Bonacca and Guanaja, we have arrived!

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04/25/2016 Two weeks ago on Monday morning I was trying to get in to see my dentist because I had a miserable toothache. I could see his assistant but not him until Thursday so I said I would wait until Thursday. About a year ago he put a temporary crown on a tooth but won’t put the permanent one on until I go see an endodontist on the mainland. I was to do that last year. OOPS. What can I say, the tooth didn’t hurt until now. So, I waited.

Monday my cleaning gal came and did the upstairs. It stayed clean for a while. Well, until I let the dogs back inside. I’m a walking oxymoron it seems. Pay a cleaning lady to clean up the dog mess and when she’s done, let the dogs in. What makes sense about that? Nothing.

Our friends were coming over for a long overdue pizza dinner that night. We had a great evening, drinks on the roof, pizza on the porch, back on the roof for after dinner drinks. They don’t mind the dogs, they have one of ours so they were cool. Even the dogs got treats.

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Peanut butter and yogurt whipped, put in Kongs and frozen.

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Siamese twins

It was a fabulous evening with good friends and great conversation.

I started to help deliver shoes again on Tuesday at the Juan Brooks school in downtown Coxen Hole. It was hot and humid, sweat was the word for the day. When I got there they had just started fitting shoes. We had a family from CA. and a group of young women from The World RaceTake the time to click on the link and see what these ladies do. They travel 11 months a year to very remote places and do mission work, strong, amazing young women. They spent their second week here on the island at my friends home.

When I got to the school, the fitting was in full swing.

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The 3 girls seated on the left and the girl on the left standing were all part of The World Race.

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This is a big school in the center of town.

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Nidia, checking her list.

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It was just the boys in the photo but the girls photobombed.

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So many kids

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Doing school work in the cool breezeway.

Once we finished Juan Brooks we went to a small school by the airport.

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The school

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The fitters and the fetchers..our helpers, The World Race ladies had to leave part way through the day so we got teachers to help fit, and my friend Jan, in blue scrubs. She is a volunteer nurse at Clinic Esperanza and is from Park City, Utah.

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Old for new

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There was a never ending stream of kids.

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Waiting

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The sink at the store by the school. I got to see it close up because I LOCKED MY ONLY KEY IN MY CAR. Bill had to drive 40 min to where I was, get a mechanic on the way, so he could break into my car. UGH!! Need to get a new key made, soon.

I made it to the dentist on Thursday and he was shocked I hadn’t had my tooth taken care of. He doesn’t know me very well. It didn’t hurt, why bother, except he reminded me, I still have a temporary crown. He once again said I need to go to the mainland so I need to fit that in to my schedule soon. After that I took my car to get the part fixed where the guy broke it jaibreaking my car and also got the oil and filters changed. Good to go, again!

On Friday Nidia came to my house and we headed east to BJ’s. We hung out there for awhile visiting and then we left to go do a soccer equipment delivery at a field near Pandy Town, could be considered Fiddlers Bight. Pastor Ronny Russell and the Live Again Ministries and Theresa Renee Arriaga helped with the money for this donation. The coach took the stuff to the field but the kids didn’t know what was in the box.

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The coach had the box on the back of his motorcycle. The kids were beyond anxious with anticipation.

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Nidia talking to the kids

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Silly boys

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Huge field in the middle of nowhere. I think this land separates Pandy town and Fiddlers Bight.

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Nidia asking the boys if they know what is in the box..

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Who wants new soccer stuff?

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What an assortment of stuff, shoes, balls and uniforms.

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Could he have a bigger smile?

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Nice shoes

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Happy kids with new uniforms

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This little guy was adorable

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Exciting, soccer shoes.

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WOW! Soccer shoes are rarely worn here, nobody can afford them.

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New soccer balls!

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A goalie uniform

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Sent from Diunsa on the mainland.

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Perfect timing!

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The coach and 3 boys standing near their community water supply.

After there we scouted out another potential place for the senior dinner and we think it’s a great spot. More on that later.

I did my airport gig on Saturday, fast and furious as usual. The next morning was my usual foray at Mega Paca and let me say, I got the PERFECT Pirate Party dress. Can’t wait!!

We were going to go to Bonacca and Guanaja to deliver shoes on Monday but that fell through so we were shooting for Tuesday. I met Nidia in Oak Ridge Tuesday morning. Let the adventure begin. OMG, it’s a good thing I’m pretty much game for anything.

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We were going in the big boat. The OLD slow boat. The boat with few seats.

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Nidia found a perfect seat..

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It was rough on the way over, took 4 hours, I was sitting on my butt on the boat floor and I was soaked. FOUR HOURS!!

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Some people slept, or tried to.

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You can tell which way the wind blows

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Getting off the boat in Bonacca.

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The Venice of the Caribbean

Bonacca is a small town made of home on stilts connected by waterways and walkways. There are no cars or motorcycles on Bonacca. To read more about Bonacca and it’s history, click here. It was really amazing. Clean, very narrow streets, everyone smiled or spoke to you, education is at about 97%, which is amazing. We got to meet the mayor, a very young guy, progressive thinker, he seems to be doing quite well. We also met the director of all the schools on Bonacca and Guanaja.

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View from the restaurant.

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Bonacca springs water.

