Tom and I were asked to represent the Child Development Foundation at a picnic hosted by the American Embassy. Sadly, we were not allowed to take in any electronic devices, cellphones, or cameras for security reasons. So I have no photos of my own to show from the event.
I scanned the invitation for you to see:
|The seal on the back of the envelope|
The amount of security surrounding the Embassy was amazing.
At each check point we had to stop and show the invitation to the officers before moving on to the next. And that was just to park the car! We don't live very far from the Embassy and if it had not been raining we could have just walked over. But it was coming down pretty steadily so we chose to drive over.
After parking the car we went to the front of the Embassy building to the final check in point. Seated there at that table were four people with lists in front of them verifying each person to see if you were actually to be let into the event. Then we went through metal detectors and my purse had to be xrayed. I forgot that my cellphone was in the bottom of my purse. It had to be turned off and left in the security office.
As we stepped outside we were greeted by men with umbrellas. They gave Tom and I each an umbrella and escorted us over to the huge white tents where the event was being held. There was a lot of food, music and plenty of drinks to choose from. For our snacks I had nachos and Tom choose pizza. And later for dinner the choices were hamburgers, hotdogs, veggie burgers, brisket, or chicken. Along with soft drinks and water there were also waiters with bottles of red or white wine who kept coming around to refill glasses. After dinner there were cookies, ice cream, and a huge display of cupcakes that formed an American flag.
We saw a few people that we knew. Some business owners from town, people from church that work at the Embassy, and a couple of the women who attend the same Bible study that I go to. There was also a local pastor and his wife in attendance...she told me they were invited because they own the bed and breakfast in town. It was an interesting mix of people from the business community, representatives from other Embassies, various organizations and NGO's.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow was among the dignitaries at the event along with Belmopan's Mayor Simeon Lopez. During the Ambassador's address he let us know why they were holding the American Independence Day celebration in May. It was planned as an outdoor picnic during the dry season to avoid the rain. Well, the rainy season came earlier than expected but the event went on as scheduled! We were told by friends of ours that in the past Independence Day was celebrated with a formal dinner. They chose a less formal event this year to accommodate more people.
It was exciting to be a part of it all and to see the wide variety of people who turned out. Official photographers wove in and out of the crowd grabbing paparazzi shots along with posed photos. One photographer had an ID that said White House Staff. We were informed that photos may go up on the internet but they didn't say when. I had my picture taken with the Ambassador as I as thanking him for the invitation. Once the photos are posted I will share what I can here!