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.

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The good, the bad and the ugly.

awesome

01/31/2017 When the weather has been crappy for so long and then it gets nice, $hit starts happening and it gets downright exciting here on the rock. We had Francie and Franklin over for Bill’s signature pizza, which he had made the day before while I was running around with Jason and Alex. We sat by the pool and sipped wine for awhile, then went up to the porch to have salads and pizza. As usual, the pizza was the bomb, there were only 2 small pieces left from 2 big pizza’s. Old Kentucky Bourbon chocolates from our Kentucky friends were dessert. Thank you John and Lizeth for the yummies. I am eating the last one right now. And Francie and Franklin, you are missed already. {They took off last week to spend some time on their new boat  yacht. They’ll be cruising around wherever they want to for the next year or so.}

I met Jason (IL) at Barefoot Cay on Thursday morning for a tour with my wonderful friend Milesse. Milesse is one of the founding owners of this exquisite small boutique resort on it’s own private cay.  We started with a tour of the resort. Having been there many times before, I thought I knew the resort rather well, I didn’t. Milesse pointed out so many things, took us into the rooms, behind the closed doors, laundry, food storage, into the villas and into the condos above the dive shop. I wrongly assumed the places above the dive shop were nice, clean little rooms for divers. So wrong. They are elegant condos overlooking the water that separates the dive shop from the cay. There is nothing plain about any of the rentals. They all emanate subdued elegance.

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From there we went over to the palapa where you can enter the water to snorkel or lay on the hammocks and swing in the breeze.

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The color of this water is why I moved to Roatan.

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Not sure what this is.

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Very nice villa with a kitchen, 2 nice bedrooms w/ AC and baths, and this porch, overlooking the 3 steps to the beach. Paradise.

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Your private beach!

We walked all around the cay and saw where they will do a few more rentals. They won’t overpopulate or change the atmosphere of the resort, they have a lot of unused land. BFC has become Barefoot Luxury and will seek out new locations in the Caribbean to open dive shops or a new boutique resort or both.

When we were finished with our tour we went to the second level of the restaurant and had watermelon smoothies. They were extremely refreshing! It’s always pleasant spending time with Milesse,  getting to do it at the resort is like icing on the cake.

From BFC Jason and I went to French Cay to Arch’s Iguana and Marine Preserve. My friends own the iguana park and I am blessed to have become family with the Arch’s.  They are a very cool, well known and respected island family. The Arch family patrols the Marine Park Reserve which is right off of their docks, 24/7. It’s all protected waters with no fishing allowed and people still poach at night, stealing small conch and baby lobsters. It’s a never ending thankless job. People that do this stuff either don’t care or don’t understand that they are ruining the future of these sea critters. Kill the babies and you’ll have no adults. such bad behavior.

Jason and I got to visit with the iguanas, see the babies and let the big guys crawl across our feet.

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So many baby iguanas. They are caged until they are around 18 months old. If they weren’t caged, the chickens and birds and black spiny tailed iguanas (carnivorous) would eat them, few would survive.

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Yep, I allow warm iguana bellies on my feet.

Just as we were finished looking at the babies, Sam came. He took us out on his boat (that he and his father built) Miss French Cay. We were in the area that he protects, down to Fantasy Island, CocoView and back. It was simply gorgeous on the shimmering sea.

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Some of the boats in the cay. The water in the cay is protected by the reef,  many boats safely anchor there.

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CoCo View. The most returned to dive resort in the Caribbean. My friend Andrea is the nurse there.

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Under the bridge

We left there and drove straight to our house. I wanted to show Jason the view from our roof, which is amazeballs. We, along with all 5 dogs, went up there, he took some photos and then we left for the quick drive to Cal’s for lunch.

When we got there I told Carl (owner of Cal’s) who I was with. He actually smiled. If you know Carl, a smile is a big deal. Jason and I had a great meal, I saw some friends there and we also saw Paul, a gringo who Jason interviewed on Tuesday. When we went to pay, Reynaldo said Carl got the bill. Super nice of him, not necessary, but appreciated.

Feeling satiated, we went straight to Daniel Johnson’s Sloth and Monkey Hang-out. Daniel wasn’t there when we got there, they said he was just at lunch. Stephanie (Daniel’s GF) had our name on the sheet and we were given a guide and taken in. It was later in the day so the sloth’s were sleeping in the trees but we could easily see them. Some of the monkeys were running helter skelter on the roof, sounding like rhinoceros. The monkeys all get 2 hours a day out of their cages (in pairs, not all at once). The guide took us in the cages with the huge Macaws. These birds are magnificent. Now, let me say, I’m not a bird person. I used to lock myself in the bathroom when my mother let her damn parakeets out to fly around the kitchen. Here I am in a cage with birds bigger than my head. Just then Daniel came and he stepped into the cage with us. They held a sunflower seed over my head and the freaking bird landed on my head, 2 TIMES. I ask Daniel if it was going to poop on me and he said, you never know. Great, thanks.

