Friday, April 27, 2012

Final BLOG!

As I sit and watch my laundry spin at the local laundry mat, due to my broken dryer upon our return home. I'm comforted by my calm emotion concerning a broken major appliance. I'm just so thankful I have a major appliance...even if it's broken. Our last weeks in Belize sealed out appreciation of life back home. Belize is a beautiful country with many reasons to go back soon, I already miss the sounds of the symphony of birds every morning, the call of the pelicans when the fisherman have arrived to the dock, the distant sound of our favorite vendor with his "Hot Corn Dokono's.....Da Best!" hollering his arrival. From the Caves (our last blog) our trip was a whirlwind of adventure. I set out at the beginning of this journey ultimately wanting to show my Children a different way of life with the intention of not just talking about the love of a family and the security we find within, but I wanted uncomfortable situations for us. I wanted to show them with their own eyes that although we are uncomfortable...great things arise.. we bond....we have faith in God to teach us and keep us safe and that we are OK..... I got my wish. Our trip from San Ignacio found us on the side of the road with a van that refused to run. Normally, if this happened a person would just call a friend, get it towed and carry on....but in Belize it doesn't work like that. First of all, just a mile behind us, we passed a half naked man waving a machete at us and yelling UN definable noises because we didn't pick him up... .....reallly?? !! We sat idle on the side of the road for only moments wondering what to do. It was Sunday and we were broken down in a Small village along the southern highway in Belize. We had just a hint of fright, wondering if our machete man was going to pop out and chop us up....
He never did..... I knocked on a nearby home where a super nice belizan was having his birthday BBQ out back. It just happened to be, that this young man was the son of a well respected mechanic of the district. He gathered a few of his buddies and began work on our borrowed van. It took a couple hours in the hot sun, roadside, to find out that the fuel pump was broken and the nearest part was back in the states. We unloaded our bags and hitched a ride to the next village with our birthday boys cousin. Dangriga is a small town on the southern coast of Belize. The village is known for the drumming talents of the Garfunia people. The Garfunia people are a blend of the Mayans, the Caribbean pirates and African American. They are beautiful people with an outward attitude of Rasta shining through. So on a Sunday at the bus station in Dangriga, we received a full education. Our Bus was due at 4 and at 4:30 we learned it wasn't coming.....praying the last bus at 6 wasn't canceled, we were only needing to go 40 more miles to Placencia where our beach front cabana waited...empty....Our 6pm bus arrived with just a few seats left. 80% or more of the Belizian population (which is 400,000) do not own cars. Bus transportation is the main source of movement in Belize. Consequently our bus was PACKED, even the isles were uncomfortably full. Our bus ride took 2.5 hours along a bumpy road stopping every 2 minutes to let people off ...and un beliavably more people ON!. Having my feet up under me due to the coackroach infestation...our ride was one of deep prayer and mediation to not absolutly freak out....We made it to Placencia 13 hours after setting out. We were tired, hungry, dirty and quiet. No words could discribe our thoughts so we ate in silence, brushed our teeth and hoped for a better tommarow. And that it was...the sun was hot for the next few days which allowed us to frolick on the beaches of Placencia with smiles. The next week passed by quickly and we found ourselves back on our Favorite Island of Caye Caulker. It was fun to show Troy our favorite places. Our much anticipated Rental of the Indigo Pearl unfortunatly turned out nothing like the pictures...we were thankful for the use of a kitchen but having no electricity due to disfunctional solar panels, we decided to cancel the rest of our stay and move back to our favorite place Colinda's. Colinda's Cabanas turned out to be our home away from home the owners are now our friends and the Cabanas are now ...our Honeymoon spot. Troy and I declared our forever love to each other and we were Married under the Palapa at the end of their dock on April 12th. Our Ceromny was simple and Magical. Big puffy clouds floated above us as our friends sang "Be thou my vision", 1 corinthians 13 4-7 was adopted as our life song and my children nodded their approval with smiles. We ended our last days in Belize as a family but not without one last adventure to San Pedro. In San Pedro we took a hour long boat ride in a tiny boat getting soaked with Seawater to the" Turtle mans House". The Turtlemans house is a hut over the water built of driftwood and palm. There is no electricity or running water. To get to the Hut you must wade out into the sea and climb a plank to enter. The toliet was a compostable toliet with sea grass and the shower was heated by the sun. As we shook in the wind careful not to fall through the walls, we frequently dangeled our feet over the carribean sea from our hut and stared out to the reef just a few hundred feet away. We decided what a great way to end this journey... livinging like swiss family robinson. We have been home for a little over a week now and we are back to our routines of school and work. But we are changed. Belize stengthed us as a family, I was once again given the opportunity to be a fulltime mother to my children, which I know in my heart, is what God created me to be. Belize taught us that life, when lived simply, gives us the joy of relationship... when all is said and done at the end of the day, ultimatly, the relationship with the people in our lives, is all that matters....Belize taught us that we don't need 'thing" to be happy....just each other.... and while the world will continue to whiz by, we must disipline our thoughts and remain focused on what is important to us as individuals. Eli and Ava came back with a adopted sense of security as individuals, knowing that friends are extemley important but being a friend to your family is key. We know we can do anything , go anywhere and be what we dream.... "things" may try to stop us....but God knows our hearts and we know he is the path to true joy....through LOVE

