Sunday, March 4, 2012

Journals from Belize: 2-3-12 afternoon

Journals from Belize:
2-3-12 afternoon
Our meeting with Andreas did not go as well as I had hoped.  He was in bed when we arrived and claimed to be ill with fever.  His prescription of anti-biotic on the table next to his hammock somewhat legitimized his claim.  However, there was a hint of mellow drama as he squirmed nervously during our visit with him.  So he is out for sure on today's training and questionable for tomorrow’s health check as well.  This is a hiccough for certain, but not worth stressing much over.  This is the nature of expeditions.  Things rarely, if ever, go off as planned.  Resources and contacts frequently fall through or must be re-arranged.  This too will soon get sorted out. 
Sorting supplies for the villages
Anna, Anne & Breaux
Chad and Breaux helping Andreas
Back at the clinic Carlos and Anna are working through medical treatment scenarios with the rest of the MedicForce volunteers.  Afterwards I find a quiet moment to talk to Carlos about his trainings with the Toledo Ministry of Health and page through the binder they have given to him.
Carlos and Jono
Health checks at the clinic
Sign at Laguna Health Post
In addition to useful heath information, the notebook contains his many certifications, of which, I can tell he is proud.  When I make mention of them he quickly disappears into the T.E.A hut and returns to show off multiple I.D. badges with his name and photo on them issued by the Ministry of Health.  Carlos is fully invested in his role despite the fact that he receives little in terms of compensation.  Welcome to public health and education. 
Laguna Village
 Somehow between training and dinner we find time to hike to the ridge that reaches several hundred feet above Laguna Village.  We dub the event “Jono’s Discount Jungle Tours”, and head up single file like a group of leaf cutter ants…only less dangerous and not whatsoever adept at jungle travel. 
Hiking to the ridge
 Half way up Carlos stops and points abruptly yet calmly, “Don’t touch that plant there.  Those ants bite very hard.” He informs.  I heed his warning and pass by gingerly careful not to slip on the steep and muddied jungle floor. 
Termite mound
 We are also very cautious of the “Bastard Tree”, a vine like plant possessing spiny thorns that could make any a porcupine jealous.  We are almost to the top when from the rear of the line I can hear Jono declare, in his token British accent “OK folks, this is a bit sketchy up here.  This is at your own risk.”  Classic.  Topping out requires just a few careful climbing moves over rock that is rough like coral raised form the ocean floor and dried in the hot Belizean sun. 
 High above the village, the view is almost too much to take in.  To the west we can see past a lake into the mountains beyond.  For the first time we are able to view the valley we have been inhabiting for the past week.  It is a beautiful sprawling mass of palm and citrus interrupted only by a broken shelf which vaguely represents the Guatemalan border.  The sun is setting and the ridge is lit up by a shower of flashbulbs.  Behind us ridges converge forming a jungle chasm too deep to capture by film or photo.  The talk is of Jaguar and Howler Monkey. 
Bryan & Breaux with Jono and The Crew
Prior to our descent my mind wanders off to an earlier conversation.  The problems of humanity seem so unsolvable.  We search for a life that is sustainable, but do we really know what that would look like?  How do you find something, where do you begin to look when you don’t quite know WHAT it actually is?  This is why we are here.  This is the riddle we are attempting to solve.  For me the answer is as simple as it is complex…you look everywhere, and you never stop.

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