We awoke with the sunrise, filled with excitement and a bit of nervousness heading into our first day of service here in beautiful Belize. We headed out to Corazon Creek, one of the many Mayan villages in the Toledo district, and found our work site and work leader Frankie! Frankie spoke with us about the village and the need for a new church because of the integration of other religious denominations. This was something I hadn't expected and shows the growth and potential of the Mayan villages. This also gave us a better perspective heading into our first day of work, knowing the impact the church building will have on the village.
My day at the site was spent with Kaitlin, Frankie, Edmund, and Wendel working on the exterior siding of the church and framing the windows. We used a lot of common tools and practices on the site, which surprised me because I didn't think that the construction would be as modernized as it is. We did have the chance to experience the culture of the community during lunch. We were invited to the home of the church leader where we were given a traditional dish of chicken and tortilla with cocoa drink.
We all worked really hard and accomplished a lot in the hot, humid heat of Belize and learned a lot of new things. Frankie taught us a lot about construction all while keeping a light hearted atmosphere with his jokes and riddles. Frankie, Wendel, Edmund, and the local villagers that hung around at the site taught us some Kekchi, one of the two traditional Mayan languages. My favorite word so far is ustana, which mean "good enough". We were also introduced to some new food items. The first was a combination of maize and cocoa in liquid form that the locals told us would help keep us cool in the sun, and I have to admit, it did a little after I tried some. The other was tamarind, a small shelled fruit that gives a splash of sweetness to your taste buds at the very end.
Overall we had a great day first day of service that ended with an equally great dinner prepared by the lovely Regina. We can't wait to come home and share our amazing adventures and new knowledge with you all!
With love, Brigid Ellen.