Hello again everybody! There was so much that happened today, I have no idea how to tell you all! Today was the first day of actual walking, and I have to admit it was not as bad as I had feared. Throughout the day we grew from just about 10 people to as many as 30, as Belizeans from the villages we were walking through joined us. We started later than we were aiming for, 5:00 AM, and walked for 4 hours, covering 12 or 13 miles. Not a bad start. Unfortunately this means the plan for tomorrow is to almost double that distance and cover 23 miles in an effort to end the day at the country's Capitol Belmopan.
We started off this morning in a quaint little village named Benque on the Guatemalan border and with the help of a mopad-mounted policeman as our escort, we traveled to the town of San Ignacio, where we are staying the night. We passed several very small villages and farms along our walk, since it is the countryside, but of the roadsides were blanketed by thick rainforest vegetation and environment. In the beginning of the walk, before any of the countless cars or buses which passed us throughout the day started up, I found myself in the midst of one of the most tranquil times of my life. Since very few in the group had coffee that morning, almost no noise could be heard besides the occasional bird call as dawn broke over the mountains that surrounded us. It was truly a breathtaking time.
Another great part of the walk today was the realization that Rowan may, in fact, be the most famous person I know. Or will ever know. It seemed like every person who passes us, or who was watching as we passed them, knew all about Rowan and his journey. Constantly drivers would slow down, honk and wave at the group, then look at Rowan and smile and honk a couple more times to voice their support. As our group walked into San Ignacio dozens of people came out of their small, brightly colored houses and either cheered us on, asked how they could donate, or even joined us for a little ways. It was an amazing sight to see the entire community of Belize come together for this one amazing boy.
Tonight we are staying at the hotel of a friend of BCVI, where we (aka Rowan and his entourage) have been treated like royalty. In the early evening, Rowan even got asked if he could spare a few minutes for some local fans of his! The seven of us left at the hotel went down to his guests and we ended up spending 2 or so hours with a group of children with disabilities and their parents. They shared stories about how supporting themselves and simply living was a challenge for them, and how much Rowan and his cause have inspired them. Even the owner of the inn shared how Rowan was helping her get through a rough time in her life by taking on this walk.
Already I have been a witness to and a part of so many great things here in Belize, and I can only wait to see what else lies ahead that might blow me away even more. Tomorrow night, I'll let you know. Until then, good night!