The last 3 days in La Mosquitia.

 

Day 5 in La Mosquitia was a busy day. Eric, the Mayor Edgardo and his wife Graciela picked us up after breakfast and we set off to visit some communities. We started our day by going to the store and buying soda and water and snacks, and candy for the Mayor to pass out to the kids.

Local grocery store

Getting to anywhere in the area is not easy. The people in Roatan complain about the state of the roads, Puerto Lempira roads make ALL of the roads on Roatan seem like super highways. I saw one partially paved road in the city, the rest are dirt, red dirt. Dusty red dirt that gets slippery when wet and very dusty when dry.

This is the mayor’s home. They have church every Sunday on the lower porch. Every church we passed was full to the brim, overflowing with people.

We drove for awhile until we got to the community of Palkaka. A while ago when the mayor was running for office one of the men in Palkaka told the mayor he would vote for him if he brought him a gringo wife.

The children of Palkaka.

Nidia’s sister Rose Mary spotted a woman sitting in a doorway so we walked over to her. This parrot is her constant companion.

This is Lillian. She was born blind. Her home has a hammock, a small table and a mud stove. The mayor kept a mattress and a sheet back for her and I’m sure it has been delivered already.

Nidia the Nomad, passing out candy.

Some of the homes in Palkaka.

Everyone was running for candy.

I was surprised to see a young Albino girl in the community. We were told there are several in La Mosquitia.

What a pretty girl.

Some of the kids in Palkaka. They loved seeing their photos.

The man in the middle is our tour guide, Edgardo, the mayor of Puerto Lempira. I can’t begin to tell you what amazing people he and his wife are. So down to earth. The man in the yellow is the one who said he wanted a gringo wife. When he saw me get out of the truck he thought his prayers had been answered. He smiled so much and for so long. He only had about 6 teeth, but man, could he smile.

This was a restaurant in Palkaka.

Yep, just walking around with a turtle shell.

We left there and made the drive to Tansin. Don’t ask where it was because I’ll say, “Right there.”

Tansin is an amazingly gorgeous place sitting on the banks of Lake Caratasca. The trees were huge mango trees, everywhere. I don’t mean a few, I mean groves of them. And breadfruit. We walked to the lake with some women and kids and while we were standing there talking a breadfruit the size of a football, but harder, fell from high up in the tree. Good grief, that sucker could put you in a coma. I think hard hats should be required.

One of the homes on the way from Palkaka to Tansin. Not sure this one had residents.

Water. Crank the handle and the water comes out. There is no running water in the community.

Beautiful.

We walked down onto a very rickety dock that stretched about 15′ out into the lake. It was surrounded by emptiness. There was nothing out there. There were 10 cayucos laying around the lake. They are each a piece of art.

Water lilies. I haven’t seen these for years, a feast for my eyes.

While I was on the dock taking photos a young woman walked down and out into the lake in her clothes and bathed. She had a bucket with her which may have contained her wash.

This woman approached us as soon as we got there. She was very sweet and had her son on her shoulder the whole time. I noticed the side of her face was very swollen and I mentioned it to Nidia. I thought it was a tooth infection. She told Nidia she had a tumor. I have thought about her several times. She has a tumor and can’t do anything about it. Heavy on my mind.

Nidia and the Mayor with this beautiful lady. She walked up to us as we were standing near the dock. She doesn’t know how old she is but she is feisty. I would love to hang out with her. She did a sexy pose for Nidia. What a cool lady. It was right after this photo that the breadfruit fell out of the tree and made a crater size hole in the ground. (not really but it could have.)

Holy crap, the trees were filled with these Tillandsia, or Bromeliads. Not sure which these really are, prob Tillandsia.

We walked to a different area of the community / village. Let me explain this, there is so damn much land in La Mosqiuitia that the people build in small villages within a community. The communities themselves cover a very large area for each location. It’s not just what you see when you are walking the path to the lake or going to the school. These communities go waaaaaay back and get a little more remote and simple the further back they go. It’s someplace you just want to get lost in, visit the people who live basically cut off from society. It’s really not that bad of a thing. When I was in Kaukira, even Puerto Lempira, I thought about the not having power until 6 PM daily situation. It was totally doable. So much less.

We went into an older ladies home, I didn’t want to take her photo out of respect to her. She lived in a spotlessly clean, empty wooden home. Her bed was boards covered with cloth. Her daughter and probably her grandchildren sleep in a cot like sling over-top of her bed. She is ill, has severe pain in her womb. Been bedridden for 4 years. By now she has a mattress to sleep on. She decorated her walls and door with pages from old advertisements.

Her KITCHEN. No Cuisinart here.

Clean as a whistle, despite the baby chicks running up the steps and inside the house. The chair is her only piece of furniture.

The bathroom at the school in Tansin. The school is asking for solar panels so they have some electricity at the school. Can you imagine your child trying to learn in a school with no power, no fans, no running water? Kids in the US could not function, yet to these children, it is the norm.

Their faces. I just can’t stop taking photos of them.

It was late in the afternoon so we headed back to town. Tomorrow was the big day of unloading

We had to honk the horn for this pig to move, it was laying in a deep puddle in the middle of the road.

The next day we were picked up late morning to go to where the container was. When we arrived the truck they use to move the containers was out delivering so we had to wait for it to get back.

Huge thanks to Mayor Jerry Hynds who donated a 40′ container and free shipping so we could move these items to Puerto Lempira.

This is only a portion of the propane tanks that are sent to Ceiba to get filled and returned to Puerto Lempira.

The woman found a desk. What an obscure place for a desk. Nidia and I sat on it for awhile and waited.

When you don’t have a funnel, just cut off the tip of a traffic cone. Instant funnel, it’s how they pour gas in La Mosquitia.

There were several ministers in this group and Nidia, the Mayor and I. We held hands and they blessed the contents of the trailer.

Snipping the lock.

OHMYGOSH. It was jam packed. Carnival cruise lines donated chairs, couches and 140 mattresses, sheets and blankets. We had shoes, sandals, food, clothes, school supplies. A little bit of everything.

We unloaded all of the furniture first so we could get to the mattresses. While doing so Nidia and Graciela, the Mayor’s wife had to pee. We were in the middle on nowhere so they walked out into the woods. While out there they noticed a house across the water with a guy out front. They started to yell and jump around trying to get the guys attention. He jumped in his Cayuco and paddled over, thinking they needed help. All they really wanted was to give him a mattress and some school stuff for his younger siblings.

This is not a photo you’re likely to ever see again. People in cayucos do not usually carry a mattress. Look at the smile on his face. He was the man of the house, his Mom had a few other children. He was the oldest.

Word spread around their village like wildfire and women and kids started coming out of the woods. These 2 got backpacks and school supplies.

All 3 ended up with packs and the younger one got some candy and some clothes.

Such a beautiful child.

The boy on the right was very happy, the one on the left, not so much.

Nidia helping to load all of the mattresses. This truck we call the stuck truck. You’ll see why. It was actually a livestock truck, that’s why they put tarps down before the mattresses went in.

A little overloaded. This truck took the mattresses to the school and then came back for another load.

After several truck loads (the Nicaragua bus truck was delivering for us also), we finally got the container emptied. Next stop, the school in Mistruk. It was almost dark, Nidia was going to wait for the Nicaragua bus truck guy so I rode in the stuck truck with 2 men I’ve never met. Neither spoke any language I could speak so not a word was uttered the whole way there. Several times on the ride I envisioned us getting stuck and being there for a while until someone came along. The sounds of silence. We didn’t get stuck until we got to the school. And boy was he stuck.

Finally the Nicaragua bus truck came and pulled him out.

We got everything unloaded and sorted, shoes in one room, clothes in another, mattresses in yet another. Now we had the long drive home. We had 4 military police guarding the school.

The mayor picked us up at 6 the next morning and we went by boat to Laka, a very impoverished area. We took enough food to feed the whole village. They did not know we were coming but soon after we got out of the boat, word had spread and people were coming out of the houses.

These boys were the first to greet us.

Before long they stripped to their undies and were swimming.

This house was pretty much on the waters edge. Talk about water view.

The faces of Laka. Many of the children were all smiles but some seemed so distant.

This little guy was so happy and filthy dirty. Boys and dirt.

Babies, little kids everywhere.

These ladies had just gotten food.

The family living in the house on the waters edge.

The girl with one shoe. I mentioned it to Nidia and the mayor asked the community leader. The story is she found this shoe on the edge of the water. She has been wearing it since hoping that she finds the other one.

We righted an overturned cayuco and filled it with food. Everyone walked along and grabbed one of everything.

My mother recently passed away and she had a lot of costume jewelry. Neither my sister or I wear it but we just didn’t want to “give it away” since it meant a lot to Mom. We decided I should take it with me and pass it out to ladies who don’t have much. Taking it to La Mosquitia was perfect and after we passed out the food, Nidia suggested I pass out the jewelry. She and Rose Mary and I walked around putting pins, earrings and necklaces on ladies. BLING in a very remote part of the world.

This was the community leader, she got a chain. The ladies in the background got brooches and necklaces.

I think that’s a smile. She got a brooch.

And this girl. I bought my Mom this necklace in Macy’s. It’s all of her favorite colors. When I saw this young girl, I knew it was going around her neck. Her face just lit up. Hope Mom was watching. The man on the right in red was mad we didn’t bring anything for the men, he wanted jewelry.

This is as close to running as you can get on a boat. Word spread people were giving out stuff. We don’t know where these people came from. We asked and were told, “right there.: Everything in La Mosquitia is right there. It could be 75 miles, but it’s right there.

We walked up to the school and just as we got there my camera said my card was full. I switched to my brand new card and it wouldn’t work. Said it was a read only card. I called Bill (barely had a signal) and he said to unlock it. There was no lock on the side of the card, nor could I format it because it was locked as read only. I had to delete photos and I was furious because we were on our way to the big give away in Mistruk.

