We, Mr Dakers and I left Belmopan at around 11 am and were in Belize City by 12.30. He took me to meet his mother and gave me a brief tour of the town he grew up in. Belize is an interesting place. It is by the sea and has narrow streets; very old town but it also feels very congested.
The first meeting was with a representative from the Mercy Care Centre; a non-residential care centre for the elderly. The centre is fantastic; they provide food, recreation and healthcare for the elderly. The lady I spoke to was passionate about and committed to her work and I felt motivated just being around her.
We then headed off to church to meet a member of the Council of Churches. This was probably the liveliest meeting of the day and we ended up having a heated debate on whether or not the obligation to care for the elderly should be legal or moral. As a priest, he felt that a legal document, while useful would only work if Belize had the right support mechanisms in place, he said he preferred having a moral obligation. I am not so sure.
It was then off to meet someone from the Red Cross Society. This woman’s take was completely different. While she did agree that we need to support the elderly, she felt the law should create ‘enabling environments’ so that the elderly people who could support themselves would be able to do so. She felt very strongly about a law that just focused on shoving the over 60s to one side once they had retired.
Lastly we met a man from the Salvation Army. He had a wealth of information based on his trips to other Latin American and Caribbean countries. He mentioned that Panama had an amazing system of granting older persons privileges and discounts in many places. He also told us that two members of the Salvation Army are over 100.
We got back to Belmopan at 7.30 and I was in need of a cold beer. I remembered my money was still at the Brit High so headed that way. I also got to meet the new volunteer who arrived on Monday.