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August 3 – 11, 2002

The trip to Belize was a "Volunteer In Mission" group from the Grace Methodist Church in Oklahoma City, OK. Twenty one of us gathered together at the OKC Airport to go on a construction trip to Corozal, and vacation Bible school in the small town of Libertad, Belize, Central America.

I took about 2,000 strings with me and started in the airport, teaching the team members some of the string figures. We had the attention of some of the other passengers and so some of the team members, when they learned a figure, taught some one else. What a great way to wait.

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When we arrived in the Belize City we were bussed to Corozal which is on the North coast. Stayed in a nice Motel on the beach. The water is too polluted to get in the bay, but it was nice to look at. We then went out to Libertad to scout out the site. While there we met a couple of teenagers playing at the school. I showed them a couple of string figures and told them to come back with their friends tomorrow and we would learn some more.

They did come back and brought some friends. In fact some of the team, who were used to working with younger students, were not too happy to have this older influence. It seems they were not so interested in the cutting and pasting, they wanted to learn more string stuff. We reached a whole new group we had not planned on reaching. It was awesome. We worked with them for the week and they became most accomplished.

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That was in the morning. In the afternoon we worked on a construction site in Corozal, starting a dormitory for mission workers. At the site one of the men knew about the string stuff because his children were at the Bible school. He wanted to learn something so I taught him some…then guess what. Someone else wanted to learn. Some of the team members became involved in teaching also. What great fun.

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Everywhere we went, one of us would pull out their string and draw the interest of someone nearby. Then the sharing began. In restaurants, parks, parks or wherever we were.

We took a little time for sight seeing and went to the Blue Hole. There the ranger knew a couple of string figures. He blew me away when he did a Navajo figure and called it a "Hammock". He was originally from El Salvador and said he learned it as a child.

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At the Mayan ruins one of the soldiers also made the "Hammock". It makes me wonder if the Mayan people had the figure before the Navajo? It is so interesting to see something like that in the local culture then being able to say, "Did you know you could make a "Crucifix" from that figure.", and then showing them how to do it. Paul did that with the Greek statue to the unknown God.

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Also at the Mayan ruins we had quite a wait for our lunch and so were able to show some figures to people waiting for the ferry to take them across the river. We did a lot of good sharing at that time. Some of the people were proud that they also knew some figures.

We also visited the National Zoo in Belmopan. A movie company has collected some native animals and used them for a Tarzan movie. When they were done they offered them to Belize. The government set aside some land and fenced it in. Mostly with regular hog wire fencing and put the animals in.

The one pen had a sign that said "Deer and Iguana". As you stood there you could see Iguana climbing the fence and getting out while others were climbing the fence to get in. I guess they feed them there so there are always some in the fence.

I loved the signs – in English, that they had.

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Notice the red tiger near the fence with the skeleton nearby. That skeleton was out where you could touch it, and yet was in perfect shape.

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Monkeys …

And of course I needed to have their local Boa Constrictor look at one of my string figures.

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Hopefully I can get back. Pastor Roosevelt, our local connection said that he could work out an itinerary where I could go from village to village, hosted by the local clergy and working with schools and churches.

Waiting to hear from him what would be the best time to go. August was not the best time to be in the jungle. Hot and steamy.