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Our trip is fastly approaching our departure and among the many things I am grateful for, is the time we have been able to explore this beautiful country.The places we've been, the people we have met and the adopted humbleness that has fell upon us while here. We are forever changed. Our minds and eyes have reached new levels of openess and our hearts have most definatly softened. You would think that zip lining over the jungle canopy, snorkeling in the carribbean, spending nights in treehouses, touring an iguana sanctuary and hatchery, working at orphanages, floating the river and rope swinging into it, washing dogs at a animal rescue, spearfishing at the barrier reef, jumping into the blue hole, eating termites, touching turantulas, feeding Jaguars, sleeping at the zoo, learning to make tortillas with the locals would ALL be enoungh BUT we wanted to know more about the Mayan culture and not just from the ruins of xuantinitch. We heard there were caves in the Mayan Mountains where the Mayans gave offerings to their Gods and performed Human sacrafice. So we continued our Quest to learn of their culture by visiting what is known as one of the top 10 cave experiences in the World. Actun Tunichil Muknal otherwise known as ATM. National Geographic, discovery channel, man Vs. Wild, Ghoast Hunters International among others have all done varied segments on this extrodianary cave. Our tour guide Oscar picked us up from San Ignacio at 8am. It was a hour long drive along the northern highway and across some of the most uncomfortable terraine we had yet experienced. We had to stop once to move some passengers around for the ride was so turbulant over pot holes, sickness was threatening. Our guide Oscar was silent on the ride and I began to get cross in my thoughts at the lack of information, but soon came to realize that he was so passionate about this cave and the history it beholds, that he was saving his words for our time in the caves. We assembled in a parking lot randomly placed along the jungle floor, we were fitted with helmets, headlamps and a box lunch with a water bottle, we were gruffly told to drink up for whats ahead will drain us of liquids. Tennis shoes and sockes required, we found ourselves squishing behind our guide along a well worn path through the jungle, Crossing through the river 3 times sometimes waist high. At the mouth of the cave, our energy turned into overdrive as the intensity of our guides voice reached a booming level with the much needed and invited information about the caves... AND the obvious ONLY path inside the cave, was to swim through the d
eep pool at the mouth of the cave. The water was brisk but fresh. Shoes socks and clothes on, we jumped in and swam. The current wasnt so bad, but Ava's shoe was lost so we had to spend some time locating and diving for it. The ATM caves were re- discovered in the 80's and opened to the public in 1986. The artifacts there are 90% remaining. The cave goes up and deep about 3 miles..we were only to go 1.5 km to the upper chamber. Along the journey in, we saw 2 of the 3 upper entrances. We could litterally smell our fear as we treked in using our 4 points (sometimes 5) of contact. Climbing over giant boulders which collasped 1000's of years ago, we entered the cave. It took our breath away. Enormous stilagmites and stilagtites glisting from the cathedral ceiling and floor. This cave is obviously huge and our minds raced into ideas of what lives here now and what happened years ago. Our hearts beating faster we ventured further into the cave bewildered about the climb up and stopping often to view the incrediable natural beauty that water over thousands of years has created. Also noting some deliberate ajustments in areas where the mayans bulit alters and broke the jagged edges of the stilagmite formations to cast shadows of jaguars and old woman from the flames of a cooking fire. It is believed the Mayns would come to the cave for specific reasons, to offer to their gods through food offerings and often times through human sacrafice. The upper chamber of the cave is where majority of the artifacts remain. Wet, scraped, chilled an bit tired we boulder climbed to a high ledge where we were instructed to take our shoes off but to leave on our socks as the oils from our bodies would expedite the wear on the limestone. As we climbed through the upper chambers, our visual education began. Ceramic artifacts including many pots placed deliberatly in formatioms of a completed offerings dotted the cave floor. The pots remained in their found placements, one up, one upside down and the final on its side with a "kill hole" suggesting the offering had been completed. When we reached the highest point of our climb we were surprised with yet another climb up a 15 foot latter to take us to even a higher pocket in the cave. Zig zagging through hundreds of artifacts left from the mayans, careful not to lose our balance and crush one, we finally came upon the Crystal Maiden. A girl to believed have been approx. 18 yrs old, historians believe she was one of possibly 14 human sacrafices. Just a few feet from her was the skeleton of a child who it looks like had been tied from behind. Although scientists, archeologists and historians worked for years to suspect the happenings before opening the cave to the public, what went down in those caves 1000's of years ago and the reasons why can only be a fraction of the reality. To stand over crystalized bones of human sacrafice a feeling undecriable in words washed over me and a new sense of curiosity prevailed. I wondered how their Gods would expect such ritual and thanked Jesus for only wanting my heart. What a confusing culture that would have been to live among. My thoughts ran to the vastness of the Globe, of the triillions of people who have walked it and the kajillion things that have gone down throughout history. The world grew even larger for me that day in the cave, as I was just one person in in a tiny pocket of a vast cave, in this forever mind boggeling exquisite world. The trip down the cave was swift but not to swift to squeeze our way through different chambers of rocks and in some places submerging in water and turning our heads to just barely squezze through the opening. In this said opening a wolf spider the size of Troys hand extended lurked for our enjoyment and was just inches from our faces. That night and the days to follow the visions of the caves, the imaginations of the offerings and sacrifices flooded our brains to distraction. A day and a place to remember forever. Definatly a monumental day of discovery and am so blessed to have actually witnessed the physical change of my childrens eyes widened. Two days later we journied on to Placencia, Only to be stopped in the tiny village of Poloma with a busted fuel pump...a broken down van...the hours to follow will require another blog....of another "flava"..stay tuned.. MUCH Love to all back home:-) Caroline

