24 June, 2008

Why I'm leaving Belize...

Okay, so this isn't the real reason, but it really is a good one!

This is a "coconut animal" as the local's call it. It causes a lot of damage to the trees so it doesn't have such a good rep.

Of course, I about freaked when I saw it calmly walking across the patio as if it was movin' in...I yelled to Guadalupe, who was cooking in the kitchen. (She and the other local women always get a good laugh over my 'freak-outs') so she calmly said "That coconut animal is bad, it should be killed". I looked at the small statured woman and said "You can't step on it; it's as big as your foot!"

G took a kitchen knife and tried to cut it in half and it FLEW into the brush. She then managed to cut its head off...GROSS! Esperanza was looking at it the whole time and said, "gross, there is stuff bubbling out of the spot where it's head was". And then the damn thing started walking or at least trying to...minus a large leg and a head. E then grabbed it and was really inspecting it as I snapped a couple photos and then retreated to another area.

She came over to me to show another horrid fact about the creature and I screamed (yes, like a little girl!) as I spotted it out of the corner of my eye moving towards my face. E apologized and said she wasn't trying to scare me but just wanted to show me something. Unfortunately “If you become a teacher, by your pupils you’ll be taught”, so I let her show me the uh…interesting?...markings and details of it. She finally retreated to go find the interns and show them, with my strict rules to “TELL THEM WHAT YOU HAVE before you shove the huge bug in their face!

18 June, 2008


If you get a chance, check out the following websites. The first www.raceacrossamerica.org is...um, you guessed it, it's a race across america (bike). My longtime friend Allison sent me the link because her husband Mike is racing in it. His team website is, www.thefriarsclub.com

I nannied for Mike and Allison's daughter in Hawaii, when she was an infant. I don't even want to think about how old she is now!

A little bit of information from the Friars Club website:

The team of eight riders and crew of 10 will be pedaling over 3,013 miles in elevations ranging from 179 feet below sea level (Salton Sea, CA) to 10,275 feet above sea level (La Manga Pass, CO), climb over 100,000 feet, pass through 14 states, cross the 5 longest rivers that are entirely in the U.S….and hope to do all this in 7 days.

Their goal (in addition to finishing) is to:

• Completely fund the building of an approximately 2,000 square foot orphanage in Haiti (100% of gifts go directly to the construction of the facility).
• Provide housing for 50 orphans.

The cost to completely build an orphanage is only $25,000 (or $500 per child). Our team is partnering with C3 Missions International, a Kansas City based 501c3 organization devoted to serving orphaned children in regions such as Thailand, South Africa, Cambodia and Haiti. Not one penny contributed will be used for admin or race costs – 100% goes to work in constructing the facility and providing a home, food and shelter for 50 orphaned children.


16 June, 2008

What seemed like a good idea...

a leisurely stroll to the source and tubing back down to the farm, suddenly took a turn for the worse.

There are 5 interns here on the farm and we decided on this sunny peaceful Sunday to hike to the source of the river which is only about 30 minutes and then slowly float downstream back to the farm.

We started hiking and then I (the leader) admitted that I really wasn’t sure where to turn off the trail. I knew that at some point we would need to veer right on the trail. It had been a couple months since I went to the source and it was dry season, hence things looked very different then…

Four of the others had been to the source just last week, so they were confident that they would know where it was…something about we needed to pass a house with a nice yard?? as we hiked, the trail took a sharp turn upward, which definitely was not the direction we needed to go. We turned and headed back and then passed over a dry creek bed and after a democratic decision (that the creek bed must flow into the river) we started to hike along it.

After about 10 minutes of crawling and falling on the rocky surface, carrying our tubes, the creek bed took a turn to the left. K went on up ahead and shouted that it turns again…another decision was made by all to head back the way we came and go back down the trail. It was actually a beautiful place we were in so there weren’t any negative thoughts. We were all just hot and ready to find water!

Miraculously after getting back to the trail and walking for about 5 minutes, like the witches house in Hansel and Gretel the strange thatch house with the nice grassy yard suddenly appeared. Now we did not pass it on the way in because one of us would have noticed it! We must have previously been on some twilight zone parallel trail?? We passed through the yard and onto the trial in front of the house and immediately heard and then saw the river. It was a very strange experience…as if we passed through some time warp or something.

We arrived at the source and sat by the water for a while relishing in the cool water and then headed down stream. There was a rather scary drop off in the river which was pretty rocky. I took the initiative and went first. It was really fun and not that dangerous provided you stayed on your tube. The interns went one by one as I snapped the photo’s and cracked up! M1 fell off hers and was fine, M2 fell off hers and was not. M2 had slammed her foot into some sharp rocks. She was in a daze and we got her back on her tube and said we would head back quickly. She stuck her butt in the tube and stuck her foot out. I got a good look at it as it didn’t look that bad, but then I took another look. It had a large gash in it, but with the cold water and her foot in the air, it wasn’t even bleeding.

We got back to the farm and after 2 steps on dry land, it swelled up and looked as bad as Nancy the dog’s neck after Melon attacked her! J and I got on either side of her and helped her hobble along the trail which of course went up and up. At the top, we adjusted and M2 was able to put all her weight on us and hop a little. J finally told the 5 foot 10 M2 to get on her back and she would piggy-back her to the nearest rooms. J is strong and carried her steadily to a hammock. I told K to go get Dawn and come quickly (without the girls!) I rinsed the wound and picked out little stones which had made her foot looked like a butchered chicken with dead skin hanging and bright red meat gooping out, eughwwwwwwwww.

