Right now I'm sitting at Flayva's (which used to be Eva's, if you happen to be checking a Belize tour guide). Just polished off an awesome lime juice, and am making my way through a plate of nachos. Ah well...I'll burn those calories in the hike up the hill.

I was supposed to run a focus group today. It's M's (the program coordinator here) birthday. And she was supposed to be leading women's group. So N (the main volunteer working with the women's group) and I thought we'd give her the evening off. Women's group was supposed to meet at 4:30, and, this being Latin America, no one showed up until 5. And in comes M, with a folder. She does a lesson on self esteem, self confidence, public speaking and poetry reading (involving US pop songs, of all things) and doesn't finish up until 6:30. I laugh, and introduce myself and my project to the four women there. One of whom only speaks Spanish. And- even though M is a native Belizean, who grew up in Benque and San Ignacio, my Spanish is better than hers. Yep...even though it's been three years since I've spoken it. The women seemed interested, and we'll see how it goes.

Of course, this is after several hours today spent trying to create a readable information sheet (in English...) and translating my focus group questions into Spanish (Dr. Pascucci, if you happen to be reading, I love you).

And it's okay. This is a perfect case of why Spanish has subjunctive verbs- sometimes things don't work, or you're just not sure. I've taken to laughing to myself and just saying "ojala." Which is the greatest word ever. It's a holdover from the Moorish invasion of Spain. "If Allah wills it." Ojala, I will do a focus group next week. Ojala, when I talk to M. tomorrow, she will have gotten in touch with a couple of the health care providers on our list. Ojala, tomorrow I will print off surveys and start doing those around town (Flayva's, Mr. Greedy's, Cayo Twist?).

And if not? There's another word for that here. Mañana.

It's 8pm here, and it's been dark for a while. Probably time to hike back up the hill to Cornerstone (and that's one steep hill!!) The catcalls have been a lot less present this year (gloria a Dios) but even without that reminder....I'm trying to be aware that I'm a young woman alone in a foreign country.

Though San Ignacio is becoming so familiar...


paul bowman said…
Never knew origin of ojalá. (Wikip. has a short entry with some further history.) Mmm, I feel smarter today.

Be safe down there Charis.

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