Leaving Belize City for San Pedro, we are ready for some cultural immersion on San Pedro.
Belize City to San Pedro was quite the experience; it's not every day you get to ride a ten passenger "puddle jumper." Takeoff was a little scary, but the view took my mind off the plan swaying in the breeze.
Welcome to San Pedro, Belize!
In the short time I've been here, I have found that each Belizean has his or her own story. Today I met Manuel, the snorkel guide/captain of the SeaDuced boat. A conversation with him revealed that he believed school wasn’t for him. Sitting in one place all day didn’t interest him as a child. He longed to be in the real-world receiving hands-on training to learn a skill. As a teen, he worked odd jobs to make money in Belize City, his hometown. Finally, at the age of sixteen, he had saved enough to come to San Pedro and start his life. His experiences with elders at each of his jobs helped him gain the knowledge to become a boat captain, master diver, and phenomenal guide, able to distinguish sergeant major from blue striped grunt and other types of fish that line the reef at Hol Chan Marine Reserve with ease. Looking back, he has no regrets.
This brief conversation revealed that diplomas in particular settings may not be relevant or the standard for everyone. In Belize, it's possible to make money and live without completing high school and it appears this may be the case for many children in this area. I'm going to continue to have conversations throughout the week with the natives to see if my conjecture holds true.