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Re: Long ago Peace Corps Days, by Alan Jackson [Re: Marty] #552275
08/25/21 11:07 AM
08/25/21 11:07 AM
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Journal Entry 34

February 2, 1977 / Belize City, Belize:

I was able to see quite a lot of Belize the past week or so. Last Tuesday Mr. Miller and I flew south to Punta Gorda in Toledo District. Last Sunday I went on an Audubon field trip into the Pine Ridge, and yesterday Mr. Miller and I visited San Pedro and Caye Caulker.

Mr. Miller and I left Belize City at 1:00 p.m., Tuesday, and flew Maya Airways to Punta Gorda. The plane stopped at Melinda (Stann Creek) and Big Creek (Placencia) on the way down. Maya Airways always offers a thrill or two when it touches down on the unpaved airstrips.

We stayed in a government rest house in P.G. It offered private rooms with poor beds. Fortunately, we just stayed the one night. The fishing co-op there had asked Mr. Miller to deny export licenses to private fishermen in the area and thus protect the co-op. We found, however, that the co-op was virtually non-functional and that to deny independent fishermen the right to export on their own would be to deny them of a livelihood.

We spent the night playing dominos and drinking rum under a house with some men that Mr. Miller knew. This was my first experience with dominos, and it was a lot of fun, much different from the game that we played as kids. There was a lot of “talking rass” and slapping down the domino tiles.

P.G. is a small community (only one paved street) made up mostly of Garifuna, Mayans and East Indians. There seems to be little wealth and certainly not much development in P.G. The quiet life is not going to last there, however. The British have just completed a new Army camp just outside of town and several oil companies have been prospecting for oil in that area. The rumor is that Belize will offer Great Britain permanent military bases in Belize (for protection from Guatemala) in exchange for independence. Many people, including leading officials in government, believe that Belize will get independence this year.

After our business in P.G. was completed Wednesday morning, Mr. Miller borrowed a Land Rover from the District Officer, and we drove out into the countryside. It was like taking a trip back in time as we saw people living and working as they have for hundreds of years. I could not detect many 20th Century devices in their possession.

Mr. Miller and I flew back to Belize City at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, and I got several aerial photos of the countryside.

Sunday morning I walked over to the Bliss Institute where the Audubon Society was meeting for their field trip. Four of us, along with a Dr. Layton Jackson from Missouri, rode in the back of Ford Young’s Land Rover pickup. The road to Belmopan is paved, but the next 2 or 3 hours was on dirt roads.

The Pine Ridge landscape reminded me of the hills and pine forests of Southern California. We saw the 1000-Foot Fall and went to the Rio Frio Cave. This was my first time in a real cave, and I wished I had had my flash for my camera. The Pine Ridge would be a nice place to go camping, but one needs to have his own vehicle to reach it; too bad.

We got back home around 8:00 that evening just in time to eat some barracuda brought in fresh from the caye that day. It seems like we’ve been eating a lot of seafood lately, even fish for breakfast. Once last week we had gibnut for dinner. Gibnut is a large rodent, and it was quite delicious, oven-baked with a barbecue sauce. I was told when we were eating it that gibnut was something like a wild pig. The next day I learned the truth.

Yesterday, Mr. Miller, Romi, and I took the skiff to San Pedro to talk to the manager of the co-op there. It was my second trip to San Pedro and now, more than my first trip, I can see how it is quite tourist oriented. It’s still pretty, though, and I’d never pass up a chance to go there. On our way back we stopped at Caye Caulker which is much more typical of Belize and much more tranquil and pleasant.

[Photos: Stann Creek Valley, 26 January 1977, and 1000-Foot Fall, 30 January 1977, Belize.]

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Re: Long ago Peace Corps Days, by Alan Jackson [Re: Marty] #552415
09/01/21 11:58 AM
09/01/21 11:58 AM
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Journal Entry 35

February 2, 1977 / Belize City, Belize:

Yesterday I took a “busman’s holiday” and spent the day on Goff’s Caye on the barrier reef. A group of students from Belize Technical College wanted to charter a boat for a trip to the caye but needed a few more paying customers to keep the price per person down to BZ$5.00. They approached their former teacher to see if she would go and if she knew of anyone else who might like to come along. So, the whole family along with six Peace Corps Volunteers went on the trip.

