November 22, 2002…an email to friends and family
Where’s Alanna Now? If you look closely, you’ll see me still tucked away in the foothills of the Maya Mountains alongside the Macal River in Belize, Central America. I’m probably swinging in the hammock reading or drawing. Or maybe you’ll see me down at the school. I’ve had to substitute teach a couple of times and soon i will be there everyday with the preschoolers.
Something like 16 months in the Peace Corps and I feel up to doing another 16 months easily. I’m sure that I will sign up for a third year, although i’m not sure if I will stay in Belize or transfer to another country. I’ll find out more information soon.
It must be getting cold up there, because the cold front down here has left me bundled up at night as temperatures dip down to 60, or 58. And my little unheated, uninsulated wooden house doesn’t keep me very warm. A couple of blankets, socks and two cats usually do the trick. If I’m lucky there’ll be three cats. One of my cats has not made an appearance at home in five days, so i’m a little worried.
I accompanied the primary school on a field trip to Caracol, a Maya ruin here in Belize. I hopefully got some great photos of the little ones climbing the ancient temples. We saw some howler monkeys in the trees, but I was much to far to get any good pics. The bus journey was hell, and so far from American ways of doing things. At 7am, over 70 people (students included) showed up to join the trip. The bus arrived. Its 66 person capacity was exceeded before all the students were even on the bus. Oh but those Belizeans! We loaded everyone on, minus ten or so, who followed
behind us in a pickup, with people loaded up in the back. I was stuck in a little seat with two ten year olds and a 6 year old on my lap. the little one had lice in his hair that i spotted right away, and then became paranoid about my own hair becoming infested. nevertheless we managed the 60 mile journey over bumpy unpaved roads through deep bush into the Mountains. The Caracol site is not as excavated as some, such as Tikal in Guatemala, but it does give you a wonderful sense of the power the ancient Maya people had.
I made it home in one piece, though my leg muscles hurt from climbing steep temple steps and my head hurt from yelling and screaming students.