Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I can't Belize time is flying by so fast!

I can’t Belize time is flying by so fast. This week has been incredible and as time goes by its just getting better. We have learned so many great life lessons out here. The people are just so happy with the little things in life. Life is simple and life is good, or as Matt would say, “La Vita Bella.”
The past weekend we decided to do something adventures in Belize, cave tubing. The caves here n Belize are known world wide for the sacrifices the Mayans made in them and the hieroglyphics. It is also noted in national geographic for its stalagmites. I have to say it was pretty incredible we hiked for about 40 minutes to reach the gave and on the way our tour guide gave us a background on the healing plants and animals that they have in Belize. One thing we learned was you could eat termites if we were trapped in the jungle because they are very nutritious. Matthew and I tried a couple of them from off the tree and I have to say they weren’t bad. They tasted like minty carrots. I still can’t believe we ate termites. When we reached the caves it was spectacular while going through it was pitch black only lighted with your headlamp. We got off the tubes and were able to hike around in the caves as well and cliff jump inside them. It was cooler water but it felt good since in Belize you are always sweaty all the time. At the end of the caves you float threw a river for a while until you come to a rope. They say if you pass that rope you are done for because that’s were the crocodiles live I was quick to get out of there a few foot before I even got to the rope. Just to be safe.
This is right at the entrance to the cave tubing. It was so dark we had to use head lamps. 
It was truly in the jungle, which i so beautiful! 
Just another picture of us in the cave off that ledge we went cave tubing it was lots of fun. 
This week we started gun hoe on a projects. We saw a common problem in the rule communities of Belize with cooking on open fires, and burning their trash. Thus this causes much air pollution and problems breathing with the children. Last years team for Belize made adobe stoves that helped to direct the smoke out of the house, because the house would fill up with smoke every time they cooked. There is an average of over one million children a year in third world countries that die from the smoke. So Belize team for this year thought It would be more sustainable if we thought them how to build adobe stoves and create a manual so that there city council can help build them. So we started building the stoves on Monday and it has been a whole weeks process. Lets just say although I am half Mexican I was not cut out for the manual labor. We first had to go and chip out of the mountain cement they call white maul. Matthew and I were sweating so bad that it would drop into our eyes and burn; it was one of the hottest days on record in Belize that day we later found out. Next we had to chip away at cement and dig an 8inch hole to fill with cement to make the ground level. We leveled bricks and all that fun construction business stuff. The families are amazing to us. One lady we are doing the adobe stove for we ran into her cooking with lots of smoke with a newborn baby.
For the adobe stove process we had to mix the cement. Later on our hands were peeling. 

Here we are chipping away at the cement foundation to build a brand new one. That day was really hot, but everyday here is really hot!!!

 We have become so attached to her family, and it hit matt and I that making this stove for them is going to save her children’s lives. She has a lime tree right in her front yard and she always makes us the best limejuice ever, it’s so fresh! She also cooked us lunch the other day, which was the sweetest thing ever because she hardly has any money but she would not take no for an answer. She is a single mother with three darling daughters that are all in love with matt. Matt has especially grown found of the littlest one Juliana. While riding in the car the other day she was falling asleep on his lap. She understands English but only speaks Spanish to Matt. Which is nice for Matt because he has been studying Spanish. The little girls would always want rides on his back so matt would always say in Spanish, “yo soy un coche.” Meaning what he thought was I am a car. The girls would always laugh so hard every time when he said this. Until one day Native the mom informed matt, that while coche may mean car in Mexico in Belize it means, dirty pig. Matt was pretty embarrassed that he has been telling the girls he is a dirty pig this whole entire time. I love him for trying; he has been doing excellent with the language.
These are Natalie's other too little girls. The littlest one in my arms loves to be held,, bt it works out because i never want to put her down. :)
This is Juliana the one that has become so attached to Matt. Just the other day she called Matt Dad it broke our hearts because we have become so attached to them.

These are the little girls that always follow Matt around. They love him so much. Juliana on the right hand side and she always is stealing Matt's glasses off of his head when he least expects it.

