Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day 3 and Jungle Adventure Through the Mayan Ruins

I'm gonna fill you in about the detail of Day 3 in just a minute, but first I must tell you about one of the most amazing adventures of my lifetime. After darkness set on the area we are staying me, Sara, Ellie, Mat, Steph O, and I followed a path into the middle of the jungle to do a late night exploration of the Mayan ruins at Cahal Pech. This was a real life, honest to God, adventure like none other... our fears were well founded... jaguars, snakes, scorpions, the militia, and the ancient Mayan gods. Most of the time we kept our flashlights off, remaining illuminated by the glow of a nearly full moon. We winded through tunnels, empty tombs,

It was like a scene from Tombraider, Indiana Jones, and National Treasure all rolled into one. Stone hand built mayan "pyramids" covered in vines, moss, and a eerie yet rich history. We climbed to the very top of one of the nearly hundred foot archeological wonders.

We'd hear things creeping through the jungle around us, sticks snapping, things moving, and do everything we could not to just run. We stayed out till late at night following a digital map on the lcd screen from a picture taken earlier. But, the modern technology paled in comparison to the antiquity of the ruins we explored. Best thing also, is that the whole adventure was documented on night vision... oh what a video I have to share with you all!

Waking up on our third day after an adventure like the one the night before, we wondered how things could possibly compare. Couldn't have been more wrong... everything's an adventure in Belize!

Today we were centered in the vilage of St Margarets, also known as Santa Marta. This village is really in the heart of the jungle, about an hour and half from where we are staying. Along the drive there on the long and bumpy dirt road we passed signs warning of Malaria in the area.

After setup, we made some home visits throughout the village. We stopped at the home of a family who's grandmother was and had been blind for the last 30 years. Their kitchen was inside a grass hut with a dirt floor. The daughter was making tortillas and let the three of us there give it a try. We pulled handfuls of the "dough" out of a bucket, flattened it, and threw it right on the fireside cooktop. Another of our home visits brought us to the general store where we met a little girl who had a Minnesota connection. She was born with a hole in her heart and was sent to Mayo Clinic in Rochester for a lifesaving surgery. It was a neat reminder of how small the world really is. Just as an update on one of the home visits we had done before for the little girl Julia who had the giant cyst we lanced, we were able to obtain some antibiotic today, have a follow up visit with her, deliver the medication, and Sara says the cyst is already looking much better.

Over at the schools, we were able to get some good playtime in with the kids. You should have seen Ro, Stepho, and Jason out there playing with at least a hundred kids. They are so good at that. They got a massive game of Red Rover going on and really gave the kids some big smiles.

The principle's son had become our interpreter for the day. 15 year old Lionell was incredibly helpful. He stood by all day and helped us understand people's conditions and relay important nursing information and treatment details back to them. He also taught us that the loud howling, jumpy sound we heard in the distance was the cry of the babboons/ howler monkies. Lionel brought us some fresh cut sugar cane and some coconuts. He later showed us how he shimmies up the tree and pulls them down. A couple of us got to whack the tops and drink the sweet cool juice inside. We also cut them open an took a spoon to the inside, which looks and feels much like lutafisk, but tastes better. I also snacked on some plaintain chips an Cassava chips which weren't too bad either.

By the end of the day we had seen about 50 patients, one child with suspected Malaria and a number of other sick infants, children, and adults. On our way back to town, we went to this place called Mike's Farm.

There's a creek running through the area that has a little waterfall an swimming hole in it. Surrounded by hanging vines, banana trees, and giant bright green leaves with the mountains in the distance, we swam, jumped, splashed, cooled down, and unwinded from a long day's work.

Check out this jumping action...

Just when you thought my day couldn't be any more busy or exciting, we got back and went out for a night on the town. Mat, Steph O, and I walked about 4 miles through downtown San Ignacio. We crossed the bridge into the next city, visited the church, the hospital, the malaria ward, the clubs, and also had some "cow hoof soup"! I don't recommend it. We followed it up with some coconut cigars, a stop at a house having a bonfire an meeting some more of the locals, a hike back up the hill to where we're staying, and a big sigh as we called it a night.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home