Hello! I am going to attempt to email you my journals daily. Although, I must say that I have already noticed that the internet connection is not consistent. Be reassured that I am also keeping a paper copy as my main source so that if I should be unable to email it, I have it for you.
I am approaching this as a day to day journal entry, because every piece of this is new and different. This also keeps you aware of the types of things that I am getting into. So, I will start with day 1.
Upon arrival to Belize, I found it quite similar to Jamaica in scenery. The airport was very open, without much decoration, and with a large customs force. The security was much more serious and not very friendly. I found myself feeling very nervous to be in a foreign country by myself and wondered if I had made a poor decision. I calmed and reassured myself, and decided to just relax, observe, participate, and learn. I found it interesting to navigate what to do or where to go next, as I am not a professional traveler. I found my way through the airport and out to the front walk where I was expecting to find someone waiting to pick me up. Unfortunately, this person had not yet arrived, so I found a bench and proceeded to sit and wait. I got nervous a few times while waiting, worried about being in a foreign country with no-one to “rescue” me. I quickly squashed my fears and returned to a relaxed calm state, and decided to start observing the people and scenery.
Just like at any other airport in the world, there was quite the hustle and bustle of people. People coming to pick up their loved ones, children hugging the necks of family, and couples reuniting. There were taxi drivers anxiously attempting to get their next fare, and some fellows trying to hustle the next tourist for anything they could get. I was shocked though, when I saw cars drive up with children under the age of one in the laps of adults in the front seat. One child was actually standing in the front seat by herself! I reminded myself that it was probably not a law here, and that it was a poor country, so they probably didn’t have the resources. Still, I was genuinely concerned for the children’s safety.
I was able to talk with a few different people during my wait for a ride. I met a nice lady who grew up in Belize, but left for a life in America. She lives in California by the desert, and says she loves it. She has a better life, nicer home, and higher paying job. She comes to Belize often to visit, and still has a house in Belize on the coast. She said that even though she still loves Belize because it was her birthplace, she is always ready to go back to America after a few weeks.
Another lady that I met grew up in Belize, but she now lives in Chicago. She said she doesn’t come to Belize as much as she used to. She said that the crime has become worse, and there are so many new residents that it isn’t the same as when she grew up here. She prefers the convenience and security of America.. She was a;so dressed very nicely, and I presume had a very comfortable lifestyle. I spoke at length with a young man in his early 30’s who worked at the airport. He was very disgruntled with his job. He said they expected him to work very hard with few breaks, but paid him very little. He said that a better job was hard for him to find. He drives an hour and a half to work, because this is the airport where he was stationed. The job he holds is a government job, and has benefits, just not very good ones. He spoke of being frustrated with his government, aggravation over the increasing crime, and disappointment of feeling completely stuck where he was. He spoke of hate, and segregation of the rich from the poor, and even about the hungry people in his country. I was so amazed at how informed he is concerning the Presidential election in the US and how that would effect the rest of the world. I wondered why this man didn’t run for political office, and asked him. He said, he didn’t have the money. I really enjoyed my time speaking with this young man. I was reminded how things, people, and feelings can mirror each other from country to country.
Later, when I was enjoying the countryside on the drive to the guest house, I saw a truck with a few small children, and some adult men in the back. The men were drinking beers, and I immediately told Jaime that vehicle would be pulled over in the States because of the open containers and the men sitting on the edge of the back of the truck, as well as the children not being in car seats. He was amazed. I commented I remembered when I was young not riding in a car seat. The laws changed, and it took a while for people to catch up. He told me that the laws have started to change here, and they were now starting to push the seat belt law.
When i finally arrived at the guest house, I had a late lunch, went to settle in to my room, and went to sleep until morning.