The boat was a large power yacht that must have been magnificent in the 1920s. It was still in good shape, but somewhat under-powered. It rained on us on the way out and we got some nice rainbows to look at out over the Caribbean. The day cleared up beautifully, and even became quite warm. Goff’s Caye is a favorite day trip for locals and tourists alike. It has white sand, palm trees, a thatched shelter and a good bridge for docking. It is also right on the reef, so the marine life is abundant.

We packed a picnic lunch of baked chicken, potato salad, bread, pineapple upside down cake, potato chips and soft drinks. I helped Roger collect small, colorful fish for the salt-water aquarium he has set up. We were fairly successful and got a few beau gregories (brilliant blue and yellow), sergeant majors (yellow, white, and black vertical stripes), 3-spot damsels, and blennies. Roger’s aquarium is set up mostly with stuff I bring back from my trips to the reef, but now has some fish that Roger, himself, has caught. The girls really enjoy the aquarium and can identify the fish in the tank by looking at their pictures in a book.

Next weekend we have been invited by archeologist Claude Belanger to go to Lamanai, a Mayan excavation site near Indian Church in the Orange Walk District. Claude is site manager and is setting up camp for Dr. Pendergast and thought we would enjoy getting a “behind the scenes” tour of this Mayan site. The entire country seems to be dotted with Mayan mounds. We’ll also have time to stop in to see Peace Corps Volunteer nurse Bev who has been transferred to San Felipe, a remote village in the Orange Walk District.

As of March 1st, all Peace Corps Volunteers in Belize will receive a pay raise from BZ$300 to $330/month. Also, those who are paying over $75 per month for rent will be given up to $30 a month on top of the raise. So, I’ll get my $30 raise plus $25/month (my rent is $100 room and $100 board.) Now I’ll be paying $225/month for room and board, and I’ll still be getting $30/month extra “spending money” over my old salary. This Caribbean vacation is working out nicely.

It is now tourist season and there are a lot of Gringos on the streets. The weather is very pleasant, and the humidity should decrease as we enter the dry season.

[Photo: Fish trap located near Gallows Point, Belize, 1977. The trap is a straight length of mesh fence that ends in a circular enclosure.]

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[Photo: Goff's Caye, 1976. Photo credit: Einar Kvaran.]

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Re: Long ago Peace Corps Days, by Alan Jackson [Re: Marty] #552533
09/07/21 11:31 AM
09/07/21 11:31 AM
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Journal Entry 36

February 16, 1977 / Belize City, Belize:

Saturday after work we went to see some Mayan ruins [Lamanai] being excavated at Indian Church in Orange Walk District. Claude Belanger, a family friend who works at the site, invited us up. We drove as far as the New River on the Northern Highway a few miles south of Orange Walk Town. From there Claude took us by boat to Indian Church, about an hour’s boat ride. The trip on the river was very scenic as we worked our way through grasslands with tropical birds and then through thick jungle. The only thing missing was the sight of crocodiles sunning themselves along the riverbank. The river has crocs, but I didn’t see any.

The camp at the worksite is set up with electricity and bottled gas. The buildings are all made of palmetto and palm thatch. From the outside it looks like a Maya village, but the huts are furnished inside with gas ranges, refrigerators, etc. A Canadian agency is doing the excavating, and this is their 4th year on the site.

It was dark by the time we reached the camp, so sightseeing was left to the next day. We slept under mosquito netting. This was the first time that I heard the nighttime roar of howler monkeys. It sounded like they must have been in the tree right next to us.

In the morning we toured the grounds which are the most extensive Mayan ruins in Belize. Little of it has been excavated, and none of it has yet been restored. It will take about another ten years to complete. We wandered along footpaths through the jungle from point of interest to point of interest. The site contains the largest building in Belize, a Mayan temple, which I climbed for the view of the surrounding area. In the afternoon, Claude took us water skiing.

