First off I apologise both for the pun in the title (it had to be done!) and for the wait for this blog. I’ve been quite ill over the last week hence the delay, but you’ll find out more about that later on!
Our two-day journey to Belize started on Saturday 1st October with a 4.30am bus to Gracias and then another to Santa Rosa. Here we met up with the girls from Tomalà and had a quick Subway pit stop before another bus to Copan and then the border. Eventually, about 14 hours after setting off, we made it to our stop for the night in Chiquimulas in Guatemala. I think overall I can say that our first border crossing was a success, even with having to go back and forth between Honduran immigration and Guatemalan immigration to get all the necessary stamps but nobody got deported, so that’s good right?
The next day went like this – bus, boat, bus, boat. While most of our travelling was pretty stress free we did cut it fine to get the last water taxi to our final destination in Belize, a caye-like town called Placencia. When we did eventually get there, a short walk took us to where we would be staying for the next five nights. Had we arrived in paradise? Not quite, just the Sailfish resort but close enough.
The four of us were joined the next day by Beth and Ellie, the two volunteers from Siguatepeque, and it was just the six of us until the rest of the group arrived on Wednesday evening.
Those first few days consisted of late breakfasts, beachy mornings, poolside afternoons and nights spent at Tipsy Tuna, a beachside sports bar. One day we rented kayaks to take out into the sea, which was very fun despite the fact I didn’t see a single wave the whole time we were there! When everyone else arrived on Wednesday night we ventured to Barefoot, a neighbouring bar that was reopening after renovation works. Must say, much better atmosphere there than at Tipsy’s and a wider and cheaper cocktail selection!
While it was absolutely great to have a holiday, a bit of R&R, and to see everyone else and catch up with those we hadn’t seen since arriving in Honduras two long months ago, it was unfortunately spoiled a bit for me when I started to feel ill on the Wednesday. It completely knocked me for six and made travelling home over Friday and Saturday (which involved another boat and four buses as well as an overnight stay in San Pedro Sula, murder capital of the world) very difficult.
Once we eventually got home I was bed ridden for a few days before we had a visit from the legends that are Vegas, our in-country rep for PT, and John Fraser, Overseas Director for PT who is based on Coll. I was able to rouse myself a bit for their visit though Vegas, who we had met up with on our way home from Belize in San Pedro thanks to fortunate timing, was still concerned and organised for me to be taken for a blood test the next day.
Being ill is obviously very hard when you are this far away from home. You don’t have the same foods that you crave, the heat makes everything much more difficult and, hardest of all, there’s no cuddles from your mum. I have managed to make through however and am back to fighting fitness. I think it was mostly just the flu but the blood test showed I am a little anaemic too so they have sorted me out with a mountain of pills!
Anyway, everything is back to normal now. We spent this weekend paying football with some fifth graders, making more tomato soup (for our hosts this time) and going down to the river for a swim. This coming weekend we are heading to Santa Rosa to meet with 8 other volunteers to celebrate three birthdays that are coming up. And then it’s the very quick countdown to when we go travelling for 10 weeks over Christmas starting in the middle of November!