Christopher and K took her to PG (to the river on J’s back, canoe down to the village, hike to the truck, drive to the town – reverse on the way back) to the local clinic to get her stitched up. They got back late that night and she received tons of stitches...inside and out! Dawn and I took turns piggy-backing her to her room.

Now M2's out for the count for a week until the stitches come out. We got her all set up this morning in a hammock in the main common area so she can be a part of the camaraderie.

11 June, 2008

Mattie Moo!

It was so good to see Mattie on my trip to KS over Memorial weekend! She has gotten soooo big, mostly winter fur, but she has beefed up as well.
awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, how cute!

09 June, 2008

cooking is not an easy task...

...until you get used to it. Stoking the fire getting ready for stir fry!

Stirring it up!

Wahla...finished product.

08 June, 2008

Nancy and Melon

Nancy was almost killed by Melon! yep, only they know why, but Melon attacked her at the river in front of the girls. The girls came up screaming to me and I calmly said in my teacher voice, "now girls, Melon won't kill Nancy, calm down and we'll go see what's happening." As we walked down to the river Z said "Melinda, what if Nancy dies" and I said "oh please, Z, Nancy's not going to die" and then I heard this sound.

It was the sound of an animal in incredible pain, but it didn't sound like a dog, more like a duck or something, but I knew in my heart that it was Nancy. I started to run down to the river and I yelled at the girls to go back to the house, but of course they kept following me. I got to the water and there was an intern (who had just arrived at that very moment) yelling that the black dog was killing the yellow dog. I looked at him in disbelief and said "that dog...Melon?" and he said yes, he had thrown rocks at the black dog to get it away from the other one. (they had moved their fight to the water) He said thatMelon had Nancy's neck and face in her mouth and was thrashing her about and holding her under the water.

Now, I must say that Melon is the sweetest, albeit dumbest dog there is. She's less than a year old, but bigger than Nancy. Nancy is the alpha dog and Melon has always backed down to her and I guess she decided to stop. There is a big probability that both dogs are pregnant and maybe the hormones in Melon's body are changing her. It's too bad that such a young dog is pregnant in the first place...but that's another story...

Melon was at that time out of the water and Nancy was standing chest deep on a log in the water. Melon lunged back into the water and I creamed at her "OUTSIDE MELON" (their word for "go away") and she ran back out as I was running in. The area where I was is full of logs, sticks and other stuff that has washed into the area, but is now flooded so I was falling all over the place stepping on unseen logs and shit. The girls and the intern dragged Melon up to the house and I finally got to Nancy and after realizing that she would not move, I proceeded to carry her out of the water, sometimes using their huge dog Belaya as support. I got her to the land and she couldn't walk. I was in rescue mode, or else I would have broken down crying. I sat there with her and she finally tried to take a step and fell. She had lacerations all over her neck and 2 teeth punctures on her head and one on that soft place under her chin near her throat.

I carried her up to the house and laid her down on the bench. She could not lay down for awhile (I think she was still in shock) but finally did so and an hour or so later she fell asleep. Today, she is up and walking around (slowly) and the intern said he cannot believe that she is alive. He thought for sure no dog could withstand that punishment and live to see another day.

Melon has been tied up since and we were joking that she probably forgot why she was there, but then Nancy came into her view and she growled like I have never heard her do and started barking. It really is the weirdest thing! I hate to see Melon tied up all the time, but then again, I think she will try to finish the job she started!

05 June, 2008

now what...

I am finished here teaching on the farm…nothing happened, no drama, just that all-of-a-sudden feeling that my time here is done. So now what? The story of my life nowadays; “Just what in the hell do I do next?” My options are infinite, but possibilities are not. What to do but follow whatever impulses no matter what they may be…even a small nagging feeling I got to check email while I was in KS visiting family. With a shrug of my shoulders, I boot up my mom’s computer. Hmmmm, there’s an email with updates from Careerbuilder.com…of course there is. There is a position in KS, right…oh look, it’s not only in KS, it’s in my parents small town, how alluringly convenient. Yes, the ONLY office building in the small town is looking for a Sr. Admin. Assistant. The same company that recently laid off about 100 people is offering up a job that I am perfectly capable of doing, oh and they are offering the exact salary I was wanting…of course they are. It is all delightfully laid out in perfect order…the light at the end of the financially smothering tunnel…or is it?

C&D are not surprised to hear that I am leaving the farm. They have known that the salary was not sustainable long term, but instead of waving goodbye (at the end of June) D decides to mention to a friend that her teacher is leaving. She mentions this to not just a friend, but a wealthy one; a wealthy friend who could pay me more money a month; one with a small child in need of a teacher…what an utterly convenient plan wrecker. A cross-road on an otherwise one way path. A fork in the road. A downpour when a list mist was predicted. Now what? I wait to hear from both positions…wait to see which one pans out. And if they both do? Well, I don’t have a meditation Tipi to go into, but I do have my incense, a peaceful environment, teachings from a Shaman and that wonderful intuition.

Bring it on!