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Not sure why the clothes were out on the roof, my guess was to dry them?

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Kids on the street

After we had lunch we gathered the shoes from the Municipal office where they were stored and went to the first school on Bonacca. It was a medium sized school and it was spotlessly clean. There was no trash laying in the schoolyard, outside, in the rooms, NONE. How impressive that the Mayor has set these standards and the teachers and students are held accountable.

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Schoolyard. These boys were playing soccer with a ball of paper wadded up into a ball shape.

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New shoes, thanks TOMS shoes!

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D, Jan, Tony and Erik waiting for the next class to fit at the school.

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These boys had big feet!

 

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Bonacca is so cool!

After the 4 hour boat ride, fitting the kids with shoes, most of the people wanted to shower and chill for awhile. Nidia, Cookie (her daughter) and Nidia’s sister Rose Mary and I wanted to go on a boat tour so we found a guy to take us out. It was so beautiful. He took us east, around The Villa on Dunbar Rock and through the little stilt homes built off the shore of Guanaja.

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I have wanted to see this place for years. It is magnificent!

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The Villa must have cost a fortune to build, all the steel and concrete beams sunk down into the rock, what an incredible place. You can rent all or part of the house. There are 10 bedrooms!!

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There was a small village of stilt houses off the shore. In the background of this home you can see Bonacca.

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These two homes have a bridge between them. Of course, we went under it.

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Bonacca

We were asking the boat driver where to eat and all of a sudden he manuevered his boat into this small space, tied it up and we got out.

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We followed him down this narrow hallway, up some stairs and there was this cool little restaurant! We decided to eat there.

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Many evacuation signs posted all over.

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We meandered back through the maze of streets to our “hotel” to find the rest of the gang. They were scattered all over.

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Internet cafe??

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This sign is classic.

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These boxes were stacked in every nook and cranny in Nidia’s room.

Some of the guys were down on the dock so I walked down to get them with a wine bottle and a plastic cup in my hand. I really wanted some wine but couldn’t get the cork out. (it was uncorked but I stuck the cork back in it). Erik to the rescue (all the while Tony is saying he has pliers) but who needs pliers when Erik’s teeth work just fine. POP came the cork. I had VINO!!

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We gathered the group, 12 of us, and went to the restaurant. It was a really nice place, cool breeze and they were very busy. It was aptly named Sea View.

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I happened to take some cars with me and gave a few to the owners son. Thanks again John and Lizeth, I’m still passing them out.

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This sweet little guy was there with his family, the littlest one and the only boy. I gave him 2 cars and he was immediately busy running them up the chairs, on the table. I think he was occupied for the evening.

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On the way to the restaurant we grabbed another bottle of wine. It’s a good thing because Nidia, Rose Mary and I drank 2 for dinner. This is Nidia leaving the restaurant.

After that we meandered through the streets and back to our hotel where we all crashed. We were meeting at 7 for breakfast and 8 to do shoes.

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Jan put this back on but the shower still sucked and it was cod water.

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Maybe the rubber band was to hold the shower head on.

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Expert air/co installation

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Good thing we didn’t need drawers!

I slept very poorly that night, even w/ the air conditioning I was still hot and the pillow felt like it belonged to Wilma Flintstone.  I was happy to see morning!

Some of the people went to breakfast, I had packed a week long supply of food. (I know, odd for the girl who doesn’t like to eat) so I had a bagel. We started carrying the boxes downstairs and loading them in the wheelbarrow or carrying them to the school. This school was right next to the one we were at the previous day. It seems like the schools on Guanaja are much better equipped, the library was full of books, world globes, pencils, crayons, impressive.

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Well stocked library

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Fitting shoes

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Yes, they all want new shoes!!

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Nice classroom

When we were done with this school we loaded the boxes onto the same tired old boat and set off for Savanna Bight on Guanaja.

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We even fit kids on the boat!

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The locals call this the egg house. It has 3 bedrooms, a bath, full kitchen , living space and a deck all around it. It is for sale and it’s built well enough that it withstood Guanaja getting hit by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

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Leaving Bonacca for Savannah Bight, Guanaja

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Another view of Dunbar Rock

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Karl, Nidia’s son, King of the World. He just left for Germany, by way of Miami, to go to college.

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This is what drew me to the Bay Islands!

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Getting ready to dock at Savannah Bight

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Carrying shoes from the boat to the school.

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Beauties

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The girls were sweeping but as soon as they saw the camera, they were posing.

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So cute

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I love their responses when they see their photos!

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They spoke English also, at least the majority did.

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Nothing better than smiling kids

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View from the school

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Cleaning the classroom before we set up

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All handsome, the boy on the left had beautiful eyes!!

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Not camera shy and silly as anything.

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Waiting their turn

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These kids were so darn adorable!

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A school desk

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Cookie (Nidia’s daughter) Tony, a volunteer with the Roatan Marine Park and Rose Mary, Nidia’s sister on the left fitting shoes. I was sitting next to Cookie.

When we were done there a truck came and we loaded the boxes and ourselves onto the truck bed and set off for another school.

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Rose Mary on the top of the truck, she had to watch for low hanging branches.

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There are very few cars but a fabulous concrete road. This is the service station.