Another home in Laka.

We left there, went back to a different place where Eric picked us up and we were off to Mistruk.

We knew there would be a lot of people but had no idea there would be as many as there were. It was crazy.

We started with the school kids. They all got shoes, sandals, backpacks, school supplies, deodorant, toothpaste and brush and hugs. They all got hugs. And boy did they hug back, some of them even kissed me. It was amazing, they weren’t pretend hugs either.

I would say 95% of the kids came in with no shoes on. They were some of the dirtiest feet ever. Shoes are new to them, they walked like they had planks stapled to their feet.

What stories these faces tell.

The mayor in the front and his wife in the back with the white hat. These 2 sat on the concrete all morning fitting shoes. Amazing, humble people.

New shoes.

These feet haven’t been in shoes before.

The Mayor and his wife helping a young girl.

The kids showing off their backpacks. Some of them didn’t know how to wear a backpack. New things.

I would have brought her home.

My buddies standing outside of the building. They were getting a kick out of me taking pics like this.

Backpackers.

This pretty much says it all.

Next we passed out shoes and clothes to the adults. This guy had on my brand new Diesel shoes. I only wore them once and Highway chewed up the shoe laces. I never could find any laces that looked right so I never wore the shoes. He didn’t care about the laces.

Mothers getting clothes and shoes

Men getting clothes and hats.

Nobody had shoes. Nobody.

We passed out little girls dresses made by Live Again Ministries.

No words for this one.

New dresses, no shoes

Another beautiful face.

The girls with new dresses.

It was getting dark when we started to pass out mattresses and small tables. The community leaders made specific lists, considering who lived in the house, single, elderly, large families and they were passed out like that.

She was waiting.

The village is probably 1/2 mile from the school and the people carried the mattresses home.

Playing in the stones.

So many kids, so many faces.

It was like a sale at a Serta store.

And the mattresses go marching home.

She has her hands full.

Mattresses everywhere.

People still carrying their mattresses home.

The perfect ending to a perfect day of giving from sun up to sun down. Sheer exhaustion. Quiet ride back to Puerto Lempira, listening to country music and watching for shooting stars. I think I saw one.

The next morning the mayor and Eric were waiting for us at 6 AM for our ride to the airport and our flight to La Ceiba and then on to Roatan.

Check in counter, Puerto Lempira airport.

The runway. A plane landed and drove around the people standing on the runway. We didn’t have to wait long for our flight. In about an hour we were in La Ceiba.

We had an hour wait there and I was starving so Nidia called her friend the taxi driver and told him to go get us a pizza and bring it to the airport. He did! Food never tasted so good. Our flight home took about 15 minutes.

I was happy to be home but more happy that I went. It was a once in a lifetime experience. The good news is, we are going back.

One of the best things I ever did on Roatan was introduce myself to Nidia Webster. Without this woman in my life I wouldn’t be having these amazing giving experiences. Roatan Because We Care is her community grassroots organization and believe me when I say, this woman can move mountains. She does so much for the island of Roatan, and now Puerto Lempira, blessed to call her my bestie.

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Another 2 days in Puerto Lempira, La Mosquitia.

As I reached for a tea cup this morning, pausing for a second to decide which one I felt like using, it made me think about La Mosquitia again. There are no choices there, you get a cup and you use it. Is that really so bad?

The morning that the dogs woke us chasing the horses was bright and sunny. I woke up sweating because when the power shut off, so did the fan. I went out to the front porch where Rose Mary was sitting, enjoying the breeze. She picked some lemon grass and some other small fruits. She made tea from the lemongrass, it was delicious.

This is one of the teachers dogs. Not only was her eye infected, she was old and pregnant. Next time I will take some meds for the animals.

She was pregnant too. She managed to stick her head in the loaf of bread and inhale many slices.

They all got peanut butter sandwiches from me.

I also pulled as many ticks off of them as I could. So sad.

While we were waiting for the Mayor to come get us, the laundry lady came with her daughter in her cayuco. The little girl, Hila was more interested in what we were doing.

Could barely get her to smile

So pensive.

The weird thing, staying at the teachers house in Kaukira, there was a tower in her backyard, we had a 4 G signal the whole time we were there, however it was always a mad dash to charge our phones because power was for a limited time only.

The Mayor and his wife and Speedy Gonzales picked us up the next morning in the fastest boat in La Mosquitia. Today I tried to wear a hat but not having a ponytail to help hold it on meant I had to keep one hand on it at all times. I wish they had speed limits on rivers. We loaded all of our luggage into the boat as we were going to be staying in Puerto Lempira the next night. We went to Kaukira first to get 60 gallons of gas and a cooler of drinks and snacks.

Nidia the nomad, taking care of business with a phone in each hand, hundreds of miles from civilization.

Little girls playing in the boat while we waited.

We passed the area we went to the day before to look at the health clinic and soon we were in a large lagun again. From there we saw waterways in many directions, veering off into the jungle or mangroves. We passed through a few small communities and came upon one Nidia named Bali wood. Most all of the homes were on stilts over the water. If they weren’t on stilts they were on the waters edge. There were children playing, cows grazing, horses, chickens and pigs everywhere we looked. Luckily we had to go slow through here as it was very shallow.

No toys so they play in the boat.

Not very seaworthy

The whole horse family on the shores of Bali wood.

One of the homes

People on the bridge crossing to the other side.

Barbershop

Watching the ships go in…

More of Bali wood.

These two homes were connected.

Animal pen

Building something new out front

After we got through this area we turned right and were on a large swift river. If we had turned left we would have gone to Nicaragua. The river was gorgeous with many small communities dotting the river banks. We saw dozens of families in their cayucos, just barely above the water. Speedy slowed down when we got near them so we didn’t swamp them with water. Most of them were carrying fruit, supplies, a chicken, even saw a dog.

I noticed this tree and Nidia said they were nests so Speedy turned around so we could go look at it.

These are the nests of the Montezuma Oropendola bird.

 I thought I was on the set of Avatar, this area was just magical. Click HERE to get more info on this bird. I have never seen anything like this before. 

These were growing all over the river, as were water lilies.

We were still hauling A$$ with Speedy at the controls. The Mayor wanted to take us to an area called Tuburus. The community is divided by the swift river. The children on one side have to take a boat across the water to go to school. The banks are steep and quite slippery. Last year 3 children drown, this year they’ve lost 2 so far. They asked the government to build a bridge but they are not interested. They said there aren’t enough people. We would like to build a school on the other side because building a bridge would be a difficult and expensive job.

Bathrooms at the school

Just a cow in your yard. There was cow poop everywhere.

These children aren’t naked because they didn’t feel like wearing any clothes. They are naked because they don’t have any clothes. 85% of the photos I took in Tuburus couldn’t be used because I didn’t notice the nakedness of the children when taking the photo but looking at them to post I could see it.

They ran from me at first, they were afraid of my camera. Once I showed one brave boy his photo, then they were all interested.

Such cute kids.

Standing in front of the school

The Mayor was tossing candy for the kids.

This is rice, home grown. It’s not something I’ve ever considered growing but I get it now, there are no stores, rice is a big part of their diet, so they grow it.

Cow patties on the kindergarten porch.

They got giggly when they saw their photos

Most of the homes are close to the river but there are still many tucked further back in.

A grandmother (Abuela) came to see who was visiting.

View of the side that has no school.

He posed for me.

They all watched us leaving.

When we left here we went in the same direction we came from, past the tree with the hanging nests, very slow through Bali Wood because the tide was out and it was really shallow.

On the way home we passed this boat laden with bananas and plantains so we pulled up alongside of them and bought some of their stuff.

Just a family out making a living

Bananas, plantains and fish. A floating market.

Once we got back into the Lagun, Speedy started speeding again. We went back to Kaukira, got more gas and an elderly man joined us. It was late afternoon as we headed across Lake Caratasca in a totally different direction. We were going to the village of Krata where they needed a new kindergarten built.

These two were the first kids I spotted. The little fella was naked as a jaybird.

One of 2 bridges over the marshy areas.

I really liked this house, so nice and neat.

He was very scared of the camera and almost running from it. He didn’t smile when I showed him his picture.

This guy loved it..

These ladies weren’t sure they wanted me to take their picture but when I did and showed them, they had the biggest smiles on their faces.

This man walked with us to the school. On the path were some palm fronds that had probably been there for months, if not years. He stopped and moved them off the path, I assume because there were visitors. I doubt they get many visitors, especially no white girls. He was from Nicaragua, spoke English and has lived in Krata for 31 years. He asked me to take his photo.

The desks in the kindergarten. The floor is dirt and when it rains, it’s muddy. The children have no shoes. None.

The school has a metal roof but it doesn’t meet at the peak, it’s open about 4″ between the metal so the rain pours in. The school doesn’t have one single piece of paper in it, no posters, no books, pencils, paper.

This is the other school, it was pretty neat and clean. This is their water supply, hand crank for water.

They also asked if someone could buy some nails and donate some money for gas. The community wants to build a small dock, they have all the wood they need but don’t have money for nails or gas to go get the wood. This is their view. Gorgeous.

Leaving Krata after dark and we had a bumpy dark ride back across the lagun to Puerto Lempira.

I was never so happy to see the dock! My back was killing me. From here we unloaded our luggage and checked into our hotel right on the shore of the lagun. Nidia and Rosemary showered and went down to the restaurant, The Mayor and Vice Mayor were there. I was too tired to go anywhere so I just laid in the room in front of the fan. That was after I took a nice cold shower.

