The border crossing went smoothly and the roads were easy going & the weather perfect! Not to hot & not to cold! We were able to make to our first campsite well before dark and set up camp & make a light dinner before we turned in for the night. We were just outside of Altimira, which is north of Tampico at a hotel/restaurant/truck stop combination. Behind the hotel is a huge parking lot that the truckers use to park & sleep. We went to the far back edge next to a grassy area and set up camp. It was very peaceful & only 2 semi’s in the lot when we went to bed. Couldn’t be any better….we thought. Around 2am a convoy of trucks pulling rows of
We are always about finding new adventure and explorations here in Belize. Yesterday was no exception. We decided to go visit the Mennonite village of Roseville, right near Red bank. They are most noted for the Scarlet Macaws that nest high above the village. We saw many flying, but unfortunately were not able to see them close enough to take good pictures, so a stock photo will have to do!
There is a river that crosses the gravel horse and buggy path that leads into Roseville. Once we left the highway, it wasn’t long that we realized the road was made to fit the horse and buggies that traveled there every day. Very narrow and lots of lush vegetation closed in, in spots. We passed people on bikes, and walking. Everyone was friendly, waving back, as we pulled over to be able to pass.
The further we trekked back toward the village, the more beautiful it became. You could see the mountains in the distance, a harvested corn field in one direction, a vibrant cabbage patch in the other. All of the farms had bountiful fruits or vegetables. We stopped at several to buy some of their goods. One farm had carrots the size of a child’s baseball bat, and cabbage heads the size of a basketball. The next farm was loaded down with watermelons, bell peppers, and onions, the size of softballs.
After buying enough fruits and vegetables to feed a small army, including 5- 20 pound watermelons, we headed toward the swimming hole. This was a well hidden spot, the local Mennonites and Mayans came to cool off in. We crossed a rock laden river with our vehicles, in places maybe 3 feet deep. The water was lightly rushing around the tires, enough to create that revered soothing water sound, that some fall asleep to. I on the other hand was enjoying the sheer accomplishment of traversing a rocky river bed, though it was tame by comparison, oh the possibilities!
We parked on the edge of the dirt path along side a large garden plot, being tended by three Mennonites, in their traditional clothing of long denim jeans, straw hats, and long sleeve shirts. We walked along the beaten down path, across massive boulders and finally popped out at the edge of the river.
We set up chairs, ate a picnic lunch and then dove into the refreshingly crisp, but not cold waters. On one side was a home made slide, boards lined with vinyl, the other side cradled the rope swing made of several lengths of different materials. The main length being a thin metal wire attached to a strap, and finally to a large tree leaning over the waters edge.
This is when the fun began! We all took turns sliding down the slide, jumping off the rope swing, and lounging in the moderate water flow of the river. Climbing up the skinny tree that was the jump platform for the swing proved to be a little challenging as you needed good balance with out any hand holds. It was comical to watch as each person shinnied up the tree and tried their hand. Some took longer than others. I wont mention names, but it seems there were two in particular that were battling out to see who could eat up the most footage on the camera!
Swinging out over the water and dropping in was exhilarating, even though it wasn’t a massive height. The watermelons we had just bought came in handy offering rejuvenation for the energy exerted from playing in the water. A good time was had by all. If you come, water shoes are recommended, but not necessary. The large boulders in the river are covered in moss. You just couldn’t ask for a more relaxing afternoon, especially once we put the chairs in the edge of the water and sat down for a visit. Finally fresh banana bread was devoured, and then it was time to get back on the road and cross back over the river. We even were graced by the presence of two Scarlett Macaws, flying from tree to tree, screeching their lungs out to announce that they were there. My kinda day!
I tried my hand at putting together a little overview video of the day.
We were asked to provide transportation and help in passing out cloth diapers and bibles to several small villages in Southern Belize this past week. An organization called Bibles for Belize have a goal of placing a bible into every home in Belize that wants one. No religion, no preaching, no strings. Adam and Ashley had seen a need for washable diapers for the babies in Belize. So they raised the money to purchase 500 sets of diapers and brought them down to Belize on their trip down.
First we visited Trio, a small Mayan village where a pastor had asked for a delivery of Bibles for his church members. We met his wife who readily invited us into her home, along with hugs and smiles. Her daughter was there and grand daughter, who was lying in the hammock under the open porch, with thatched roof.
You could see through the slat boards that were nailed to 2×4’s. The home was spotless. Even the outhouse, some 50 feet from the house, was very clean. You could tell there was much pride in the things that they had, though very little.
We were thanked many times for the delivery and told of a clinic that was being held further into the village, where we would find mothers and their babies. Adam and Ashley were excited to get over there to give away the diapers.
As we pulled up to the building where the young mothers were located, we got a lot of inquisitive looks. The vehicles do stand out a bit with their roof racks and expedition equipment. Once the back door was opened, and Ashley held the diapers up, she was immediately swarmed by the mothers all interested in the gifts.
Ashley explained how to use the diapers and the benefit of using them over the disposals. They all listened intently and smiles erupted every where as they received a set of diapers based on the gender. Then Daniel offered a bible to anyone who wanted it. It was widely received and appreciated. We were carrying 3 languages, English, Spanish, and Kekchi (Mayan). Angela helped pass out the Bibles and talk with mothers.
We waved good bye and drove onto the next villages, San Antonio and Santa Elana. These are in Southern Belize, very near the Guatemala border. Once we stopped near the village, we were again surrounded by locals excitedly receiving their own copy of the Bible. Word traveled fast. I don’t know how they communicated, as my cell phone did not have any service, but within minutes half the village was there!
We walked around offering Bibles to all who wanted them. One man was so appreciative of the gesture, that he went home to his wooden thatch roofed hut and got some dried corn on the cob. He brought back a plate full and offered it to each of us. I was skeptical of eating the corn, but did anyway so as not to offend him. He was such a generous man, and wanted to share with us. It turned out to be quite good!
The children were running and playing, smiling, and waving. We felt so welcomed. Everywhere we turned, someone wanted to talk to us. It was a very humbling experience. Seeing the conditions these people live in everyday. The slat walled homes, had compacted dirt floors from years of being walked on by the families. Pigs ran loose in and out of the mud and into and through the houses. There was a central hand water pump that supplied all of the village. I did not see any electricity in many of the homes. Though it was over 90 degrees and sunny, there were no fans or A/C. However, the people were truley happy, and proud of their homes. The children laughed and played, in spite of not having electronics.
We traveled a little further down the road before we came upon the construction of the road that will eventually cross over into Guatemala, called the Southern border. It is coming along very well. We were told we were about three miles from the border when we turned around. They are making great progress. I cant wait to use the border crossing soon!
It is always amazing to me to see how much more family orientated, and happy people are that do not seem to have much. Priorities are definitely different here.
I cannot describe the blessing I felt to be able to have a part in bringing these gifts to these people.