With a bus, as most days do. The kind stranger will smoosh her small children over in the 2-person bus seat to make room for you as she smiles and points to the six-inch space she has graciously reserved for you. As a foreigner, the gesture is overwhelmingly kind and courteous. The journey continues as we jiggle and bounce through the country-side, taking in all the scenery, smells, and the occasional nodding of our heads. What a beautiful and encouraging beginning for the day.
The first meeting took place at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, located in Belmopan. Carlos Fuller gave a detailed and educational presentation surrounding the issues with climate change and how it impacts the Caribbean. A main point focused on the coral reef and specifically the barrier it provides against huge storms. There are many elaborate efforts taking place throughout the Caribbean to educate and empower those in the direct line of impact to start improving programs considering the imminent climate change for the Caribbean.
After touring the climate change headquarters, a Belizean fire chief was kind enough to speak with us about the protocol, or lack thereof, when fires arise in the country. The process, like too many things, touch more hands than necessary and inevitably, unnecessary damage ensues. However, while the outlook may be bleak, Ted Smith’s desire to see a better implementation of emergency management was evident.
Lunch then consisted of six women sitting around a table, enjoying the local rice, beans, and plantains for the next couple hours.
The bus was exactly the same going as it was coming, all the way down to each jiggle and smooshing of butts.
La Loma Luz Adventist Hospital sits on a beautiful hill overlooking the cities of surrounding Belize. The hospital ran quite efficiently, more so than imagined. While there are issues, from diet of the staff, to lack of technology and resources, the facility is quite impressive, and still budgeting room for growth. As we wandered the dimly lit hallways, maneuvering the twists of past add-ons, a great appreciation for hospitals in the States was clear.
However, the size of the hospital and the wards and wings they offered surprised me. We toured every single stock cabinet, laboratory, pharmacy, surgical room, and specialty ward our eyes were allowed to view. Ardis McPherson, the 4’10 hospital administrator, gave a detailed history of the site as well as the donors over the years that have dutifully kept this center of healing running. As an aspiring nurse with my love of clinical work, the experience was overwhelming and exhilarating. A simple tour of a hospital became so much more.
The day ended with a bus and some local rice and beans.