I can’t believe that I have already spent four days here in Belize. I’m going to try to make this as engaging to read as possible, I know it’s pretty boring to just read through someone recounting their day.
Getting into Belize wasn’t too bad. I luckily coordinated with someone who is in another course but also had to travel to Belize on May 12th, so we were on the same two flights to Belize. When we got into Belize, exiting the plane was surreal: It was a staircase down onto the runway! I’d only ever seen that in the movies. Once I was reunited with my luggage (!!!) and through customs, I was greeted by the humid air of Belize!
After we landed, the director of CELA took us to an outdoor food table where I got rice and beans with some stew pork meat. I’ve never eaten a meal that included the vertebrae, but I told myself that I wasn’t going to limit myself during this trip. We ended up waiting in the parking lot of the airport for four hours waiting for everyone else to get in, but the bus had A/C so it wasn’t awful. It was a great opportunity to talk and get to know everyone.
San Ignacio, our host city is a four-hour drive inland from the airport in Belize City. We got to see the terrain change as we moved more and more inland. Once we got into San Ignacio, we were introduced to our beautiful new home of Midas Resort. My new roommate and I got situated and we were then whisked away to dinner at this amazing restaurant just a two minute walk away called Hode’s Place. I got the most delicious chicken quesadilla I’ve ever had!!
The next morning, I woke up to a spectacular view. Instead of trying to put it into words, I’ll just show you:
Like?? Yes please. Sunday was an orientation and tour day. For breakfast, the place where we are staying cooks our breakfast and gave us a “Belizian Breakfast”: scrambled eggs, bacon (that was shaped and tasted a lot like taylor ham), refried beans, and fry jacks. The star of that show is the fry jack, a delicious pancake batter like tasting delicacy. Our orientation of the program was nice and we all received a bracelet with local seeds that help unite us and also ground us. Then we had a tour of San Ignacio so we would feel more comfortable navigating the town. San Ignacio has a beautiful market that people come to sell things like fruits, vegetables, handmade jewelry and so much more.
After the tour, we had were taken to an Archeological Site of Xunantunich, a Mayan site that archeologists are still in the process of restoring. We were taken on a walking tour through the jungle and led up a steep hill. We were then told that the steep hill we climbed had Mayan buildings underneath, and all of the hills around us with trees and life growing on it also had Mayan buildings underneath. To an uneducated eye, you would have thought it was just hills. Then as we were walking, we heard howler monkeys and were standing right at the base of the tree. (For anyone who doesn’t know, they used howler monkeys for the sound effect of the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. So it was a little weird hearing them at first just walking through the jungle.) We took a nice set of stairs to the top of the largest structure, where we were clearly able to see Guatemala (since we were only a few miles away!) After the tour of Xunantunich, my roommate and I went back to Hode’s and I got a nice bowl of spaghetti and meatballs with an oreo chocolate cake for dessert.
Classes started on Monday, so we were all dressed in our scrubs and ready to go to the Paw’s Vet Clinic! We had a class that was like a basic introduction to the course. Then we had a presentation from a head veterinarian at BAHA, or the Belize Agricultural Health Authority. For lunch, we went into town and tried one of the local restaurants. I had rice and beans with stew beef. The restaurant, Mickey’s, also serves chicken stuffed fry jacks (mentioned above), so I’m definitely going to go back. When we got back to the clinic, it was what we had all been waiting for: suturing. We were each given a chicken leg to practice suturing on. I was extremely nervous because I had never sutured before. But Dr. T, Reuben, and Stephanie, the people instructing us during our course, took their time making sure we all understood what was going on. I learned four knots in total: a simple interrupted, a continuous, a hidden, and a hunter’s knot. Then I joined a group of three and we observed Dr. T perform a spay. Mid-surgery, I held the uterus of the female dog as Dr. T tied off and cut what he needed to. It was such a surreal feeling– I could feel the dog’s pulse through the uterus. Then once he finished the surgery, he took a step back and said, “Okay girls, suture her up.” We each took a turn and did one knot on the dog. This was an experience I never thought I was going to get to experience, yet I did it! I did that!
I’m already behind on posting about my trip, but I know there will be time to catch up soon. I can’t wait to continue to share my experiences here on my corner of the SEBS blog! :^)