to Chetumal with 6 other volunteers on Sunday and watched the new Robin Hood Movie at the movie theater!!!! We ate Ceviche, drank Micheladas, and enjoyed the luxury that is Mexico!!!! It was really refreshing!

Coming up:

We are supposed to have a Hurricane Consolidation drill this month. This is where they call all of the 110 volunteers into Belmopan to our Hurricane Shelter there, the Garden City Hotel, and see how long it takes for us all to get there... this can be challenging because we all don't have phone service, or we have to cross rivers that often flood and leave us stranded....

We have a 2 day Spanish refresher course this month!

At the end of the month is the opening of Lobster Season in Belize. This is of course celebrated with Lobsterfest in Placencia!!!!! You will find tons of PCVs there!!!

Then July 8- Aug 3 my Mom and Dad are coming to visit!!!!!!!!! That is a lot of time in Belize!!!! But we are going to travel all over. Visit my old host family in San Antonio, spend some nights of Luxury at Chaa Creek in Cayo, head out to Caye Caulker and Tobacco Caye and explore the deep south by spending some time in the Mayan Villages down there. I know they are going to have a great time just getting to understand my life in Belize and in my village! I cant wait!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

9 months inna da Peace Corps... Is it really May already?!

Hello there diligent readers that have been greatly disappointed by my lack of blogging as of late! Sorry- Here is your newsflash!

I absolutely cannot believe that it is the month of May right now!!! These past few months have flown by! Soon, I will have been in Belize for a solid year! I am going to organize a gathering of PCVS in Belize to celebrate and reflect on our year in Belize. After weathering the obligatory 6 month depression and panic, I am doing much better. Things have picked up in the village life around here.. We had a "hype" month last month with village council elections. There are two political parties that dominate Belize, the UDP and PUP, red and blue. The current chair lady of our village was running for reelection. She is also my counterpart, or the person that requested to have a Peace Corps Volunteer, with my skill set ( which is?? ) , move to Hummingbird Community. So obviously, I work closely with her and wanted her to win again, which she did. But it was so interesting to see how people got involved with politics and let it cause them so much grief among neighbors and friends. I wont go into too much detail, as we are supposed to remain neutral and not get involved in politics. But it was so neat to watch as a spectator sport.

Then, I have been doing a lot of "bathing inna da riva," mostly because it has been so super hot as of late.... sometimes my room gets down to a humid 91 degrees at night.... it is so uncomfortable, but I deal... I now feel cold when it dips to a chilly 79 degrees. So every weekend, my neighbors will hail me and ask if I want to go bathe to the riva. Of course I agree, because part of integration is saying yes to most every offer from neighbors and friends. So we pile in the back of his pickup truck and roll to the riva! There is nothing I love more than riding in the back of a pickup truck along the Hummingbird Highway. It really is one of the most scenic views ever... So beautiful, lush and green with the Maya mountains hoovering on either side and dense Jungle billowing over either side of the road. This past weekend, we went to the riva 3 times.. and discovered 3 new swimming holes! Mind you, when we go to bathe in the river, we just roll out in our everyday clothes. For example, on Friday, I went to bathe in the river in long jeans and a tee shirt... again, integration.

Then, in March, 38 new Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Belize. It has been great fun getting to know them. They are super bunch of people and I am so happy they have joined in on this great adventure here. It has been nice talking to them as they are still so wide eyed and believing in the whole Kumbaya Theory.

This past week, I had some visitors! Beth and Tristan from Seattle/Bay Area stopped by. I went to school with Beth in Seattle and her and her BF have been travelling through Central America for a few months now. I gave them instructions on how to reach Mile 25 and sure enough, they made it on the bus way to my house! It was so nice to catch up and learn about their travels. The 2 nights they spent in my village also reminded me of how much I have changed and grown since moving to Hummingbird Community. Things that would shock you about where I live, how I live and with whom I live, have become a part of who I am now. I suppose you could say I am completely Jaded. I'm sure I will become more aware of this as more visitors are on the horizon.... Especially with my Mom and Dad!!! Mom and Dad are coming to visit for 3 weeks in July!! - That is a long time, but I am very excited to show them around this amazing country!!! Of course, we will spend time in my village, then I want to take them up north, to some Mayan ruins, out to the Cayes, and down to Toledo to see the deep Mayan villages. It will be a fun month! Then Monika and Libby are coming to visit for 10 days in September!!!!!! Exciting!