Also in this same rural community we have been helping out with their trash problem. The people liter everywhere making such a beautiful place looks like a complete dump. Jose Luois is on the city council and is very concerned with this. Not only because it looks like a dump but because they burn all of there trash at home, causing even a bigger problem with air pollution.  So the city council wanted our help to build garbage cans and post them all over the community. He informed us that they would be posting signs if people liter they will be fines 50 Belize, which is 25 American.  That is a lot of money to a Belizean cause they make an average of 35 Belizean a day. So hopefully they will see a change. We took large posts and big containers that made the trashcans and posted them throughout the city but it was hard work because it wouldn’t be Belize with out all the hills that they have. So time after time we would have to climb hills and that made it super tiring, but well worth it.
On our Sunday drive with the director Kyle and his wife Lindsay we went to look at the circus. I guess about once a year they circus comes around and they have all kinds of shows. A teenager boy approached us and asked us if we wanted to see the lion. Matt being to Africa was so excited about this as well as I was. They took us around the back and there was a huge lion, with his lioness. You always have an idea of how big a lion is but oh my goodness it was huge. Not to mention it began to roar like it was calling out to his tribe. I couldn’t imagine how amazing it would be to see them in the wild. It was very sad to see them in a cage. Supposedly they just had cubs together. However we were not able to see them. We plan to go to a show this weekend and see them perform. I can hardly wait.
President Lamos asked us to teach a marriage class as our calling every Tuesday and Thursday night at the chapel. Matthew and I accepted but are very intimidated by this because we just barley hit our one year mark this month, and will be teaching people who have been married for 10 years. This will be an interesting adventure. We start next week so we will see how it goes.
Time is winding down so fast and I cannot believe all the adventures Matthew and I have had. I am so thankful for him for being such a good example of hard work. Life isn’t about the material things that you have but rather about the people you love that makes life rich. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Well it’s been another wonderful week in the beautiful country of Belize. I can finally say Matthew and I are getting use to barking dogs in the morning. Some people have roosters but San Ignacio has dogs. Every single day when the clock strikes 5 a.m. there is s dog across the street that starts to bark like it is dying. So, me and Matt decided that we will set an alarm so we can watch what happens to this dog, because his bark is so on schedule every morning. I will get back to that when it happens but we are determined to find out. Its gotten to the point where I will wake up moments before he barks and Matt and I will just looks at each other and laugh. Who needs alarm clocks?

This week has mostly consisted of constant appointments trying to get projects started and writing up project proposals, so a lot of paper work. However, we got to swing by the Belizean Botanic gardens again, and that was a lot of fun. Matthew and I were in charge of painting signs. Can I just say if you have every tried to dry paint in humidity you will understand what I mean when I say this, you can’t. Not to mention we had to constantly do touch up because little bugs would land in it and get stuck. Anyways it was frustrating but what can you do. I was the painter and Matt was the delegator. He would tell me, “ Maybe you should make the letter bigger” or “ Are you sure that will turn out good.” After much debating I am glad to say that the signs turned out pretty good. We were able to go take a dip in the river to cool off. When I say cool off the only time you are cool is when you are in the water, but as soon as you get out your sticky, sweaty, and smelly again. We got the workers discount on food witch was about two American dollars for rice, beans, and a small portion of chicken. The food is good here but Matt and me have been getting pretty sick of the rice and beans. Matt keeps telling me anytime I mention missing food from home, “That eating the same thing here everyday is part of being humbled”. I always reply, “ You were never humbled with food on your mission you ate the best food in the world everyday in Italy.” That pretty much works every time because he smirks and has nothing left to say. Sometimes I think that he refers this as to a mini mission for us. I guess that can only mean one thing, I have the best companion in the world.

To top things off at the end of the week, Matt surprised me with a get away for our anniversary weekend. Matt and our supervisor had been planning it during the week and I had no idea. That’s one thing I love about Matt he is constantly making things special for me all the time, and is always so thoughtful. Friday we took off we packed our snorkeling gear, swimsuits, and clothes. We hired a taxi guy by the name of Tim he has been a good friend to us while we have been out here. As we were driving Matt divulged to me where we were going, Caye caulker. I was immediately excited because me and Matt has done lots of research on this place prior. Caye caulker is a remote island off the coast of Belize next to the coral reef, which is ranked the second best reef scuba diving in the world. Our journey was not too long it was about 2 hours to get to Belize city and from there it was a 45 min ride on a water taxi to get out to the island. Matt had been correlating everything with a lady on the island by the name of Tracey and she was awaiting us on the dock when we arrived. She greets us both with a warm bear hug and a huge smile. Her curly dark hair was all over the place as she took us on a tour of the island. Literally I am not joking when I say this that once you are on the dock you can see water on the other side of the island. It is not very large but it is beautiful. Matt and I got so excited after we got off the boat we had completely forgot about the luggage. Thank goodness for Tracey she ran right over there and got a hold of our luggage. When we arrived to our place it was beautiful it was a seaside cabana right on the ocean. 

