Saturday, August 15, 2009

East to Hopkins Village

On Saturday, August 8th we headed from San Ignacio to the Caribbean coast with a few shopping stops on the way, 1 for souvenirs and gifts, 1 for groceries for our meals on Glover’s Atoll. Mariah and Greg flew to Belize City and hopped a small plane to Dangriga where we met them (PHOTO 1) before heading as a group of 9 to Hopkins Village. Hopkins is a Garifuna village, a cultural group with strong ties to Africa. PHOTO 2 shows the beach from our cabin at the Hopkins Inn, PHOTO 3 our shopping stop for fruit, and PHOTO 4 the Holeman boys playing in the warm surf at dusk. We ate a typical Belizean dinner at a diner called Iris’s, then headed to the north part of town for a drumming and dance demonstration (PHOTO 5). The Lebeha Drumming Center is keeping Garifuna music and culture alive for the next generation; we enjoyed their talent and enthusiasm and most of us threw caution and good sense to the wind and took our turns on the dance floor.

We have friends in our hometown who were Peace Corps volunteers in Hopkins Village 20 years ago, before there was electricity and running water. Lucille and Jim Torgerson helped with school projects and installed the first composting toilets. They are very fondly remembered here and Hopkins has a very special place in their hearts. They’ve been collecting books for the library in town and our nephew, Tyler, has been hauling them along this whole trip in order to donate them. The books were donated in the memory of Mary, a special friend and teacher in Hopkins who passed away in December; they will be housed in Miss Bertie’s Library, the project of another Peace Corps volunteer who passed away in Hopkins during her service there. It is currently run by Lois, a Canadian expat. PHOTOS 6 and 7 show Tyler with Lois in the library with the books and the family with Lois in front of the building.

When Mariah, Greg, Mike, and I returned to Hopkins after our visit to Glover’s we celebrated Garifuna culture with a traditional meal served by Terese. PHOTOS 8 and 9 show the food (snapper, kasava bread, lime aid, and banana dumplings) and Terese and her home. PHOTO 10 shows Mariah and Greg by their little cabin at the Hopkins Inn before we left on Sunday morning. HAPPY TRAILS!

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