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Monkeys climbing high

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Beautiful bird

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The colors are brilliant

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These birds were all rescued

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Jason holding one of the macaws

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Not what I imagined doing that day

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Walk like an Egyptian

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A sleeping sloth

Daniel talked to us about his next project which is to make his cages much larger and taller than they currently are and to move a few things around. He has a nice operation and he takes impeccable care of the animals. He is Sam Arch’s cousin, small island.

Jason had another appointment in West End at 3ish and I had volunteered to drive him back to the other end of the island. Once I dropped him off I called my friend Ann and ran up and said hello, she’s my twin, in case you didn’t know that.

On Saturday Jeanie and Roger came here and we all rode together to Trish and Dave’s home in Sandy Bay. Trish and Dave were headed back to Canada the 23rd. We had a nice dinner, enjoying the amazing view. Once it started to get dark, we left for home. I never had the tint removed from my windshield, it’s pretty dark and makes a night drive similar to driving at night with almost dead flashlights. Plus, the Duchess and husband still had to drive to Hell with a View in Camp Bay.

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We ate dinner out here, gazing over the north shore

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Beautiful

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Never ending beauty

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The Duchess having a chat with Santiago, her watchie man.

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My twin Ann’s house is partially visible from Trish’s deck. She lives the next hill to the east.

This is part of the mess we came home to. Barrio and Highway were left inside. Aside from the bottle of Black Seed Oil that Barrio chewed up on top of the ottoman, he also destroyed a styrofoam egg carton. This really isn’t a big deal, but I never buy eggs in styrofoam, only in a cardboard flat of 30. I then transfer them to the styrofoam containers because they fit in my fridge so much easier.

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I found the GLASS dropper from this 2 days later. So happy he didn’t get hurt but not sure how he got the screw top lid off.

Sunday was a day at home. I did go to Mega Paca in the morning but then stayed here all day, we had several workers so I stuck around and made sure things I wanted done were getting done.

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Alexi finishing the barbed wire top of the fence. he also wrapped the rubber tree branches in barbed wire, it will thwart any would be thieves for sure.

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One of the things Bill and Miguel did was put the top forms on the concrete gate posts. Now to get them finished. The gate does open with a remote now, no more getting out of the car and opening or closing it. SO MUCH BETTER.

The school bells are once again ringing for the island kids, they are on break Nov-Feb. This year Alexi will be going to a different school, one he needs to go to for the Bomberos (fire fighters) that is held every Sunday in Punta Gorda. He needs new school shoes, we are taking some of his pay every week and holding it for him so he has some money to buy things he needs. If he has money, his mother “borrows” it and never repays him, of course. We are going to open a bank account once he gets ID. He has never had any because it requires his mother to actually do something to get it. Jessica, his younger sister is going to go to the English school that Alexi went to the last 2 years. She needs everything for school except undershirts and socks which Julie and Robby brought for her already. Alexi’s brother and nephew both need school clothes also. I don’t know if it’s me and my attitude or what but it pisses me off that Alexi’s lazy assed “mother” will not spend one penny for her kids to go to school. If someone else doesn’t cough up the money, so sad, too bad, they don’t go. This will be Jessica’s first year back to school after not going for a couple years because her mother wouldn’t buy the uniforms and supplies that she needed. In her defense (and believe me, the last thing I would ever do is stick up for the lousiest mother of the year award winner) the uniforms are expensive. We spent $100 USD on 2 pair of dark blue pants, 2 white short sleeved shirts, a pleated skirt for Jessica and a pair of slip on black shoes for her and socks for the boys. We also got them each writing notebooks that they needed. $100.00. A hundred dollars to get kids almost ready for back to school is nothing for people who have a little money but for the majority of people on the island, it is a LOT of money. Now remember, many families have MANY children (hello birth control?) and they can’t afford the uniforms so the kids don’t go to school. In a country with such an overpopulation of children and extreme poverty in the majority of the communities, why the hell do they have to wear uniforms? How does that change their  learning capabilities?

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Jessica and Efraim, he’s trying on a shirt for school.

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Bill bought the boys each a bag of peanuts.

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Osman on the L and Efraim on the R. Efraim is Alexi’s brother to a different father and Osman is Juliana’s 5 year old son.

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We bought local and went to Oak Ridge to Clifford’s store. he is the Vice Mayor of Santos Guardiola and a really nice man. He helps Nidia out a lot.

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A motorcycle coming down the hill and 3 guys on horses. It’s the wild wild west.

