Wednesday, April 28, 2010


A couple weeks before Easter we received an amazing care package from the "Easter Bunny" back home! Three words...girl...scout...cookies! It was a great start to our Easter holiday! Clifton and I went on an amazing sailing adventure. It was three days of island hopping, fishing, snorkeling and fun in the sun. We went on the Ragamuffin tour leaving from Caye Culker on Good Friday.

Day 1: We sailed all morning and was quickly greeted by a dolphin named “Walter.” We made several stops that day one of them being at English Caye. We ended the day at Rendezvous Caye. This was the smallest island we had ever been on. It was about the size of an acre. We struggled to put up our “maga” tent. We had the “ragamuffin” tent for sure. It was a good thing nothing lived on the island or else we might have been a bit more worried! That night we enjoyed shrimp cerviche, fresh barracuda (caught by Clifton), with rice and potato salad.

Day 2: We got up and watch the sun rise. Then took down our shanty tent and headed to the dock for breakfast. We were met by scrambled eggs, toast and actual sausage! We boarded the boat and headed to our next destination. We stopped at another caye for snorkeling and spear fishing! We ended the day at Tobacco Caye. We set up tent again this time with much more ease! We didn’t get stuck with the “maga” tent this time. We headed to one of the two bars on the island where I had a delicious virgin pina colada and Clifton enjoyed a beer. We watched the sun set over the water then headed to bed.

Day 3: This was the last day of our trip. We boarded the “Queen” and headed to our final destination…Placencia. Once again we made several stops along the way. We enjoyed talking to everyone on the boat. It was neat to visit with so many people from so many different countries! Our day ended just right…gelato from Tutti Fruit’s in Placencia. One word…delicious! It was a wonderful ending to a fabulous Easter trip!

March Madness!

March is here in all it's glory and it is starting to get hot again. We went up to Belize City to greet the new trainees on March 25th. It is hard to believe that we have already been here 8 months. Wow, time is really starting to fly by. They walked out of the airport with such enthusiasm and excitement, it was very refreshing...but we have to say, we are very glad trainging is over for us!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

iBelize Navidad!

Santa arrived early with two packages from parents. My mom and dad came down to celebrate the holidays with Clifton and I. They flew into Belize City and then took the bus all the way to Dangriga...we were glad they made it safely. Our first adventure was out to Tobacco Caye. It had been nice and hot until that evening when all of a sudden it got very cool. I think my parent brought the cold weather with them.
We went out to the Blue Hole, enjoyed Pen Cayetano's art gallery and of course the beautiful Dangriga!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Garifuna Settlement Day

November 19th we celebrated our first Garifuna Settlement Day in Dangriga. Settlement day is celebrated every year to commemorate the arrival and survival of the Garifuna people to Belize in the 1820's. The Garifuna have a rich and vibrant culture, and have maintained their unique language. The vast majority of Dangriga's population is Garifuna and is considered to be their cultural capital.

The highlight of the Settlement Day celebration is the "Reenactment" of when the first Garifuna settlers landed in Belize. At sunrise (after a night of partying hard) hundreds of people start to line the banks of the Riverside, looking out into the Caribbean for the first sign of the Reenactment sailboats. When the boats make landfall, they sing traditional Garifuna songs celebrating the end of their long journey to their new home in Belize.

Drumming is a huge part of the Garifuna culture and you can hear the drummers practicing weeks in advance of Settlement Day. Then in the days leading up to Settlement Day, groups of drummers and dancers go house to house to perform (much like our tradition of Christmas caroling).

We were lucky enough to see two dance performances at our host families house thanks to our friend Clairine, our host family, and their dance group.

The Garifuna also have a rich culinary tradition with foods based on plantain, bananas, coconuts, cassava roots, and especially fish (the Garifuna are considered excellent fishermen).

I got a chance to help our host mom make a traditional Garifuna dish called "Hudut" - which is made from green bananas that are mashed with a large sort of mortar and pestle, and then formed into balls and eaten in a coconut milk and fish soup. It was the hardest dish I have ever made! My arms were so tired afterward. You have to continuously mash the green banana until they are the right consistency, using a sort of mashing and twisting motion.

Things are going great down here in Belize, and we hope to talk to you all very soon!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Swearing In!

Hello every body! Well, we did it, we finally are official Peace Corps Volunteers! Our Swearing In Ceremony was held on October 22 at the Belize Governor General's House in Belmopan. A great time was had by all.

Since we will be living in the Garifuna cultural capital of Belize, Alyson and I decided to represent by wearing traditional Garifuna outfits. My shirt is called a "Dashiki" and Alyson's skirt is called a Gu'du and the style of her blouse is called a mannin.

There are a total of 40 Volunteers in our training class that will be posted all though out Belize - doing everything from training teachers, to helping start small businesses. It really is great to be part of such an amazing group of people.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tobacco Caye

So, a few weeks ago the Tobacco Caye Marine Reserve invited the Stann Creek Education Office out to the Caye for a tour of their facility. First, they took us to one of the larger mangrove islands off the coast to show us where they would like to establish a place to bring school kids to teach about mangrove ecosystems.

Next they took us to the Tobacco Caye - which, I must say was amazing. In all the Caye is only about the total square footage of about a football field, with portions of the Belize Barrier reef on both sides. The island marks one of the few good channels for ships to cross the Barrier Reef, and in the picture above, you can see where a large portion of the reef actually sticks out of the water. We are told it is a superb place to go snorkeling. We are dying to go back and spend more time, so some of you need to come visit to give us a good excuse to go back!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Weekend Visit to Corazol

Hey everyone! We just wanted to share some pictures from our trip to Corazol a couple of weeks ago.

Corazol is a beautiful little town in the northern most part of Belize and is only minutes from the Mexico Border.