We had dinner and got back to Belize that evening. We were invited back for April sometime, so I hope that works out. One thing interesting Claude showed us in the jungle was the water vine, a plant that contains a lot of water and can be used for drinking water. A 3-foot length of it of about 3-inch diameter would provide about a pint of water.

I know I’ve occasionally written about some unusual foods I’ve had here, but the other day I had the most unusual yet — cow foot soup. It is a vegetable soup, but the stock is made from boiling a cow’s foot. We don’t have it at home, but I had some at a friend’s house. Each bowl contained what looked like vegetable soup with a chunk of cow’s foot in it. It tasted okay, but it was somewhat sticky. Anyway, now I can add cows’ foot to the list.

We’ve been having nice weather, and I’ve been able to get out to sea more often. I spent Sunday in the jungle and the next day on the reef. I’ve really been fortunate to be able to see so much of Belize, and most of it is job related. The barracuda are plentiful this time of the year, and I usually see some large ones (4-5 foot).

Yesterday I got my absentee ballot, marked it, and mailed it this morning. I also received the three shirts for me and the two shirts for the girls. They were just the style I’ve come to like here, button all the way down the front with square tails so they can be worn loose.

It has become routine to have tamales for lunch on Saturday. We buy them from Mr. Miller’s mother-in-law. They are the best tamales I’ve ever had. One tamale is plenty to eat and only costs BZ$0.75. Whenever I go out to sea, I try to bring home a couple of hogfish. The flesh is white and very mild and is delicious baked. Last night we had it served with scalloped potatoes, rice and beans, cucumber slices, carrots.

I usually get a letter from home on Wednesdays, so I’ll stop by Peace Corps to see if I have a letter today. It’s always good to hear the news from home.

[Photos: Lamanai, Belize, February 1977.]

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Re: Long ago Peace Corps Days, by Alan Jackson [Re: Marty] #552683
09/14/21 10:55 AM
09/14/21 10:55 AM
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Journal Entry 37

February 21, 1977 / Belize City, Belize:

This week the circus came to town. The Suarez Brothers Circus from Mexico is in Belize City for a few days. On Sunday morning I walked over to Denton’s house and then we both went over to check out the circus activity in the empty lot by Belcan Bridge. It seems to be a large circus, and I’m sure they do put on a good show. I may go see it later this week.

Yesterday afternoon I went on an Audubon field trip to Big Falls Ranch, a rice plantation about 20 miles west of the Belize City. It was a good trip, and we saw quite a few birds. It was especially fun because many of the birds we saw on this trip were quite exotic looking: great blue heron, wood storks, white fronted parrots, etc.

I was asked to bring home the barbeque grill from Fisheries today. I hope that means we’ll be having barbeque for dinner. A hunter comes by every few of weeks to sell us game meat.

I’ve just been given the assignment at work to develop a slideshow on the Fisheries Unit. We have a community involvement program and have a lot of school children coming through the lab. Mr. Miller thought it would be nice to have some slides to show them.

For the past six months all the water we’ve used at home has been rainwater that runs off the roof and into a vat. Yesterday we hooked up to the city pipe water as we are entering the dry season and have used up all the water in the vat. My only concern was that the pipe water would be colder than the water in the vat. (We don’t have a water heater.) It doesn’t seem to be, though.

My work is coming along okay. I have plenty to keep me busy and I’m sure I’ll be able to leave something behind to help the fisheries of Belize. I hope I can use my work here to partially satisfy the thesis requirement for a master’s degree in biology or marine biology. I’ve written to UCSD to advise me. If I had known before coming down here, I’m sure I would be able to have gotten permission from Cal Poly to do this.

[Photo: Sugar storage and barges on Haulover Creek, Belize, 1977.]

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Re: Long ago Peace Corps Days, by Alan Jackson [Re: Marty] #552854
09/22/21 10:19 AM
09/22/21 10:19 AM
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Journal Entry 38

February 28, 1977 / Belize City, Belize:

Yesterday I went up to Orange Walk Town to watch a football game between Orange Walk and Stann Creek. Each district has a team, and they play a round robin competition to decide who will come to Belize City to play the City All-Stars. Orange Walk is leading the district competition but was only able to manage a tie (1-1) yesterday with Stann Creek.