No water shortage but BRRRRRRR

The next morning we lazed around. The Mayor had things to do during the day and wasn’t going to have us picked up until later on. Nidia and Rose Mary and I went for a stroll. I wanted to buy another card for my camera so I didn’t run out of room with photos. (I forgot my other 32gb card). We found a store and I got a card. From there we went to a restaurant where they had breakfast. Nidia needed to get a Claro chip for her phone so we walked to the Claro booth in the town square. Nidia asked the lady at the Claro booth where she could get a pedicure. The woman’s daughter was with her so she sent her with us. She was a sweet girl named Sharon. Sharon found a beauty salon and Nidia had her pedi and I sat beside her and charged my phone. I was almost giddy when I saw they had electric.

The supermarket, ready for the holidays.

This was the owner of the salon’s son, he was a cutie.

We sat in front of the hotel waiting for Eric to come and get us.

Around 4 PM he pulled up and we all jumped in his truck and set out for Mistruk. This is where we planned to distribute the things that we brought on Monday. However, Island Shipping could not get their boat in the channel because the tide was out and the water was too low so everything was pushed back a day. We had to go to Mistruk and tell them this.

It is a beautiful drive to Mistruk, all on a dirt road, nice red dirt. Every now and then we would come across a small village and then back to barren land with rolling hills and sparse trees. It would have made a fabulous golf course.

The whole area was like this except when we got close to Mistruk, then it was more jungle like.

As luck would have it, we got a flat tire. Of course we did. Eric was trying to change it when a truck came from the other direction. The guy stopped and helped Eric change the tire. I thought he was just some random guy but found out later he and Eric know each other. He drives the truck (bus) from the Nicaragua border to Puerto Lempira, hauling people.

He had 2 passengers with him. They had to dig a hole to set the jack in to get the tire up enough to put a new one on. We were finally on our way.

This is the school in Mistruk. It would be the location of our distribution of goods to the community.

This woman was washing her clothes in the stream.

When we finally got to Mistruk the whole community was waiting for us. They thought we were bringing things for them.

This was in the “restaurant” right on the water.

These boys got a kick out of their photo.

Loved this lady, what a sweetie.

The community listening to the one teacher tell them what was going on. See the little girl that’s a blur in pink towards the back? After I shot this pic, she pulled her pants down and peed all over the floor. Nobody even noticed.

The guy on the left in the white shirt speaks English, Spanish and Moskito. He is a teacher in the school and was very helpful.

She is so cute and she had on shoes.

The sign says “Show your love for the children, do not pollute the future.” Not a clue why there is a crocodile or alligator on the sign.

We left there late and went back to Puerto Lempira. After we got cleaned up we went to the hotel restaurant for dinner. We took our last bottle of wine up there and drank it while we ate.

Not long after that we were sound asleep, waiting to be picked up early the next morning. More adventures await us.

Because We Care spends a week in La Moskitia

 

 

“Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time.

Poverty has many faces, changing from place to place and across time, and has been described in many ways.  Most often, poverty is a situation people want to escape. So poverty is a call to action — for the poor and the wealthy alike — a call to change the world so that many more may have enough to eat, adequate shelter, access to education and health, protection from violence, and a voice in what happens in their communities.”

Wow, really, where do I start. My friend Layle said “I’m sure all those rich experiences are shifting around in your mind as you go about your daily routine and when you are ready to sit down and type it’s all going to flow” and I tend to believe her because she is such a spiritual soul.

I have decided to do this by days because mentally, I can’t do the whole thing at once, I saw so much.

This was a once in a lifetime trip (although I do look forward to going back, despite being hungry and dirty for a week). The people I met and the places my eyes saw will forever be in my mind. La Mosquitia (or Miskitia or Moskito, call it what you want) is one of the most beautiful places you can imagine. It’s rolling hills and pine forests or woodland vegetation with every type of bromeliad growing out of the trees, catching your eye as you drive by in a truck or in a boat. The way the mangroves grow is like nothing I’ve ever seen. There were more mango trees that your mind can even imagine and breadfruit and sweet little dark plum colored, avocado shaped berries.

I was with Nidia and her sister Rose Mary. We were hosted by the mayor of Puerto Lempira, Edgardo Saicion and his wife Graciela. They are humble, wonderful people. The municipal driver was named Eric and he was on time every single day to pick us up. He used to live on Roatán. They treated us like royalty. We listened to American Country while riding across the vast barren land.

The Mayor of Roatán municipal (and Nidia’s boss, she is a council woman) Jerry Hynds, owns Island Shipping. He offered us a 40′ container and free shipping to Puerto Lempira. Without his generosity, this mission would have not happened. Also thank you to the Galaxy Wave for donating our tickets to La Ceiba. Many thanks also to the people who donated.

So, are the people we visited living in poverty? They have shelter, food (albeit limited choices) is available and the most basic of needs. They have little to no clothes or shoes, they have no beds, they have no running water, no electricity, no toilet paper, the schools have no books or paper or pencils, crayons and coloring books are unheard of. Do they miss what they know nothing about?

This is the great debate going on in my head. Do the people that I saw in the insanely gorgeous remote areas living the simplest life imaginable really have it so bad? They know nothing about how we live. They have no TV, see no newspapers or magazines or even books. Their knowledge is quite limited and based on routine daily, not life, experiences. Could the majority of these people function in our crazy world? Do they even want to? I think not, however, the children that I saw all had this blank, empty look in their eyes, they were there, but not there. Only when I could surprise them with a photo of themselves, did I get a remnant of a smile. One little girl looked at the photo, then down at her dress that she was wearing, then back to the photo. Her eyes were not believing that she was looking at herself. Can you imagine not knowing what you look like? I think the blank stare is due to lack of experiencing emotion, things are just the same for them every day. Our visit was a big deal.

My trip began at the ferry terminal at 1 PM on Wed the 8th of August for the 2 PM ferry to La Ceiba. I met Nidia and her sister Rose Mary there, we did our check in and went inside and waited for the ferry to leave. I took a small cooler loaded with food because I don’t eat meat, fish, seafood or beans. Yes, I’m a really horrible snoop and was quite nervous about what I would eat for a week.

The ferry was on time, as always, and Nidia’s taxi driver Donald was waiting for us when we arrived. He took us to our hotel, The Emperador in Ceiba. Later on Donald took us to Little Cesar’s Pizza. I was starving by that point. We had him pick us up and take us back to the hotel and we went on the roof and drank a bottle of wine. I mean, why not, we were on an adventure.

Donald was a few minutes late picking us up to take us to the Ceiba airport at 0 Dark 30 AM. Nidia gave him a large portion of her mind that morning for being late, I couldn’t stop laughing.

While paying our departure tax Nidia ran in to her friend, the man we were going to see, the Mayor of Puerto Lempira and his wife. They were on our 90 minute flight to Puerto Lempira. When we landed, I was kind of surprised to find out it was a dirt runway. Pretty smooth but I imagine it turns into a dust bowl during the dry season and a slimy mess during the rains. When we arrived, since we were guests of the mayor, there were men to carry our bags and drive us to the ferry dock. We walked around town for a little bit and visited a school where there was a celebration going on. The vice Mayor told me I could go stand in the middle of the ceremony that was going on and take photos. So, WTH, why not?

Rose Mary really wanted to take this iron home to her daughter. She actually attempted to use one while we were staying at the teachers house in Kaukira. It was pretty funny.

The kids on one side of the bleachers, the other side was packed too. School celebration, Puerto Lempira

So, she (vice mayor) told me to walk out and take a photo. So here is this white girl, the only person standing in the center of the show, taking photos. I felt uncomfortable. Love the cayuco decoration though.

Nidia and the Alcade, Mayor Edgardo. I love this guy. Since I certainly do not speak Moskito, neither does Nidia (they have their own language) and my Spanish is not great, he would tell Nidia what he wanted to tell me in Spanish. Then she would say it in English, a few words at a time, and he would repeat them in English so he could “talk with me.” It was extremely gracious and felt so sincere. This photo is at the muni, they have no running water. Nidia and the mayor are standing at the pump.

Puerto Lempira Municipal building. There is a huge table in the back room and only 1 chair for the whole table. We made sure they got some chairs.

Where all the starving dogs hang out. The dog situation hit me hard. I did not see one food dish or water dish for a dog on my whole trip. I saw grease thrown from a pan on the ground for the dogs to eat. So many pregnant and unfixed dogs, it’s a crying shame.

After our tour through town, {where I bought a Claro chip for 10L and a week of internet for 100L because TIGO didn’t work where we were}, we went down to the dock, we were going on a boat ride.  The dock was really long with several perpendicular docks abutting it. Problem is, the water was shallow. Real shallow and the boats, especially those with larger motors had trouble getting out to the deeper water. We loaded our suitcases on the boat and the Mayor, Nidia, Rose Mary, one woman with a small baby and another woman with 2 young children were on board. This boat had a 200HP motor on it, way too much for the type of boat that it was. The woman with the 2 kids had haphazardly put on the life vest that was given to her, it flopped and blew in the breeze the whole trip. We crossed the lake like a bat out of hell with Speedy Gonzalez, our boat captain. If we were in a race, we won for sure. No other boat would be insane enough to go that fast. It took me a long time to untangle my hair and my butt is still sore.

Once we crossed the lake we took a narrow channel that T’d into another channel. We were in the town of Kaukira. Kaukira is located on a thin spit of land between the Caribbean and the channel of water that runs between the town shores. We parked on a dock and I feebly got out of the boat. Let me state this now, I suck at getting in and out of boats. I have a knee that does not bend, it makes for very clumsy entrances / exits for me. Happy to entertain the troops, it’s all fun and games until someone breaks an ankle or falls out of a stationary boat. I did neither.

Kaukira, I’ve never seen so many mango trees in my life. This is the main street.

Nidia and the Alcade (mayor)

The gas station and yes they have to carry the gas down to the water to put in the boats.