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School # 4

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Another nice school. There were kids from 4 schools here to get shoes. I spotted the dog right away and called it to come over to me. It looked sickly. I noticed a few ticks on the dogs eye so I pulled them off and squished them with my finger nail. I was petting the dog when my friend said blood was dripping off of my hand. I looked at the poor dog’s ear and it was lacerated and infected. I immediately went to the director of schools and requested that he have the principal take this dog to the vet. (There is a vet on the island.) I told him if the dog didn’t get help it would die. If Guanaja wasn’t so far away I would go back and take care of the poor thing. I reminded the director 3 times. He more than likely thinks I’m crazy but I don’t care.

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Kids from 1 school in pants, another school (dressed like the girl in the plaid skirt) was there too.

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Yellow shirts are another school and kids in white and blue are a 4th school.

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My friend Erik, the pharmacist from Michigan. He is here volunteering at Clinic Esperanza.

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What adorable kids they were!!

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Leaving the school heading back to the boat dock. The man on the right is the school director.

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The director of the schools, Dennis, D and Rose Mary, on our way back to Bonacca.

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It was a smooth ride, we were inside the reef so some people sat on the roof of the boat.

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This is Graham’s Place.

Grahams Place has quite a following. I’ve not been but it’s on my list. It is a tiny tiny island surrounded by gorgeous calm waters and beautiful deserted beaches. Sound inviting? Click on the link and check it out. Truly a one of a kind place.

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Our boat was old..

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Handsome Karl, what a great guy. He and Cookie will do well in Germany and make their mother even prouder than she is now! Fabulous kids!

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It was fun watching this guy off of a little cay.

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Back to Bonacca. The building on the right is where we had dinner the previous evening.

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Nidia was exhausted.

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When we returned to Bonacca we planned to get our stuff from the room and head back to Roatan; however we were greeted by kids wanting shoes. We had them go back to the hotel (sic) lobby and we fit them there. Then more kids came and more and more. We were there for quite a while. Since there were only 4 seats in the lobby it was mostly stand up fitting.

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Jan and Tony fitting. Jan is from Park City, Utah and Tony is a journalist from British Columbia. Jan and I shared a room.

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Rose Mary doing some stand up, sit on the floor fitting.

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The line stretched down to the corner and then some.

Once we were done here, we consolidated shoes so we had fewer boxes to take back with us. We were hoping to get a faster boat and after about 45 min of waiting, we did. It was a much smaller boat though, no top on it and it barely held all of us. Several times when we were out in the open ocean, all you could see were the swells of the water on either side. We were all pretty soaked when we finally returned to Oak Ridge. It only took about 2 hours to get home and we took a really cool cut through mangroves on the island of Guanaja. It was an interesting ride home to say the least.

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The neat and tidy streets of Bonacca

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Taken from the second floor of the visitor center

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Boats..everyone has a boat!

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Lots of kids with their new TOMS shoes on.

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Black spiny sea urchins in the water by the docks.

A lot of our view on the way home was big waves and salt spray. The sea calmed once we got along side of Barbareta Island and was pretty calm the rest of the way. When we were out in the open sea in that small boat though, it was super rough. We would drop down in between the huge swells. Very exciting.

We got home around 6 PM. I was whooped and just wanted a hot shower and couldn’t wait to wash the layer of salt off of my skin. I got free exfoliation on the way there and back, a perk for sure.

I never quite know what to expect when I go on these escapades with Nidia but I do know that all of the kids (except for less than 6 who didn’t show up that day) on Bonacca and Guanaja have new shoes. ‘

TOMS shoes really does rock and I’m so blessed to be able to be a part of it. It’s tiring leaning over all day, carrying boxes, fitting and sizing but when you see the smiles or get the hugs you forget about any discomfort you may have and revel in the joy on the kids faces.

That’s what it’s all about.

An unintentional litter of love

 

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04/15/2016 The babies are 1 year old today. I am happy to report that the 7 pups and their Momma are all healthy and living fabulous lives. It breaks my heart every time I see a starving dog or a hugely pregnant malnourished dog wandering the roads of this island.  People need to be educated and they need to understand that allowing a dog to continue to have/make pups is inexcusable and irresponsible. It needs to stop. My 7 pups were unplanned, due to a dog I rescued, I did the best that I could. Please spay and neuter your dogs and cats. This is a success story, but 99% of them are not.

I already had Lola, Lucky and Highway when I found Frito on Tuesday, March 10th at the school in Barrio Los Fuertes. We were doing a TOMS shoe delivery. There was a bone sticking out of her paw and it was infected. I lured her to my car with a bag of Fritos, scooped her up and left. I had already called Bethany, Doc Calderon’s assistant and also called Bill saying, “there is a dog..” Once we were home, I fed her, gave her fresh water and made her a nice bed.  I then tried my best to clean her paw and started her on antibiotics immediately. She went to the vet on Wednesday (the only day there is a vet here on the island) and he wanted her sent to his office in La Ceiba. She left that day, the 11th, on the afternoon ferry. She was operated on Friday the 13th and came home March 15th. EXACTLY one month later she had 7 puppies. I just figured this all out the other day when I was getting sentimental about it being the pups first birthday. All along I have been saying, about a month later she had pups, when it really was exactly 1 month. More of that “it was fate” stuff.

