March 21 - Monkeying Around

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Our missionary work included quite a bit of monkeying around this week, as we visited the baboon sanctuary in a place called Burrell Boom.  Church auditors came to Belize City to train leaders in Belize District in proper auditing methods.  In addition they wanted to see some local sights, as this was their first trip to Belize.  "Do you want to see monkeys or crocodiles?" we asked.  The answer was, "Monkeys!"

After the training session, we took a photo.  On the front row left to right are seated Sister and Elder Wallace, originally from Idaho Falls, and serving in Guatemala City.  Also, Brother Arbizu, front row, far right, from San Salvador also came to train.  Those on the back row came to learn.  Elder and Sister Pattee attended to give support.

Looking for monkeys.

It took about an hour to drive to the sanctuary.  We wandered around the jungle for awhile and began to wonder if we would really see any monkeys.  Our guide finally discovered where they were.

Here our guide, Garrett, is showing us a jungle plant called "hot lips". 

Garrett had to call the monkeys out.  He did this by making monkey sounds.  Howler monkeys can make an amazingly huge noise.  They sound like lions roaring and can be heard 3 miles away.   

The monkeys finally came out of hiding.

Here is the alpha male of the troup (family).  Each troup has to have about 25 acres of forest for foraging.  Howler monkeys eat leaves, berries, and nuts.

We saw 2 cute little babies clinging to their mothers. 

The howler monkeys have a prehensil tail that they use to swing from tree to tree.  They can use it kind of like we use our thumbs.

Even though we were close enough to touch the monkeys, if we had dared, it was difficult to get good pictures, because they were always on the move in and out of the foliage. 

We enjoyed seeing the howler monkeys, which are not baboons at all.  But they are called baboons by the locals. 

Also this week we worked on EFY (Especially for Youth).  However, here in Central America, it is going to be called SYC (Special Youth Conferences).  This will be the first one ever in Belize, and there is lots to be done. 
We had a combined video conference with 7 other countries:  El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, Hondoras, Costa Rica, and Belize.  Ten different sites joined the conference.  (3 of the countries each had 2 different sites joining the conference.)  I took a picture of it, but it didn't turn out very well, even though the  video conference was very sharp and clear for those in attendance.

There are 4 sites represented at the top.  Two in the middle, and 4 more at the bottom.  Belize is at the very bottom, right-hand corner.  Modern technology is amazing. We are finding that there are very strict guidelines for organizing this event. 

The goals of SYC are to help youth gain stronger testimonies of Christ and His Church, to teach them to be leaders, and inspire them to want to go to the temple.  The counselors and leaders of SYC also benefit in these areas. 

We continue to work with our perpetual education participants.

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