Monday, April 2, 2012

A long overdue blog by Eli and Ava Our last week has been a busy one and we are finally able to post a Blog! Hello to everyone! Besides some interesting bug bites, we have all remained happy and healthy. For the last week we have been back at basecamp in Belmopan. We have been  working  at an orphanage called "Marla's House of Hope" Marla's House of Hope is an organization that takes kids up to 18yrs out of abbusive situations. We have have befriended all of the kids. A few of the younger kids  were born there and their young mothers are with them. The kids all seem very comfortable and happy.  After we would help with homework, we would go out and play. Most of the kids we played with were under 4 yrs. Old.  We had a chance to play basketball with a couple older kids and learned of their stories. 16 yr old Rosa Garcia and her little sister Briellen are soon moving to a foster home. Rosa tells us that she doesn't want to leave. Marla's House of Hope is different from most orphanages they are there not to be adopted but  to be given a secure home, a christian education and eventually placed in foster care. Many don't want to leave as it is the only home they've known. Miss Shellie,the director of the orphanage, tells us that one of the kids went to a family and calls her everyday to tell her how she is doing. It was sad for us to leave the kids but it was time for us to Venture on and pick up Troy. The night before Troy arrived we decided to spend the night at the Belize Zoo. Adjacent to the zoo is an educational center with guest houses. Our stay included delicious meals and a nocturnal tour through the zoo with flashlights.  Since we had time, we decided to check the Zoo out in the daylight. In the day we saw king vultures, boa constrictors, deer( not that exciting for us north-west-ians)  One of our favorites was a large black animal with long legs and a nose that looks like an anteaters. It's called a Tapir. Nicknamed: "Mountain Cow." Tapirs are Belize's national animal. They are very friendly and we got to feed them carrots on the nocturnal tour. We saw spider monkeys, Scarlet macaws and crockadiles but our tour really turned into a adventure at the howler Monkey exhibit. As we were searching the trees for the monkey's just five feet from the railing/ fence that kept them in, a branch plops down, A mother monkey and her brand new born baby on her back was staring at us...She was SOOO close to the fence, we were all wondering if she was gonna jump out. And sure enough, she did!! She jumped right in front of us!!  She walked along the railing so close we could have reached out and touched her. There happened to be a puma exhibit right behind us, the puma  growling loudly pounced on the cage and scared US and the monkey back in to her habitat, for a few moments it was mayham! We finished our time at this amazing little zoo with a visit to the Cautimundi and a  Jaguar pacing by my side 2 feet away, the only thing separating us was chain link fence!    The nocturnal Tour was plump full of information  It was quite a experience except for my mom stepped in a red ant hill at the tapir exhibit and her feet got severly stung! After that we went to our awesome guest house right outside of the zoo, It was a super fun stay despite one of our  coldest nights here and the mouse Visitor in our room:-)  What an adventure we are On!    Troy arrived safley on the 28th and we have spent some time in the jungle where most of these animals were rescued. Our next blog will be about our trip into the ATM caves, a exquisite adventure of climbing cliffs, swimming through tight channels and viewing the artifacts from back in the times where the Mayans would hold human sacfafice andvritual offerings to their gods

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day #34 by Eli and Caroline

It is our last day on the beautiful Island of Caye Caulker. We have learned much about the ways and life of the Belizians here. Many similarities of mainland life but because this island thrives on tourism ALONE, there are also many differences . We have developed many friends here on Caye Caulker, some have already headed back home to their lives. (We miss you already Eric and Linda!:-) and others,  we have frequented their resturants, purchased their trades( fruit, cakes, tamales, jewelry etc) many are friends we passed everyday on our bikes, Or like Colin and Linda, we have stayed on their property. We have learned that being called "mama" is a form of respect and my children have been aknowledged accordingly as "son" or "girl" noting that we are connected and respected as a family. It's very apparent after a person spends more time and engaging in conversation and service, there is a level we move beyond and we are no longer just "tourists" we have become trusted and our  conversations have moved beyond the surface. We have truley gotton to know the hearts of many who live here.  We have only been on this island for 16 days but I have witnessed Eli and Ava develop a breakdown of their American ways.  In all three of us, Humility has softened the sheild of self..... and I am in awe of the beauty humility holds. What follows is some observations by Eli; Belize and its simplicity; Work in Belize is primarily for food. Us americans are driven by the accumulation of "things" and our "status". If people can't find a job here in Belize, they create one. Many catch fish or make meat pies , they BBQ chicken or make cakes out of their kitchens and sell them in little carts or they simply set up a table outside their homes. Some pick the flowers of their neighbors and sell them to coffee shops, restarants or for the many weddings that happen on the beach. They make money off stuff they find and turn them into Necklaces of shells, bottlecaps or beads. They scrounge coconuts and bag the meat or bottle the coconut water. The average belizian gets paid between $6- $10 bz ($3-$5US) an hour. If they work in construction or are a maid at a hotel, the average rent here on the island is $200bz a month ($100us).   Work in the states requires many more licenses, certificates, permits, and limitations. So many hoops to jump through in order to work, not to mention the overwhelming need of Americans to claim their almighty status as if their job ultimatly defines who they are.
The living conditions are extremly different. People in the states have property with a nice homes with tv and wifi, they have multiple cars, boats, atvs, sheds full of toys and tools, closets, garages, and storage units full of stuff!! Belizian people live very simply. A small cabana of 600 sq feet is suffeciant for a family. They eat mostly what they grow or catch from the sea, very rarely do they watch or even have a tv or wifi. On the island, nobody has a car or needs a cell phone.   Another facinating idea is that squating exsists here in Belize and has worked for many. If you see a abondoned home, settlement, or cabana thats completely empty with no sign of ownership, you can move in and if the owner does not claim it for 7 years, it is yours. Entertainment is very different than at home. Sure, kids down here have phones with music on them, but  not many and they don't have iPods or kindles or iPads or anything fancy. For entertainment, they play tag, or soccer, or have squirt gun fights in the ocean. They fish or help with the family business, even as young as 3! We had a tiny little girl run down the street to gather more OJ for our breakfast order. Kids here spend no time watching tv or playing videos, they create their entertainment. At the beginning of this trip my sister and I played allot of fruit ninja and plants vs zombies when we were bored, but now we are fishing and swimming or riding our bikes. Yesterday we made neclklaces and harvested and chopped coconuts with a machete. I haven't had the desire to play a game on my device for weeks. ( Beside words with friends:-) Eli Today we will spend our last day doing our favorite things here on the island. We will probably snorkel at the split, we will spend some time saying goodbye to Kenny and his animals at the Animal Rescue, we will probably have a piece of cake from the cake lady and track down the tamale cart. We will most definatly end our day here at "Colindas Cabanas"on the beach talking and laughing with our host Linda who we have come to love. We will chat with the guests who congregate at the beach of this tiny resort and breath in the air of fresh joy as people arrive for small bits of their lives to enjoy this tiny piece of paradise. We will return here in a couple of weeks bringing Troy! We are giddy with anticipation to be able to re-live our experiences and share our new friends with somebody we love:-) Tommarow we start our work with "Marlas House of Hope". A orphanage in Belmopan. We will be working with the kids helping them with their homework. We are excited about this new leg of our education and can't begin to imagine how much greater God will work. Our time here in Belize has been incrediably fruitfull in knowledge, Our eyes have truley been opened and we have seen things that we have only read about or heard stories of. I am gratefully finding with this new level of awarness is where the education of travel, and relationship outside our comfort zones begins. I am so blessed to be able to spend this time with my children leading them by the hand as if I know where I am going, learning just as much as they are... as we venture about...... and journey on. Sending much love back home... We are happy, and healthy and without fear:-) -Caroline