Frito had a good life here after her surgery. I fed her a lot and she gobbled it up, after starving for most of her young life. She started gaining weight rapidly though. Three weeks after she came home from having her leg removed I realized she was pregnant. We were out on the lower deck and she was laying on her back on the bench and I saw her belly move several times. I put my hand on her fat, huge, burgeoning belly and sure enough, a little foot kicked me. DAMN.

The day I Frito gave birth to 7 puppies was more than a little change in my life. It was huge. I am all about responsible dog ownership. I would NEVER breed a dog, it is stupid to even think about that. Finding good homes is very difficult. Puppies are adorable but they grow up to be dogs and they become eating machines. They MUST get heartworm meds, flea and tick meds monthly, regular shots, wormed, all things that most people don’t think is important. Most of all they must be fixed to ensure that NO MORE PUPS are born. Here I was with an unintentional pack of puppies. I had no idea that when I saved Frito I was saving her and the 7 babies she was carrying.

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Not gordo (fat) but prego!!

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3 was a good number

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So was 4

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How about 6?

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And then there were 7. Seven little dwarfs.

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Hungry little buggers

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These 2 were destined to be together and we knew from the day after they were born that they would be. Sable and Bandit bonded at birth and are lucky that they were adopted together by 2 people who love and adore them. Thanks Lisa and Rob!

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He’s not heavy, he’s my brother.

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Sable and Bandit

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Sable and Bandit doing ballet

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Sable with Lisa

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Bandit and Rob

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Hungry pups

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Once their eyes were open we started taking them out to the grass. We had to make umpteen trips up and down the steps to get them all carried outside. Frito was still the milk truck but Lola was already forming a bond with the pups.

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Nursing in the grass. Frito was eating like a queen, she got spinach and eggs and yogurt, anything to keep her healthy so the pups would be healthy.

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They loved their outside time. Bill built an enclosure on the lower concrete porch that was shaded and dry. We put them in there for naps so we weren’t constantly carrying them all up and down the steps. Lola always sat guard. ALWAYS.

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They had an enclosure in the living room that grew to take up half of the living room. I was totally anal keeping it clean. I did 3 loads of dog laundry a day, washing bedding constantly.

Lola guarding her pups.

Frito soon lost interest in nursing the pups, they had teeth and were biting her. She had mastitis too so I wrapped her teats in warm wet cabbage leaves. Yes. I did do this. When she recovered we kept her separated from the group so she would dry up. This is when Lola really took over as momma dog. She did everything but nurse them, not that they didn’t try. She never left the pups alone. If they were downstairs in the pen sleeping, she was right there with them, sometimes in their pen.

About the time Frito lost interest in nursing was when she and Lola started fighting. Frito usually went after Lola when ever she got near the pups which was all the time, since she was their self appointed guardian. It got to the point that we had to keep them separated because I was afraid the pups would get in the middle of all of the nastiness going on.

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I took over feeding them. We went through containers of yogurt, eggs, evaporated milk some Karo syrup and rice cereal like crazy.

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I always had 2 containers of yogurt filled with their special AKC recipe in the fridge, ready for late night feedings. By the way they grew, I know they were getting proper nutrition.

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eggs, yogurt, milk, Karo, cereal..check.

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It was my life. I unknowingly allowed these pups to be born, I was responsible for their lives.

I started looking for homes but was very cautious about who I would give a pup to. Living on an island like Roatan, you must be selective. You have to be sure the people you give the dogs to will have them fixed, no more proliferating puppies on the island. You also need to be sure the pups will be fed, get regular vet check ups and be loved. It was tough, really, it was. I knew 2 were going to Lisa and Rob and was totally chill with that. They loved the dogs and would be good to them. After many conversations and messages I finally got Marcia to have her husband come over to meet the pups and he fell for Buddha, now called Duke. When Dennis took Duke I bawled. Tears of joy and sorrow. One of my babies (remember, I had myself convinced I gave birth to these pups so it was natural to be experiencing post- partum depression) was leaving the nest. Then Lisa and Rob took their two. I was prepared for that though, I knew they had a good home. That still left me with 4 pups and 3 other dogs, Highway, Lola and Frito. {Lucky, a dog I took from some people leaving the island who couldn’t take their 3 dogs with them, had by then moved to a friends house where he is much happier without puppies nibbling on him.}

Max had been spoken for by another couple but when he got really sick from Giardia and we almost lost him, they had lost interest by then. Thanks to Doc Calderon and Bethany, Max is fine now and a total love. Brindle (now renamed Gringo) also had a home but at the last minute things changed there too. We still had 4 pups. Bill’s sister was coming to visit and we took Max with us to pick her and Jenny up. While at the airport I saw Kevin and Claire. Kevin grabbed Max and took him to show Claire. Then he came back to me and said, ‘We want the big one showing his teeth in your pictures.”

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They wanted Tank. I was happy and sad again.

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Lola watching the pups..

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Lola and Tank and Max, chewing on her tail.

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Lola with the 4 boys

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She was so good with the puppies..so gentle, she allowed them to crawl all over her, chew her tail, her ears, her face..she was just chill.

Let me just say this, I may have been the one making all the food and cleaning up the messes but Bill agreed to my every whim to build things needed to keep the puppies safe. A big box downstairs, a box upstairs, a bigger box upstairs, backs on the steps so they wouldn’t fall through, rails on the porch, rails on the deck, barriers in the yard, you name it, he made it. All for the puppies. Or maybe to protect himself, because if anything had happened to one of these pups I would have lost it. He knew that.

