Don’t ask me where I’ve been, I don’t know.

11/10/2019 It’s been awhile, actually longer than awhile. So long that some people have contacted me to see if I’m OK. I am, just doing the daily living taking care of the dogs stuff. In fact, that’s pretty much all I do anymore. Since Max was attacked by his brothers and our female dog in February, I have had a hard time leaving the dogs alone. Granted, we separate Max, he stays upstairs, Highway is downstairs, Barrio and Gringo are each in a crate on the back porch and Lola is loose on the back porch. She hates the pool so we don’t have to worry about her getting in there and she can’t get out front and even if she could, our yard is Fort Knox. They can NOT get out. The reason they are fenced in is because at the end of our driveway, a fast romp for the dogs, is an insanely busy road filled with people who have no right to be behind the wheel of a car. Many of the taxi drivers try to hit the strays and if someone hits a dog, 95% of the time they won’t even stop. That is why my dogs live the secluded life they do. I freaking hate it, I hate that I can’t walk them because the road is so busy and there are so many stray dogs everywhere. My dogs are sheltered, may not be a good thing, but they are not around other dogs. They are not socialized. I recently went to get my hair cut and was taking Max with me to get groomed. I had him in a harness as we crossed the busy road to the hairdressers. There was another dog sitting outside the bakery with it’s owner and I assumed that’s where it would stay. Once we got across the road the dog came running towards Max. Max freaked, got out of his harness and ran across the busy road. I totally freaked out. Once I got over to my car Max came to me. I was a wreck. I tightened his harness and yelled to the guy to please restrain his dog. I got Max into Nadia’s and she locked the door so nobody could open it and have him run out. He was panicked, I think he thought that dog was going to attack him. It was an awful experience. Him being attacked has changed me, I’m not sure I’ll ever get over that.

As many of you know my Father died Sept. 6, 2019. He was 98. I foolishly thought he would live forever. I never envisioned a world that he was not in. It’s here now. It’s my reality and I’m not ready. He lived the last few years of his life tormented by Dementia. I swear it is the most awful thing ever to watch your parent turn into a child again. My sister and her husband were so amazing to Dad, I can never thank them enough for what they gave to him, and gave to my Mother before she passed in 2018. It takes very special people to care for loved ones suffering from dementia, it’s a hateful disease. I miss my Father daily, he was my rock. I have not had him mentally for about 4 years but at least I could hear his voice. I am my Father’s daughter, there is no doubt about that.

As I said before, I mostly stay home with my dogs. I’m not a party person, hate themed parties like Halloween, etc. I just feel that I’ve been there and done that and it’s not my thing any longer. I go to the beach when we get company but my preferred snorkeling is at Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout in French Cay. I think the snorkeling is much better there, the coral isn’t dead from all the tourists walking on it and I always see a ray of some sort. Plus I get to hang with Steph and Daniel or Dustin, always a good time. I took Chance snorkeling while he was here. I was having camera trouble (my stupidity, thought the camera was broken when it was actually bad batteries). Chance and Steph and Daniel ventured off to the west but I stayed in the area I was because I was finding all kinds of cool stuff, until my camera battery died.

Coral

Massive coral

Coral with Christmas Tree worms

This is a spaghetti worm, it’s actually alive and feeding.

Giant puffer hiding

Anemones

Spiny black sea urchin

As I was checking out the puffer that was hiding, all of a sudden this Lionfish was right in front of me. I moved away very quickly as their spikes are venemous and can pack a punch. They are the only fish here that you can legally spear and there is no limit. (You must have your Lionfish license and be certified by the Marine Park). Lionfish eat all the small fish on the reef, thereby decimating our reefs. They are not native to the Caribbean and many places are doing their best to eradicate them from the sea.

It’s impossible to not have a dog by you at our house. Chance is loving on Max and Highway the idiot.

Our back porch. The dogs hang here a lot. There are steps down to the pool and steps up to the roof. There is usually a lot of activity on the porch. Gringo on the left and Barrio in the crate, AND, Highways butt.

I took the Live Again Ministry group snorkeling at Daniel’s also. They all had shirts made with Minions on them and they say Nidia’s Minions. We posed for this picture just for Nidia, the Boss Minion.

A group of local artists got together and painted 2 concrete walls in Brisas de Valle, a small community near Coxen Hole. Julie and I went there to see it and to visit with Nidia. It’s gorgeous and I hope it has the intended effect that they hoped for.

Mahi Mahi and some jellyfish.

The artists hope was that by beautifying the area maybe people would stop throwing trash around. Many of the paintings are about getting rid of plastics.

Trash in the ocean is a huge problem. Turtles mistake the plastic bags for jellyfish.

Sadly, you can’t go far on the island without seeing trash. Above and under water.

Eels and a barracuda.

Whale Shark

This was my favorite, the Octopus.

Sad that so many turtles die from humans polluting the sea.

This was one of the walls.

We had the 5th annual East End luncheon for the people on the east end of Roatan. Nidia and Pastor Ronny from Live Again Ministry started this in 2014 and it was so successful that we just can’t stop doing it. The islanders look forward to this event because they get to see friends and family that they rarely see. This was the second year it was held at Fantasy Island Resort.

This is the group from St. Helene. They traveled the furthest to get to the luncheon. Since there are no roads connecting Helene with Roatan, they must come by boat.

We had over 350 people attend the event this year. We had nurses checking blood pressure and also doing diabetes testing.

The oldest from each community got a huge basket of food. The rest of the baskets were raffled off.