The biggest flamboyant tree I’ve ever seen. The people who own the home where the flamboyant tree is offered us their home but it had rats. Rose Mary is not fond of them and honestly, they are not my BFF’s either. We stayed elsewhere. It had horses and dogs.

We walked through town with the Mayor, stopping here and there while Nidia looked for food. I saw a male cat attempting to force himself on a young kitty girl, she was screeching and having no part of it. Two old men sat on the porch and were oblivious to what was going on. I stomped my foot to break his attention and she ran away and hid under the low steel shelving for water bottles.

Local travel. The road taxis in Kaukira are motorcycles.

The house where we were staying. There was an extra bedroom with a double and a single, perfect for the 3 of us.

This is the police station of Kaukira. There are 2 officers, we met one. The other is on vacation.

I loved this house. Only a few windows had any type of covering.

It’s nothing to have a bull walk down the dirt road. I saw 2 dogs chasing one at one point. We went to a cell phone store and the Mayor bought a baseball cap and we met the profa. She was a teacher at the Kaukira school and she had offered her house to us the first night. The boat took us over to see the place, we unloaded our luggage and the mayor’s brother guarded it while we entered another race with Speedy Gonzalez at the throttle. We went down river to see a health center that needed a new roof. The Dr spoke English so we had a nice chat. 

Through the center of town. At least he was quiet, unlike the one being chased by dogs.

We saw this beautiful lady at her outdoor kitchen. Nidia had noticed that her pots shone, they were so clean. Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like this. She got off her porch and went in to pose for us.

Laundry day. I assume they watch the tides before doing their wash in the river, especially because all of the septic goes in the same water. In fact, I saw many people washing their clothes right next to the outhouse.

This is where the lady who owns the house where we stayed, docks her cayuco. Naked children everywhere.

This is the health center roof. It’s almost gone. This is the only health center for many communities. The Doctor there spoke English. We had a long conversation about the lack of government help and their inabilities to always be able to help due to lack of supplies. There are 15000 people living in the Kaukira area, that’s not counting the outlying areas who also depend on Kaukira as being their go to spot for help.

We did a little more touring and then went back to the teachers house to hang out. I made friends with her 4 dogs by feeding them pretzels. The teacher made food for everyone, I had rice and some slaw. The mayor and his brother were still there. They left after a late lunch and were going to pick us up at 7 the next morning. After they left, the teacher was going to take us all in her cayuco across the water so we could walk to the beach. As we were getting ready to go, the Mayor came back because he had to change the time to pick us up so they took us across to the main part of town and the teacher met us there.

The teacher showed us the third grade class room, the roof has a huge hole so they have to all move to the opposite end of the room when it rains. It wouldn’t take much to fix this.

Unbelievable that the government does nothing about this.

It’s a huge hole that has been patched several times.

We walked for about 20 minutes until we came to the ocean.

These are the teachers grandkids, the little boy is named Nelson. They walked to the beach with us. Nidia gave him the slap bracelets and candy and they were going up to the children outside and giving them gifts. Nelson wanted to learn to speak English so Nidia and I were telling him English words for everything and he repeated them. They were both sweet kids. Nelson lives with his grandmother most of the time.

Laundry on the barbed wire, this was the road to the beach.

Breadfruit galore. When they fall from the tree if you are standing in the wrong place, it’s going to hurt.

Simple houses, notice how curved the limbs are holding it up.

Another view

Cool plant growing in the water.

Another home

Most of them were nice and neat.

These were growing in the marsh land. Rose Mary knelt down to pick one and got bitten by ants.

Nidia found some guys with fresh conch, crab legs and lobster. The only cop in town was there trying to buy some too. She argued with them until she got the price she wanted. They were all laughing at her but they gave in because she is one persistent woman.

The beach on the Caribbean. The waves were muddy and the beach was littered as far as I could see with trash.

Boat sitting on the beach

I assume this is a beach front store.

Nidia took this photo of me resting on a boat on the beach. The buildings to the left behind me are where they gather and sort the sea cucumbers and jellyfish that they export. They said the sea cucumbers go to Japan and I read the jellyfish go to China. What I want to know if who catches the jellies and how?

Here is a link about the jellyfish.

Nidia passing out candy and slap bracelets. She’s like the pied piper.

Kids were appearing from every direction.

Just a stack of boats.

Ring Around the Rosie. How long has it been since you have seen this played somewhere? It brings back memories of childhood, when life was much simpler.

Nidia wasn’t quite at the boat when I did my epic “almost fall out of the dang cayuco while trying to sit down.” Rose Mary was hysterical. Once I was seated, I did not move, the last thing I wanted to experience that day was a dip in the channel that is filled with sewage.

Once I was seated I was fine. I still didn’t move. The gasoline is to run the generator so we have power for fans and to charge our phones. Photo by Nidia.

We were anxious to get back to the house and get showers and sit some where other than a boat. The electric was to come on once the generator was started. They turned on the water pump so we could shower. I’m not used to cold showers or dunking a bowl in a big barrel of water to rinse off with. This was a first for me. Regardless, it felt great to get clean. After all showers were done, it was dark and the bugs were really bad outside so we stayed in the house, Nidia and Rose Mary were working on cooking the conch and crab legs they got. Me? I ate granola bars and surfed the internet.

We went to sleep early, we were beat. At around 4 AM (about when the generator shut off) the dogs started barking like crazy and it didn’t stop for a long time. They were running around the outside of the house. We found out later a few horses had gotten in to the fenced yard and the dogs were having a fit and the horses were in a frenzy. I think I went back to sleep for awhile after that. You just never know what to expect next.

So ends our first day in La Mosquitia. Please follow along, we’re just getting started, there will be 2 more blogs about the trip.

I can’t begin to say how glad I am that I went.

Just one more time

August 17, 2018  If you read my last blog you know my recent trip to Maryland was not fun and games. Mom had two strokes my first full day there and was hospitalized. After a few days in the hospital they moved her to rehab hoping she would get stronger. Rehab was in the same place where they lived independently in an apartment. However, when they moved in there a little over a year ago, the stipulation was they could live there as a couple, not individually, realizing they needed each other to function semi normally. Dad was a trooper when she was in rehab, he kept reminding her she needed to get strong so she could go home. She fought us tooth and nail. She was bound and determined to go home to her apartment. She would say to Dad, why do you let them do this to me? You used to take care of me, speak up. In his state of confusion and hurt he could not even answer her.

This photo was taken back in June, before I went the first time. This is my awesome nephew Eric and his sweet wife, Sophie. I believe this was after Mom got sick from the first immunotherapry treatment for the cancerous tumor. She was having trouble breathing. We all knew that she was not taking her asthma meds properly, she has a nebulizer but is careless with it’s use. When she was entered into the hospital the medicine they gave her to make her better was the medicine she was supposed to be taking at home, but obviously wasn’t but said she was. Before she went home this time my sister hired someone to come in and administer the medicines to Mom so we know she took them.  (After this hospital visit she went home w/ a caregiver monitoring her meds)  And then a week later, she had 2 TIA strokes.

One afternoon I was talking to her on the phone while she was in rehab and she said to me, “you won’t believe what your Grandfather did.” (I assumed she meant my Father) My Grandfather has been dead for 40+ years. She said she had asked the nurse for coffee and they never brought it so her dad (my Grandfather) went out in the hall and told the nurse, “my daughter needs some coffee.” And they finally brought her some. She also had been talking to my sister about being with Uncle George and what they were doing. Uncle George died soon after I was born. She never talked about them before like they were here, in the present. Very strange.

I left on a Friday to go back to Roatan. Mom spent almost 2 weeks in the rehab center, they had to move her from a double room to a single room because she was causing so much trouble. Missy said while there Mom called 911 three times one evening and said she was being held against her will. They took the phone away temporarily. She would not stay in her room. She would find plastic bags and take all of her neatly organized folded clothes out of the drawers and stuff them in the bags and go wait at the nurses station for someone to pick her up. It was really sad. She spent so much time at the nurses station we could never reach her on the phone in her room. Missy tried so many times one day she ended up calling the nurses station to have them check on Mom and MOM ANSWERED THE PHONE AT THE NURSES STATION. Oh yes she did. This woman did not give up. Missy went there once and Mom was in her room while Dad was having breakfast with some man he did not know. Mom was doing the rehab therapy but she hated it, she said it hurt and maybe it did. It was OK with her being there because as long as Dad could find his way over (his apartment was adjacent and connected to rehab) he would spend the day with her. She was sleeping much of the day at this point.
A week after I left, Missy went to the center on a Sunday morning and found Mom slumped in a chair at the nurses station. Nobody seemed to be paying attention to her at all. Missy tried to talk to her and she acted like she had another stroke. She was slurring her words and didn’t open her eyes. The right side of her body seemed affected. Missy called a nurse and they called 911. The paramedics came and took her in the ambulance. The one paramedic said probable/possible stroke victim. Once at the hospital they put her on the observation floor again. They did a brain MRI the same day and an EEG the next day. They showed nothing. They also checked her for a UTI, no infection there.  They then decided she had pneumonia and started treating her for that. This whole time she was pretty much non responsive. Every now and then she would have a moment of lucidity but it didn’t last long before she slipped back into her non responsive state. Missy and Dad spent the next couple of days with her. Missy went over one evening and Mom woke but didn’t know who she was. Then she asked where Missy was. Missy was putting Vaseline on her lips because they were so dry, she was only breathing through her mouth and Missy said she had a very odd snoring sound. Dad called me one evening, very stressed but very matter of fact saying your mother isn’t good. She’s not doing well. I kept trying to remain positive saying once the antibiotics kick in she will snap out of it. However, I didn’t believe she had pneumonia. She was having no difficulty breathing so why were they saying that? This continued for 3 days, strong antibiotics, no response. She was not eating or drinking.
I always mute my phone at night and Thursday morning I picked it up while I was still in bed and saw that my sister had called 3 times. I knew this was not a good sign. I called her back right away and she said the hospital had called and that Mom’s body was shutting down. She was on her way to get Dad and going to the hospital. Mark (Missy’s husband) and her son Eric also made it to the hospital. Dad was holding Mom’s hand when she passed. She was not in pain, she was not suffering, she just slipped away within 15 minutes of Missy and Dad arriving at the hospital. I think she waited.

