This past week we had our fist All Volunteer Conference. All volunteers, first years and second years, arrived in Belmopan this past Monday. It was great to see everyone again after spending more time in each of our sites. Everyone had stories to share about their housing struggles and daily challenges in their sites. We spent Tuesday in a workshop talking about Behavior Change and how that applies to our work in Belize. We discussed pertinent examples like picking up trash, using condoms, not beating your wife and children, attending meetings, etc. It was a very interesting and productive, yet long, day in class. We celebrated Thanksgiving on Wednesday because we had to head back to sites on Thursday. Each district in Belize was assigned a certain part of Thanksgiving to prepare. Stann Creek district, where I live, was assigned Salads. We all pooled our money and set out to make the ultimate green salad and fruit salad. It is possible to get delicious things like fresh green lettuce and spinach, olives, starfruit, plums, grapes,- but they are all super expensive so we don’t purchase them on the day to day. But on Wednesday, we went all out. We bought everything we had been eyeing in the best grocery store in Belmopan to make our salads. When everyone came together in the afternoon with their various dishes, it looked just like any Thanksgiving I would have attended back home. We had Turkey, ham, green bean casserole, 4 kinds of stuffing, mashed potatoes, salads, veggies, pumpkin pies and much much more! Everyone splurged and spent the 28 BZE for the cheapest wine in Belize to share with the meal. It was great to have all volunteers and staff in one room to share this day with. People stood up and gave thanks before we ate. It was a nice day filled with much love and thanks. There was so much food left over that we packed some up to bring back to the hotel for later and sent the rest to a children’s home in Belmopan. I finally received a package from my Mom that I had been waiting on for over a month this past week. It was complete with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas decorations. Halloween was long gone, but the Thanksgiving decorations were perfect! We used the turkey napkins as centerpieces with the fresh flowers a staff member picked in the morning. And the paper turkey centerpiece sat on the podium. Everyone loved the decorations. Thanks Mom!
Up next- I am FINALLY moving in to my house on December first. After much confusion about where to live, I have settled on the first cement house that I found, despite how crazy the landlady may be. She is finishing bringing a water pipe to the back porch so I can wash and cleaning it up. I am excited to live on my own but extremely sad to leave my current host family. I really feel as though my host mom, Creidy, who is actually 1 week younger that I am is a sister to me. It is crazy the different lifes we live, yet we are the same age. I will miss living there, but am happy to have my own place for a little more of that American freedom I am wired to desire. Creidy can't understand why I want to move out so bad and I feel sad that she thinks it is because I don’t want to live with her and her family any more… But I think she understands now. I plan to still return for some meals each week and will have to see how to work that out.