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Efraim

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Osman

We dropped Juliana and the boys off at a seamstress in Politilly. The boys both needed their pants shortened and tucks put into the waist. Hopefully they will get 2 years out of the pants. We didn’t buy them big on purpose, they were the 2 smallest pair they had.

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This door is on the second story of a house by the seamstress.

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Jessica and a friend’s baby.

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Efraim and Osman on the porch where the seamstress lives.

When we were leaving Politilly we had to slow down to go around a motorcycle on the road. When we got right up to it Bill said, “well, look who it is.” It was Alexi’s poor excuse of a mother and her boyfriend who beat Alexi. She probably knew the kids were with us and that we were buying them school clothes but she never even said thank you. We should have knocked them over. Or run them over. I turned my head, I was afraid of what I would say. If she cared at all, just one tiny little speck of care, I wouldn’t feel so upset by her, but she doesn’t. She just does not give one $hit about the kids she brought into this world.

It’s all about the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m trying to make peace with it, I struggle.

 

 

In the blink of an eye

 

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05/01/2016 This is an old post that I hid for almost a year due to a request from someone. I’m not hiding it any longer. Sometimes the  truth hurts.

Fridays the gang usually meets at BJ’s Backyard but BJ is in the hospital on the mainland so the festivities were held at The Reef House.  The Reef House is just a short boat ride away from BJ’s. Dave and Trish came to our house and we rode to BJ’s together. From there Jimmy picked us up and took us to The Reef House. My friends Davey and Dilcia own The Reef House but they were in Atlanta, returning the next day. They missed the fun!

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Just beautiful

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My own private pool

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crystal clear and super warm

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Playing cornhole

All the usual suspects were there and then some. The Reef House is situated right on the water and unlike the water at BJ’s, this is nice and clean and swimmable. We ladies got in the water and floated around, it was fabulous, felt like it was 90 degrees. I just wore a swimsuit and a cover up, I was amongst friends, who cares. Trish and I were in the water for quite awhile, just hanging out and chatting.

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Trish and I enjoying the water. Photo by Melanie Wood.

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In heaven

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Trish and me

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Awaiting Marilyn. She was slow because she had precious wine in the glass..

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Marilyn, me and Trish

After 1 too many glasses of wine I gathered the ladies for an epic plank on the concrete dock.

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Bill is the picture taker

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Then we got more people to join us. I think this photo is Melanie’s too

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People thought we were looking for fish

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For a moment we considered a pyramid but then we remembered we were drinking and we were on a concrete pier. Thanks Melanie for the photo!

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My friend Kelly, he so rocks this hat!!

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Bill and Terry talking.

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Dave, Grizzly the dog and Bill.

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Marilyn and me, photo by Gail.

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Keri and I, maybe we were dancing, not sure. Photo by Gail.

I am pretty sure I had a blast there. We left around 3:30-4, came back here, Trish and I showered off the salt water and we went to Cal’s for dinner. Mr. John, our neighbor was there eating alone so I drug him over to our table and then my friend Mitch came, so he joined us. We had a great meal at our favorite food hang out on the island.

Saturday was airport day and I had a fabulous group of ladies working with me. Marilyn and Cindy rode in with me and Laine, Kimberly and Jill all worked too. We got 539 PAX in and out of immigration in 2.5 hours. It was super smooth. I came home and fell asleep on the couch. Woke up, ate something, and went to bed.

Sunday is my Mega Paca day, I was there at 9 AM. My new friends Erik and Jan (they went to Guanaja with us) were meeting me there. We shopped until after 11 and then went to my house to grab some onions before we went to La Sirena for lunch. I really wanted to show them more of the island since they so graciously give their time volunteering here, doing whatever they can to benefit Roatan. Bill decided he wanted to go with us, he’ll never turn down a meal at La Sirena.

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It’s a good thing I took onions because when I went inside to hug Jimmy, the owner, he said, we’re out of onions. I said, no worries, I brought 2. No way was I NOT having onion rings.

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Love this place

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While we were sitting there Betty and Joe and Llyn and John and Lucy came for lunch too. Plus there were friends inside when we got there.

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Diego. We first met him when he was a little pup (July of 2012).

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Bill, Llyn and Jan

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We stopped at our Mondays Don’t Suck beach so Jan and Erik could see it. There were a lot of locals and a considerable amount of trash.

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So gorgeous!

We dropped Jan and Erik off at the mall and they got a taxi back to Sandy Bay. The dogs were happy to see us when we returned, it’s like we’ve been gone for years! Of course, we had “other” dogs smells on us so we were in trouble for that.