These were gift bags filled with toiletries.

It was a full house!

Nidia, the head of Because We Care holding the microphone for one of the men from the ministry group.

This is the pool at the resort. Fantasy Island was one of the first resorts on Roatan. It was beautiful in those early days I’m sure, but now many of the rental units have fallen into a state of disrepair. It would take a lot of $$ to bring it back to it’s glory days.

This is Auntie Clara, she is 103. She always sings at the luncheons. I was lucky enough to get to go to her 100th birthday party.

I have been asking Bill to build a pergola on the roof for 4 years. The views up there are tremendous but you can’t be up there during the day for more than a few minutes because you will fry. Finally, we have a pergola.

The dogs love it on the roof, they can survey their domain.

Bill also made a giant swing and I had cushions and pillows made for it. It’s a fabulous spot to relax with the dogs and watch the sun set.

This is before the swing.

You can see in the next photo that we repainted the walls all gray to match the newly re-fiberglassed floor.

Much better gray.

The view, the water was crazy flat. My friend told me that sailors use the stripes on the water to tell them info about the wind. Not sure if that is true or not.

These 3, the brothers, are in the pool ALL the time. Especially Max, the dark one in the middle. It’s not unusual for him to go in a dozen times in one day.

Lola and Emmy. They stare at each other for a long time, have no clue why.

I was closing windows one night to go to bed and the dog toys were laying on their ottoman like this. Are they messing with me?

We have had a lot of lizards around the house lately. The big ones drive the dogs crazy. This guy walked across the hill below the pool and all five dogs were going into cardiac arrest. By the time I got my good camera he was about 50′ away. Grateful for a good zoom.

This is a male green iguana. I can tell it’s a male because of the large jaw muscles, the females don’t have the jaw muscles that the males do.

And babies, we have had tons of babies.

Another photo of the big guy.

This is a male anole. We see so many of these daily that I no longer notice them, except when I see a good size dead one laying on a dog bed. Gross.

Another baby iguana, looks like it’s eating a bug.

I decided to get off the island for a bit, I was getting stir crazy. I booked 2 separate trips. One from Roatan to San Pedro Sula (mainland Honduras) then to Houston and on to Phoenix. I spent the night in a hotel in Phoenix and caught an early flight out of Phoenix to Chicago and then on to Wilkes Barre, PA. 6 airports in 2 days. It’s no wonder I arrived sick. My destination was Williamsport PA, where Bill and I were both born. Some of my high school friends who live in the area have a get together once a month. My friend Stan from New Hampshire came down and we crashed the party. It was great fun except I was sick.

Stan and I have been best friends for over 55 years. In that time frame we have always stayed in touch.

The class party was Sunday and Monday I was at the doc’s. I had bronchitis. Great. After a few days on meds I felt good enough to go meet some friends. My brother (where I was staying) and his daughter Devon and I went out for dinner on Saturday evening. On Wednesday I met some friends for lunch. I saw Mary when I was in town for my last class reunion but I have not seen Sue Stroble in 35+ years. When I was a wild and crazy, no longer in college person, who was too much for my parents to handle I moved out. Both Mary and Sue’s parents welcomed me with open arms. I spent my time between their 2 homes.

Mary, Sue in the back and me. Long time friends.

Before I met Mary and Sue for lunch, I had tea with Bill’s sister Kathy at an old home from the great lumber baron days in Williamsport. There are many of these grand mansions that have been restored and are used as homes or restaurants. This one used to be a dentist’s office. It was donated to the Historical Museum who sold it to the people who own the Backhouse Coffee and Cafe’. It has been lovingly restored and is absolutely gorgeous.

Fabulous old mirror.

The wallpaper was incredible.

Even the woodwork detail on the door was gorgeous. I could have spent a few hours in there looking at all of the cool restored parts of the home.

I had breakfast with another friend on Friday morning. I had not seen Francie since before we left PA in 1995. On my way to get her I saw the Stoned Dog. This dog was painted back in the late 60’s and someone is still keeping it nicely painted. This brings back MANY memories.

My brother’s back yard. He lives in a valley with a mountain in front and behind of his house, I couldn’t make calls on my cell phone and had a hard time opening photos or attachments unless I stood by the bird feeder.

I forgot how beautiful Pennsylvania was.

The trees were all changing, something I’m not used to at all.

Devon and me

Devon and my brother PJ. Oh, and Lily too. She adores Devon and doesn’t let many people get close to her.

I went out to eat with Bill’s sister Kathy, her husband Mike and daughter Missy. We went to a place called Boom City. Food was excellent and they had a beer selection Bill would have loved.

My last night there I met some friends at the 505. It’s a restaurant/bar that I worked at before Bill and I were married. It was great to see Cicily and Mary, Ryth and Tim and Darri, Dave and Chuckie. It’s been a long time.

I was up early the next morning and drove back to Wilkes Barre for my flight to Phoenix by way of Dulles. Going a round a bout way to get there. I arrived in Phoenix on time and my friend Kelly was right outside the door where I got my luggage. We went to a fabulous wine bar, I grabbed a salad and then we split a humongous dessert. After that we went back to Kelly’s home. She lives in Chandler, AZ. Let me say, her home looks like it’s from Architectural Digest. I could move in and change nothing. Stunning house. And she has 2 dogs and was watching a third for her friend so I got plenty of dog loving.

These are Kelly’s two, Daisy is the little one and Payson is the big black boy. The other one was named Sadie, she was a sweetheart too.

