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The San Pedro Sun

C-Net+ members receive training in Behavioral Change for PLWHA
15 members of C-Net+, the Collaborative Network of Persons Living with HIV/Aids PLWHA underwent a three-day “Train the Trainer” workshop. The workshop was jointly sponsored by SISCA (Secretaria de la Integracion Social Centroamericana), SICA (Sistema de la Integracion Centroamericana, Programa Regional REDCA+ (Central American Network of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS) and funded by the World Health Organization. Hosted by Hidden Valley Inn in the Mountain Pine Ridge, the workshop took place June 8th through 10th. The main purpose of the workshop is to expand the development and strengthen technical and professional capacities of PLWHA in Central America which includes the effective participation of advocacy, social control and citizen oversight process in HIV/AIDS while influencing human development and quality of life.

Rowan Graduates!
One month before he starts his Walk Across Belize, 14-year-old Rowan Garel spends his last few minutes as an elementary school student. On Thursday June 14th, surrounded by his peers, family and friends, Rowan welcomed the audience and the faculty of Hummingbird Elementary School to the Standard 6 Graduation Ceremony, with a violin performance of Belize’s National Anthem. After receiving his Diploma from the school Director, he joined his mother, father, sister and members of BCVI for family photos. When asked about this big moment, Rowan said, “To be honest, it’s all bittersweet right now. I’m just glad that the ceremony is over because I was super nervous!” Having been in the audience, BCVI can tell you first hand that Rowan had absolutely no reason to be nervous – he performed beautifully! We hope you enjoy a peek into the HES Graduation Ceremony and The Garel Family’s special night! Don’t forget that you can make a donation to help Ro and the other blind children in BCVIs program!

Belizean Deion Spain is Southwest Airlines employee for the month of May
Deion Spain, a Belizean originally from San Pedro Town, was awarded as the May 2012 Employee of the Month for Southwest Airlines based in the USA. Spain, who works and lives in Miami, Florida, USA is a flight attendant and was selected as the employee of the month of May for his outstanding performance and dedication to his career and work. When questioned in the Provision Heartbeat 2012 second quarter magazine for cabin service provisioning employees on what customer service means to him, Spain is quoted as saying, “to go above and beyond so our customers have a reason to want to come back and fly Southwest.” Deion is the son of Mel Spain who is a well known public and political figure in San Pedro Town. In addition Deion was schooled in San Pedro having attended the San Pedro High school and decided to further his education in the USA. The San Pedro Sun joins the community in congratulating Deion Spain for his accomplishment and award.

National Aids Commission moves into San Pedro
The National Aids Commission (NAC), the only legal entity in the country tasked with the responsibility to execute the national response to HIV/AIDS, is moving into San Pedro and forming a local coordinating committee. The first of a series of coordinating meetings took place on Friday June 8th at the conference room of the San Pedro Town Council. The newly recruited members were oriented and trained on the function of NAC in Belize. The NAC branch in San Pedro will have representation of various government agencies as well as locally represented organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who are involved in the national response to HIV/AIDs. According to Executive Director for the NAC Secretariat Dr. Martin Cuellar, the NAC will be working on the island with key members of the community from different sectors that are being recruited to join the local branch of the national organization. “The local branch of the National Aids Commission will coordinate the work of all agencies and partners who are working in the fight against HIV/Aids in San Pedro,” said Cuellar. As the NAC continues with orientation and training on Ambergris Caye, a similar committee will be formed in other districts across the country. “The committee in San Pedro will be the official local coordinating body of the National Aids Commission in Belize,” said Cuellar.

Misc Belizean Sources

Time for Belize to focus on free education and job development
By Wellington C. Ramos I graduated from Sacred Heart Primary School in the late 1960s. After graduating from there, my family sent me to Austin High School. I was the first of my mother’s children to be sent to high school because she couldn’t afford to send my older sister and two brothers. They all had the academic potential to complete high school but because of lack of money they were forced to do something different. My sister moved to Belize City to seek employment and my two older brothers joined the Belize Police and Special Force. There are many people graduating from high schools in Belize that lack academic potential but their families have the money to pay for their high school tuition so they end up graduating. When these people graduate from high school, some of them look down upon those who dropped out of high school that had the academic potential but whose families did not have the money to pay their tuition fees. After one year of high school my mother could not afford the cost of sending me to high school anymore so I was forced to quit. I then went to work in Mango Creek for a couple months and from there I followed my two older brothers to Belize City. Shortly after I arrived in Belize City, I found a job at the British Forces Airport Camp where I worked for three years as a maintenance worker. In April 1973, I followed my two brothers and joined the Belize Police Force where I was employed until July 1978 before I migrated to the United States. Maybe, if I had completed my high school education, I would not have joined the police force. There are thousands of Belizean families who have to face this situation up to this day.

Come Away to Belize With Me!
An Historical Musical Essay of Belize in the 80s to Now!

Cayo's Peaceful Demonstration
Pictures from the peaceful demonstration against crime and violence. There was quite a turnout. "Residents of the twin towns of San Ignacio/Santa Elena demonstrated on Friday against crime and violence. The peaceful demonstration started from in front of the police station and went over the Hawksworth bridge into Santa Elena and ended at the Macal River Park."

