Letter from Kenrick Mark
Dear Esteemed Readers,
I woke up around 8am on Thursday morning. I quickly browsed social media to find out the results of the General Elections. I was really shocked when I read that the United Democratic Party was re-elected for a third consecutive time to form the new Government of Belize. This was unprecedented! It’s the first time that a political party won three consecutive general elections! Three candidates whom I thought would have won their constituency wasn’t successful (Daniel Silva, Dolores Balderamos and Darrel Bradley. In my constituency in Toledo West, the P.U.P’s Oscar Requena regained his seat with a triple margin over his opponent. I honestly thought the People’s United Party would have been successful. However, it’s the people who decide (after all).
Later on in the week, I also noticed the appointment of Yashin Dujon and Dr. Percival Cho as Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Forestry and Sustainable Development, respectively. I applauded these appointments as these two gentlemen have extensive knowledge and experiences for their respective jobs. I spoke to a few of my comrades, including my fellow Chevening Scholars from Belize, and we all had our opinions, many were happy, many were sad, many were just neutral.
It was Thursday and I had Planning and Communication class in the late afternoon. I showered and got dressed. I went to do a Western Union transaction at the Nepal guy’s store. He was always jovial. He always asked me if everything was going good. I didn’t have a phone number so he used his for the transaction filing. I always bought white fruit cake when I visit. It’s a traditional sponge cake with green cherries inside — great with coffee or juice. There was a variety of fruited desserts including the Madeira and Sultana Cakes. After this, I went to buy more water at Sainsbury. I keep eight huge bottles of water (every time). I drank a lot of water to keep hydrated. A few comrades from Belize who have been to / lived in London recommended this. It was a very cool day too!
Oh, I forgot to mention in my earlier letters that I tried a traditional English scone at Alacosta Coffee. It was very similar to Belizean Powder Bun. It was a sweet biscuit/bread with golden raisins served with clotted cream and strawberry jam. The clotted cream made everything come together. I loved it! It was recommended by the Asian Lady who owned the place. So, I wanted to make Powder Buns now ( I was missing my Mom’s decadent treats in Belize). I decided to try them on the weekend. I would need to purchase flour, sugar, nutmeg, more butter, and evaporated milk. I will also need to purchase some baking pans. I saw non-stick baking sheets and pans at the Pound Store.
For a while, many new students were placed in English classes (foreign nationals whose first language is not English). I received a message explaining the purpose and relative details. I attended around three classes, and Professor Chris taught us Introduction to English. Many of the topics were about writing properly using the English language — formulating sentences, quotes, paragraphs, summaries, reports, et al. Truly, sometimes I was confused with these classes. There was a ton of requirements (which I felt was unnecessary). My fellow Public Relations classmates from Europe also got emails to attend but they didn’t. I was a Belizean national, and English was our first language. I think Inge and Silvia spoke to Professor Mark, who sent Professor Chris an email stating that we don’t need to attend those classes, as our command of the English language is excellent. Thankfully, we were all exempt! And truthfully, I shouldn’t have been included as Belize’s first language was English. These classes were once a week, on Tuesday afternoons (if I’m not mistaken).
I went to library to catch up on some reading. I actually read academic papers for about 2 hours then began browsing Public Relations books. I was looking for theories around planning and communication. I was also looking for other examples of plans. I also took many mini-breaks enjoying sweet and savory snacks! At one point, I gave up too. It was difficult to understand everything at first read. But I calmed myself and went back at it.
I went to class. Professor Christian was leading this class. He taught us about ‘planning a PR programme and creating content’. Firstly, we learnt about the definition and relevance of content. Then, Professor Christian explained why useful content is priority! We also reviewed paid content, owned media and earned media again! I think in my previous letter, I mentioned that many of the readings were interconnected, as we also discussed this in other classes. Furthermore, types of contents were explained — static visual content, video content, audio content, text content. We learnt that visual content was important, as well as mapping of the content. Another area was social media — analyzing each social media and percentage of users, both in urban and rural areas.
We had to change class, and move over to the Stephen Lawrence building. Professor Christian gave us a 10 minute break every time too. After the break, we learnt about content and credibility in today’s digital age. Some other sub-topics in this field included managing rumors, verifying social media, and the hallmarks of credible content. I loved most of my academic sessions, despite being full-fledged ones.
I went home after class. The temperature was dropping. I was feeling more chill than usual. The streets were filled with people of all ages and cultures. I saw Asians, many Indians and Arabs, and British people too. Many were having conversations while walking, and laughing at some point.
I dropped off my bag, grabbed some chocolate muffins and went to the banks of the River Thames. I enjoyed the night sky, the lights, watching people passing by, and of course, the moist Chocolate muffins.
I stayed for over an hour, in the chill weather.
I went home, showered and got in bed.
I’m quite exhausted for tonight. I will continue my journey in a next edition of Letter from Kenrick Mark.