No, this is not a photo from a magazine, it’s Kelly’s backyard. No words.

Her pool is gorgeous but it was coooold.

She had a table made in the pool. Genius.

We went to a place called Oregano’s for lunch. It was great food. The waiters shirts said Legalize Marinara.

My good friend from high school who rescued me when I got stranded in LA has a daughter I have not met. She lives in Chandler, about 20 minutes from Kelly’s house. I ran over one morning to meet Katie and Jon and of course this adorable little nugget, Dane. He is the only brown eyed grandchild out of 5 for Tim and Cathilee.

I’ve been home for a little over a week. When I arrived in Roatan I was getting my luggage and my friend who works there said Bill was there with a dog. When I walked out and said Max he almost jumped in my arms. I could NOT wait to get home to the other ones and give them their toys and lots of loving. Barrio, my shadow really missed me.

Barrio was sound asleep, I had about 4″ of bed.

We have not had rain for months and months. People’s wells were drying up, plants and trees were dying, it was getting bad. Well, lo and behold, I brought rain. I took this photo outside my back door and it looks like snow. It was really pouring.

This was the next day. We have had thunder storms at night and hard rains during the days. The island needed it badly.

Usually after a long dry spell we have termites, wood lice, whatever they are called. They are black bugs with 4 wings. They are attracted to light and swarm. They mate and drop their wings (or vice versa, never watched) and then they leave. Behind is the massive mess of wings. They are like Christmas tree needles, you find them months later.

These things were brown instead of black, probably a mutated bug. There were so many the birds were at the back door eating the bugs.

This is my outdoor concrete sink, full of wings. They are disgusting.

So, I’m back, haven’t done much, other than getting some work done on my car and staying home with the dogs. I can’t guarantee that I will be any better about blogging but I do promise to try.

 

 

 

 

 

Roatan ramblings

05/28/2017 I haven’t been into blogging lately, actually, I haven’t been into much of anything. Seems I spend more time with the dogs that with anyone else. We communicate endlessly.

A friend I met on FB and then caught up with twice while she was here visiting came down and stayed with us for 2 weeks while she was finalizing some things with her house build. They plan to be in their new home by the end of the year, it’s going to be awesome and they have a fabulous view. The beach is at the bottom of their land and they sit up on a hill overlooking the sea. Anxious for them to move down here. Diane is a dog lover so she was perfectly comfortable with our pack, Lola took a special interest in her and seemed to gravitate to Diane’s side.

Diane and I helped Connie with the Mother’s Day event to benefit Cattleya. It was held in Loren’s studio above their restaurant, Romeo’s, in French Harbor. The kids paid to make Mother’s Day gifts and when the gifts were completed they each got a pizza and a drink. Diane and I helped at the first station. At our table the kids drew on coffee filters, that had been opened and flattened, with markers.

The coloring station

The one little girl was very pensive, it took her a long time to do 10 filters.

These two were awesome, Jazmin and Matthew. They are the grandchildren of Miss Valerie who runs the Charmont Bilingual Academy (it’s an amazing school) for children who come from families affected by AIDS.

After they each colored 10 of them, they were individually spritzed with water until the colors bled. Then they were dried with hair dryers at the next table.

The ladies helping here are all teachers at Cattleya.

Once dried they were folded, twisted at the bottom and then opened into a flower shape. After that they went to another station where they added things to the bouquet.

Annie helping to make the bouquets beautiful.

Sweet brother and sister.

This is Matthew, he gave me a big hug before he left, what a sweet boy!

The final table was glitter then wrapping the bouquets up like a real flower bouquet. After they were done we all had yummy pizza, courtesy of Romeo’s restaurant.

This is the outside area of the art showroom.

Love the painted seating

I’m not sure what type of paint they used but I really like this artwork.

This was one of my favs.

It’s great fun helping Connie with an event, she is always so appreciative!

Diane and I also helped Nidia with the Mother’s Day event at Infinity Bay. It was held the day before Mother’s Day. The manager of Infinity Bay is always willing to give back to the community and he did it in a big way. The event was in their banquet room, tables were set very nicely, the food spread was incredible, they offered free 5 minute massages and all the ladies got a gift. Nidia planned for 120 ladies but several brought friends and children. I fast counted 135, we think there were 140+ people there.

These ladies came dressed in their Sunday best.

Many of them have never been to Infinity Bay (it’s quite a posh resort right on the beach) or West Bay beach.

Gifts for all

Nidia (in red) leading a game on the porch. The ladies weren’t playing by the rules so Nidia didn’t give out the prize.

Free massages

Nidia and one of the ladies dancing. The lady in black had the music in her, she danced while she waited in line for her food. She was a total joy to watch!

Diane and I were both tired when we got home. I really have to praise Nidia, this woman hass the drive and the power to get things done. It’s nothing for her to throw together a shindig like this, bringing ladies from the far reaches of Roatan to have a fun day. She’s totally amazing.

I’ve had some problems with Jessica, (the young girl I got back in school) she hasn’t been going to school. I had her over here one afternoon so we could talk about the situation. She was unusually quiet while she was here though and I couldn’t get more than 2 words out of her at a time.

She was picking dead leaves off of a plant.

The week after she was here she missed 2 out of 4 days of school. The first time she said she had to babysit. I told her she didn’t have any children that she was responsible for and that I was paying for her to go to school, not to babysit. The second day she missed I called her and asked what was going on and she said she was sleeping. She does nothing all day (school is 8:30-10:30 AM, M-Th) , stays out late with boys at night and can’t get up for school. I give up. She doesn’t want this for herself, if she did she would be like Alexi and not miss school. I even paid extra for her to attend a class trip the following Friday which included lunch at Bojangles.

