Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day 5: A well deserved break

After finishing the project at Bella Vista, we are going to spend the rest of the day visiting a Mayan village and then enjoying the cool waters of Blue Creek.

Below are a few of Bella Vista's houses that we past on the way out of town.

Prior to leaving BV.. a quick note on it's origin.  Bella Vista is in the Stan Creek District of Belize.  It's an agricultural area with Banana and Citrus plantations.  Prior to the 1990's, workers lived on the plantations.  In the early 1990's an international movement occurred to insure the health of plantations workers.  Workers were at risk due to pesticides being sprayed over them.

So Bella Vista was established.  It's a village of 800 or so families from a variety of cultures and countries.  It is a community of low economic status, hard workers, cute kids, with little or no infrastructure that we are accustomed to in the U.S.

This is a small restaurant

Tommy's 'super store'

Heading out of Bella Vista on the Southern Highway toward the Toledo District.

The Belizean highways have Pedestrian Bumps affectionately known as sleeping police.  If you don't slow to a crawl over these, you can loose your back teeth.

We headed to Lubaantun, a Mayan archeological site

Off the highway ..... wide load

The Mayan ruins at Lubaantun are where the quartz skull was found.  It was a focus point in one of the Indiana Jones movies

One of the courtyards at the ruins

The crew...   1200 years ago they might be watching a game of puk ta puk, today they are watching me

Traditional thatched roof home 

The house of our guide, Gustavo, where his wife Catalina prepard a traditional Mayan lunch for us to enjoy.

The kitchen

The table Gustavo set up for us, filled the interior of his house.

Drew diggin in

Gustavo, one of 12 children who grew up on his fathers farm very close to the ruins is now a science teacher at a local school, a sustainable farmer, and part time tour guide.  Here he shows us all the edible plants on his property.

Here's Tory trying out some Choco

Gustavo has 3 sons, Melvin, Delvin, and Lelvin

Walking toward Blue Creek

look at the bottom left and you can see the students at the front of the cave.. we swam into the cave..  what an adventure.

The gang cooling off

Very cool

4 Construction Management students making their professors proud

Caia gracefully, well falling into the water

Ben was doing back flips off a rope

Sara getting ready to take the plunge

Tory showing his skills..  that's a football thrown by Ben..  the play, halfback pass

Life is good

The path back to the van

Ok... so what a day..  no better way to end it with a view of some heavy equipment

Day 5: 6:30AM - Moving Mountains

We left our Bella Vista project yesterday site with one task remaining.  We wanted to provide some ground covering for the playground.  The soil is very rocky, so we spent a lot of time yesterday raking rocks.  "Raking Rocks",  that term just seems unnatural.

Yesterday afternoon we arranged for a load of sand to be delivered at 6:30AM today to the project site.  As you can see in the picture below, our definition of "truck load" and Thomas' at the hardware store definition of "truck load" are two different things.

We had 6 students volunteer to get to the site at 6:30AM to sand the playgound

Our mountain of sand
Oh, our equipment included 2 shovels, 3 rakes, and 3 buckets

Saturday morning at 6:30 didn't stop a few of our friends from dropping by to help.  We had so much sand we also decided to fill in some of the paths around the school.  

Sara raking

There is always time to play a little game of marbles.  Nathan tells me we was getting pretty good.

Ms. Marin was in her school room at 7:30 preparing for an adult literacy class she was providing.

So, we added sand in front of her school room also.

The game of marbles is heating up

The mountain moved to a mole hill
The sand crew

Ben giving the swing set a test ride

You didn't think Gloria would miss anything did you? Yep, she was at the school before 8 to inspect our work.  Remember, this is the saturday of spring break at Bella Vista

Gloria became family this week, so we invited her to come back to Boise with us, just kidding.

Speaking of family, here's Gloria's

Our finished product.  Pretty great job!  
Imagine a nice garden in the bed you can see along the school.  We have contacted a non profit working in Bella Vista on Agricultural projects about getting some nice dirt and plants for the garden.

The sand crew returned to Cardies Hotel for a hot shower and breakfast.  1 out of 2 isn't bad.  The power was out at the Hotel so no shower.

The whole crew
Right to left: Kirsten, Daryn, Nathan, Ben, Sara, Caia, Tara, Darren, Drew, Tory


OK.. so all work and no play...  no way.

The team deserves some fun don't you think?