By: Susan Eichenauer
The people, their life stories and their rich history is why I want I experience the 2012 Maya Winter Solstice
Sitting on the bank of the Moho River in the Toledo District, Senida a thirteen year old Mayan girl, relates wanting to go to high school but instead her father has found a man for her to marry. Senida asks the high school students I am traveling with what school is like in the US and they ask her about life in Belize. We are all richer from the experience.
On break from building a library for a school in Conejo Belize, I cut a pineapple purchased at the market. Immediately school children are next to us saying “Please Miss.” We share our pineapple and in return they share mangos. One girl, Juanita, offers us a drink of her cloudy drinking water. After sharing a small meal together we start a quick game of soccer. All are richer from the experience.
One evening Rhea, A Mayan woman with five children, invites me to dinner. Her children eat on the floor while we share stories of what motherhood is like in Belize and the US. We see that we are more alike than different. We both worry about our children’s health, education and future and we both love to cook. We are richer from the experience.
In June 2010, I chaperoned eighteen high school students on a trip to the Toledo District in Belize. There we gained a narrow view of life in Belize. Winning this trip will give me a greater appreciation for Mayan history while also gaining additional perspectives of life in Belize. It is only after that happens that I can fully appreciate the lives of the people I met in the Toledo District. I would love for my husband of twenty years to learn why I love, respect and admire the Mayan people so much.