I told her I was done and not to go to school anymore. I called Sister Judy and explained the situation and told her Jessica was done and that they could use my money as a donation. I felt awful doing it, it still haunts me, but if she doesn’t want a better life, nothing I say or do will change that. No different than getting rehab for an addict. She will be pregnant soon, Alexi agrees with me. He is furious with her as is her older sister Juliana. She told me she wished she had someone like me who cared when she was young. I am still stressing over this. A good friend who lives near the family and has known them for years told me not to waste my time, that Alexi is the success story from that family and to lavish our attention on him. He needs and wants it. Sad that their mother, who lives above Jessica and Juliana, doesn’t care. It’s so frustrating. I wanted better for Jessica, I thought she did too. I was so looking forward to helping this young girl. I am crushed that this happened, I had big plans for Jessica. Maybe she will come around, I can only hope.

We started adding onto the pool deck. The girl who was cleaning for me while my other gal was on maternity leave happens to have a very skilled craftsman for a husband. Enter MoMo. Thank you Andrea!! He is here everyday early, works non-stop all day long. He has expanded the deck, built a pergola, deck railings, a table, 2 benches and 2 chairs, a large counter with shelves and doors and 4 side tables. ALREADY! He is now building a box to hide the hideous hot water heater that Bill insisted on hanging where everyone can see it on the back porch. Then he is building doors to cover the storage areas on our back porch. After that it’s a pergola and furniture for the roof. I would really like to adopt him, he’s awesome and such a nice guy. He’s so good that Bill is allowing him to use his tools, BILL NEVER ALLOWS ANYONE TO USE HIS TOOLS. MoMo is in heaven. I’m in heaven because things are getting done here.

You can see by the stained/not stained what we added.

He made the table and chairs. The 2 benches are still waiting to be sprayed with finish and I have to have cushions made for everything..

Nice storage area, the tile for the counter is in, I have to pick it up tomorrow. I asked my friend Trish to paint a mermaid on the wall behind the counter.

The tables he made are so sturdy they can be used as seats too.

I love the table. We can’t have a glass table down on this deck, the wind is wicked strong, it would either be in Parrot Tree or shattered.

Fabulous views and some afternoon sun protection.

I’m quite pleased that we are getting all of this stuff done, my honey do list was stagnant and it was pissing me off. Our whole house needs repainted, inside but especially out. The sun is a killer on paint down here, it’s only been 3 years and the paint looks like crap.

Good lord, I love these dogs. Max (l) and Barrio

Max is on the table, Highway is doing his lap dog thing.

Bill had a small bag of Cheetos, the dogs were starving to death, as you can see.

Tres hermanos

Whoa, serious blues.

They must want my wine.

5 dog protection. Nobody, 2 legs or 4, gets by these dogs. Highway is a flipping idiot. When he barks it sounds like all 3 Stooges making their weird woop woop woops all mixed together. I HATE IT! Not a man, child, watusa, dog, duck, cat or motorcycle/car/truck gets by these guys. They are freaking relentless. It’s why Highway sleeps inside at night. Much easier than getting up 10 times screaming, shut the hell up, during the night.

Look at these boys, Barrio, Max and Gringo on the steps. They do a few laps several times a day. Max runs and jumps in. Do they know they are brothers?

Mr. Gringo, he thinks it’s a big water dish.

Bill went to Diane’s to check some measurements at her home that is under construction. It is in Politilly, not far from where Alexi’s family lives. (Glad he doesn’t live there anymore). Bill stopped to see Osman and Ephrain. (Alexi said Ephrain’s name has an N, not a M on the end). I stand corrected.

Osman (l) Alexi’s nephew and Ephrain, Alexi’s brother. They adore Bill and throw themselves on him. They get no attention from anyone, no father figure at all, no male in their lives, no mother either, really.

Odd looking Hummingbird. Mr. Anole crawls right up, doesn’t matter if there are Hummers there or not.

The other night the dogs had just eaten and were outside playing when all of a sudden they went bat-shit crazy. I could tell by the sound of Highway’s bark that he was jumping up in the air with every bark. I went down to the pool deck to see what was going on and the neighbor boy, Eddy was outside the fence. Eddy lives with several family members in the colonia below us. His Mother is not one of them, she lives in Coxen Hole, 30 minutes west of here. His grandparents are poor and do not treat any of the boys well. The 6 and 8 year olds come up here barefoot with machetes chopping firewood. Eddy is the oldest, 15 years old, he works every day as an unpaid bag boy at Eldon’s, the only money he makes is from tips. Weekdays he only works until noon, then he goes to a school to learn tourism. It costs him 2000 ($85.00) lempira a month for school, plus he has to pay for his transportation to and from school and work every day. Tonight he came up here very upset, he wanted to talk to Bill. His grandparents said he has to quit school and work full time because they need the money. We are pushing for him to stay in school, his future is grim if he stops going. It’s so sad to see a young boy in this situation. He’s another soul who gets no attention from anyone. No parental figures in this young boy’s life. WTH is up with the mother, why does she not see her child? How can she do that? I’m not judging, I just have serious questions. Sometimes it’s so hard to wrap your brain around things that you see. We will try to help Eddy and keep him in school, if we can. Ultimately, it’s not our decision.

Alexi is doing well, he’s here on his days off from the Bomberos, either working / hanging out and falling in the pool on occasion.