I was particularly happy to go on this trip because I was not going with other PCVs, but with a group of boys that hang out on Dean Street by the canal. This group of boys is well-known for giving tourists, Peace Corps, or any other gringos a hard time. I walk down Dean Street every day on my way home from work and have gotten to know these guys. They invited me along on the trip to Orange Walk. They chartered a 20-passenger bus from Gordon’s Tours for the trip. It cost us BZ$7.50 apiece. The bus was air-conditioned and had a stereo tape player. It is not possible to go to Orange Walk, stay for the game, and return to Belize City in the same day on the regular buses. This Gordon’s Tours bus worked out well. So, 19 Dean Street boys and I went up to check out Orange Walk. It was truly a chance to participate in Belize on a Belizean level.

[Photo: Southern Foreshore, Belize City, September 17, 1978.]

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Re: Long ago Peace Corps Days, by Alan Jackson [Re: Marty] #553011
09/30/21 04:53 AM
09/30/21 04:53 AM
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Journal Entry 39

March 7, 1977 / Belize City, Belize:

This was the weekend for the annual caye trip for the graduating St. Catherine’s seniors, and the Fisheries Unit helped to make it a success.

Each year the girls’ teacher invites them out to the family’s caye for a weekend. This year I was invited along, too. Twenty-five girls, their teacher and I left Belize aboard a sailboat Friday afternoon and got out to the caye just in time to set up camp before dark.

There is only a small cabin on the caye which could not accommodate all the girls, so we brought along a large army tent for them. I organized a few of the girls to set up the tent while the others unpacked, set up the kitchen, etc. It was the kind of tent that I had used before, so it was only the 20-knot wind that made the job difficult. I got the tent up quickly, only suffering a few blisters from pounding the tent stakes with a crescent wrench. A night swim helped me recover sufficiently to eat some lobster casserole. After dinner, the girls sang Caribbean folk songs accompanied by guitar, clinking pint bottles, cheese grater, pots, etc.

The caye is quite nice, but it is small and not located on the reef, so there is a limited number of things to do there. Saturday morning, I was just thinking how the girls might soon get bored, when off in the distance I spotted the Fisheries Unit approaching and knew that now things would start to happen. With the teacher’s permission I had persuaded David and Denton to come out to the caye for Saturday. We kept the girls entertained by taking them fishing, for boat rides, to a swimming beach, etc. Without the help of the Fisheries Unit the girls would not have been able to get out to the reef, either. They seemed to enjoy fishing the most but were not too good at it. They did catch enough fish for panadas the next day.

Just before dark, as David and Denton had to go back to Belize, we discovered that we needed some supplies and asked them if they would bring back some things for us Sunday morning. They said they would. That night we had barbecued chicken and salad and after dinner the girls started jamming again.

The Fisheries Unit arrived early Sunday morning and again proved to be of invaluable assistance. More fishing, cleaning fish, panadas, swimming, trip to the reef and it was nearly dark, time to go back to Belize. The trip back was lovely. We sailed on a large lighter (working sailboat) and got back about 9:00 p.m.

I just received a letter from the Smithsonian Institute inviting me to visit their research station on Carrie Bow Caye, one of the prettiest cayes in Belize -- right on the reef. I’ll be flying down to Stann Creek 21 March and take a boat to the caye from there. I may be staying anywhere from 3 to 7 days there. It should be educational as well as enjoyable.

[Photo: Small caye with a cabin and dock near Gallow’s Point Reef, 1977.]

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Re: Long ago Peace Corps Days, by Alan Jackson [Re: Marty] #553037
10/01/21 06:20 AM
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Fisheries Unit Scuba Training

It looked like I might finally get a chance to do some scuba diving. In September 1976 the Canadian government provided the Fisheries Unit with a grant for the purchase of scuba diving equipment. Peace Corps Volunteer Howard and I put together a “wish list” of US$10,000 worth of U.S. Divers Professional scuba gear. The list included tanks, harnesses, regulators, weight belts, facemasks, fins, flashlights, catch bags, wet suits, a Nikonos III camera and an air compressor.

