Sunday, April 21, 2013

Two Days in Dangriga

The past two days have definitely been more eventful than the ones we have experienced this week. Friday Lauren and I woke up and headed to school. The difference between that school day and the previous days is that we were only at school for one hour in order to inform the principal and teachers about the time change and information we just received about the Dangriga trip. After an hour at school we ran some quick errands, ate lunch with Alice and then left for the educational event that showed us the true cultures and rituals of Belize.

The trip was planned by Galen University. A total of  fifteen students, local and other study abroad students went with us. That morning we all met at Galen and then left to pick others up in Belmopan etc. The long, bumpy bus ride lasted about 2 hours. Lauren and I talked to some students for a while, but at that point we did not know anyone on the trip. We finally reached the hotel that was located on the beach, Pals Guest House. Lauren and my first reaction was that it was going to be an awful place to sleep. Dangriga is a kind of run down town and the buildings looked out of date and worn. To our surprise when we entered our room, it was clean, nice and had a TV and AIR CONDITIONING; it was very small though. Once placing our baggage into the room, everyone headed to the beach to walk on the sand and in the water; I can officially say I was in the Caribbean Sea. There we had a small gathering where we all talked with one another and Lauren and I became pretty good friends with the other four study abroad students: Kristina and Amber from Canada, Trevor from Nebraska and Sean from Michigan. Once the gathering was finished, 45 minutes past time, we all hopped on the bus and headed to the sight where the cultural event would take place and the restaurant we would eat at in order to pre order our food. We then headed back and had about 40 minutes to wait until we headed to dinner. Dinner was about half an hour late (you will notice these events occurring throughout) and the majority of us sat down in order to eat. After waiting for our food and cracking jokes, it was finally time to go to the event.

The cultural event, drum show, took place on the ocean in a thatch hut. The locals sang their songs and danced, while playing drums to create the beat of the music. The Galen students usually did not want to dance, like myself, but we were all pulled in one at a time. The dancing event was great. Galen students broke a wooden table, we were learning about the cultures' music and rhythms and other locals gathered around in order to celebrate and share this special event; definitely a once in a life time opportunity. After having a fun time there, we then all headed back to the hotel in order to get ready for the gathering we would have in town that night.

After our gathering occurred we all headed back to the hotel in order to wade in the ocean before sleep. Not only did we have the study abroad students as friends but also the majority of the local students who went as well.

The next morning came fast. Everyone showered and met at the bus at 9 am, which was really supposed to be 8:30; lets just say the time is lost here in Belize, and no one is ever rushed. Once we were all finally ready, we headed back to the same spot as the previous night and spent 6 hours there learning to make drums. It is a long and tedious process, but very neat. The people cut mahogany trees and then made 4 to 6 drums (of different sizes) out of ONE chunk of tree trunk. They then sand the trunk down after pealing off the bark and then create the different drums from that chunk of trunk. After howling out the different layers they then place holes in the cylinder shaped trunk for the string and nails to go through. The people then skin the deer, goat, sheep or cow hide and stretch it across the top of the cylinder trunk and nail it in. Next comes the vine border that is placed around the edges of the drum that is held in place by string that "decorates" the drum. The whole process of making a drum takes a lot of patience, but in the end is has a great sound and is beautiful.

At 2 o'clock, The students and us from Galen University finished making one. Then we all headed to the bus and made the long journey back home. The way back home was just as bumpy as the on the way there. Lauren developed the habit with each huge bump we hit, she would say "ahhh" automatically; I shortly developed that habit later and everyone was cracking up. When we reached the different villages on our way back to San Ignacio, Mr. Owen (the bus driver) dropped each student off at his/her house; which was nice and really different then in the US, I love how no one is rushed and everyone is patient. Finally we reached our place. I took a 10 minute nap and we headed to town to eat pizza at Greedy's. After eating the closest pizza we have found to the American pizza, besides the fact that it was not greasy, we headed to a cookout with some friends and hung out for the rest of the night. They showed us a tree that only grows in Africa. The soil it is on here in San Ignacio is the only spot that the tree is fully grown in Belize. The tree is believed to help treat cancer, hopefully scientists can find a cure soon.

(The Second Day of Creating this Blog)

This Sunday morning was a perfect end to this week. Lauren and I finally got to sleep in until 11:30, which has not happened since the beginning of our trip here. Once we finally got out of bed, we headed to town and ate Pops. One of Lauren's student's parents owns Pops so she treated us with a free meal. Lauren and I both ordered breakfast burritos, fried jacks and a bowl of fruit. There was! It was very delicious though. To add a bonus to our visit to Pops is that it was air conditioned. Throughout my trip here, I have learned that Americans take a lot for granted; I have grown much stronger as a person and now really appreciate the life I live back in America. During breakfast, Lauren and I had a conversation about food. If we were in America and ate two huge meals a day consisting of the food we usually eat, we probably would have gained about 15 pounds so far. Luckily we have not because everything is so healthy here. Instead of fried with grease and butter, food is steamed and grilled here. There is barely any butter and no grease on the food; they just add spices to taste. It is very flavorful and we do not feel gross after a huge meal. Now we are waiting for some friends to get back and head to dinner.

Lets bring the new week on........

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