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The living room crate.. Thanks to Lynda for bringing me all kinds of towels and things for bedding.

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Sound asleep in the Le Creuset dish

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Passed out in their upstairs crate.

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When the pups were about 5 months old we all met (the pups and their parents) at Parrot Tree lagoon and let them swim and play together for a few hours. It was so cool to see them figure out who the other dogs were. And Sable was her regular kick ass self. Being the only girl, she was feisty as hell and took nothing from her brothers.

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Brothers and a sister

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Bandit, Barrio, Sable, Max and Duke

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Gringo, Max, Duke and Barrio

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Two peas in a pod, Sable and Bandit..Their love for each other is amazing.

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Our 3 boys and their Momma

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The Beach Boys at Big Bight

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Bill hooked a water spritzer on the deck, they loved it.

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I’ve never allowed dogs on the furniture. These 3 wore me down.

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Rooftop rumble

We are down to 6 dogs. Highway, Lola, Frito, Max, Barrio and Gringo. They are all loved immensely. I can’t even begin to tell you how any times a day I kiss the dogs and tell them I love them. Bill is always loving on them too, they get a lot of attention. We have extended the fenced in area to enclose the whole drive way, they have the roof, the back deck, the lower deck and two yards to play in. Hopefully we will soon have a pool for them.

I consider myself very fortunate to have found good homes for 4 of my babies and I am good friends with their parents so I always know what is going on.

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This is Duke. He has it made with Marcia and Dennis and their rottie, Shay. Thanks Marcia and Dennis. XOXO

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This is Tank. I used to call him Tankerdoodles. He also has a life of leisure running and playing with the other dogs at Kevin and Claire’s. Kevin claims to not like him (hahahaha) but rumor has it he and Tank share kisses.. Thanks Claire and Kevin. XOXO

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And then there is Sable and Bandit. I stopped to see them one day and they went crazy kissing me. Lisa just marvels at how they remember their birth Momma. These 2 also have a fab life with a pool to swim in and parents who love them. Thanks Lisa and Rob. XOXO

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Our boys swimming last Sunday.

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The 5 that live upstairs. Unfortunately Frito still has to be kept separated because she wants to kill Lola. We feel really bad that this is the case and we are trying to help them to get along. Frito isn’t chained, she has a big yard to run in, she is Bill’s shop dog, always wandering around with him. She gets to sleep inside on a nice bed and gets food, the most important thing in her life.

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Every night, this is what our floor looks like. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

In closing, Happy Birthday to the 7 most loved pups on the island. Huge thanks and much love to Rob and Lisa, Marcia and Dennis and Kevin and Claire. You guys probably saved my marriage. If I hadn’t found good homes for the dogs, I would have kept them all. My love for these dogs grows daily and what they have given to me can’t be measured..it’s too perfect.

And remember people, SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS. Don’t be an irresponsible schmuck.

10,000 pairs of TOMS shoes

 

reason to help

04/13/2016 The TOMS shoes arrived and the shoe drive began. We started at the east end of the island. The first week we had volunteers here on a medical mission at Clinic Esperanza and the people from the Hogar Emanuel Orphanage in SPS.  I also rallied some ladies from the east end to help out.

We all met at Barrio Lempira in Oak Ridge and split up into groups. My group (Marilyn, Gail, Cathey, Kathy and Marcia) went to Pandy Town. Pandy Town is one of my favorite schools, I like the teachers and the kids there. It’s the school I went to the very first time I helped with TOMS shoes.

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A truck load of shoes, truck courtesy of the Municipal of Santos Guardiola. Thank you Carson and Clifford!

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He needed new shoes

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Kathy and Gail

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Sorted and sized

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Kids waiting in line

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Old TOMs for new ones

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Me fitting a little boy with new TOMS. Photo by Marilyn

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Pam and Cathey Photo by Marilyn

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Cathey, me, Kathy and Gail all fitting. Photo by Marilyn

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He thought he was getting a shot. Photo by Marilyn

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Nurse volunteers and also volunteers from the orphanage in SPS that is instrumental in us getting shows for the island kids. Photo by Marilyn

My helpers left after Pandy Town and the rest of us finished up at the other school in Barrio Lempira.

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These are students at the kinder in Barrio Lempira

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waiting to get new shoes

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Anxious faces

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such cute boys

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These are the students from the orphanage fitting shoes at the high school.

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The High School

After that we went to Punta Gorda to fit the kids there. Since the schools have 2 shifts we missed the younger students the first day at Punta Gorda.

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Students helping us unload box after box

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Soon to be replaced

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This is the school “cafeteria”

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One of the Garifuna drums

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These drums sounded really cool

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Punta Gorda school and a boy in the traditional Garifuna clothes.

The next morning I met my friend Llyn and her 2 friends and we went to Punta Gorda. From there we loaded shoes into my car and went to a small kinder that I never even knew was there in Lucy Point and fit some kids with shoes. I think that was the most hugs I’ve ever gotten at a school.

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These kids were too cute

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They all love cameras.