Blogs

2012 San Pedro Lobsterfest Kick off party
We had a blast at the El Divino restaurant annual kick off party last night. Sadly tacoboy got held up at work and could not come till later, we were texting back and forth and told him it was ok as I had 21 dates Between our table upstairs, Zac and Tanya drumming downstairs, the bar and the outside party with DJ there was no shortage of people watching. This years party was even more packed than last year and everyone seemed to be having a good time. I missed Cowboy Doug and Leisa doing the Y.M.C.A as our food was being served – yum. 3 cheers for the staff who did not get to catch a breath all night and had been running since last night with Prom being held at Banana Beach.

THE WORLD WILL NOT END IN 2012
CARLOS BARRIOS was born into a Spanish family on El Altiplano, the highlands of Guatemala. His home was in Huehuetenango, also the dwelling place of the Maya Mam tribe. With other Maya and other indigenous tradition keepers, the Mam carry part of the old ways on Turtle Island (North America). They are keepers of time, authorities on remarkable calendars that are ancient, elegant and relevant. Mr. Barrios is a historian, an anthropologist and investigator. After studying with traditional elders for 25 years since the age of 19, he has also became a Mayan Ajq’ij, a ceremonial priest and spiritual guide, Eagle Clan. Years ago, along with his brother, Gerardo, Carlos initiated an investigation into the different Mayan calendars. He studied with many teachers. He says his brother Gerardo interviewed nearly 600 traditional Mayan elders to widen their scope of knowledge.

Happy Father’s Day to all Fathers!
Happy Fathers day to all daddy’s around the world and indeed here in Caye Caulker and Belize. Many of the crew are lucky enough to be fathers, not all though but those who are not will be permitted to join the celebration in anticipation! Although Father’s day is observed on many different days during the year, here in Belize we follow the more popular date in the Americas with it falling on the 3rd Sunday of June. Father’s Day is celebrated worldwide to recognize the contribution that fathers and father figures make to the lives of their children. This day celebrates fatherhood and male parenting. Happy Fathers day to one and all!!!

2012 San Pedro Lobsterfest Kick off Party
Get your lobster on and get ready to crawl. It is San Pedro's 2012 Lobsterfest. Last night was the San Pedro Lobsterfest kick off party at El Divino Restaurant at the Banana Beach Resort. Lots of people came out to sample some of the first lobster of the season. This will be mine and Bill's very first Lobsterfest and is something we have been looking forward to. We also got to meet lots of new friends for the first time that have been following our blog that are here for Lobsterfest. It was a great kickoff party and the food was devine. El Divino's had Zac and Tanya on the drums inside with a DJ outside keeping the crowds entertained. The place was packed and people were waiting in line to get in to get their lobster dinner.

International Sources

Ambergris Caye Beaches, San Pedro, Belize
Yes, there are beaches in Belize, but not many. Ambergris Caye has a few worthy beaches, but remember, what makes a pristine diving location is the fact there isn’t much sand around. And so it is with Belize. This place is easy to get to and not far from the USA, so it’s worth a visit if you want to have a little beach time, but really want to see the creatures under the sea. Make sure you get some online reviews of dive operations before you head here. There are some good salespeople on these shores. Also, get your expectations addressed in advance so you won’t be disappointed. First, there are a few excellent beaches that line the resorts and have full facilities and are open to the public. You can generally tell when the beach is man made and closed to visitors. But these are rare in Belize. So your choice is in an around the resorts. Okay, I know what you’re going to say. Ambergris Caye is a diving destination, not a beach resort destination of sorts. Snorkeling – yes, scuba diving – for sure, fishing – you bet! All are superb. But before you reserve your ticket to San Pedro, know that there really isn’t any beach to speak of on Ambergris Caye. There is a thin strip of sand that runs the length of the island. And when we asked, locals say that even at low tide, you just won’t find a whole lot of room. Tip: Walk north or south from town along the ocean to find a secluded spot where you can sit and gaze on the vast sea. You’ll be alone. Most everyone else is out at the big blue hole, diving. Now some of the beach front hotels have created their own beaches by building retaining walls and filling them in with sand. These are at the resorts on the north half of Ambergris Caye, and at Victoria House. Swimming isn’t very good, either. For about the length of a football field, the bottom is covered with sea grass. And while it doesn’t look good, we agree with the local government that protects this environment which supports a prime part of the food chain. Beneath the sea grass is a layer of spongy roots, organic matter, and white sand. When we walked on it, it was a little unnerving (think stingray or sea urchin). It’s pretty easy to trip as you make your way out. Tip: Swimming is best off the piers and your hotel will probably have one. These normally have steps down to the water and a nice, roped off swimming area. Danger: Don’t try to snorkel out from the shore to the reef. More than one swimmer over the years has been run over by speeding boats. The traffic in the channel is fast and furious. Finally, take a listen to some local opposition to a new development called South Beach Belize. It may disturb the fragile ecosystem of the reef and mangrove rookeries.

Dive the Elements in Belize's Wild Atolls
Great story on a dive trip to Belize. "...Ah, Belize. Even without the driving rain the place seeps into your skin. Easy going, English-speaking, the country can seduce you even in a gale. Divers have it particularly good here: Countless cayes, three of the Caribbean’s four atolls, and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, second only in size to the Great. It runs along Belize’s entire 187-mile-long coast, giving you wall dives, drift dives, terraces, swim-throughs, rays, turtles and whale sharks. Here you’ll find 65 of the Caribbean’s 70 coral species and 320 of its 500 varieties of fish. Charles Darwin called it remarkable..."