Thursday, June 19, 2008

Medical Mission Belize Day 2


 I awoke with great joy on our second day in Belize to find that I had not swelled to the size of  Anna Nicole Smith from a bug bite.  The sound of cat calls from the aviary which was just outside our room were what caused me to stir.  I hadn't noticed the cages in the dark the night before and when I heard the whistles coming from outside, I thought it was more than the monkey peeking into our room.

I got dressed, bathed in bug spray and stepped outside to admire the beautiful morning.  I was one of the first people awake and it was very nice to feel like I had the whole place to myself.  Inside the aviary  were a pair of my favorite birds.  The eclectus parrot.  If I ever decide to get a parrot, I would like to have an ecelctus.  Their voice sounds like a little girl and instead of large feathers they're covered in what looks like downy fur.  I couldn't get them to talk to me this morning, but the African Grey wouldn't shut up.  Hello, hey baby, good morning, cat call, cat call.  If Jeremy talked to me like that every morning I might just spontaneously burst into a flame of red hot passion.

I wandered around while waiting for seven to arrive when we were to meet for breakfast.  The place was much less scary in the day time.  It was breathtaking in the early morning light and the cacophony of exotic birds was like strange music to my ears.

We met for breakfast in a large dining area under a canopy of  bougainvillea and were served eggs, coffee and strange little toasts with some dark plum preserves.  The coffee at first seemed to assault me with it's bitterness and strength, but as the trip progressed I came to love it and I am now trying to duplicate it.  I know instead of cream, they used sweetened condensed milk, saves me a bundle.....so long international delight, I have found another flavored milk and she isn't a diva like you.  She costs me less and doesn't require refrigeration.  So what if you  do have more curves; it just so happens that I find that short squatty can very appealing.

If you are still reading this, what is wrong with you?  And if you haven't NOW left, I shall tell you what happened the rest of that second day.  There were two separate groups on this mission.  A medical team, which yours truly was pleased to be on, and a team that was to build a church in one of the remote villages.  Our bus driver and an accomplice left after breakfast with the builder team with the intentions of delivering them to the village where they would be working.  This meant they would have to ferry across the swollen river in small groups.  Lee, our bus driver, said it was about a 2 hour trip and they should be back after lunch at which point we would leave and begin our mission.


We set about unpacking the suitcases of supplies and organizing and labeling everything.  Many people were bent over tables sorting and counting piles of pills.  It looked like we were running some kind of evangelical drug trafficking ring.   It took us about four hours to sort and organize all the supplies, and after were finished we had some free time.

Many of us took a horseback ride through the rain forest.  And even though they gave me a children's saddle (they must not have looked at the size of my rump), I had a wonderful time.  Our guides who all looked to be about 12, led the horses to the river for a drink and mine had ideas of swimming.  The water did feel good, but all I could think about were the fish that Jeremy said could swim up your urethra and had to be surgically removed.  NO THANK YOU.


On our walk back one of the guides told us how the idiots (he didn't use that word) from Jack Ass had been there and some of the stunts they did.  For the record I would like to say again that they are idiots, and here is a video of the jaguar Tika  that used to live at Banana Bank. 
She died in 2006 and they now have a rescued orphan jaguar named  Tikatoo.

We had a wonderful lunch of empanadas and rice and beans and expected to be back on the road shortly thereafter.  But as I was quickly beginning to realize, nothing in Belize takes as long as it is supposed to...it takes MUCH longer.  We received word from Lee that the bus ride down to the river had taken four hours and that they would be a couple hours late.  So, I curled up under a mosquito net for a siesta and when I awoke they were back with the bus.

We loaded our luggage and the supplies and set out for Dandriga.  This ride would be through the mountains and we wanted to make quick time to avoid driving for long in the dark.  As we made our way, I nearly fainted when I saw the size of the bridges that we had crossed the night before on our arrival.  It's a good thing it was dark when we came in because I might have jumped off the bus and offered to walk.  These "bridges" were made of several beams of wood parallel to the river and two for each tire laying perpendicular across the other boards.  There was virtually no margin for error when crossing them.

The ride through the mountains was beautiful.  There were orange groves for miles and a low fog had settled into them.


We made it to Dandriga with all fingers and toes intact in about three hours.  We had a late dinner of cheeseburgers and fries on the patio that overlooked the ocean and were amused to see that a fiddler crab had come to investigate the floor for bits of food.

I fell into a deep coma as soon as my head hit the pillow in our freezing cold air conditioned room.  This trip was turning out to be a lot easier than I had expected.

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