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Adorable

It didn’t take long to fit those kids so Llyn and her friends headed home and I went back to Punta Gorda. The power was out so they moved the shoe fitting outside. It was stifling hot in the rooms. Two people stayed inside and handed the needed sizes out the windows to the fitters.

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The swings and seesaw need fixed here too.

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There were a lot of students.

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She was a volunteer at Clinic Esperanza.

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Really? This is in the garden walkway that the kids use??

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These volunteers deserve a huge thank you. It was super hot with no breeze at all.

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Garifuna kids

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The girls look so pretty in their dresses.

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This little boy was putting this toy together, except he didn’t have enough pieces to finish it.

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He was still pretty proud of his accomplishment. What a handsome young man!

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Dusty TOMS shoes on the playset

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His eyes

After they were done there they went to Barrio Los Fuertes. That’s where I rescued Frito. Nidia said not to go because 1) Frito and 2) driving west to the school, then driving all the way back east to home. I came home.

My friend Marcia volunteered to do another day with me on Wednesday, along with Bob and Rosalie who wanted to help. We met them at the 1500+ student Modelo school in Sandy Bay. Wowsa, what a huge school bustling with activity. There is a sports court on the roof, nice and hot up there in the blazing sun, but at least there is somewhere to run and play ball. We had a lot of volunteers this day. We even had a family who helped us last year.

Once we got all the shoes in the room we had at least 15 fitters and the rest of us were runners and fitters too when needed. I know I fit a LOT of shoes that day. Christa (AKA Cookie, who is Nidia’s daughter) did the kinder class at that school, about 100 students. We had around 1500 that we did in 3 hours. We rocked it!

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The Modelo school in Sandy Bay, right where the tumulos (speed bumps) are

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Not camera shy

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Bob and Rosalie walking up to the school

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Little beauties, waiting for shoes

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Take my picture!

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So pretty

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Fitters. The girl in the red hat got dizzy from leaning over and then sitting up so many times. I took her place when she left to get some fresh air. People think it’s a simple process, hand them the shoes and go. Nope, doesn’t work that way at all.

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They are all wearing their new TOMS except for one little boy who is holding his new prized possession.

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Loved his hair

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Old TOMS for brand new ones

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The mayhem in the room. The runners were tossing the shoes to the fitters. It was kind of chaotic, but fun.

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Another old pair of TOMS being replaced with new TOMS

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What a great smile..

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The two young boys were brothers and they were super nice boys.

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Rosalie running with shoes for the fitters. The fitters use the size chart to get an idea what size, then they yell out the size. The runner grabs the size shoe they need and gives them to the fitter. If the shoes don’t fit the runners put that pair back in the right box and grabs another size to try. It’s a process..

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Marcia helping out. I’ve discovered that I need to check my camera settings while I’m doing this. I keep my camera in my pocket and in the process of pulling it in and out, the setting gets changed, therefore my pics are blurry.

After we finished that school we were taking a lunch break. Marcia, Bob, Rosalie and a lady we met who was helping named Jan all went to The Salty Mango restaurant in Sandy Bay for lunch. It was excellent.

After that Marcia and I went to a school in Flowers Bay. That wasn’t a very large school. The rooms had no lights or ventilation/fans at all so we fit the kids outside.

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The school

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I just love these kids..

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The smiles they get when you show them their photo makes me wish I had an instamatic camera so I could give them all pics of themselves.

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It was just the girls at first but the little boy photo bombed them.

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Nidia giving her speech about getting new shoes. The girl on the right in the gray t-shirt is from Maryland, she volunteers at the Orphanage in San Pedro Sula.

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Marcia being a runner for the fitters.

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Nidia’s daughter Christa aka Cookie (in the blue shirt) fitting.

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The fitters, hard at work.

After that school was finished we called it a day. We planned to meet at another large school in the same area the next morning.

I arrived just as Faber and a few other people did and we waited for the shoe truck to come. Once they came we had the students carry the shoes into the school yard.

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They actually had a fruit cart but the girls were all adding sugar syrup to the sliced mangos. There were 2 other food stands within the school grounds.

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Loved this bike

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not a clue what this is.

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Students carrying in shoe boxes

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Inside of the school yard.

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Cynthia, me and Nidia.

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Girls waiting for new shoes

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The fitters

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Old TOMS

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New TOMS

We took a lunch break and then had to wait for the next shift of students to arrive. Instead of waiting, Cookie and I took several pairs of shoes and went to Miss Valeries Charmont Academy and dropped off shoes there and then we went to Las Brisas kinder. It is out a road called Steel Pan Alley.

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This is the kinder

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Cookie with the students..

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The inside of the school. There are no windows and there are cinder blocks and bags of cement in the class room.

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Sweet young girl

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Cookie fitting

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The kinder teacher. She is expecting another baby.

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Last year we were able to drive up alongside of the building in the background. This year there is a large drainage pipe and they built a concrete bridge over it. Seems odd, only a few homes back there.

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This is an old boat but it looks like there is someone living in it to me.

After the other school was finished we called it a day. I didn’t help out on Friday because I had to volunteer at the airport for the United Flight.

Friday before the airport I stopped to get meds for a dog at a little store that we stop at. Bill sent me the photo asking if I could help the dog.

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Covered in mange.