Friday, March 16, 2012

"Da" boat! by Ava

In the beginning, we were worried that the rain squalls that had been pounding us all morning would threaten our sailing, snorkeling, and spear fishing adventure. Between the rain bursts, we made our way over to "The Little Kitchen" where our guide, Roy lived and worked. We were anxious to ask him if we would go out today, By his enthusiastic response of " ya man" in his rastifarian accent with braids whipping around his face we knew we had a adventurous day ahead. We were fitted for flippers and ventured off through the trees on a rickety old bridge to the dingy that would zoom us out to the sailboat. The sailboat was a medium size craft that was painted red, yellow, green, and black. The Jib was made out of a thick piece of bamboo and the sail looked as if a bunch of thick sheets were sewn together to make one big Sail. While we were motoring out to the sea, the sun was peaking out of the clouds and eased our thoughts of rain. When we were far enough out of the bay, Roy flipped the motor off and hoisted the sail. We sailed for about 20 minutes out to an area where we were a pool length distance from the barrier reef. The barrier reef here is the second largest reef. It spans 108 miles long with a few channels for passage. Roy explained sharks can come through those passages, but it is rare. We anchored and before we knew it, Roy jumped in with his spear Eli was instructed to follow along close behind him with the "catch bag". The rule for lunch is "Ya eat what ya catch." While Roy and Eli were spear fishing, the rest of us were snorkeling. Santiago, our other guide was keeping watch on "Da" boat. My mom and I stuck together. We saw a green spotted Puffer fish and many other brightly clored fish in all shapes and sizes. By the time we hopped back onto the boat, Roy had caught 3 Yellow Snapper and 2 Conch. We had a total of 7 people on the boat, So we decided to do a little bottom fishing with lines for more grub. It is custom to just take a long piece of fishing line, attach a hook, stick a sardine body piece onto the hook and swing the line around like a ferris wheel and let it go and sink to the bottom. Our first catch was by Roy and the next by me, my fish was HUGE but luckily with my strong muscles, I was able to pull in the big "pogey" the next fish again was by me and it was a monstrous Snapper. Nobody else caught fish but Roy and I. For our late lunch Roy cooked up some white rice and steamed veggies, with no barbecue on the boat, Roy cooked the fish and conch in a big pan and with tomato juice and some water, like a Gumbo. Our lunch was delicious! Roy finished our lunch with some amazing cookies that were chocolate and lemon. After lunch, we sailed over to another snorkeling spot to finish off the day. When we made it back to the island, Immediatly upon our return to the dock, it started to dump rain on us, We quickly learned it had been all day....We found that funny because just a mile away on the Carribian sea, our day had been perfect! -Ava

