Monday, March 19, 2012
Day #34 by Eli and Caroline
It is our last day on the beautiful Island of Caye Caulker. We have learned much about the ways and life of the Belizians here. Many similarities of mainland life but because this island thrives on tourism ALONE, there are also many differences . We have developed many friends here on Caye Caulker, some have already headed back home to their lives. (We miss you already Eric and Linda!:-) and others, we have frequented their resturants, purchased their trades( fruit, cakes, tamales, jewelry etc) many are friends we passed everyday on our bikes, Or like Colin and Linda, we have stayed on their property. We have learned that being called "mama" is a form of respect and my children have been aknowledged accordingly as "son" or "girl" noting that we are connected and respected as a family. It's very apparent after a person spends more time and engaging in conversation and service, there is a level we move beyond and we are no longer just "tourists" we have become trusted and our conversations have moved beyond the surface. We have truley gotton to know the hearts of many who live here. We have only been on this island for 16 days but I have witnessed Eli and Ava develop a breakdown of their American ways. In all three of us, Humility has softened the sheild of self..... and I am in awe of the beauty humility holds. What follows is some observations by Eli; Belize and its simplicity; Work in Belize is primarily for food. Us americans are driven by the accumulation of "things" and our "status". If people can't find a job here in Belize, they create one. Many catch fish or make meat pies , they BBQ chicken or make cakes out of their kitchens and sell them in little carts or they simply set up a table outside their homes. Some pick the flowers of their neighbors and sell them to coffee shops, restarants or for the many weddings that happen on the beach. They make money off stuff they find and turn them into Necklaces of shells, bottlecaps or beads. They scrounge coconuts and bag the meat or bottle the coconut water. The average belizian gets paid between $6- $10 bz ($3-$5US) an hour. If they work in construction or are a maid at a hotel, the average rent here on the island is $200bz a month ($100us). Work in the states requires many more licenses, certificates, permits, and limitations. So many hoops to jump through in order to work, not to mention the overwhelming need of Americans to claim their almighty status as if their job ultimatly defines who they are.