I got some Ivermectin and also took some flea and tick drops for the dog. On my way home from the airport I stopped by Cattleya School. Cattleya is the school for mentally and physically disabled children. There are Autistic children, Down’s kids and some who can’t walk very well. They have 2 teachers and are in dire need of another Special Ed teacher. The teachers do the best they can but are for the most part, overwhelmed.

I had cleaned out my scrapbook stuff, since I no longer do it, and I decided to donate the bulk of it to my friend Connie’s school. I got a tour of the new school (they recently moved) and saw some of the students who I know, like Terren and Stephanie. Connie was very appreciative of the things I took there. She has some of the mothers of the students decorating empty wine bottles to sell to make $$ for the school. I offered to help show them some different things they can do to the bottles. I plan to stop by there next week and help out.

When I got home from there we ran over and gave the dog a shot of Ivermectin for the mange and I put some Fipronil on him for the fleas and ticks. How someone can allow their dog to get in this condition, I’ll never understand that. So sad that the dog has to live like that.

It was a busy week with a lot of smiling children and a lot of exhausted volunteers. I am so glad my friends volunteered to help out, at least they got to see what is involved and how time consuming it is. Many people are familiar with the TOMs one for one program but until you actually see it in action, you have no idea what is involved.

I am so grateful that I am able to be a part of this, it makes me feel so good knowing that the kids have a new pair of comfy TOMS shoes. Many thanks to all the volunteers, the group from Clinic Esperanza, the families, my friends, The Municipal of Santos Guardiola for donating their truck and especially to Nidia, her family and the amazing volunteers from the Hogar Emanuel Orphanage in San Pedro Sula, this wouldn’t be happening with out you!

I actually missed a Saturday at the airport (first in 3 months) and a party at a friends house on Sunday due to a damn toothache. My dentist was on vacation so I had to wait until he returned to be seen. It’s odd because it hurts, then doesn’t hurt, then hurts again. It comes in waves but what bothers it most is hot or cold, eating can be painful. I had a low key weekend and after the previous week, I really needed that. I was beyond the point of exhausted. (dental update, need to go to mainland to see an endodontist)

Sunday morning we took the boys for a swim in the lagoon. We go really early, like 7 AM, before anyone is there. They had an absolute blast running around.

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Barrio in the front

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Barrio, Gringo and Max

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Gringo, Barrio and Max

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I can’t even begin to describe how much I love these dogs.

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Gringo, Barrio and Max

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No clue what Barrio was doing, he just stood there and stared at me.

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Gringo and Max

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Max is lightning fast, Barrio is pretty fast too but Gringo is such a hulk of a dog, weighing in at 65#, he doesn’t move that fast but if he runs in to you, look out. It would be like having a steamroller run you down.

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They LOVE the water..

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Like little otters

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I love that they are all marked differently.

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Barrio, Gringo and Max

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3 tired boys on the way back to the truck

We brought them home, I bathed them, fed them scrambled eggs and yogurt and we all took a nice long nap.

That was my week in the tropics, hope yours was as fun filled and fulfilling as mine was. Until the next blog..

 

 

Mustang Debbie

tiday

04/03/2016 I had company the past week and before that I was getting ready for my company to come, so I’ve been MIA.

OK, so, life on the rock. Robby and Julie are the couple I met online, spent the day with them and their girls when they came on a cruise in December and spent a week with them when they recently came to visit. I had a blast showing them my Roatan.

I was able to greet them at the immigration door, however I failed to utter the magical words, Welcome to Roatan when they entered the building. DAMN. Once they got through immigration I left my “job” and took them to the grocery store and then brought them back to the house.

They chilled for a while and got their stuff put away and then came upstairs for some roof time and then dinner.

We made plans to go to the beach on Sunday, Semana Santa or not. We got there early and set off to do some snorkeling. It was a sunny gorgeous day and there were hardly any people in the water. All the better for us. We snorkeled out through the channel in front of Infinity Bay and then swam west towards black rock.

This was one of the first things I saw when I stuck my head in the water. It was on Julie’s bucket list.

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Intermediate blue tangs

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Stoplight Parrot fish

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Damsel fish, yes, they are neon blue..

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A pair of 4 eyed Butterfly fish

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school of Blue Tang

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My first ever Hog fish. The water was not super clear, lots of stuff, looked like fish poop, in it. In fact, we saw the big blue Parrot fish poop.

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Trumpet fish

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Scrawled file fish

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This is a huge blue parrot fish. I saw him poop.

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Another Parrot fish

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cool channel

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such a gorgeous fish

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Needle fish

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West Bay Beach, my favorite spot, Bananarama

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More crowded than I am used to

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knees over the sea

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Check out the front of the paddle board, there is a dog on it..He cruised for a while.

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They liked my raft

These teen boys were having a great time on the floating dock. Looks like they were trying to sink it.

We spent the majority of the day at the beach, sitting at my spot, Bananarama. After that we made the hour drive home and crashed for the night.

Monday morning we went to Mudhole Rd, picked up Nidia and drove to Corozal to finish the swing set repair and re-repaired the seesaw that we had temporarily fixed a few weeks ago.

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Loving the swings that Linda and Brittany Edwards brought down with them for this particular school.

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This little boy was there the first day we went and fixed 2 swings. That was the day I passed out some cars from John and Lizeth Fowler. They very nicely donated their sons old Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars to the kids on Roatan. We’ve made a lot of boys happy with these cars.