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Today is day #23 -Caye Caulker-Belize. This morning we were riding our bikes around the island and stopped when we saw a little sign that read "Kenny the Cat Man" and one below it saying "Animal Rescue and Adoption". We stood at the gate talking to the dogs and cats who greeted us and waited until Kenny came out, we introduced ourselves and asked about the possibility of helping out. Kenny explained that he has been rescuing dogs and cats for over ten years here on the island. Kenny has no funding and has been feeding and caring for the animals with the money he makes from a small bicycle repair shop run out of the same yard. Kenny told us he has 28 cats and 5 dogs, he said to come back in two hours, that we could help with washing dogs. When we arrived Kenny had prepared a place for us to wash the dogs on an old board spread across the sand, he filled 2 five gallon buckets up with water. He handed us a bar of medicated soap, a small brown comb and a pair of tweezers. Our first dog to wash was a little shaggy haired dog named Vicious. She was one of the sweetest dogs I've ever met however the poor thing was covered in fleas when we applied the medicated soap, it instantly killed the fleas and eggs on her body. We washed at least 150 fleas from her and hand picked 50 with the pair of tweezers. When we were done, she was so happy! The next dog was "Brownie". She looked like she was in heaven as Ava and I dumped water on her and my mom lathered soap. While we bathed her, she squeezed her head in between moms legs with her eyes closed like she was in paradise. Then we washed "Chida"she was a small white dog that loved to be pet. She was the easiest to wash because her hair was coarse and not matted. Dog #4 was "Roxy" and she has fur like no other dog I've ever encountered, when washing her, the water would roll off of her like a duck. Our last dog to wash was "Maya" and she is DEATHLY afraid of water. She took about 30 minutes to wash because as soon as we put a single drop of water on her she would try to dart. Because she is so hard to wash she was extra infested with fleas and we had to do some serious scrubbing. The way the medicated soap works, is it explodes fleas and their eggs on contact so washing Maya was a little gross because it turned the suds red from the blood of the exploded bugs. When we finished all the dogs seemed very happy and layed on a cement slab in the sun. We told Kenny we would be his helpers for the days we are here on the island, he invited us to bathe them again next week and to stop by anytime as there is always something to do:-) Tommarow we will stop by with some treats. -Eli

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day #20 I can't believe 20 days have past. Our family has done soooo much! One of the many things I have learned these past weeks, is that not to judge based on the outside appearence of things. For instance some of the juiciest limes are brown and bruised on the outside but a beautiful surprise on the inside, some of the places we've seen on the outside look horrible and run down but are pretty and cozy and clean on the inside. We were recently invited to our hosts Harry and Fern's birthday party( in Placencia) there were lots of local Belizians invited as well and All were so nice but from the outside some looked like pirates and had no teeth, I was a little uncomfortable at first but it didn't take long for me to realize they were just mormal guys with no teeth :-)Everyone was so nice and friendly. It was a potluck so we brought a traditional american dish of peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches and potato chips. On Sunday we made our way from Placencia to Caye Caulker, it was a wild ride! First we rode on a school bus which is Belize's most popular local transportation. On The bus, people were snoring, listening to rasta music real loud, selling cakes for a dollar a piece, there was a yipping puppy sealed in a brown box and I also saw a few cockroaches crawing on the floor. At each stop the bus became more crowded. At one point I was looking down and what I saw as my head popped up was an elder man's toushie right in my face! I wasn't very happy at the time but after it was all over, I thought to my self "this was a great experience!" We took a taxi from the bus station to the water taxi, The taxi was a super beat up old mercedes and our driver had big dreads. The seats bounced you up so high that often my head hit the celing, it was like bouncing on a trampoline. On the water Taxi, we scored the "up top" seats by the captain! Eli and I were leaning in the wind and it held us up!! After 5 hours of traveling we finally made it to Caye Caulker. There are no cars on the island, just bikes and golf carts. We all smooshed ourselves into the back of a golf cart taxi to our new place at "Colindas Cabanas .It had been a long day so we quickly unpacked and headed to town to feed our hungry bellies. We will be on the island of Caye Caulker for 16 days. We hope to see what lives under the sea at the barrier reef, explore island life and possibly help out at the humane society. -Ava Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

Friday, March 2, 2012

IN! Dang thang!
Considering I've been un the indystry for over 20 years, the food in Belize is a curiosity for me...not to mention it's my love language, anyone who is close to me knows that to win my heart, all you have to do is feed me... Actually wine and dine's no wonder I have fallen in love with a chef:-) The food in Belize is plentiful, the way the zoning works is that it appears there is none. Anyone can just put up a sign and open their doors OR you can stop anywhere on the street put up a umbrella, fire up the BBQ or open the cooler and sell ANYTHING! Fresh fish and Conch are sold right off the docks or inland found at the market under a umbrella in a fastly melting cooler of ice, tortillas are found from a open window of the tortilla makers kitchen, tamales, empanadas or tacos are found in a open door in just about every neighborhood...three doors down. In Placencia the kids and I have explored much of the fair... We tasted quesidillas and fish Tacos at the "shack" YUM! We tried a roadside stand ran by the towns miss congeniality, "Brenda" it was delicious but after we ate we were warned not to...oops! Our stomachs managed just fine:-) we dined at the beachside cozy corner and Pizza at the Pickled Parrot on the junction of "PampAss" and "DaggTeet" street...( no joke thats the name of the streets) but our favorite so far was our afternoon in our own cozy Cabana dining on grill cheese sandwiches we made on our coffee makers burner.. Meals here run between $4-$26 belizan.. Depending on the time osf day:-) Tonight we will try a place called the "Thatch" a beach side cafe claiming the best Seafood in Placencia:-) Soon we will report on the "gibnut" it is a rat/rabbit/ giant gerbil type thing that lives in the wooded areas of Belize apparently is delicious...if we muster up the guts to try it, we'll let you know:-) Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Yesterday we went to ate at a place called brenda's. It's this little hut on the side of the road thats always packed. So we decided to try it, and we lived it. And she brought us some chocolate cake also and that was so good. And by her booth, there is this cage on top of a wall and it's like a 6 foot tAll wall, and the cage is probably 3 feet tall,6 feet wide, and 20 feet long. And inside are about 15 parrots. The kind that talk to you. Its really cool. People will just walk up and sat "hello!" an the parrots will scream "HELLO, HELLO!!" and whistle at you. It's pretty funny. Then after that, we went to a place called the tipsy tuna. The waves there were like 4 feet tall, so I went in the water and body surfed them. Then some 6 copters came and one knocked me over, and I submerged from the water, and an 8 foot wave smashed into me. It was hilarious.and u came out COVERED in seaweed. It was awesome. Except for the fact that it smacked my sunburn. Then we were walking back and my mom wanted some biking spandex shorts and she found some that read "HotLove" across the waistband. She still hasn't taken them off. -Eli