Mr. Muscle laying in the sun after he “fell” in the pool after cleaning it. He’s using his phone for eyeshade, this was before I gave him glasses.

He has to go to the mainland for the month of August, if he does well there he will hopefully become a paid Bombero. (firefighter/rescue) Currently, we are his only income.

We are so proud that he received this.

Our friends Kevin and Pam brought 2 bags of nice t-shirts for us to pass out. We gave Alexi, Miguel and MoMo first choice, what was left I took to the station and gave to the Bomberos guys, It always makes Alexi look good to his peers when someone close to him donates to the team. Alexi on the L.

If (praying he does) he gets in he needs to buy his own uniform and boots and 20 white undershirts. WTH? 20? He said yes, that’s what they have to buy. We need to revisit that and have him talk to the boss, that seems excessive. Thursday he told me he needed a white single sheet  on Friday. I didn’t have one so I went to Mega Paca, no white sheets of any size. I wish he had told me before so I could have found one for him. The big General from the mainland is checking out the stations this weekend while he is here for the Bomberos competition on Saturday. Alexi is so funny, he was telling us he’s not even going to try to win the competition, he’ll enter but he’s just going to go slow and be chill. HAH! He plans to win that thing for sure. I was on his case all day, he loves the back and forth banter.

We had a conversation today about the amount of water he DOESN’T drink. I’m a water chugger, I drink minimum 90 oz a day. He drinks coke. Many times Alexi will come here and his legs hurt, he says they feel like he can’t stretch them out. I give him 2 ibuprofen and make him drink water. I told him one of the main reasons he’s getting these cramps is dehydration. He promised me he would drink more water. He also never wears sunglasses or a hat, except when he’s in uniform, then he must wear a hat. I had a pair of sunglasses with polarized lens that I bought but they weren’t prescription so I never wore them (not a clue why I bought them). Once I found them again (he actually told me where they were) I showed them to Alexi. He really liked them so I gave them to him. He couldn’t believe what it looked like when he put them on, he said colors were different. Umm, yeah, they are. I also bought him a dark pink (his favorite color, because some girl told him he looked good in pink, he does) t-shirt that says Fire and Rescue on it.

He LOVED it. He was showing Bill the glasses before he left and he said to Bill, “she loves me.” Bill said, “yeah she does.” I won’t get into the fact that he clogged our toilet and it overflowed all over the floor, thankful for concrete floors and for the fact he knew where everything was to clean up his mess. UGH. I wondered what the heck was taking so long.

Because We Care is proud to be associated with Live Again Ministry. These are groups of people from different churches in North Carolina who have fallen in love with Roatan and the people here. These wonderful people have chosen this island to bless with their love and kindness. This visit a few of the things they did were; donate water filtration buckets to 150 people in Esperanza and El Higuero, painted the inside of a school, painted a medical clinic, passed out toys and sandals and dresses, toy cars and trucks and lunches to children in Oak Ridge. I know they did many other things this visit but unfortunately, I’ve been housebound because we have a worker here. Bill’s busy, so that means I hang at the house.

Pastor Jim in the green, he led the group this visit. I’ve met him, his son Josh, Dave and John before. It’s so cool that they keep coming back several times a year.

These are Sawyer water filtration buckets. If maintained properly they will filter at least 250,000 gallons of water, making it potable. Maintenance is easy. If used properly, this could change lives, providing fresh drinking water to people who have been getting bottles of water from the stream.

Some of the many recipients

Milton is one of the children who lives in the same home that Eddy (who has to quit school) does. He’s one who comes here barefoot with a super sharp machete. He is so cute; a nice boy with not a snowball’s chance in hell to succeed in life.

Little girl with her new dress.

They were posing.

He’s not heavy, he’s my brother.

This is the inside of the school they painted. The teacher / principal picked the color.

Passing out gifts, dresses, toys and flip flops

Many thanks to the people from LAM, your smiles and open hearts are making a huge impact on the people of Roatan.

I took one of my 5 dogs to the vet on Wednesday. Barrio’s been digging his ears a lot. The vet was doing a complicated repair surgery so I waited and chatted with other friends who were there. We sat in the same room as the vet doing the surgery, the operation was happening 3′ away. You can watch if you want, I do off and on. After about an hour of waiting I went to wipe the sweat off my face with my dress and realized I was still in my nightgown with a swimsuit top on underneath. Total island girl.

And here it is almost June. Class reunion in Penna. in September, trying to make flight arrangements has been ridiculous to say the least. There are very limited flights. In the time it takes me to get home I could have flown to Australia and back. Almost. Insanity.

Last pic is of my gorgeous granddaughter Alexah. She posted this on FB and said, Last day of middle school. Ever. 

How did she get so old?

And….I’m done. Peace out.

Giving thanks to the island elders.

 

senior lucnh blog

06/05/2016 Between getting my house ready for company and helping to host the East End Senior luncheon, time has flown by. The last I blogged was before my company came, May 19th. I have been busy entertaining and having fun with Teri and Olivia, I’ll fill you in on that in another blog or two.

The senior luncheon was held at Turquoise Bay on the 18th of May. It was a glorious sunny (hot) day with a nice breeze on the beach. I couldn’t go as early as I wanted to because Bill had to run errands and I had to stay here until he returned so the dogs didn’t harass the worker guys. I got there around 10:30. The tents and tables were all set up and I was amazed, there was already a group of people there from Helene. The party didn’t start until 2 but they were there before I arrived. When you boat from Helene you want to give yourself enough time to arrive.