Of the Fisheries staff, only Howard and Silvano were certified divers, and Silvano would be leaving soon. He got a job with the newly formed Belizean Airways Limited. BAL had five Boeing 707-720 planes that they bought for a total of US$1,000,000, including a 132-passenger airliner, one cargo plane, and three “junkers” that they cannibalize for spare parts. After making only one flight, a truck at the Belize International Airport ran into BAL’s only operable passenger plane and tore a hole in the fuselage. So, BAL did not start regular service to Miami as scheduled.

The scuba gear arrived in April 1977, and Mr. Miller contacted the British Army at the small garrison adjacent to the airport to see if they would provide training for us. The British Army initially told Mr. Miller that they could not spare the personnel to train us, but later indicated that they were willing to conduct training for us beginning in late June. It would be an abbreviated training course and would not include certification, but it would be sufficient for what we may be doing in the immediate future.

On July 4, our scuba diving instruction began. Two British soldiers, Paul and Mick, came out to the Fisheries laboratory to lecture us. Paul, English and clean shaven, was a sergeant and seemed to be in charge. He was a pleasant and capable young man, 28 years old, and had been in the Army for 11 years. He was engaged to a Belize girl and planned to remain in Belize to live when he got out of the service in three months. His partner, Mick, was a redheaded Scotsman with a closely cropped full beard and a thick accent. They both seemed delighted to be away from their regular duties.

The scuba training was for the benefit of Janet, Colin, Denton, Jen, Romi and me. Howard, who was already a certified diver, would be participating as a refresher course. Jen was a reluctant participant. She was not the “outdoorsy” type and did not seem to relish field work. Romi was at home suffering from a bad cold, so he was not available for the start of training.

Paul and Mick gave short shrift to the science of scuba diving. The relevant aspects of physics, physiology and oceanography were glossed over. They did, however, stress two important rules: never hold your breath while ascending, and never dive alone. After presenting the basics of scuba diving in the classroom, we were ready and eager to strap on the tanks and go into the water.

We were to continue training the next day at the Fort George Hotel swimming pool, but Paul and Mick had to rush to the Guatemalan front. While we at Fisheries were focused on scuba training, the British Forces were focused on the Guatemalan troops massing at the border and threatening to invade Belize.

Great Britain had sent troops to reinforce the garrison in Belize in the face of a mounting confrontation with Guatemala. The Royal Navy frigate HMS Achilles took up a position in Belizean waters on July 5 when British forces were moved to within two miles of the Guatemalan border. Two days later a Hawker Harrier fighter detachment was deployed in Belize while several hundred extra troops were flown in by transport aircraft. The next day anti-aircraft missiles were positioned to defend Belize's only airport.

After a few days, the tension along the border with Guatemala eased, and Paul and Mick returned to Fisheries to continue our scuba training.

We spent two mornings in the Fort George Hotel swimming pool learning the basics. Everyone except Jen seemed to do fine. Jen was obviously not comfortable in the water but was giving it her best effort. Romi was still at home nursing his head cold.

I was thrilled to be using the Fort George pool. Fort George was the only three-star hotel in Belize. In fact, there were no other hotels in the country that rated higher than one star. Fort George was the epitome of luxury, at least, compared to my meager existence as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

In the 1970s the price of Coca Cola and beer was controlled by the government, so you could drink a Belikin beer in the Paddle Bar at the Fort George, replete with air conditioning, sea view, waistcoated waiters and all, for 65 cents. That is, if you drank out of the bottle. If you asked for a glass, they could charge whatever they wanted. I confess that, as a poor Peace Corps Volunteer, I took advantage of this "loophole" a few times. I would sip my drink straight out of the bottle and look down at the hotel guests lounging by the pool and pretend that I was among them living in the lap of luxury.

The British Army maintained a house on St. George’s Caye that they used for a rest and recuperation facility. Paul suggested that we do our ocean dives near St. George’s Caye so that we could use their R&R facility during lunch breaks.

We did our first ocean dive in the morning and went down to only 15 feet on the inside of the reef. Almost immediately Jen sucked in a lot of water and panicked. I swam over to her, kept her afloat and got her to the boat. She was frightened, and I could tell that she probably would not dive again. Scuba diving was just not her “cup of tea.”