Monday, February 27, 2012

The first leg of our trip is over. Our time in Belmopan ended with a humble dinner atop a hill at Al Rustico's, as we left and were on our way back to basecamp we werre greeted at the bottom of the hill by 4 of 8 kids fathered by Irwin. Irwin helps out at the base camp and is also a eager student at the tutoring center:-) the little girls were so cute and full of every question imaginable we delighted in their curiosity until it was time for bed. The next morning Mona and Diane gave the kids and I a ride through the beautiful Belizian Jungled highway down to the Village, Placencia. Here we are nestled among palm and fruit trees 50 feet from the Sea. Our Cabana is adorable made with varnished wood upon stilts, we sit just high enough to have a view of the sea from our beds. Its small and clean and we have the most excellent screened in porch overlooking the beach. I have found myself there often taking cover from the hot sun while feeling the breeze, cranking the Grateful Dead sipping on something cold:-) Sunday we ventured into the village to check things out...our mission was to attend the community church, after some winding paths and asking for directions FIVE times ( much to my childrens shigrin);we found it already in service with the doors closed, so we took a picture on the steps instead...we ended up at the tip of the penisula where there was a beautiful sandy beach, we stayed and snorkeled around a bit until our skin turned pink. It was MY first real swim in the Caribbean and it was Awesome!! The sun here is intense so we retreated to our cabana for some reading and homework, as the afternoon of quiet moved on, it was apperant, as our skin grew brighter in color, it was a good thing we headed back when we did:-) The evenings come quick in Belize as the sun sets around 5:30...we ventured over to the cozy corner for some shrimp and free wifi, Eli attracted 4 little boys mesmorized by his kindle...they were sweet boys and were excited at the prospect of " hanging " with Eli in the coming days:-) The wind picked up overnight and blew in a cloud system that was most welcomed when we woke. It appears we might have a little storm on the horizion as it appears as the morning is wearing on the wind is getting stronger and more rambunkous. the kids and I decided after our morning exercise (directed by our tiny drill seargent Ava) that today would be a full day of quiet ( except for the raging winds) reading and catching up on homework. The basecamp asked me to paint a sign for the tutoring center so I plan on filling half the day with a long lost passion of mine. ... .and I will paint:-) We are all very happy and healthy. We are seizing every opportunity to share Gods love with the Belizian people and are constantly in awe of the simplicity of their lifestyle. I/We are convinced without a doubt the the simpler our lives are, their in lies more room for PEACE and happiness. Our thoughts have been with our friends back home as this last weekend they honored the lives lost in the avalanche and laid them to rest... Love to you all Caroline

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day #10 posted by Ava
These were the last days of the Wilkersons, they left on Friday :( On wednesday we went to an awesome place called BaCab, which was a really amazing pool with a little shelf in the water with chairs where you can lounge in the water and tan! And there's a nice water fall with a rock slide that takes under the water fall that splashes you face right before you plunge into the water.Also,we went on a horse back ride,while we were on the horses we saw howler monkeys!!!It was feeding time so they weren't howling:(.On Thursday was a working day,we were all busy mixing and pouring cement!Jealous??On Friday we wet sad to say our goodbyes to the Wilkersons as they ventured there way onto the plane an home.Yesterday we made it to our first away from "home" (the base camp( and made our way with Mona and Diane over to Placencia and unpacked our luggage in to our temporary abode.All is well and everything is great!!Except for the Pb and J sandwiches!! P.s The gelato here is amazing!!!! -Ava:p Placencia is a 16 mile long peninsula in southern Belize and is the home to three communities-Maya Beach,Seine Bight,and Placencia Village.The village itself is home to the narrowest main street in the world according to Guinness World Books of Records.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Our first 10 days have passed quickly all the while feeling slow, as that is the Belizian way:-)..Since my last post we have been busy. We worked a day here at base camp preparing a outdoor meeting area and installing drainage for the rainey season. When the rain hits in Belize, quite rareley is it ever just a drizzle. The following day we headed off to caye caulker. We had somefun on this tiny island as it is a tiny island just a few hundred feet from the barrier reef. The day we were on Caye Caulker however, was the day we heard the news of
the passing of our friends back home...It was a quiet, surreal and prayerful day as we were 3000 miles away from where our hearts were....All were quiet as our thoughts were with the families and friends Chris, Johnny and Jim Jack.... ...There will be more about this island as the kids and I will be spending 19 days there in a week or so.. On tuesday we spent the day at cottontree church working alongside a team from california. It was hard work moving dirt and rocks in the hot sun, but what cooled us off throughout the day, was the tiny faces of the preschoolers smashing their faces up against the window... They would gigglecand laugh and we knew soon they would be enjoying the fruits of our labor. We crashed early that night tired and hot and sunburned. On weds after dropping Oliver and Josh off at the airport, we had heard of a public swimming pool, so we decided to check it out...It was truley an oasis..after crossing over a amazing bamboo bridge nestled throughout a palmtree jungle, we came upon a gigantic fresh water pool with rasta music playing and a SLIDE....AND food and bev service pool side. It was a treat we ALL enjoyed emensley. Today we were back to work at basecamp... we added more drainage to the meeting area and have hopes to cement in a few support posts before sundown. The kids and I also visited Marlas house of hope( ) Marla’s House of Hope provides safe, loving, nurturing care for God’s Children who have been removed from an abusive environment. The kids and I will be working on and off at Marlas while in Belmopan tutoring any of the 18 kids who live there with their school work. We have six days schedules to workbthere...Then on the last friday we are there, we get to host/sponsor a " movie" night with the kids......we will for sure fill you all in on that as it happens. For any interest in volenteering, sponsoring or donating to their needs... All that info is on their website posted above. Tommarow the Wilkersons head back to the states ( except Mona shes staying here:-)and the kids and I head on our journey outside of Belmopan....we will head south to Placencia Village and then off to Caye Caulker, winding back up to Belmopan for our time at the orphanage. Hope all is well with each and every one of you:-) Love C