I am also planning spending Christmas in the states. This has been something that I have thought a lot about as of late. Especially since some other volunteers have headed back for visits or various reasons. I really am only a 2 hour flight from the states. The plane ticket and flight time home to Seattle is comparable to how much it costs to fly from the East to West coast of the States. My first thoughts were that I don't need to go back to the states while I am in Peace Corps because there are plenty of places I want to travel and see here in Central America. But the truth is, as much as I hate to admit it, I miss some of the conveniences and comforts of Seattle and the first world... There, I said it... I miss the accessibility of everything and access to everything. It is true.. I do know that once I complete my Peace Corps experience, I get to return to that koosh life, if I choose so, but that most of the people I meet and work with here in Belize, will never get to experience it.. which can be a good thing, or a bad thing when it involves missed opportunity and access. I dunno... anyways... I admit it, I miss it. I want some good coffee, I want my hair cut, I want to eat meat again, I want to drink clean water that doesn't make me sick, I want to go to a Movie, I want to feel cold again, I want to see the seasons again, I miss my friends, I miss my family- and all that said and done, I know that after about a week of the land of plenty, I will have had my fill, be sick of it, be reminded of the richness and simplicity of my village life in Belize and long to come back here... I know this, but that doesn't mean I still don't want to go! haha.

Oh- and I am already thinking of staying a third year here... I have to see how that will all work out with returning to finish my MPA, but there are many options for a third year either here in Belize, or in another country in Peace Corps.

More to come

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tobacco Caye

A few weeks ago, I had my first visitor to Belize! I met Jeannie on Semester at Sea in the summer of 2006. Jeannie, and her husband Minor, were on the ship as adult life long learners when I did the program as an Undergrad. I have since stayed in contact with them as I lived in Seattle and they lived in Medford, Oregon. They visited me in Seattle and on a West Coast road trip last summer; I stayed with them in Medford for a few days. It has been nice to keep in touch with such interesting and kind people. Jeannie is a huge traveler and has been to over 100 countries!!! Her husband Minor signed up for a medical mission in Guatemala. So Jeannie came to visit me first, and then together we went to Guatemala to meet up with Minor and travel around. Jeannie had been to both Belize and Guatemala before, but was very excited to come see Belize through the eyes of a Peace Corps Volunteer! After spending a few days in my village, getting to know my friends in the village and sharing many meals at different houses, we headed out on our grand adventure.

First stop- Tobacco Caye!!!

Tobacco Caye was pure paradise!!!! It is only an hour boat ride off the coast of Dangriga. That makes it a mere 2 hours from my village! Very close! The boat costs 35 Belize each way- so it is a bit pricy on my PC budget, but well worth it. We had reservations at Paradise Cabanas on the island- arguably the best place to stay on the small caye. The whole Caye is about the size of a football field. There are a handful of options for places to stay. Most places include all of your meals because there are no real restaurants on the place. Just 2 bars and a snack shack. Paradise Cabins were 40 USD a person for one night. That price includes all three meals a day… and your cabana hangs directly over the crystal clear blue water…… It is perfect! The caye feels very small and personal. It is a great island escape. The highlight of my trip was spending the afternoon diving for Conk shells with a local that is originally from my village in Belize!! It was yet another testament to how small this country really is. Anyways.. It was awesome.. We carried a small wooden canoe out there with us and swam for hours diving for fresh Conk shells. I was interested in finding the prettiest shell while he was interested in finding the biggest conks to sell and to eat! It was great fun.. The water was so clear and shallow all the way around the caye. It was perfect snorkeling.