The seniors were being driven right out on the beach so they didn’t have far to walk in the blazing sun on the steaming sand.

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It was a beautiful venue

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Trying to keep everyone in the shade

The food was not scheduled to be served until 2 PM and the staff at Turquoise Bay was preparing all of it. They brought the cake out quite early and I was sure it was going to melt but it didn’t, it stayed nice and chocolately and yummy looking.

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It was so big they brought it on a sheet of plywood.

The Live Again Ministries provided financial support and helpers for this event, as they did last year. They brought hand fans for everyone, nice handkerchiefs for the men, a colorful assortment of wash cloths for the ladies, bracelets that said Live Again Ministries on them and small key chains. We had many pairs of reading glasses donated by Jan Walkeden and Trish Nixon and friends, thank you for those also, they were a huge hit!

Many thanks to all of my friends here on the island and in the states who donated money to buy the food baskets. We were hoping to get enough $$ for 25 baskets and ended up with enough for 32 so we raffled off the extra ones and made several people happy.

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A vast array of colored washcloths

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Nice men’s handkerchiefs and gllasses

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All the pretty baskets lined up in a row.

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Pastor Ronny Russell of Live Again Ministries helping to pass out baskets. This is the second year in a row this group has been instrumental in helping Because We Care make this luncheon happen.

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Daine’s granddaughter learning about giving to the elders. She was a great help.

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I was worried that this gentleman was sitting alone. Nidia went up and talked to him and he was enjoying the view and waiting for his buddies.

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So nice for these people to be together and have time to chat and catch up.

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Auntie Clara in the pink. She is 100. I went to her 100th birthday party last year. Across from her is Miss Catherine Wood. She turned 90 the 23rd of May. Her daughter Daine is a friend of mine. Miss Catherine is an island gem.

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The royalty table

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This sweet lady was so into the music she was clapping and moving to the beat.

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Nidia giving Auntie Clara a lightweight fleece blanket made by the industrious ladies on Brass Hill.

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Miss Catherine, isn’t she beautiful?

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After the people had eaten they did a traditional “maypole” using a tree. There were assorted fruits tied to the tree branches and everyone danced around the tree. They took turns getting in the circle and dancing.

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So much fun, music was supplied by Jimmy Connor, but he was in this circle dancing.

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Jimmy is the guy on the left with his arm up.

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Nidia and Jimmy dancing

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Then the music stopped and someone yelled Rob the Tree and everyone ran and pulled the treats off of the tree.

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One of the men with his new handkerchief.

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My sweet friend Carly helping to pass them out.

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No cake left, it was delicious.

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Miss Catherine, Daine and Daine’s granddaughter Maddie.

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This lady was leaving and even though she had a cane she was dancing to the music as she passed the band.

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Nidia getting Auntie Clara in the swing of things.

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Then there was the clean up.

Many thanks to those who donated:

Kevin and Claire Bloor, Robert McNeill, Marcy Schwartz, Franklin and Francie Christopher, Walt and Judy Kaiser, Eric and Carly White, Alex and Marilyn Poirier, Trish Nixon, Pam and Pete Peters, Wendy and Andrew Flood, Kathy Shupe and Leif Shaver, Janice Carter, Lisa Blythe and Rob Baker, Ana Svoboda, Brian Harris, Jeanie and Roger Moore, Infinity Bay Resort, Turtle Beach, Bob and Debi Cowan, Made in Roatan, R Church, Peggy Stranges, Nicole Brady, Erika Galindo McNab, Ron McNab, Theresa Renee Arriaga, Steve Hasz, Milesse Kennedy and Duane McNab. And a huge thank you to Pastor Ronny Russell and the Live Again Ministries group, you are all amazing people, we couldn’t do what we do without your help.

I really wish you all could have been there to experience these amazing people. I get so much more out of these events than the people who they are for. This is a big social event for the island elders, they only get to see the people who live in their communities every now and then. For them to get to see relatives and friends they haven’t seen for years, it’s a big deal. It makes me realize how much we all take for granted, the ability to hop in your car and go see a friend, or to have lunch with a group of friends. This is not in their realm. They don’t have transportation nor the money to go and do these things. There is no Social Security for you when you retire, you’re on your own. It’s the main reason one of these events is so important, just acknowledging that we know they are there and that we care enough to bring them together, to raise money for gifts and to have people like the Live Again Ministries be there for us at each and every step of the way.

Would any of this happen without Nidia? She has the biggest heart on this island and in the few years I’ve known her I have seen her bring smiles to so many people, just doing little things and letting them know she cares. Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most..

 

 

 

Bonacca and Guanaja, we have arrived!

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

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

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

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

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Siamese twins

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

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

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

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

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This is a big school in the center of town.

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Nidia, checking her list.

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

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So many kids

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Doing school work in the cool breezeway.

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

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The school

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

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Old for new

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There was a never ending stream of kids.

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Waiting

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

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

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

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

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Nidia talking to the kids

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Silly boys

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

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

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Who wants new soccer stuff?

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

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Could he have a bigger smile?

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Nice shoes

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Happy kids with new uniforms

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This little guy was adorable

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Exciting, soccer shoes.

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

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New soccer balls!

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A goalie uniform

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Sent from Diunsa on the mainland.

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Perfect timing!

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

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

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

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

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

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Nidia found a perfect seat..

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

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Some people slept, or tried to.

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You can tell which way the wind blows

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Getting off the boat in Bonacca.

