Tales of Belizean plumbing

You knew it couldn't be that easy, right?
The plumber came, about noon on Friday. He left us a bathroom covered in raw sewage. T. cleaned the bathroom....and a couple hours later we discovered the toilet is still not working. Then SA went to take a shower in the bathroom with the working toilet. And the shower wont't catch- it insists on coming out as bath water. We don't even have a bathtub stopper here. J. attempts to resurrect the shower, no luck. It is 8pm on friday night, and we are down to one working toilet (in a bathroom with a broken shower and half-draining sink) and one working sink (in a bathroom with a half-draining shower and a broken toilet). For eight people. Attempted to go to the store to put credit on the volunteer cellphone, and Cost Less Mart was closed. This morning....well, Cost Less insisted that they don't sell phone credit. Phone credit was purchased elsewhere, the director was phoned, and she very casually said that she'd let the landlord know. Not anticipating a change in circumstances any time soon.

I can't possibly describe how much I love Belize, or how crazy it makes me. Whatever nutcase called the US a "melting pot" has obviously never been here. I'm a native English speaker and conversational in Spanish, so one would think I could manage....but frankly, speaking someone's 3rd or 4th language is less than ideal. Why does the US act as if it's normal to only speak one language?

The languages of Belize are Maya, German, Creole, German, Spanish, English, Lebanese, Hindi, and even more I'm sure....
Belize is Maya and Mennonite, Creole and Garifuna, British Colonialism, retired expats and college kids from around the world. In setting appointments I'm honestly not sure when people expect me to show up- it depends on how Western they are! And I can't tell by looking at anyone whether or not we'll be able to understand each other.

The adventure of a lifetime-with the mosquito bites thrown in for free!


paul bowman said…
It does sound exciting. You might post some photos.

There must be people in a town like that who know how to get things fixed. If so, though, a shame the setup there doesn't give you access to them. Makes me curious about social & economic connection and how that's supposed to be developed.

Historically there has been enormous linguistic & cultural diversity in the U.S. — particularly in urban industrial centers. We've had sizeable communities of people speaking German, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Yiddish, Farsi, Arabic, Chinese, &c &c. Nor is this entirely a thing of the past. (Come check out the Korean signage on the street here in Catonsville/Ellicott City sometime — just for instance.)

The popularity of that melting pot idea was a reflection not only of the extraordinary ethnic mix, but of the strong tendency for immigrant identity & language to fade & be replaced, under pressure of economic opportunity and the breadth & intensity of political engagement — which were, or seemed to be at least, new things in the world of the 18th & 19th centuries. Monolingual culture is really the effect, today, for better or worse, of what has been described as the melting pot. It's a process through which differentiation tends to be overcome.

(some interesting stuff — not surprisingly — on Wikip.)
paul bowman said…
Re. diversity, by the way, you might find discussion with Darrell, here, interesting.
charis said…
well,posting photos requires a faster internet connection than I've been able to access here in town....

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