Sitting on the ground crossed-legged reading with a pile of cute kids= changing the world?!

When you join the Peace Corps, nothing about the recruitment process warns you about the deep frustrations and depression you will feel once here. They seriously trick you into thinking that the Peace Corps is all about sitting around the campfire, and reading books with children and laughing and teaching them to wash your hands- thus, consequently, changing the world forever…..WRONG… It is not all rainbows and butterflies…. When we first arrived in country, we talked a lot about the many challenges of being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Belize. Our nurse even put up a graph that was similar to a SINE function in math that showed us how happy and excited we would be when we first arrived. She called this the honeymoon stage of the Peace Corps. Everything is new, the people are kind, there is hope that we can make a difference and change this country. Then, at the 6 month mark, you sink deep into a hole, filled with frustration, loneliness, misunderstanding, hurt, and depression. Soon after you are back on top of the roller coaster, flying high and feeling positive. Well today- I am on my way back up from the obligatory 6 month low. I struggle with being able to relate to anyone back home, outside of this acute bubble I live in here, the daily challenges and struggles I have here in Belize. How it is so difficult to relate to and work with my local community members. How their lack of willingness to help with any project or get excited about anything to improve their very own community is so annoying. How they view white people as dollar signs and expect us to bring some tangible item, like a playground, a building, and school, and then leave. That is their view of development, and rightly they should have it. Every day I battle those stereotypes and reassert my role in this community and country. I find solace in working with the children of the village because they have yet to be molded into such thoughts and perceptions.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

News Flash!!!

I'm doing GREAT in Belize!!!!! The weather has been slightly cool as of late... in the 70's that is! Kids come to school in down jackets, hats, ear muffs and wool sweaters... It is a hoot! They think it is the next Ice Age. I am of course loving this weather! Yeah, I wear a sweatshirt at night, but that is it.... still flipflops... best part- there are NO BUGS!!!! Well, that comes and goes when the weather heats up every few days. There is a lot of talk around the village about the Dry season to come next month. They say it is super hot hot hot hot! I am not looking forward to this!

Tomorrow I am going to pick up Jeannie at the airport. Jeannie was my shipboard family on Semester at Sea Summer 2006. She is a big traveler and has been to Belize a handful of times before. Minor, her husband, is a doctor and doing a medical mission in Guatemala. So she decided to fly here to visit me and then take me with her to Guatemala for a week! wahooo.. I am super excited. She is also bringing me some goodies from the land of plenty!!!! think: a crockpot! trashy magazines, yummy chocolate, books for the kids and art supplies for the kids!

Soon to come: my trip to Guatemala!!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Welcome to my home on Mile 25!

MIle 25 sleepover.... no biggie..
Lilly and Erica waiting for the bus to PG
Kevin, Lilly, Erica and Emily waiting for the bus to PG
My dining room.
Hammock in storage
Kitchen w/ my Hammock!
My room
Laundry drying in the sun!
My sink and washing station!
Shower-- errr pipe--- built for 10!


Backyard, just burnin' my trash, no biggie.

Backyard View

It occurred to me that I have not shared with all of my fine readers any photos of my home on Mile 25. In a previous post, there is a picture of the front of the house, but here are some photos of the innards. I finally have my hammock hanging in the middle of my house and have gotten the washing outside thing down to a science! Life is good on mile 25! 5 other PCVs came to stay the night with me on Thursday night.. We had a great time making pizza and Dancin’ to those Belizean Jams in my lee house! This coming week I head to Belmopan for 3 days of intensive classe de Espanol! These coming months are filling up with trainings and travels! Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas on Mile 25

Christmas Day on Mile 25!
Sunny Christmas!
Heather enjoying her Christmas Dinner
Enjoying the wine Heather picked up for us in the city!
My house before heading out for New Years

All of my village friends were really impressed that I was going to “pass Christmas right here” along side of them. Leading up to Christmas, everyone would ask me: “Miss Emily, and where will you pass Christmas?” They seemed elated and confused that I was actually staying in Mile 25. I think it was an important time to stay in the village and build some trust and credibility. Everyone said they cook something special and shoot off “fire works” for Christmas. People made Tamales, BBQ, Cheese Dip, Ceviche, etc. Many people will buy a crate of soft drink for the family to celebrate too. Then, they bring these “popshots” over from Mexico, which are just little fireworks that make a loud noise when you light them. They are super annoying and loud, but that is the thing to do around here. People have be bursting popshots since September around here!