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

G(Eli), josh, oliver, and austin, aka wilky, went snorkeling. We went to the southern channel first. And that was breathtaking. Literally. I had to come up a few times because i was so amazed that i sucked in water. There were so many tropical fish that ive never even seen in tv or the internet. Then we saw 2 electric eels. That was scary. One of them saw me, and looked, then bolted stright towards me but the tour guide saved my life by slapping his wrist makimg a sharp noise frightening the eel causimg it to retreat. It was scary. Then i saw a four foot barracuda. That was really interesting. Then we went to a pkace called shark and ray alley. It was only about 3 feet deep, but there were sting rays ALL over the place. And there were about 10 nurse sharks that were about 6 feet long. Sting rays feel really jelly like and the sharks feel like rubber. I got it all in the gopro. (a gopro is an underwater, small, and extremely versatile camera meant for snowboarding, skiing, and all other sports. Its also shockproof) that was our day of snorkeling:-)- Eli

Monday, February 20, 2012

Our day started with a early morning low mist  hanging just above our Base camp and as I listened to the orchestra of roosters, car sirens, dogs barking, kids crying and the rumble of loose mufflers, I was again reminded of how lucky I am not only to be here in Belize but to have lived the life I have..... It didnt take long before the sun beat the fog and we were back with the sunshine on our faces. We headed out to cotton tree church which is Belmopan's  Nazerene church.. It's a simple church along the humingbird hiway and is lead by a sweet man and his wife..  5 years ago the church was roofless and small... It has expanded into a very simple yet beautiful place to worship, pastor joe had always wanted a preschool in the back quarters and got his dream within the last year as a california church made the vision into a reality. Church was sweet and simple and full of Love!,, the entire church sang happy birthday to Josh and clapped  and prayed for him. On tues we will be assisting the california team complete an outside gathering/ worship/ play area..the california team has been her for all of lastmweek and this. .we are looking forward to working along side them to complete and finish this project After church we headed out to belize City to catch the watertaxie to Caye caulker..Caye Caulker is a tiny island about an hour boat ride across the carribian sea. parts this island meets the barrier reef and it is known for is incrediable diving and snorkeling waters.The island is a mile long and 3 streets wide when standing at one end of the street at the waterside and looking to the other side of the street you can see water:-) We arrived shortly after 3 to find that most of the cute little cabanas( where the kids and I will be staying in couple weeks) and sea view rooms were full, we made our way down a block or so and ran into a guy promising a clean afforable room...we paid $30 for our rooms and without complaining we becamem very gtateful and a little homesick for basecamp:-) we finished our day with a stroll along " mainstreet the kids got their feet wet and we filled on fresh caught grouper and shrimp cevechie...tommarow we will hit the " cafe amore" for breakfaxt  and some coffee,  our plan is to hit the beach and explore what lurks under the sea... I am up writing this at midnight as I just went to use the rest room and stepped on a gigantic cockroach!,, unfortunatly Ava woke to the racket of me pummeling this roach to death with my flipper... Now I have a bedmate:-) Our day started with a early morning low mist  hanging just above our Base camp and as I listened to the orchestra of roosters, car sirens, dogs barking, kids crying and the rumble of loose mufflers, I was again reminded of how lucky I am not only to be here in Belize but to have lived the life I have..... It didnt take long before the sun beat the fog and we were back with the sunshine on our faces. We headed out to cotton tree church which is Belmopan's  Nazerene church.. It's a simple church along the humingbird hiway and is lead by a sweet man and his wife..  5 years ago the church was roofless and small... It has expanded into a very simple yet beautiful place to worship, pastor joe had always wanted a preschool in the back quarters and got his dream within the last year as a california church made the vision into a reality. Church was sweet and simple and full of Love!,, the entire church sang happy birthday to Josh and clapped  and prayed for him. On tues we will be assisting the california team complete an outside gathering/ worship/ play area..the california team has been her for all of lastmweek and this. .we are looking forward to working along side them to complete and finish this project After church we headed out to belize City to catch the watertaxie to Caye caulker..Caye Caulker is a tiny island about an hour boat ride across the carribian sea. parts this island meets the barrier reef and it is known for is incrediable diving and snorkeling waters.The island is a mile long and 3 streets wide when standing at one end of the street at the waterside and looking to the other side of the street you can see water:-) We arrived shortly after 3 to find that most of the cute little cabanas( where the kids and I will be staying in couple weeks) and sea view rooms were full, we made our way down a block or so and ran into a guy promising a clean afforable room...we paid $30 for our rooms and without complaining we becamem very gtateful and a little homesick for basecamp:-) we finished our day with a stroll along " mainstreet the kids got their feet wet and we filled on fresh caught grouper and shrimp cevechie...tommarow we will hit the " cafe amore" for breakfaxt  and some coffee,  our plan is to hit the beach and explore what lurks under the sea... I am up writing this at midnight as I just went to use the rest room and stepped on a gigantic cockroach!,, unfortunatly Ava woke to the racket of me pummeling this roach to death with my flipper... Now I have a bedmate:-)