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The Venice of the Caribbean

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

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View from the restaurant.

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Bonacca springs water.

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

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Kids on the street

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

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

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New shoes, thanks TOMS shoes!

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

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These boys had big feet!

 

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Bonacca is so cool!

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

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

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

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

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

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Bonacca

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

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

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Many evacuation signs posted all over.

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

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Internet cafe??

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This sign is classic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Expert air/co installation

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Good thing we didn’t need drawers!

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

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

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Well stocked library

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Fitting shoes

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Yes, they all want new shoes!!

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Nice classroom

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

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We even fit kids on the boat!

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

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Leaving Bonacca for Savannah Bight, Guanaja

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Another view of Dunbar Rock

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

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This is what drew me to the Bay Islands!

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Getting ready to dock at Savannah Bight

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Carrying shoes from the boat to the school.

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Beauties

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

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So cute

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I love their responses when they see their photos!

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They spoke English also, at least the majority did.

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Nothing better than smiling kids

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View from the school

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Cleaning the classroom before we set up

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

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Not camera shy and silly as anything.

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Waiting their turn

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These kids were so darn adorable!

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A school desk

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

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

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

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

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School # 4

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

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

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

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

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What adorable kids they were!!

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

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

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

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This is Graham’s Place.

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

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Our boat was old..

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

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

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

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Nidia was exhausted.

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

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

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

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The line stretched down to the corner and then some.

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

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The neat and tidy streets of Bonacca

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Taken from the second floor of the visitor center

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Boats..everyone has a boat!

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Lots of kids with their new TOMS shoes on.

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Black spiny sea urchins in the water by the docks.

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

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

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

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

That’s what it’s all about.

Frito, the OCD dog.

unmedicated

05/23/2015 A person my age can not exist on 5 hours of sleep a night. NO CAN DO.  Every freaking morning between 4 and 5 the pups start howling, since they are in the living room and I know they are peeing up a storm we get up and take them outside. It takes us 4 trips to get them all out, downstairs. Then I have to come back upstairs (Bill is playground supervisor), make them breakfast, go back down and feed them, watch them all play and poop (have to clean that up) pee and pass out. Then they all go in the big area downstairs and sleep. I come back upstairs, pick up the peed papers and any bedding that is peed on, scrub the tarp off with vinegar, wipe it dry, put more papers in for the night, and wash the soiled bedding. I also crawl back in bed several times throughout this performance, begging my mind for a few more minutes of sleep. At some point I get up and eat, do the dishes and try to sleep again, many times. Saying goodbye to these little furballs will be so BITTERSWEET, I tear up just thinking about it.

We are spending a fortune feeding them.

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The start of the food making, EVERY OTHER DAY!

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I should have bought stock in La Yogurt @ L72, or $3.50 each, YIKES!

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They love Emmy’s bed.

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And each other’s feet

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They all have names now: Sable and Bandit, Brindle, Max, Tank and Buddha and my boy Barrio.

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They can be brutal too

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Lola’s toys are a hit but she is reluctant to share

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Bandit with a sad, unstuffed toy

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He’s not heavy, he’s my brother.

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Sable sleeping on a stuffed toy

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Maybe the new crate isn’t such a hit

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Breaking out, or attempting to

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If they would only learn to use it

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The way to feed 7 puppies?? Two muffin tins!

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The ever present Aunt, once known as the DOG FROM HELL AND THE URINE QUEEN. No accidents on the porch in a week!!

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I would like to pretend this is someone else’s foot wearing socks with sandals, but I can’t. It’s Bill, I don’t dress him, although I’ve tried. Sable is sound asleep.

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Passed out in the Le Creuset

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What a love Bandit is..

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Their upstairs condo

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Takes up half the living room

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Luckily for the pups the wind blew the chair over and they foud comfy beds.

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We don’t see much of Frito. She only comes to see the pups if she thinks there is a morsel of food for her. She spends her days laying by a door, any door, hoping to sneak in and satisfy her insatiable food compulsion.

Frito is totally obsessed with food and its becoming annoying. she knew there was food inside and actually tried to fit her pear shaped body out through the puppy proofed gate. She will probably end up stuck in there and we’ll have to call for the Jaws of Life to extricate her.

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Fool dog

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Her nursing gig is now standing room only

A temporary babysitter. Lola stays in there with the pups until the dogs bark or she thinks it’s time to eat.

We plan to let the pups go to their homes next week, once they have their first shots. I will more than likely be a mess saying good bye to them. Despite the sleepless nights and constant laundry and food prep (you all know I hate to cook) I love these 7 small creatures like I never thought I could. My first and last litter of pups EVER. I only hope and pray that they are as loved and well taken care of in their new homes.

Other than running to the grocery store this past week I haven’t done much at all except try to nap when I can and I must say, the afternoon naps I sneak in are marvelous, just ask Emmy, she’ll tell you, she is always curled up right along side of me. Last night it rained and we had to bring the 4 big dogs in off the porch, we had ELEVEN DOGS IN OUR LIVING ROOM. 11 freaking hairy creatures.. Lucky tried to hide, he prefers to be under the bed when it’s raining. Sneaky boy that he is.

Last Monday Nidia told me she had most of the supplies needed to fill the backpacks and school supply bags but was short some writing books, scissors and rulers. I met her at Super Isleno, a store in Coxen Hole and we got the rest of what we needed using most of the balance of the money my friends Walt and Judy Kaiser so kindly sent to me.

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A grocery/school supply store.

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I had no idea they had so much stuff in there

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Pens, markers, scissors, rulers, paper, tablets, they had it.