I couldn’t believe Matt had gone through all this trouble for me, when the best gift I have ever received was him. We got settled in and were off to eat. We had the best shrimp ever!!!! A nice treat to get away from rice and beans. Than we just watched as the sun slowly settled in this place that feels like paradise.

The next day we decided to book a scuba excursion. We were just so excited we hardly got any sleep the night before. This was going to be our first ocean dive. We had got certified prior to coming out to Belize. Tracey found us a good place to go to called Hochan reserve, and boy was she right. It was beautiful at first it was a little nerve racking because we had to flip out of the boat backwards but it was fun. Its incredible how much life is in the ocean we saw sharks, barracudas, tiger fish, turtles, and much more. It was all very exciting. During our surface interval things started to get a little shaky. Our stomachs started to turn. We were both got sea sick. All my excitement left as I was throwing up the remainder of the boat ride. We still had one more dive left and I was determined to go. So I pushed threw but the whole entire time I was throwing up under water in my BC, and Matt was taking pictures with the underwater camera. Once we headed home Matt held me the whole way to keep me out of the sun. Once I took a nap I was okay. Matt felt so bad. I reassured him it wasn’t his fault and I was just thankful to go. The experience was still amazing. Later on that night we visited Tracey’s jewelry stand on the island, where Matt bought me the most beautiful pearls ever.

Also on the island we were able to rent bikes for the day and tour, it was so much fun. We realized the further we got away from the water the less of a breeze we had. So we tried to ride by the ocean as much as we could. Not to mention it was easy to jump in the water and cool off just about everywhere.

 Sunday was our anniversary. We had a go-slow day, and were just enjoying our time together. Tracey stopped by our cabana and delivered a gift for me. A bouquet of local fresh flowers she had spent all morning picking. She slipped Matt some pearl earrings that she had someone make for me to go with my necklace. She is the most thoughtful, sweetest lady ever.  When we arrive back in our room after walking the beach I noticed balloons and a sign that read “ Happy 25th Anniversary.” 

Matt had some how got back in the room and set this all up. I was laughing so hard when I read that it said Happy 25th. Matt explained to me that he got it in the states before we left and could not find one that said happy one-year anniversary. I loved it all the same, this is what I mean when I say he is constantly making things special. My suggestion is if you want romance marry an Italian men. As the day came to a close me and Matt sat on the balcony in the hammock over looking the ocean Matt turned to me and said. “ I really messed up didn’t I”? I quickly comforted him thinking he was referring to scuba trip thinking he ruined everything. However I quickly understood what he meant when he said.” I’m never going to be able to top this anniversary next year.” I nudged him and we both broke out into laughter. Oh how I love him so much. I realized quickly that this place feels like paradise but really anywhere is paradise when I am with my eternal sweetheart Matthew. Marriage isn’t about what you get from the other but rather what you give, that makes your love grow. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