My friend Heather, a PCV in Belmopan, came out to my village on the 24th to spend Christmas with me. Living in a bigger town, it was not as important for her to have a presence in her town for the holidays. In fact, no one would even know that she was not there. It is a different dynamic from living in a small village, filled with different challenges and perks. We spent the night cooking with a friend of mine in the village, Beto. We made Pizza, Chicken wings, and Nachos; All of the American favorite dishes. Everything turned out great and we had a fun time cooking together. Then on Christmas, we watched a Christmas movie on my laptop and stayed in bed until noon. Then we went across the street to Pedro’s house and indulged in some BBQ Chicken and Gibnut with his family and friends. Heather and I spent the day visiting in the village. Later in the evening, my counterpart sent over more BBQ and 2 soft drinks for heather and I. Heather had also brought a bottle of white wine from Belmopan. Wine is a real treat as it is very expensive. So we ate our second BBQ of the day from a Styrofoam box, on my plastic table, in my cement house, beneath a beautiful bouquet of wild flowers we had picked the day before, and complete with a bottle of white wine. It was a good Christmas overall, despite it not even feeling like any Christmas I had known before.

New Year’s trip to Yo Creek, Mexico and Caye Caulker

Edrei at my first Home stay family in San Antonio, Cayo. I went back for a visit.
My favorite Mayan dish.. PirishPak!!! Glorified tomato soup with boiled eggs and flour tortillas
Visit to the family farm. I was sent home with 2 bags of fresh veggies!
My host mom walking barefoot in the clay earth!
Our feet after our walk to the farm
Mile 25 Christmas celebration. Cute Mayan babe!
Some of my fave boys in the village grubbin' on rice and beans and stew chicken
Evil Santa bwai!
Women's group Christmas dinner!
Christmas for the kids on Mile 25
Kevina and Heather after a day of snorkeling on Caye Caulker
I got my hair braided... whoops...
Sailing back.
Before the trip
Sea sickness is setting in

On the 26th, Heather and I woke up early and packed our bags to catch a bus in to Belmopan. I dropped Heather off there, as she would be joining all of us in a few days and caught a next bus on to Belize City. There, I met up with another volunteer, Adam, that lives in Belize City. We walked around for a bit, but most of everything was closed on the 26th. We then walked back to his apartment to check out his new digs. Volunteers in Belize City live the most Koosh life!!! They receive almost twice as much money for their living allowance as those of us in the village receive. Yes, it is a bit more expensive to live in the city, but not twice as much. Adam has a hot shower, which is unheard up anywhere else, a washer and dryer in his apartment, which is the first dryer I have seen in this country, cable TV and it came fully furnished. Tough life. He brewed up some eggs and beans for Breakfast and then I went on my way to catch a next bus up north to Orange Walk. I was heading up north to visit Kevin in his village. He met me in Orange Walk because there were no village buses on the 26th and we had to hitch 6 miles to his village, Yo Creek. This is something everyone up north does because of the lack of village buses. There is one intersection in Orange Walk where everyone stands to hitch a ride. It took mere minutes before we were bumping along the pothole filled road in the bed of a pickup truck. There is no experience that mirrors the experience of riding in the bed of a pickup truck, feeling that fresh Belizean breeze, and surrounded by lush and scenic Jungle. It may not be the most comfortable ride, but it is unique each and every time. In the 4 times we hitched to and from Yo Creek, we met some very interesting people that either lived in Kevin’s village or the next one over.