During our lunchbreak at St George’s Caye we used the British Army’s air compressor and recharged our tanks. Denton and I borrowed a couple of the Army’s kayaks and had some fun until I overturned on a mass of jellyfish and was stung over my entire body.

After lunch, Howard, Denton, Colin, Paul and I dove on the deep side of the reef. We all checked out okay at 45 feet. Janet had a cold so could not dive, and Romi was still sick at home.

Communication among us was a challenge. Paul was English, Mick was Scottish, Romi and Denton spoke Creole, Colin was from Mauritius, a former British colony in the Indian Ocean, Janet was Belizean and educated in England, Howard was from Florida, and I was from Southern California. On the surface, nobody quite knew what anybody else was talking about. But once we went under water, all communication was by sign language, and we could understand each other perfectly.

The next day neither of Fisheries’ skiffs was available because none of the outboard motors was in working order. Colin offered to take us out in his sailboat. Unaware of the condition of Colin’s boat, Paul immediately took Colin up on his offer.

Romi had recovered from his cold but remained at the lab to try to repair the broken outboard motors. That meant that Romi had not yet made any actual scuba dives, not even in the Fort George Hotel swimming pool.

Colin’s sailboat was an old, waterlogged converted fishing smack. With a 25 horsepower outboard mounted on the transom and carrying six adults, its top speed was only five miles per hour. Our dive spot, the reef in front of St. George’s Caye, was 10 miles away. We settled in for a two-hour journey on a swelteringly hot and breezeless day. Sergeant Paul was not amused.

We finally reached our dive spot and set the anchor. The water depth on the outside of the reef at St. George’s Caye gradually increases to about 30 feet and then drops off steeply at the wall to just over 100 feet where it then gradually slopes even deeper. We dove the face of the wall to 80 feet. It was a beautiful dive with plenty of corals, sponges and sea fans. At 80 feet we could spend up to 30 minutes at depth without decompressing, but we began our ascent after just a few minutes.

We were soon back in the boat and ready to head back to Belize. Colin started the outboard motor, Denton pulled up the anchor, and we were underway. In typical Fisheries Unit fashion, we ran out of gas before reaching the city. With a gentle breeze now coming out of the southeast, Colin raised the mainsail. We slowly sailed the final mile back to the Barracks. Paul was satisfied that Denton, Colin and I were ready and capable of diving to 120 feet. Weather permitting, and outboard motors repaired, the “big dive” was set for the next day.

The next morning Romi had the outboards running, and he, Denton, Colin, Howard, Paul and I took the skiff to the reef off St. George’s Caye. We set the anchor in about 30 feet of water, near to the drop-off. After a few words of caution from Paul, we put on our gear and entered the water. We descended as a group and kept close together. We reached the bottom at 130 feet. After just a couple of minutes Paul signaled for us to slowly ascend.

We were excited to have gone to such a depth. When we were back in the skiff it was all smiles and laughs. Paul slapped a high five with each of us, but when he got to Romi he suddenly got serious and asked, “Who are you?”

“I’m Romi, the boat captain.”

“Yes, I know, but you haven’t been a part of this training. Have you ever been scuba diving before?”

“No. This was the first time I ever had on tanks. This was my first dive. I couldn’t do the training with the others because I was home sick with a cold.”

Paul quietly said, “So, your first dive ever, the first time you ever put on a scuba tank, was to 130 feet? Please don’t tell anyone that I was responsible for that.”

Romi was unfazed, and Paul was relieved that his assignment with the Fisheries Unit had ended.

[Photo: Romi Badillo and Peace Corps Volunteer Howard Blakesley at the Fisheries Unit Laboratory, 1977.]