The weekend of adventures

             On Friday we headed out to our first project idea the Belizean Botanic Gardens. There they have over 40 acres of land that they need to maintain, and believe it or not they only have 8 people working on it. So Help was needed. Matt had a heavy job duty as to gather wood, send it through a woodcutter to make malt. I watered all day long and potted as well. The Gardens are beautiful there; there are so many different types of plants with so many different purposes. After a long days work in the gardens, we were able to kick back and relax as well as cool off in the river near by. At first I was afraid to get in the water because it was very murky and I couldn’t see to the bottom. Thank goodness I have my personal chaorriot Matthew because he carried me around in the water everywhere. Later on I asked one of the natives if there were crocodiles the water. He said no, I asked him how he knew there wasn’t. He said because he had never seen one in that area before. We realized how the Belizeans think, the animal doesn’t exist in the area until you see it there.
Saturday was our day off so as a group we decided to head out to the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich.  The ruins were only about 30 minutes from where we live. You had to take a little water taxi if you call it that across the river. When I saw water taxi it’s basically a wood panel connected to wires that you crank that get you across. Hopefully the pictures I post will show you what I mean. When we reached the old myan city it was breath taking, the city was estimated to occupy 7-10,000 residents of the Mayan culture. It was beautiful. Xunantunich is actually one of the last ruins you can actually climb on. We got some great pictures on top but the pictures do not do justice to the beautiful view. As we were leaving the ruins the tour guide pointed out the Howler Monkey family above. I have always wanted to see monkeys before and it is incredible to seem them in the wild.  The baby howler was so cute clinging to her mother and copying everything she did. The tour guide told us that their monkeys are very territorial in nature and when other monkeys come near by they have fights to the death. Such aggressive animals for being so fury and cute.
             Sunday was also our day off and it was our first venture to church. We had to walk about a mile, which took about 20 minutes. Due to the heat, we arrived as wet as if we went swimming to greet the members. When we arrived we met the cutest sister ever, Sister Kaye, who pretty much runs the church here. She welcomes everyone at the door with her warm hugs. I was shocked by the church building cause it seemed to be the nicest building around, but still was tiny, extremely hot, and located in the jungle. Our group basically made up the whole congregation. Also I have never heard members sing so loud in my life other than Italy. So I was quick to learn that the Belizeans take the Mormon standard of late to an extreme here, lets just say that the members love to talk here. Sister Kaye taught Gospel Doctrine and she was quick to call on anyone who had their hand up or not…you were bound to participate in the lesson. She loves Matt and remembered his name right off the bat. As for me I was called Matt two because I was always with him. She joked with me constantly in Relief Society that I was not going to survive one hour without my precious Matt. I love her so much already. After church she came over to our house because she is also our Sunday chef. She whipped up a great meal, potato salad, veggies, rice, beans, and some yummy chicken. Her goal she said was to get everyone fat. After dinner we took a Sunday drive in our luxury mini van that wobbles as it drives and has doors that want to open only on certain occasions with Kyle and Lindsay (The Director and his wife). It’s so wonderful to have another married couple out here among all the singles. We were trying to find this resort but soon found out from a hitchhiker we picked up that it was another hour in. We had already been driving for 45 minutes, so we found the hitchhiker another ride headed on our way back. On our way back we came across a small trail that lead to a lodge and decided to head up there. We were so glad that we did too because it was beautiful, it was dark there when we arrived but the pathway lit our way with tiki torches. We met the owners and they let us tour the site. While we were out we saw what we thought was a glowing bat but soon came to find out it was a glorified fire fly. It was so beautiful, big and green glowing in the moonlight.  With the quietly smooth running river, with the fireflies and jungle sounds we thought for a moment that we were on the Pirate’s of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. After that we headed home on the dirt road in our mini van. What an adventure this has started out to be so far. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Journey Begins

The journey began at 1 am leaving on a flight from Salt Lake City.  We arrived in Atlanta here hours later and had a three-hour layover, from there we were off to Belize to start our 6-week adventure.  When going threw immigration the officer joked with us asking us if we were moving to Belize with how much luggage we had. I think the luggage was jut about as tall as I am.  Out of the airport we pilled in a van that took us to the bus station.  Before arriving to the Bus station we stopped at a local fruit stand.  Best cantaloupe I have ever had in my life!!!!  There we had a 2-hour bus ride to a city called Belmopan.  There we took a connecting bus to San Ignacio also called Cayo here.  That ride was about an hour and a half.  By the time we reached Cayo we had been traveling 13 hours with not very much sleep.  Matt was so funny making sure he let me know that today felt like he was on a mission again and our directors were our trainers.  He keeps telling me this is a mini mission.  Also he is not shy to include every time I say something about humidity that he suffered it for two years.  I learned to not voice my opinion too fast anymore. Thank goodness the food is so wonderful here it made up for it, not to mention the watermelon drink!!!  The place where we are staying is so beautiful and seems like a mansion compared to all the other places.  So far my favorite part of Belize are the people.  Always smiling and happy to help although they live in such poverty they are cheerful an optimistic.  However nothing tops the children they are so cute dressed in there school attire joking around.  They are always waving to you and being extra loud to catch anyone’s attention.  One thing that scares me is the stray dogs everywhere.  One followed me and matt around and its ear was all chewed up and bloody.  Every time we told it to go away it followed us closer, but finally it left us alone.  At dinnertime we ate the same thing we ate for lunch beans, rice, chicken, and Coca Cola in the bottle.  Coca Cola is so good out here for some reason.  Anyways we are so thankful to be out here and to see what adventures await us, so far so good. J