This was right before Mom passed away.

Missy called me right after she passed, she was crying and so was I. I know, she was 92, she had a cancerous tumor in her stomach, she had terrible asthma problems and just recently her mind began to slip but we weren’t quite ready to say good-bye. We were waiting for her to get over the pneumonia and start being bossy and angry again.
I know that my parents were/are old, most of my friends no longer have theirs, we were lucky. I knew they would not live forever but I didn’t expect Mom to go like this. I started digging around on-line, still upset at the pneumonia diagnosis and the fact that the meds did nothing. I found an excellent article about dying: www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/09/what-it-feels-like-to-die/499319/ and sent it to Missy.
After Miss read it she said: Wow, this is exactly all the things Mom was doing.  Especially the lifting of the arm- the left arm for her. I thought maybe she was thinking of therapy…And seeing Uncle George and talking more about Pop Pop, that fit right in… and closing her eyes… and the half awake state… and the senses going in a certain order. It seems so clear that the dying process started a while back,  no wonder the antibiotics couldn’t take hold.  She was already going… and we didn’t even realize it.  In fact, she started the ‘confusion’ on that Tuesday morning before she even left the hospital.
Yes, she did start the confusion the day they moved her to rehab. We thought it was all the changes but it was something much deeper, something out of our control. Our Mother was dying and nobody at the hospital even remotely suggested that. They said, she may be dehydrated or wait until the antibiotics kick in, when it was already too late to fix anything.
It seemed like a bad dream and someone was going to say she is OK. She was not.
We did not have a service for Mom, she and Dad both decided to donate their bodies to the anatomy board of Maryland, which is an awesome thing to do.
My heart ached for my Dad, they have been together 73 years and would have celebrated their 70th anniversary the 31st of July, a day before her 93rd birthday. I immediately booked another ticket back to Maryland. This time our oldest son Chance was meeting me there.
My sister and her husband are saints, seriously they are. They have done so much for my parents over the last 10-12 years. Not just pretending to be there but really honestly being there. There is a huge difference. They could not have had any better care. The depth of their giving is overwhelming. I’m so appreciative and feel like crap because I live here and they are there.
I arrived back in Baltimore at midnight and Missy and Chance picked me up at the airport. It was late when we got home so everyone went to bed. The next day Chance and I went over to see Dad, it was right before lunch. We went down to the dining hall with him, he seemed lost. He ordered food from the menu that was something I never ever saw him eat. Mark met us there and we all ended up going to Missy and Mark’s house. Sophie and Eric came to spend some time with us. Missy made a big meal with corn on the cob (so yummy). After dinner we sat at the table and talked and Dad and Chance had some ice cream. We were cleaning up the table and I was walking to the kitchen with Dad behind me. He had an empty can of coke in his hands. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him crumble to the ground. I reached for him but he was already down. He tried to get back up but we kept him down, he was leaning on my legs. Eric called 911 as Dad was unresponsive, eyes glazed over and he was drooling. When he came to, he yawned 9 times in a row which can indicate a number of things health wise (other than being tired). The paramedics arrived and at that point Dad was nauseated but he did not get sick. They put him on a stretcher and took him to the hospital. After a test they said that he probably had a seizure and they wanted to observe him overnight AND, he had fractured his humerus. They put him in a sling and said it would heal on it’s own. We all trekked up to the hospital room and Missy and I started tearing up because it was a few doors away from where Mom had been.  They kept Dad overnight, the Doc on duty said he has the heart of a 70 year old man, he could not believe he is 97. Of course Dad told him he was 92.
The next day they discharged him but instead of going back to his apartment alone we took him to Missy’s. They had Dad on seizure medicine and it made him a zombie. All he did was sleep, we would wake him at 9:30 in the morning, he NEVER slept that late. He would get up, eat breakfast and fall asleep. Missy put in a call to the Doctor but it took him 3 days to return her call. By that time we had weaned him off the seizure meds and he was becoming more like himself. When Miss finally talked to the Doc he said what we chose to do was fine, especially if it was helping him with his mental state. I honestly believe many elderly people are over medicated, keep them asleep and they won’t need much. Such would have been the case with Dad had he been in a nursing home. It’s very sad the way the elders are treated, especially those with no voice for themselves and nobody to step in and be their voice. Again, thanks to my sister and brother-in-law.

A nice family dinner, we all could feel Mom’s absence. It was the elephant in the room.

Chance helping Poppa adjust the sling.

Me and Dad.

Deep in conversation. I can see the love in Chance’s eyes, both of the boys adored their grandparents.

Chance has looked like my Dad since he was born and he was the first grandchild.

3 generations

Slowly Dad started to come out of the “fog” he was in due to the meds he was taking. He stayed awake most of the day. I could tell he was bored and he had no interest in TV at all, not even CNN, his favorite to watch for hours on end.

Monday evening after dinner, Missy drove me to a hotel where I spent the night for my 6 AM flight. My flight home was uneventful, the dogs were happy to see me again.

The day I arrived home they were taking Dad back to his apartment. Missy and Mark had scheduled help to come 3 times a day, in the morning to make sure he takes his medicine, showers and puts on clean clothes (that are laid out at night by the night help) and that he goes to breakfast. We were having someone go at 3:30 to ensure he was awake and going to go to dinner and another visit at 7:30 to lay out his clothes for the next day, make sure everything is ok and he’s good for the night.

Unfortunately Mr Stubborn is not really nice to these people and doesn’t let them in to his apartment, especially the evening person. This may be due to Sundowning  Missy and Mark and Dad met with the director of the center where he lives. They offered him a studio or a small one bedroom in Assisted Living. He is still in Independent Living, he’s 97.  He said he wasn’t interested in either of them.  What we were not aware of was that they would allow him to remain in his apartment as long as he had people coming in to check on him, so that is where it stands right now.

I spoke with him this morning and he was in a great mood. I try to have a normal conversation with him, we used to talk on the phone for an hour only a few years ago. No more. I still enjoy talking to him. Today he said he was lonely and I told him I knew he was and I was sorry. He then rapidly changed the subject to something going on outside in the courtyard.

While I was still with my sister we boxed up all of Mom’s clothes and her costume jewelry and coats out of the bedroom while Chance entertained Dad at lunch. Miss and I went through the clothes at her house one evening and boxed almost everything, we each kept a few pieces of clothes. I brought all of her costume jewelry with me and Miss and I decided I would hand it out to the women in an impoverished area, add some bling to their lives.

I just came back from a week in La Moskitia, mainland Honduras. We went to a very remote village called Laka and passed out food. We decided these were the ladies who would get the jewelry. Nidia and I took necklaces, earrings and pins and decorated the ladies outfits. They loved them. The whole time I was doing it I thought to myself, Mom, are you seeing this?

I bought my Mom this necklace at Macy’s one year. It was in her favorite colors. This young girl lit up when I put it around her neck.

She got a fancy sparkly pin.

She got a pin too but it’s upside down, it’s an old fashioned bicycle.

I’m pretty sure that’s a smile on her face.

This was the community leader and she got the gold chain, she loved it.

It was fun to pass this jewelry out to ladies who for the most part had no shoes. Will they ever wear it somewhere fancy? No, never. But maybe each time they put it on they themselves feel a little fancier.
Attached are a few pics of Mom and Dad, all taken awhile ago.

Dad did this pic in the late 40’s when he was studying photography. It’s a double exposure, done on purpose.

I took this photo of them about 5 years ago at Asbury, the first retirement center that they lived in.

This last photo breaks my heart, it’s Dad looking at the Memoriam to Mom at Bedford Court, where he lives.

I wish I could talk to Mom, just one more time, I still have things to tell her.

RIP Mom, 8-1-1925 to 7-19-2018

Dementia. You suck.

Stages of Dementia. Poor judgment, memory deficit, irritability, apathy, indifference, pacing, restlessness, and agitation may signal a patient has developed dementia.

07/07/2018 First things first. There is nothing funny in this post, it is not my normal happy go lucky, vodka induced island life. It’s just freaking real and I am having a hard time grasping that it’s my families (PJ, Missy and us and our kids) new reality.

I was going to write about grand-parenting or the inability to actually be allowed to do it, but have changed my mind. It’s undeniable that we will never have the joy of getting to know our grand-children because their mother wants it that way and our son can’t/won’t speak up. The mother keeps them close to her, like her little dolls, her play things. She makes the 12 year old sandwiches. The 15 year old has no chores because she doesn’t like to do them.  Everything we do or say elicits an eye-roll from one of the girls. But, I’ll say no more, heartbreaking as it is. I have issues that are bigger so I’ve put that one aside.

My parents are not doing well. They are no longer the people that I knew all of my life. I often ask myself, “who are these people?” I knew this would happen sooner or later. I just always counted on the “later” aspect. Well. It’s now later.

Mom and Dad’s Grandfather clock stopped working, Apparently they are unable to tell time on any of the other 5 clocks in their home. Missy took an old clock of hers and hung it on “Big Ben;” Ben has now been properly fixed.