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Re: Long ago Peace Corps Days, by Alan Jackson [Re: Marty] #553156
10/06/21 06:26 PM
10/06/21 06:26 PM
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Journal Entry 40

March 17, 1977 / Belize City, Belize:

Dad is coming to Belize for a visit. I’ll meet him on Saturday afternoon, 2 April, at the airport. It looks now as if the whole family will travel with us south to Punta Gorda and San Antonio. This should be helpful because they really know the country and can show us around. Here is an itinerary that they are suggesting:

Saturday: Arrival (meet at airport), rest.
Sunday: Visit Belmopan, Xunantunich Maya ruins, Blue Hole (Hummingbird), and spend the night at Stann Creek.
Monday: Drive on down to Punta Gorda, and then into San Antonio.
Tuesday: Check out Toledo District, especially Maya Villages.
Wednesday: The long drive back to Belize City (7-8 hours).
Thursday: Catch a ride out to the family’s caye.
Friday: Reef and caye
Saturday: Back to Belize City, mess around town.
Sunday: Departure.

If Dad wants to see some of the northern parts of Belize, we could probably do that, too, but it seems with a limited amount of time you have to leave something out.

I’m going to try to arrange it so that on the trip down south we can stay at Peace Corps homes instead of hotels. This will help save some money, although it may also be necessary as there are no hotels in San Antonio, and only one in Stann Creek. The major cost will be the Land Rover and gas which I can help with.

Dad asked if he could bring down some things for the family. They suggested he bring down some Easter candies for the girls. Novelties such as that are expensive here.

I’m going to a dance this Friday at Fort George, so I had to buy a pair of dress slacks. Couldn’t find anything nice, so I bought a cut of gray gabardine and am having a tailor make me the pants. The cloth cost BZ$11.00 and the tailor is charging BZ$7.00. So, for US$9.00 I will have my first tailor-made piece of clothing.

[Photo: Fisheries staff conducting fieldwork near Cangrejo Caye, Belize, 1977.]

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Re: Long ago Peace Corps Days, by Alan Jackson [Re: Marty] #553295
10/13/21 10:06 AM
10/13/21 10:06 AM
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Journal Entry 41

March 21, 1977 / Stann Creek Town, Belize:

I came down to Stann Creek with the boys from Dean Street to watch a football game between Stann Creek and Orange Walk. The winner of this game would more than likely win the inter-district title. The game ended up 0 to 0, so nothing was really settled. We came down on the Gordon’s Tours bus, again.

My plan was to not go back to Belize City with the Dean Street boys, but to spend the night in Stann Creek since I was scheduled to go out to Carrie Bow Caye (on the reef, 14 miles southeast of Stann Creek) on Monday morning (today). The wind is blowing too hard to go out today, so I’ll wait until tomorrow.

I stayed with Peace Corps Volunteer Tom Duffy last night and will stay with him again tonight. Tom teaches chemistry at Stann Creek Ecumenical. Right now, I’m locked out of his house because Tom is at work and we both thought I would be going out to Carrie Bow this morning. I guess I’ll just sit on the beach and do a little reading until Tom gets back about 4:00 p.m. I’ll just have to make the best of a good situation. Also, it gives me a chance to write in my journal.

I am welcome to stay on Carrie Bow Caye for 7–10 days, but I’ll go back to Belize in plenty of time to make arrangements for Dad’s visit. There won’t be much for me to do on Carrie Bow.

Last Friday night I went to a dance at the Fort George Hotel. It was a fundraiser for St. Catherine’s Academy. It was an enjoyable evening, which for me is saying a lot because I am not much of a dancer. The Lord Rhaburn Combo, the best band in Belize, played and they really are quite good, playing everything from disco to funk to reggae to calypso.

Yesterday I started reading a book which, although quite ordinary in a literary sense, is quite amusing. It’s Herman Wouk’s “Don’t Stop the Carnival.” It’s about an American who runs a tourist resort in the Caribbean.

Last Saturday Debbie, Einar and I caught a ride in a Mini-Moke out to Burrell Boom to swim in the river. A ferry crosses the river there. I recognized a boy from Belize City who was swimming and playing on the ferry. This guy was climbing to the roof of the ferry and jumping off into the river. In no time he showed me how to climb up, and I was diving off the roof of the ferry, too. It was really a lot of fun. Also, Einar and I swam underneath the ferry from one side to the other. That was quite a thrill since it is pitch black under the ferry. It was good exercise, too, since we had to constantly fight the flow of water. When we got back, we ate at a Chinese restaurant. It was a nice treat to eat out for once.

[Photo: A house on the riverbank, Belize, 1977.]

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