Today ends up being an “Awesome day” (Greg), and was a great opportunity to really meet some of the Belizean people!
For lunch, the guys headed over to a restaurant managed by Henry’s wife (the family that fed our guys lunch after church) – ate chicken fajitas with lemonade for $11.50bz. The men noticed several Mennonite women working outside the home, in restaurants and at the large Farmers Trading Co. store in S.L.
Visited with Abe at his job after lunch, and then met up with Carlos.
Carlos is partners with John in a business, and they are also good friends. It seemed that most men (at least those self-employed), had several different occupations – that maybe they had to diversify to make a living.?. Also, it sounded like the tax limits applied per business per month, so you could stay under the $1665 for each business (not all together), and not have to pay taxes; I’m not a tax consultant though, so…
In Spanish Lookout, the Mennonite church maintains several different schools, but they also run a ‘private’ mission school that caters to some of the local families that are not Mennonite, and some of the Mennonite families that cannot afford to send their children to the more expensive church schools. At this school, the young Mennonite ladies that serve as teachers (there are 2 classrooms) and the principle are all volunteers, and students pay $10bz. per month to attend. As far as the men saw, all students, throughout Belize, wear uniforms to school (seemed to apply in Mx also). In Belize, the children generally attend school through age 14, high school is considered optional. It seems that the family must pay a monthly fee for their students to attend ‘government/public’ schools, and it is considerably more than the $10/mo that the mission school charges. We didn’t really look into the details of this as it is not a consideration for us.
The guys met up with Carlos to help him with an end-of-the-year BBQ that he was having for the stu
dents and their families. The 4 guys helped him load his truck with folding chairs, and followed him out to the mission school. The BBQs ended up being approx. 4×4 ft. grids that were covered with chicken wire and hinged together, they had 2 steel rods extending from either end for turning. There were 2 of these BBQs going, and they cooked 3 – 5gal. buckets of chicken. The chicken had been marinating for 3 days, and when Carlos was asked for the recipe, he hesitated, teased about a price,… and we have yet to see it
Needless to say, it was very good! Some of the church ladies brought salads, and the kids all played while the adults visited. Greg said that it didn’t take long for those 8 or 10 little Mennonite boys to tire out his wimpy American self (though he blamed it on the heat!). They played several different games that Greg didn’t qui
te get the hang of, and one game like we play at home, but it was all in German, so he wasn’t EXACTLY sure what they were saying… In a tree near the schoolhouse was what looked like a ball, and about the size of a gallon jug. The boys told Greg that it was a bee’s nest, “and if many of them sting you, you die”… (they weren’t concerned)
At one point, Greg tried to video-tape the kids playing, but they noticed, and are very fascinated with technology. Soon they were all behind him watching the screen on the camcorder, and he had no one to tape! The boys were very polite, and were quite taken with Greg (maybe since he’s 19, he wasn’t as intimidating as the men). They showed Greg their school sketchbooks, and asked him questions about Everything! He loved it!