My sister Missy, who is 13 years younger than me and her husband Mark, are the most incredible people I’ve ever met. {They will be referred to as M and M.} However, I worry about them. They previously lived about 90 minutes one way from the parents. M or M was running down once, maybe twice a week. We all knew it was time the parents give up their condo and move into an apartment in a retirement home, preferably close to M&M. They moved and they hate it there, it’s not Asbury, where they used to live. Asbury still holds good memories, memories of Dad driving and them having friends and doing fun things and that’s pretty much all they have to cling to right now. The memories they can pull out of their brains are where they wish they still were on this path of life. They remember nothing recent, although they say they do. Bedford, where they live is quite nice with excellent food. That is one complaint Dad had about Asbury, food was cafeteria food. This is not.

Mom has had a lump on her abdomen for 3 years. The docs said it was a hernia. Lately, it started to hurt so M took her to the Dr. Well, it’s no hernia. It’s a squamous cell cancer tumor in her abdomen. They have no clue why it’s there as it usually always presents itself as skin cancer. The lump is growing. They wanted to do surgery but Mom turns 93 Aug 1st. The surgery will kill her before the cancer does, it’s a massive recovery and she is very very weak. They chose to do immune therapy, hoping to shrink the tumor. She had one treatment and because she is incapable of using her nebulizer and meds consistently, she had a severe asthma attack which she was hospitalized for. Guess what they gave her? The same meds she is to take 2 times a day. Once discharged they hired a nurse to come twice a day to make sure they got dressed, she did her meds and they went to eat breakfast and dinner. Dad hated the nurse coming. He also refuses to allow Mom to use a walker. He thinks she looks stupid and lazy using it. He needs one also.

I decided I needed to go visit. I messaged Trace and said I wanted him to go also, it’s been a long time (years) since he has seen them. Chance was there in January. I flew to Baltimore on Friday, got there at midnight, made my way to the rental car place, rented my car, set my GPS and started driving to M and M’s house, 40 some minutes away. I got there by 2. Mark was sleeping on the chair, M heard me and got up. We chatted a bit and both went to bed.

I slept like the dead until 9 AM. When I got up Miss had already gone to the parents apartment. When she arrived she noticed the side of Mom’s face was drooping and she was slurring. Dad, sadly did not notice. M called M and told him what was going on and she was coming to get her cell and me. When they got there, I went out to greet Mom and she seemed fine, weak but talking OK. Then it happened again, another TIA. M and I looked at each other and said let’s go.

We took Mom to the hospital and checked her in. After a few hours they admitted her for observation to a room. Miss and I were with her all day long. She didn’t know what she was there for. They did a brain MRI and some heart tests. The brain MRI confirmed that she did have two TIA‘s. Her heart was OK, it showed the normal signs for the heart of a 92+ year old woman.

Dad sitting at the hospital with Mom. Quite a poignant photo.

She seemed very weak, couldn’t really feed herself, couldn’t hold the tube of the nebulizer in for 2 min let alone 10, I had to hold it for her. She could not manage to go to the bathroom alone. When I helped her pee for the first time in my life I thought back to the role reversal and her training me to use the toilet. Pretty potent shit.

She stayed on the hospital observation floor most of the time then they moved her to another floor for the last day or two. On Tuesday morning I drove to BWI @ 5 AM to pick Trace up at 6. He had flown all night to get here. We went back to M&M’s and they were both waiting for Trace. Miss was going to work that day so Trace and I went and got Dad and took him to see Nonie at the hospital.

Those of you who do not know my Mom, she was and still is a smart ass and a fireball, a red headed Irish woman. Crazy as shit but a good Mother. She has not lost the “mouth” part of her personality. (Wonder where I get it from? Look no further).

Dad, Trace and I walked in to her room. At first she didn’t recognize Trace then she said, “It’s my little shit head.” Trace smiled and laughed. She used to call him turd knocker. Close. We sat with her, I ordered her lunch and helped her eat. She was turning up her nose at everything. When she would say she wanted to go home I would remind her what the doctors said and she would give me the finger. She told me to tell them to shove it. Trace was all bug eyed, he never heard her talk like that. Off the wall. But when the nurses came she was freaking Pollyanna. I’ve not seen her like this, nor have M&M. We think it’s a product of the TIA‘s. I told her she needed to regain some strength. She asked if I wanted her to move furniture for me. She also said she could take Trace & I. WTH? Dad agreed with us (surprise, lately we do nothing right). He told her it was for her own good and that she needed to get stronger. She became a fan of Sabra Hummus (I was buying it in the cafeteria) and pretzels but she could not pick a pretzel up off of the plate to dip it. I had to dip it and hand it to her. Another damn role reversal. Later that day Dad came for dinner at M & M’s.

Dad at dinner with the two jail escapees, Missy and Trace.

Trace, Dad and I

On July 3rd they decided to move her to a Rehab facility. I’m sorry, this song was constantly on my mind. And yes, it’s now playing. RIP Amy. The rehab facility is # 2 out of 20 in the area and it’s in the same complex where they currently live. Score for us!

Mark, my hero of a brother in law, walking Mom down the hall. She is wearing her favorite sweater, one PJ got her.

Welllllll, preparing for the rehab move went like shit. She was refusing to go, said people thought she was an idiot. She yelled at Dad to do something and stick up for her. Don’t let these girls do this to me. THESE GIRLS??? Vic, you always took care of me, take care of me now. Why aren’t you saying anything Vic? I would say, Mom, it’s NOT up to Dad. It’s what the Doctor says. She yelled. “they can shove it up their a$$.” It was OMG moments, occurring every few seconds. My brain was leaking from the assault.

Finally on the 4th of July, she was moved and her flame seems to have not been extinguished. Since she is in Rehab they will not continue the immune therapy cancer meds. They said when she gets out of Rehab, they will need to re-evaluate. Freaking medical malpractice in the US is over the top. She is adamant she is not staying. She was continuing to call M&M all day saying come get me now. I’ll have you arrested. M&M’s son and wife came for 4th of July dinner. It was so awesome to see them! Mark and Eric (nephew) went to get Dad to take him from rehab back to his apartment. He let loose on them, was verbally abusive, as was Mom. They returned before dinner and my sister was brought to tears from the story. They got in a quick game of corn hole before dinner.

Trace and Sofie. Sofie has also been amazing, she has her doctorate in audiology and has been fine tuning Mom’s hearing aids.

Missy and Eric, my nephew.

My baby, Trace. I was so proud of him and how he handled the uncomfortable situations we were all thrown in to.

She may be 13 years younger than I am but she acts like me and that makes me smile.

We sat down and had a fabulous meal, ribs cooked á la Sofie.

The grill master

Just as we were finishing our meal the rehab center called and said Mom was wigging out, we needed to come. So M and I went over. Mom was sitting at the registration desk and as soon as she saw us, anger formed in her eyes. She was ready to do battle with her daughters. We took her into an unoccupied room and had a chat with her. She said she would punch us both, she said she called the police and they said nobody could hold her against her will. She then said she was going to throw a phone through a window and then shoot herself. I reassured her if she attempted any of those things they would have her strapped down to a gurney and she would not be happy. She glared at me. She yelled, she cried, she was furious. Miss and I got her calmed down, so we thought. We do believe she slept through the night.

Mom called the next morning demanding M come get her. I told my sister, no, do not go now. Wait. M & M have a tendency to go immediately when called, which is admirable on their parts but does not allow them any quality of life. Mom is OK, she is in a facility, she can’t get out. They watch over her. M & M need to step back.

M & M had plans Thursday night and Trace and I were returning my rental car and spending the night in a hotel near the airport. We all said good bye to the parents at the Rehab center. Mom seemed in an OK mood. Mark got Dad back to his apartment.

M & M were getting ready to leave and I was packing. The phone rang, it was Dad screaming at Mark. Mark handed the phone to me and Dad was yelling at me. I asked him what he wanted. He said why was he there? I told him he was at his apartment and he said that’s just great. I said, That’s good, night Dad. M & M left and the phone rang, Dad again. I answered Hi Dad, how are you. Did you have a good dinner? He said, “Where the hell is everybody? I’m here alone and I don’t know what to do.” I said, have some ice cream and watch some TV. I mean, it’s what he’s done every night for the last 10 years. He yelled, “Fine, this is just fine.” I said, Great, have a good night and hung up. I have no clue how many more times he called that night because Trace and I left.

Family portrait, Missy closed her eyes, other shots were blurry.

PJ tried to call Mom and they told him they took the phone out of her room because she called 911 FOUR TIMES! Miss said the phone is back in the room but the list of phone numbers are gone. The nurses can contact M & M if there is a medical emergency.

I’m spent. Wasted. Not sure what to think or feel. I am guilty to the core because M & M are there and I am not. I see all this as a beginning to the end. When they moved in to Bedford it was stated Independent Living may happen as long as both of them are living there. She is no longer there so we believe they will be moved to assisted living, which will put my Dad over the edge. He’s a very proud, macho Italian. 97 or not, he can’t grasp the fact he is no longer in charge.

My brother PJ is in Williamsport and does what he can to help. He will go down if they have to move to assisted living and drove to Asbury to help them move to where they now are. He and Devon (his daughter) plan to go down for the big anniversary/birthday weekend. 70 years married July 31 and Mom turns 93 August 1st. I don’t want people to think PJ does not help, he does more than I do and is always ready to be there when M&M need him.

As my islander friend says: Once a man. Twice a child. Never has this been more evident.

I came across 55 videos done by Joey Daley about his Mother, Molly Daley. They started Molly’s Movement. If you or anyone you know suffers from this dreaded disease, watch these videos. Molly has recently passed from Lewy Body Dementia, she was 67. There is also a FB page called Mother and Son’s journey through dementia.

Please encourage people to talk about this. The videos made me cry my eyes out but I learned so much. The posts on the FB page are gripping, sometimes precisely what we are experiencing. It’s always good to know you are not alone, that so many others suffer. Some with no family to support them or to be there in a time of need.