Kevin lives in one of the nicest houses in Yo Creek. Complete with marble counter tops, a Crystal Chandelier, and tiled floors. An American that has since moved back to the states built the house. He just wanted someone to mind the house for a while and Kevin was having a hard time finding a decent house in his village when this fell into his lap. On top of that, the location is perfect for him. He lives directly next to the school where he works and across from his counterpart and best friend in the village. The history of Peace Corps Volunteers in Yo Creek is really interesting. There have been volunteers living there for many years. And a lot of them that lived there in the 70s and 80s have come back and build houses to live part of the year in Yo Creek. A few of them even married local Yo Creekian Girls. Kevin has a lot to live up to in the village, but I have full confidence that he can and will marry a Yo Creekian.

The thing to do up north, is cross over the Mexican border to the town of Chetumal. It is an easy day trip and many people do it because things are a lot cheaper over there and there is more variety. Also, it is like a whole different world from Belize over there. Chetumal sparkles in comparison to most parts of Belize. The lawns are manicured, there is an actual highway with onramps and road signs, the streets are clean and have sidewalks, there are choices and options of things to buy, there is mall with a movie theater, and there is fast food. I felt as though we had landed in Texas or something. It was amazing and so different from the daily scenery I have had in Belize over the past 5 months. We toured the mall, had McDonalds, ate Gelato… yeah I said it… GELATO, bought a giant bottle of Tequila for 9 USD and toured the local market. Chetumal was a successful day and a great escape from Belize. After returning to Orange Walk, we met up with two more volunteers that live in Orange Walk Town and headed to the famous Ceviche restaurant for dinner. Ceviche is a popular local dish that mirrors a fresh, home made salsa, but with the added delight of shrimp or conch. The raw shrimp or conch is saturated and ‘cooked’ with limejuice before added to the diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, etc. It is then eaten with tortilla chips. We hitched back to Yo Creek for the night. The next afternoon, we impulsively decided to head to Belize City. We were planning on going the following day to head out to Caye Caulker with everyone, but we thought we would head in a day early and meet up with some other volunteers living in Belize City. Belize City isn’t exactly a place I would take visitors. It is big, dirty, and unsafe. Because many cruise ships stop in Belize City, they have built a tourist village that only tourists are allowed to go into. It is nothing special and for all they know, the tourist village could be located in Florida because they don’t go anywhere else in Belize. It is sad that this is the impression so many people get of Belize, because beyond the city, there is so much more culture and scenery than that.

After a night in Belize City, 5 of us headed out to Caye Caulker. We found a place to stay right on the water and set out to explore and reacquaint ourselves with the glory that is Caye Caulker. Nobody walks around the island with shoes on, and neither did we for the four days we were there. The following day, 18 more volunteers arrived to the Caye. It was so great to see everyone again and be in such a beautiful place together. We all signed up for the sailboat/snorkel tour that 3 of us did the first time we came to Caulker. We had the entire sailboat filled with only PCVs and our two Rasta Captains. It was like a private tour of the reef. We saw stingrays, sharks, turtles and tons of fish. It was great fun and the perfect day to end an exciting 2009.

Reflection on 2009

This last year I………

- Completed one year of my Masters in Public Administration

- Made some great friends in the MPA program

- Partied and enjoyed live music at Sasquatch 2009

- Lived in the same city once again as my best friend, Monika!

- Moved out of our beloved 6621 house in Seattle and left the city I have called home for the past 5 years

- Gave and sold a lot of my junk in Seattle and drove a Uhaul to Montana filled with my possessions

- Sent off my dear friend Katie to Peace Corps Niger

- Said goodbye to my Seattle Lovers

- Went on a road trip down the 101 to California

- Joined the Peace Corps, Duh.

- Learned Spanish and Kriol

- Moved to a new country that I now call home

- Made 40 new best friends in my fellow Peace Corps Belize Volunteers!

- Made some new Belizean friends that I know I will remember for life

- Changed my path in life forever