Friday, September 23, 2016

Independence Day, Ranchito Style

As I mentioned in my previous post, Wednesday was Independence Day here in Belize. We, along with our friends, Colleen and Bruce, decided to check out some of the festivities at the Ranchito Community Center.

Here's a shot of Colleen and Fernando Daniel.

Not only is he our Ace Master Gardner, but he also happens to be the newly elected Chairman of the Ranchito Village Council. And let me tell you, he is one of the most hard working, honest men I have ever known and we are proud to call him a friend. 

The festivities kicked off with a parade of local school children. Dressed in their school uniforms, all of the them sported flags and horns. Some even had patriotic (albeit temporary) tattoos.

The smallest munchkins got to ride in style.

And to keep the pace moving, there was even a drum corps.

Some of the children carried banners, including one displaying this year's theme.

We were also delighted to see the 2015 Queen of Ranchito and her successor, who was crowned later in the day. Aren't these beautiful young ladies?

I should note that the feel-like temperature was about 103 degrees. How they managed not to break a sweat is beyond me.

Later in the day there were a number of family-friendly festivities, followed by a dance.

While waiting for the parade to start, I took shots of some of the recent upgrades at the center. The Village Council and a number of other volunteers put in countless hours to make these enhancements happen in a very short period of time. 

The exterior of the center was repainted...

...and festooned with all manner of flags.

The fence surrounding the center also got fresh paint.

The base of the commemorative statue has been cleaned, and the angel on top repainted.

Also outside, in the back of the center, there are two new bathrooms. There are also two inside the center itself.

And speaking of inside the center, there were plenty of decorations.

The oscillating fans flanking both sides of building are new and very welcome during these hot and humid days.

The Council also had someone refurbish the flag painting, which turned out great.

While all of these upgrades coincided with the Independence Day celebrations, there are long-term benefits as well. Frequently, visiting nurses use the center to do children check-ups, missionary groups come stay, and the local school uses the building and its facilities for various activities. 

In my humble opinion, the Village Council has done an outstanding job -- not only for Independence Day, but for long-term benefit of the village. So happy and proud to live here!