Another good read is; https://goodmenproject.com/families/mollys-movement-a-mother-and-son-story-worth-following-dg/

Thank you for reading along. Dementia is a horrible disease. I am fortunate that my parents both made it to their 90’s before this struck and took their minds.

 

The return of the trade winds

05/30/2018 Let’s see if I can pick up where I left off. Hmmm. Nope, no can do. It was way too long ago and I apologize. I’ve been distracted and busy. And hot and sweaty, OMG. If I could market and sell under boob sweat I would be a millionairess. If there only was a need for it. Sad times.

It’s been a super hot month. It was very miserably hot while Trace was visiting, too hot almost. The heat made afternoon siestas a part of the day. He took a lot of photos of the homes we’re looking after and built a website for us. It’s not up and running yet, it’s very involved and detail intensive using a website like this for a novice like me. Being Miss OCD does nothing to lessen the frustration. I will say I get pissed and want to give up and maybe do give up for that particular moment, but I’m back figuring it out some more in no time at all. It’s taking me a long time to get things the way I want them, which is all the same, but different. Some of you get that.

We did manage to have some fun on a few short boating trips. One day Trace and I “boated” to Calabash Bight to check out some guests. While there Trace took some photos but not the ones for the website, he took those later. He and I went snorkeling with Daniel and Stephanie at the Sloth farm, awesome snorkeling in the protected waters of the marine preserve. Another day Trace and I went to West Bay by way of a water taxi from West End because the actual road is so bad.

We ate at Cal’s a number of times just because it’s excellent and it’s 3 minutes away. Who can say no to that? Not me.

Our friends Liza and Mike came from Oregon to spend some time here. They own land in Sandy Bay, about 40 min west of us. The day after they arrived they came down to hang out around the pool and eat some pizza. They brought me some things I ordered and also a bulk foods bag of HOT TAMALES. I have not had them for 5 years. I caught Trace eating them and yelled at him. I told him he could buy them in Seattle, I can’t get them here and dammit! I was being stingy and not sharing. I hid them and allotted myself a certain number (12) each night before I brushed my teeth. They lasted from April 13 to me savoring the lonely last one on May 16th. It was a very sad night.

When they were plentiful

When there was only one.

The the next day Trace and I met Liza and Mike at Pineapple Villas, mainly so they could meet Nidia. She is kind of famous around these parts. After that I took them to the Monkey and Sloth Farm where we held sloths, let monkeys look for bugs in our hair and held macaws and yellow naped parrots. 

These monkeys are named after the cast of Jersey Shore. You know, J Wow, Snookie, Vinnie and Pauly D. Here one is sitting on Trace’s neck.

They are insane, so much fun.

Might be picture of the week. Trace trying to get his camera lens cover from the monkey.

Spying on us, planning his attack.

I so love this photo. Mike is just like, OK, there are 2 crazy monkeys on my head.

She’s found her calling, Liza the sloth snuggler.

My favorite bird. The colors are intense.

Trace took this video while we were snorkeling in West Bay. The fish didn’t even seem to notice the camera on the broom handle (improvised selfie stick). They swam all around it and then pretty much had Trace in the middle of their school. He got some awesome footage. These are mostly Blue Tangs, in different stages of development. Some other fish join the school, there’s even a nice sized Barracuda towards the end on the left.

Having a visitor in the house seemed to confuse the dogs. They got a little panicked (Lola) a few times when Trace would come upstairs. She would have barking fits, carrying on like a velociraptor was coming up the stairs. One time they were so freaked out that Barrio was shooting pheromes out his butt. I’m serious, it was gross and it squirted on the walls. It was like he emptied his anal sacks by himself. Sorry, is that TMI? He was so afraid of Trace that he didn’t go near him during the whole time he was here. Gringo and Max and Lola and the idiot (Highway) were fine with him, not Barrio.

Trace holding Lola, who is a showgirl.

Lola, see? She’s crazy.

Max, Lola and Highway

Our electric company is called RECO. I went in to the office and signed a form to get access to their online bill payment system. They said I would get a password in a few weeks sent to the email address I gave them. A month had passed when I emailed them and said “what’s up, where is my password?” A few days later I was in the pool and my phone rang. Caller ID said RECO emergency number. I answered it and they said, “this is RECO calling to say that we got an email (from me) stating that you (me) never got a password for the online payments.” I said correct. She said, “could I get your email address so we can send the password to you?” I was like, but but, you are calling because you got an email from me, you HAVE my email address. Remembering where I lived, I gave up and told her the address and one month later I have still never gotten a password. I later found out everyone got the same password to sign in with and you then had to change it immediately and sign in with the new password that you created. I signed on with my friends temporary password. It worked. You can’t make this shit up.

I recently had a bug night. My husband was sound asleep and a gorgeous moth with a 2″ wide wingspan landed on my nightstand. I couldn’t hurt it so I captured it and threw it out the window using a cup and a piece of paper. But it didn’t work, I threw air out the window. The moth was on the wall when I went back to bed. Damn! I used the same maneuver but used something hard below the paper. It worked, I carried it outside and set it free. Came back to bed and there’s a beetle on my reading light. I tried to capture it until it flew at me three times. I swatted it down and slammed it with a bottle of allergy pills and mortally wounded it and gave it a proper water burial in the toilet. Then I had to pee and was afraid it was still alive and was going to fly at my ass. I thought of my friend Megan who lives on the other end of the island. She went to the bathroom one night and there was a good sized crab in her toilet. She removed it with tongs. Now I look every time. One of the teachers at Froylan School (where we help out) woke to find a huge boa constrictor in her bed. Honestly, I would have died right there on the spot. Dead as a nail. Just roll me off a boat. I live in the jungle.

There was another beach concert right down the road from us. Trace and I went and ate dinner and stayed for the music. I’m sure he wished he had been an ostrich so he could have buried his head in the sand, totally ashamed that his old lady mother danced almost every song. It’s good exercise. And dancing and wine go well together. I’m sure he doesn’t agree that wine makes me an excellent dancer. .

Trace was photographing kids at the beach before the concert started.

They love cameras and cameras love them. Beautiful kids.

This is Ephrain, Alexi’s little brother.

My high school friends donated money early this year to help do some work at the Froylan Turcios School. Bill re-did the bathrooms and they got the building painted and a door installed. They have working toilets and sinks. My friends also bought the school a volleyball net. Bill gave them a long metal pole they can cut in half and cement into tires to make holders for the net. A few weeks ago I got a friend request from someone named Chris. I looked at his profile, he does stuff like we do so I accepted. Then he contacted me to say he had some groups coming down to do missionary work, could I suggest a school. Well, yes, Froylan Turcios. I told him a bit about the school and introduced him to the Principal, my friend Marlon. After Chris spoke to Marlon for awhile he realized he was the real deal. Being the Principal was not about him, it was about the kids. Now Chris and his organization have stepped in to finish the roof, using the stuff we bought to repair the leaks, they are building Marlon an office, he does not have one and they are building benches and tables and a playground for the kids. I still have about $210 left from the money my class donated, plus another 25 was donated and I’ll put in to make it 250 which is enough to buy the 3 toilets and one of the 3 sinks for the first new school EVER in Pandy Town. The kids have never had a school, let alone a new one. They are in a 3 room building behind the church. It’s crowded and hot and dark. They deserve this. I’m thinking $250 would buy the sinks and all of the materials needed to plumb the bathrooms. I have a new goal.

This is the new school. A very exciting event for everyone in the community.

Update: The Rotary club has said if the school puts in a formal request they will present it to the board and possibly buy the toilets. I have been in touch with Miss Iris and told her if that falls through, I will buy them. If that works maybe we can supply the lights or the ceiling fans for the school. We are on hold but will be doing something for the school one way or another.

A little comic relief. The boys going for a swim.

Barrio and Lola sharing a kennel. They love being in their kennels.

Rainy late afternoon, rainbow producer. See the size of the deck to the back left of the stairs? Well, it’s bigger now.

This is how much bigger. Two days and it was done.

I’ve ordered a 10X16 sun shade for this area, more shade for the dogs and a place to nap out of the sun.

The shaded eating area

Enlarged seating area, soon to be shaded.

North shore view

South shore

Trace and I did a few snorkel trips and saw great stuff each time. Actually, anytime I can get my head underwater is a good day.

Saw this beautiful French Angelfish snorkeling. I swear it was following me.

Quite an overbite

White common feather duster worms

Christmas tree worm

Beautiful healthy coral

A pea or baby porcupine

These tangs encircled us, it’s like we weren’t there.

Blue striped grunt

Stunning evening sky over the south shore.

North shore sky.

Trace and I went snorkeling with Daniel and Steph from Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout. Always excellent snorkeling because it’s in a protected marine reserve.

Common feather duster worms

Spaghetti worms, amazing to watch them move. I’m very curious what they feel like.

They are so fascinating, here is a video on them.

This was a large porcupine pufferfish, it started to come out towards us but changed it’s mind.

Googly eyes on the porcupine puffer fish

This was an awesome find, some type of burr fish. This thing had big spikes sticking out of it.

Four eyed butterfly fish

A live beautiful conch. See the eye sticking out on the left of the shell? It’s a tube. They have 2 eyes, just like us. Sort of.

Beautiful protected harbor of French Caye.

The son..

Daniel and Steph, two of my favorites..really, I love these 2.

Daniel’s grandfathers shrimp boats.

The dogs were going absolutely crazy one afternoon. Highway was jumping straight up, a few feet off the ground every time he barked. The 3 brothers were non stop barking. {I seriously pity a thief coming here, they have no chance.} Bill spotted this guy in the Gumbalimba tree by the deck. He was kind of hidden but I did get a few shots. So gorgeous.