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Neatly organized too

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Nidia (in blue) checking what we got

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It was a lot of stuff for a little over $80.00, enough so that each and every student gets supplies

While we were there Nidia was talking about a group that was doing a water system in downtown Coxen Hole. She had invited them to go to Helene with us on Friday. I said that I had met them at the airport last week and was talking to several of them for awhile. She took me to where they were working and I walked over and said hello and they all remembered me, even my name!! We chatted for a few minutes and found out what it is they are doing. I’m sure the people who live in that area will be very appreciative, having a water supply right there is going to be wonderful!

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They were from the Live Again Ministry in North Carolina

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Hard, hot, sweaty but rewarding work

I told them I would see them on Friday, dropped Nidia off at her store with the supplies and came home.

Also want to do a quick shout out to Beth and Aaron Fox for their donation to Because We Care. I haven’t spent their money yet, still have some of Walt’s money left. Once we start spending yours (Beth), I’ll let you know what we bought with it. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

I could do this in 2 posts but I don’t have the energy so here goes..

We met at the landing in Oak Ridge for a Because We Care last trip to Saint Helene to deliver the balance of the desks and school supplies and some back packs for the students. The group from Live Again Ministry was with us, as was Carly White from Sandy Bay (she and her husband have Blue Island Divers) and Brian and Sherri Visker.

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Live Again Ministry group

We loaded 25 desks for Saint Helene and 4 for Pandytown. We had to wait until the boat got gas and it took awhile. Granted it was a big boat, biggest panga I’ve ever been in, but also the gas was dispensed from jugs and buckets, no gas pump there…

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Good Shepherd Ministries boat from Helene

Once filled, we set off for Helene with a quick stop at Pandytown to drop off 4 left handed desks. I never really thought about it but the way these desks are made, they really are specific to your hand writing prominence, left or right. They would make it hard for a leftie to use a right handed desk.

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On the way to Pandytown

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Students at Pandytown sitting in the new “leftie” desks

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School store

Once we left Pandytown we were in open water and bouncing across the waves. I think it was a little rough and wild for a few people but I was loving every minute of it. There were some kite surfers on the south shore, never seen them here before, only out at Camp Bay. The photo sucks because we were going 700MPH on a choppy sea into the wind but you get the idea.

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One kite was really high

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Just landed and off loading at Saint Helene

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Students eager for their new desks, they were happy to carry them up the hill to the school.

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Maybe he already claimed this as his.

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My friend Carly carrying a desk. You can see the name plate on the back stating who paid for the desk. If anyone is interested, they can be purchased for $49.95 each.

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I love taking photos of the kids

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He was camera shy

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so cute

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She loved the camera

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They brought ALL of the new desks out into the schoolyard.

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One of the men from the ministry fell in love with this little girl. Who wouldn’t?

This little girl was a dusty mess and she had no shoes.

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His cast doesn’t look too good.

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Bags of supplies sent by a group of teachers. They are the same ones who sent all of the backpacks. There was A LOT of stuff.

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Packs were filled with supplies too.

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So much stuff, enough for a whole school.

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Students getting bags of supplies

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This little girl got a backpack with supplies in it

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Sherri passing out the goods

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He was happy, really he was.

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Look at her face, and what a cute backpack!

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He loved his

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The smile says it all, Spiderman!!

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Pretty in pink, she had the most gorgeous eyes!

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Handsome young man!

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Another beauty

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He didn’t know I was taking his photo, look at his eyelashes. I’ve never seen any that long!!!

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Girls from Live Again Ministry handing out supplies

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Spiderman rules

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The little girl with the backpack was fascinated with her ruler. It has shapes and letters to trace cut out in it.

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Pretty young lady, one of the older students there.

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And another, so many gorgeous kids!

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This is the boy with the eyelashes

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The last of the kinder students to get supplies

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The whole school lined up and yelled THANK YOU too all of the people who made this possible.

After we were done passing out school things several of the mothers made lunch for us, a conch stew. Needless to say, I passed on that as did Carly. When everyone was done eating we decided to hike over the mountain again so the group from the ministry could see the need for a water system over there.

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Some of the group collected shells on this log

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Pastor Ronnie and Nidia carrying loaves of fresh hot coconut bread on their heads.

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One of the group with Darla’s daughter.

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We stopped to pick up the man who owns the huge boat we were riding in. He came back to Oak Ridge with us.

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The ride back was much smoother.

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And we are back at the landing.

It was a really hot, tiring, sweaty wonderful day, filled with smiling faces and lots of children who were excited about receiving bags with scissors and pencils and erasers in them. Such small things mean so much to so many and the things we take for granted are a big deal to others.

Today we have a young boy named Eddy from the village below us up here weeding. He has been coming here for a long time because Bill gives him wood for his mother to cook with. A while ago we got him some school things. He goes to a bi-lingual school and the soccer team there is in the playoffs. Bill took him to town for a baleada and I got the idea to buy him a soccer ball with some of Walt’s money. I called Bill and told him to go get Eddy a new soccer ball. Eddy could not believe we were buying him a soccer ball, Bill said he thanked him at least 20 times. They went to Molineros and the balls were 30% off, of course, it took them 25 minutes to figure out how to ring it up, but Eddy has a new soccer ball. Thanks again Walt, this young boy is extremely happy!

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Eddy and his new Adidas ball

Many thanks to all who make this possible and most of all to Nidia, for having this vision and the passion to help the needy here on the island we call home.