What a great weekend! Friday Carly and I got to leave school at lunch to go on a trip to Dangriga with the students of Galen University. Joshua, the international provost arranged the trip. He offers a drumming class at the university and invited us to tag along. We began the bumpy two and a half hour drive south. Some other international students came along and we met two girls from Canada, Amber and Kristina, and two guys from the United States, Sean from Michigan and Trevor from Nebraska. It was really nice to meet some other international students and we've planned to hang out with them more these last couple of weeks. Hanging out with the Galen students was a blast! We stayed at a hotel on the beach called Pal's Guest House and it had air conditioning. It was such a luxury and I slept like a baby! We all hung out on the beach and listened to Belizian music. We went to an authentic restaurant restaurant for dinner and I had rice and beans. Then we went to a seaside area with a huge thatched hut where our drumming activities took place. That night we were treated to a live band called, Sweet Pain, Baby! The band consisted of women and men in traditional dress that performed music from the culture in Dangriga, using a variety of drums. It is tradition that the women come out and pull out members in the audience to dance. Before we knew it, we were all out there dancing, paying no attention to how ridiculous we looked. The music here is so difficult to dance to. It is extremely fast. I mean I love to dance and all, but it was definitely a challenge. I learned that as long as you are moving your feet and hips, you are good. After the drumming activity, a dance party at Di Spot was planned for us as another live band was playing. It was so much fun! We danced the night away until about 2:00 a.m. We ended the night by hanging out on the beach with our new friends.
Saturday, we woke up and went back to the thatched hut on the beach for our next drumming activity. Together as students, we labored all day and made our very own drum. I can now say that I know exactly how a drum is made. It is such tedious, but beautiful work. About seven to eight drums can be made out of a single log, depending on the size. To prepare the drums, the logs are cut with a chainsaw, measured and sketched out with a makeshift compass, then the bark is peeled off. Next, the drum is cut out using the sketch from the compass markings and then hollowed out using a chainsaw. Then the wood is sanded until it is as soft as a baby's bottom. While this is occurring, either goat, sheep, or deer skin is used to create the top part of the drum. A knife is used to shave off the hair or fur. Vines from the jungle are used to secure the animal skin over the top of the drum and rope is then used to stretch and tighten the skin to create the drum. We worked all day long and finally completed our drum. I now understand why these drums are so expensive. The small drums are around $200 U.S. It was so nice to work outside on the beach and enjoy the sea breeze. Even though the temperature was in the upper 90s, we didn't even notice because the breeze was so nice. For lunch we got to buy fresh fruit and juice from for the local market. I am really going to miss being able to take a five minute walk to go buy some watermelon and pineapple when I come back to the U.S. We left Dangriga in the late afternoon and got back to San Ignacio in the evening. We were exhausted from the trip and were excited for a relaxing night with friends at a barbecue. At the barbecue, I tried chicken feet. Let's just say that I won't be eating it again. It was probably the craziest thing I have ever tried, but hey, at least I can say I tried it. Our friends want us to try iguana before we leave, but I don't know if I am bold enough for that.
So far we have had a very relaxing Sunday, which has been extremely nice. We got to sleep in for the first time in awhile and then we grabbed breakfast at a local restaurant called Pop's. The restaurant is owned by one of my student's mom. She invited Carly and I for a free breakfast, and we took full advantage. Later today we are going to go to a ranch with a couple of friends, do some horseback riding, have another barbecue, and swim in the river. You've got to love Sundays!