I love iguanas.

They are such beautiful creatures. I think they were eating the berries on the tree.

Their skin looks like the hand beaded animals they sell in Mexico.

Cruise ship passing.

I interviewed Lauren who owns The Roatan Wine Room for an article I wrote for Incomes Abroad, an International Living publication spin off. Lauren recently opened her business in West End. I look forward to making a trip there soon, who doesn’t love wine?

Nidia and I are planning to go to the Mosquito Coast of Honduras for 3 days. The poverty is extreme. We have free shipping for all of the donations to the mainland so we will be able to buy a lot of stuff, like 200 bars of soap, 200 toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes. We take so much for granted. I got an amazing generous donation from some new friends, Nidia and I started planning how to spend it as soon as I called her. Our trip to the coast will not be a vacation. We are going where there is no electricity or running water. I’m a snoopy eater so I’ll have to take enough peanut butter sandwiches, potato chips and hard boiled eggs to last several days. It will not be GLAMPING. It will be an experience that I should get to have. I’m very excited.

The rag tag gang. I’m a sweatball, Bill’s shirt has a hole in it so he tucks it in under his belt to hide it. Poor Trace.

The wind has picked up, it’s crazy windy after no wind for a week. I was making a sandwich and it blew the cheese off the sandwich. Score for the dogs. Great sleeping weather and no bugs.

Today I had a much needed girls day with Jonna. We ran errands, went to the labor board, went to the municipal, found Roatan Provisions where we bought (split) a $52.00 jar of kalamata olives went to lunch, had mojitos. Little more shopping and then home. I saw dishes I wanted but didn’t buy because they were pottery and I will break/drop them. I thought they were the lightweight melamine. Oh well. I got olives.

Trace helped us get the counters downstairs finished with epoxy resin before Chance, Alecia and the girls come on the 12th. So excited to see all of them!

This is in the kitchen

Turned out really nice but now I don’t like the tile at all.

The bar, Trace added some orange to it. Again, that awful tile.

I would say I’ll try to be better about blogging but we all know that’s a lie. I started this Monday night and it’s Friday. I’m done. We’ve had a guy here installing the back splash tile in my upstairs kitchen ALL DAY and the whole place is a mess. There is stuff all over the floors, hoping the counter tops are still OK. Not very thrilled with the tile job, I will be going to see them tomorrow.

I’m publishing this sucker before another week passes. Happy FriYay everyone.

Three years of destruction and mayhem

04/14/2018 My boys are 3 today. Barrio, Gringo, Max, and their siblings, Tank, Duke, Bandit and sweet Sable (the only girl) have been blessing us humans for 3 years. Tax day puppies! Thank you Frito for the best gifts ever! Three years of three boys, teething, destroying beds, toys, chairs, shedding 497 kazillion pounds of dog hair (including Lola and Highway) eating 3 bags of Kirkland a month, pooping all over the yard multiple times a day. Killing everything that crosses their path, luckily no iguanas have been harmed, I can’t say the same about Anoles or geckos. In their (the dogs) defense, I don’t think they mean to kill them. They catch them and in the process hurt them then spit them out because they taste like crap. No matter what these boys do, even through the bad times like when they fight, they are loved. My favorite dogs ever and I have had dogs since I could walk. That’s a long freaking time ago. I don’t remember a time in my life without a pet.

Three years ago today, 2 were born at the vets, one was born in my car on the way home. Another as soon as I got the crate out of the car. Then she had 2 more and acted hungry. I fed her and she proceeded to have # 7. Healthy beautiful pups. At that point I had 11 dogs.

We have been busy, boring and busy some more. It’s all good. In the past few weeks we have met some wonderful people and look forward to growing our friendships with them. Meeting people is my thing anyhow, I love it. Always have. I used to be shy but I doubt anyone would use that word when talking about me now. The times they have changed.

Nidia and I are hoping the TOM’s shoes come in soon, we want to get them passed out. I just spoke with the principal at Froylan Turcios school, the one Bill’s been working on the toilets and sinks. They are all now functioning. We are trying to find a source of water to run a pressure washer to clean the roof of the bathroom, then Bill and the guys will paint the roof with something to stop the leaks, we already have it, just waiting to get it clean. One of my fabulous friends from high school is sending me $25.00 a month to help feed a needy family. Marlon, the principal and I are going to talk about this next week. I don’t want to do the same family every month, I would like to switch it up a bit. More to come with photos soon.

Before of the school bathrooms

After the new paint, looks so much nicer.

We were having Kevin and Claire over for dinner one night before they left the island. I made the “Natasha” special rum cake and had just injected the rum into it. I pushed it away from the edge of the counter, then realized it was dripping syrup all over. After I wiped the plate clean I failed to shove it to the back of the counter and Barrio took full advantage of that. Little sneak, he was gobbling like he hadn’t eaten in years when Bill caught him in the act.

The worst part is, we cut the dog eaten parts off the cake so guests would not have to eat it.  We ended up eating the chewed gnawed on cake ourselves, what’s a little dog slobber in your life?

With Kevin and Claire leaving the island they had to find homes for their 4 dogs. Since Tank was one of Frito’s pups I said I would find a home for him. I wanted him so badly but knew that 4 brothers in the house was not a good idea.

Bill and I took Tank down to the beach where Miguel lives to see if he may be a good fit with Bonnie and Bella. After seeing how many ticks Miguel’s dogs had on them, I decided against that as an option for Tank.

He’s such a handsome boy. He looks like Barrio but has no white on him at all. He remembers Bill and I and is so excited to see us. I find it amazing that I was able to imprint on these dogs when they were puppies and they all remember me. Island dogs rock, well, all dogs rock.

I finally found a home for him on the beach in an amazing location with my friends G and Robert. They had tied him out one day and they went golfing. He had never been tied so he chewed through the rope and ran away. When I found out he was gone I said, “we’re on our way.” I was frantic, wondering where Tank was, if he was hurt, caught in barbed wire, I was a nervous wreck. Bill and I drove around for 90 minutes looking for him, no sign of him at all. We came home depressed and just sick to our stomachs. Twenty minutes after we got home G messaged me that he was back. Relief filled my heart. Now he has figured out that he needs to stay home. They went golfing and left him home. He was on the porch sleeping when they returned. I think he will really bond with G because she runs 3 miles every morning and she takes him with her, he loves it. I’m so happy he has a good home.

My sister Missy had Easter at her house. Mom and Dad, my brother PJ and his daughter and my handsome nephew Eric and his wife Sofie were there. I wish we could have been there too! The main downfall of living on an island is missing family.

Missy and my 97 year old dad coloring eggs. Missy is so good to them, it makes me feel really bad that I’m not there to help more.

Eric, Sofie, Mom, Dad, Missy, PJ and Devon. Love them all!

Bill went out to the outside bodega to get something and saw a head peeking out from under the door. When he opened the door, he was greeted by Miss Boa. As soon as he saw her he called me and told me. I was inside the house and had not one speck of desire to go look at the snake. I said, “take pics.”

She was big and strong, he tried to grab her with the snake tongs but she was too strong for them so he shooed her out the door.

She made her way back to the jungle. She could come back and live here if she started eating the dog poop. It could be a win win for both of us, except snakes don’t eat dog poop.

My friend Ryan has been coming to Roatan for years with the Live Again Ministry. They do so much for the island, painting schools, feeding the hungry, they bring clothes and shoes and toys, school supplies, things for the teachers, supply water filters for the areas that have no safe drinking water and provide the funds for the always highly anticipated East End Senior Luncheon. They are really an amazing group of people, led by Pastor Ronny. I love them all and appreciate their love for the island. Talk about giving from the heart. Ryan had never been snorkeling so it was my mission to take him this trip. I called my friends at the Sloth farm and they said come on down. Dustin took us out on the barge in the marine park protected area to snorkel. It was a really windy day and the waves were high and the current was strong. We decided to go for it, despite the less than ideal conditions for a first time snorkeler

As soon as I stuck my head underwater I saw this sea biscuit.

Intermediate French Angelfish

Anemone

Southern sting ray

Another shot of it. We saw so many that day.

Another sea biscuit

I was trying to get a photo of Ryan snorkeling but there was so much sargassum floating in the water that every time I took a shot, it had floated in front of my camera. Then my battery died. It was still a great day in the water and I’m hoping to take Ryan and his sister Susan snorkeling on their next trip here.

We were driving past the grocery store the other day and saw this dude crashed on the sidewalk of the bank.

A little too much party?

A few hours later we drove by again and he was laying flat out.

He was gone the next day.

Cal’s Cantina was our dinner spot two nights this week, once with Denise and Michael and again with Julie and Brian. I really could eat there nightly.

We met some new friends from the UK. They live in Politilly. Like us, they are dog lovers and have 2 rescues at their home here and dogs at their permanent home in England. They came over to our house the other day to meet our pack. Highway fell in love with Mandy and kissed her to death. She said they had cut flowers for me but forgot them. We hung out by the pool and watched the dogs swim, had some snacks and chatted. After they left, they went home, got the flowers and brought them back to me. They are beautiful!

Bouganvillea, Lobster claw, red ginger and shell ginger.

This is the view from another friends home on the south shore, beautiful place right on the iron shore. Great pool to sit in with cocktails and watch the sun set and the stars twinkle.

This is Far Tortuga and it is for rent, if you’re interested, let me know.

My laptop died in the middle of this post. I was sure I lost my blog post but was actually amazed when I finally got my laptop up and running again, I hadn’t lost anything. Save draft needs to be imbedded into my brain, you would think by now I would have that figured out.

Tonight is the last Brion James beach concert before he goes on tour for 9 months. Planning to feed the dogs and head down there around 5. Hopefully I’ll get my life together soon and be able to get a few more blogs out. Thanks for following!