Friday, February 17, 2012


Day 2 !!!Yestarday we went to the mayan ruin, Xunantunich in the 85 degree weather!The Mayan RUins are where at times the Mayas fought to there deaths. We saw where kings once ruled and slept. . It was cool! On our way hiking up tp the ruins,we heard a scary unpleasent noise and followed it into the woods. We finially spotted the animal, we were seeing 4 howler monkeys!!there were also belizian men walking around the ruins with guns in there hands to keep the guatamalan people from illegaly crossing into belize.once you made it to the top of the largest ruin,it was because of the of the beautiful sunny skies and bright sun that we could see right into Guatemala!After that we crossed a river with a hand cranked fairy to get ice-cream in a Menenite village and then went home and made homemade salsa. -Ava

Thursday, February 16, 2012

We made it to BELIZE!! Unscathed, and a bit tired, but it didnt last long , the whoosh of the humid air and the distinct smell of another place, quickly reminded us to be in attention. Many people said "be safe" (in reguards to our trip) but all that dissapeared as we hit the humingbird highway, the concept of defensive driving does not exsist.....its offensive driving or you don't get there.... our destionation in To Belize Basecamp was about 45 min away to the Capitol city of Belize, Belmopan. We settled into Base Camp, grabbed a bite down the road (creole shrimp) and shortly there after turned in for the night.... What I woke to this morning was exactly whatI had hoped for..... An orchestra of sounds it would take a full featured film to describe, but if a person was never into birds before they came to Belize you would be numb not to be enchanted by the noises in the trees at sunrise! Today we plan to explore possibly one of the many Mayan ruins dotted and uncovered throughout The country.. I am excited, at peace And smiling as I slowly wake to my new adventure and sip on some delicious coffee in SHORTS! Double-ly smiling wide becase they have coffee mate creamer here!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

BLOG forward; The Reason of the Season- By Caroline

In 2008 My life of recovering from Co-dependency began. It has taken me on a beautiful journey of healing. My faith is the source of my healing. Many times during the day I hear Gods voice….. I had to learn to listen for it in the noise of my day and feel him thru the muck that had crowded my heart ... Most powerfully now I hear peace ..... I have received indescribable Peace….I love the passage in mark 4:35 where Jesus rebukes the wind and calms the Seas amongst a raging storm. There have been many days that I have had to picture Jesus rebuking the storm in my mind just so that I could complete the simple daily tasks of making dinner or doing the laundry without crumbling to pieces. 

Tragedy, suffering and loss will come. You cannot insulate yourself from them. You cannot avoid them. They come in their own season and in their own time. When they come, they will overwhelm you and immobilize you…but they will not destroy you…our hope and our peace lies within our faith.

When all is going well, our world is a small, controlled experience bounded by our daily rituals and activities. When tragedy and suffering come swooping in, they shatter our tiny boundaries and break our world into pieces.

For a short time we are living in a scream, where there seems to be no exit, only echo’s. The small cares that seemed so important yesterday seem like nothing, and our daily concerns become petty and irrelevant. When we finally reclaim ourselves as we ultimately do, we are changed.

 This is our time to think life afresh. It is a time to examine our faith and our lives.

2 Corinthians 12  7 -9  says My grace is sufficient  for you ..For my power is made perfect in weakness, therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness so that Christ's power may rest in me.  What’s the message there?   While God may not choose to deliver us from the trials of this world, he will never leave us or forsake us as we go thru them.... and given the chance, he will miraculously restore us into something so beautiful we can’t even wrap our minds around how we will get there .....

The Human being is a surprisingly resilient organism. We are impelled toward health, not sickness. With our faith intact.... Our spirits, as surly as our bodies, have a better chance of healing.

 I no longer fear tragedy or suffering.  I Honor it… I rest because I know God is good... I must take care to listen and let him me daily, into the shape of the new being I am to become.

….. Like LOVE, our struggles make us more a part of the human family...... From them,…… come the greatest creativity.

This Blog was created to share this season of creativity....

So what do we do when we THINK we have lost everything??

We hop on the treadmill, for a short while; until we realize the only thing lost... was ourselves.

In 2008, when my family fell apart, as I knew it, what I didn't realize until 3 years later was that God had a bigger and better family for ALL of us. He had a bigger and better neighborhood for me to dwell and share his love with.
He had a plan for my heart unlike any dream I could have ever dreamt....he has blessed me with a LOVE UN surpassed. With that LOVE intact, came a peace not described by words and a hope with a certainty of creative fulfillment.

Without ignoring my worldly responsibilities like providing food and shelter,  I am no longer participating in the conventional Race that our society feels so compelled to run. With the real estate market crashing and the absence of funds promised, I have been compelled to either walk away from or sell most of everything I once owned and coveted. I will Pac and store what I can and what is necessary. We are on the brink of exploring a part of the world I saw only a day.. aboard a cruise ship, we are challenging our hearts to be open, our minds to rest in the uncertainty and our lives to simply be changed forever.


Our Trip begins on February 15th. 2012

Part of Eli and Ava's education while traveling will be to journal with a BLOG post once a week.

You are cordially invited to share in this journey with us.
Stay tuned :)