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I also took a soccer ball donated by Trish and Dave Symons. They brought suitcases of soccer uniforms and a lot of balls. These boys were thrilled to have a soccer ball.

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Julie helping the little girls on the seesaw.

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I was freaking out because they were going so high!

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Cutie

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Robby and Bill hanging the last 2 swings.

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Pastor Ronny Russell from Live Again Ministries has been down here with his group many times. Recently they started doing water purification systems on the island. Since the Corozal area is small they donated this water filtration system so they can get clean drinking water for the 35 families living there.

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Another thing we are trying to do is get the glass repaired at the school. This window is right above a row of desks.

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I caught her with a mouthful

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Robby and Bill fixed the seesaw, it’s nice and sturdy now.

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It’s just amazing what a difference four swings can make in a playground. These kids were on them non-stop the whole time we were there.

We came home from there, ate and went to Parrot Tree pool for the afternoon. There were a few people there but not many.

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320′ long pool

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The man-made lagoon

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Me and my shadow

The next day my company made plans to dive with Subway, right down the road from us. I dropped them off and came home and immediately got a call to come get them, the dive boat was full. They did have reservations, it was an error that could have been avoided. I ran and got them and came home and started making calls. Finally got them set up to dive with Reef House, which my friend Davey owns. We had time to kill so we drove through Punta Gorda and then over to Oak Ridge Key before we went to BJ’s.

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Punta Gorda

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The lone Mangrove

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I love this house on Oak Ridge Key, water behind it and the sea in front.

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The new extended deck at BJ’s

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Roadside animals

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The Radical Catamaran returning from a day on the water

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Reef House’s dive boat that Robby and Julie were on.

Davey picked them up at BJ’s and once they got there they decided to do 2 dives and were really happy they did. The second spot was fabulous, they had a great dive and saw lots of stuff on Julie’s bucket list. I was there waiting for them at 5. We came home and we all got ready to go to Cal’s for dinner. There were a lot of people from the hood there that night. We had a good meal and all came home and crashed.

The next morning we were meeting Carmen and Brett at BJ’s for a day of food, drinks, fun in the sun, snorkeling, stubbing toes, floating, mangroves and Hole in the Wall. Carmen and Brett live on the point on Calabash Bight Key. It’s a fabulous spot right on the water with their own private beach and a yoga deck at the water’s edge. What more can you ask for?

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Once again, the Radical Catamaran

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Julie being a trooper despite her totally damaged stubbed toe

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Even Bill went along and got in the water..

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Bill and Carmen chatting, see the ladder? That goes to her yoga deck..

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View from their yard

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Carmen and Brett’s home

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T-shirt ceiling, Hole in the Wall

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Roatan’s motto, A Sunny Place for Shady People

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What a view. Drew Bledsoe was here last week with his family.

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A part of Roatan history

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Martina taking a pic of us

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Carmen and Robby

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Julie

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Bill and Brett

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Carmen had the camera

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Just do it

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They dropped us back at Oak Ridge after a perfectly splendid day.

On Thursday Robby and Julie dove again, this time with Subway. They did 2 dives out on the north shore and were pretty pleased with them. I think it was an early night for everyone.

Friday we were going east, way east, to Camp Bay and La Sirena. There were a few people on the beach at our Mondays Don’t suck spot and there was still a lot of trash left over from the Semana Santa festivities. I was surprised to see my friend Kathy there with her son and friends.

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Looking at Alligator Nose makes me miss Roger and Jeanie

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I love this beach

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Robby and Julie

We left there and drove to La Sirena where we had a leisurely lunch and rum punches. Man, those things pack a punch.

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The dangerous rum punches

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Love La Sirena

We left La Sirena with one destination in mind, BJ’s. Robby and Julie had been there twice this week but not for a Friday fun day with the EXPAT group. I haven’t been there for awhile and I missed the place. All of my friends were there (well, almost all of them, I don’t want the Duchess chewing my ass out for saying that). I’ll blame it on the rum at La Sirena because the three sips of wine in a champagne flute @ BJ’s did nothing for/to me. I was wound up and couldn’t stop dancing. Or planking.

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Marilyn and I did a good bye plank with Carmen

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Then more crazies joined in.

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Marilyn going home

I had so much fun at BJ’s, at least I think I did. I have come to the realization that when they change the words to the song and put your name in it, maybe you’ve been dancing too much. Mustang Sally was changed to Mustang Debbie, Ride Debbie ride. It’s OK, I was amongst friends..

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We stopped at Chuck and Nancy’s on the way home so Robby and Julie could see their home. It was a pretty night.

They packed that evening and I passed out, I was exhausted from dancing and planking and, I had to work at the airport the next day.

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I got Robby and Julie there in plenty of time to beat the crowds and said good bye to them in immigration. I was sad to see them go, we enjoyed their company. Next year when they return they are going to spend more time upstairs and not worry about invading our privacy, right guys??? Don’t hate me because I have on a classy orange airport vest…

All in all we had a good week, I hope they enjoyed seeing my version of Roatan compared to the touristy one that so many only see. I wish they had been here for some of the shoe delivery because they would have enjoyed that. Maybe next year we’ll start sooner and they can take part in the hot, tiring sweatiness of it all..