This past week has been a slow hot week. Monday Bill and I ran some errands but didn’t really do too much. The temps keep creeping up and the humidity is a killer. Once again, I cleaned, then let the dogs in. I don’t know why I even bother, if I allowed the dog hair to accumulate we could be transported back to the 70’s with a shag rug look! It’s never ending.

On Tuesday we  took Alexi home, armed with new soccer uniforms for the guys he plays soccer with. They play on the beach right next to the water in Politilly. He was so proud to be able to be the one handing out the uniforms, it made him feel important.

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Alexi, first row, right

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The guys were happy with matching jerseys and shorts, the other teams don’t have them.

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Their field

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Guys kitesurfing! Pretty awesome to watch.

Thanks again to Dave and Trish Symons for bringing all of these uniforms from Canada. There are still a whole teams worth to take to the school down the road from us @ the Froylan Turcios school. There is a soccer field right across from the school and Bill already spoke to the director, she would love to have them.

Wednesday was snip snip day for my baby Max. I normally would have had him neutered a long time ago but shit happens and I was busy many Wednesdays. I am super protective of these pups so I wanted him to be done when I could spend time with him and keep an eye on him to make sure he was eating drinking, peeing, AND, not licking. Of course, my vet didn’t have any cones to discourage that.

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I hated watching this but wouldn’t/couldn’t step away.

We had taken Gringo with us because he has two lumps on his chest. I was afraid they were hematomas like the one he had before but Doc said he is fat, and they are fat deposits. Gringo is on a diet. Bill took Gringo home while Doc removed Max’s family jewels and then came back to get us, poor little guy was wiped out.

I sat with him all day and kept him in front of and under a fan. I fed him ice chips and kept rousing him to wake up but he wouldn’t. Finally, later in the day he began to come to. Bill carried him downstairs and he wobbled around, {looked like me last Friday at the Reef House}, and then he peed. We brought him back upstairs and let the rest of the crew inside with him.

We wanted him inside with us at night so he got the luxury of sleeping with us. I spent most of the night awake making sure he wasn’t chewing his stitches out. The next morning he had an appetite so I gave him some eggs and yogurt. He was still either stoned or felt the loss of the testosterone, he was just off. I had a hell of a time keeping him from licking. I did find a place that has cones so I’ll get one for Barrio for next week when he gets snipped. The real feel temperature yesterday was 108. Hot as hell.

We have guys here working in the backyard so the dogs can’t be out there running loose and Bill is pouring concrete out front. This means I am running a poorly funded, barely functioning version of Deb’s Doggie Daycare for Dysfunctional Dogs. And I wonder where all the dog hair comes from.

Last evening we had just finished dinner and the power went out. It was weird. We have 2 feeder lines coming in here, don’t ask. First one went out, which meant part of the lights, then the other one did. I am so thankful my new laptop battery works and we have battery backup for the internet. I posted on the electric company page that our power was out and saw that friends from one end of the island to the other also lost power. It was island wide. One whole island in the Caribbean sea was dark. I laid on the couch and aimed a flashlight at Max’s man parts so I knew what was going on there and dozed off and on. Very grateful we live where we do and that we usually always have a breeze because last night and all day yesterday I was sweating uncontrollably and I did NOTHING. I couldn’t, I was too damn hot. With no fans when the power was out the breeze was appreciated.

While I was on Guanaja I saw a dog that was hurt, sick and bleeding. When I took Max to my vet on Wed. I talked to him about the vet there and he gave me her phone number. Bethany, Doc’s assistant told me, “you know who she is Deb.” I said nope, I don’t. Bethany said she is the lady who was caught with 63K in cash traveling to Belize. Turns out the $$ was properly accounted for and she was charged with nothing, however the government, being as crooked as all others, kept 1/3 of her $$. She does a lot for the island of Guanaja, which is more primitive than Roatan is. I called her on Wednesday and explained the situation to her. I told her I had a photo of the school and the dog so I posted them on her vet clinic FB page. She owns the clinic and said she would have the vet go get the dog and they would take care of it. Aside from being a dog rescuer, she has a very distinguished past, she is uber famous. While alone in South Dakota she discovered the largest T-Rex skeleton in history, it is named after her. Read her article hereclick on Highlights at the top of her page for the T-Rex story.

I spent almost 30 minutes chatting with this lady on the phone. I’m telling you, this island life is so freaking amazing. I love my rock!

I made the dogs some new treats, no bake because who can bake when your boobs are melting off?

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Peanut butter oatmeal balls

3/4 c peanut butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 water
Mix well, add 1 1/4 c oats, 1/4 c at a time.
Shape into balls, freeze on cookie sheet w/ wax paper on it. Once frozen store in ziploc in freezer. My dogs prefer them slightly thawed when eating them and they LOVE them. Well, Highway won’t eat them because he thinks there is a pill in them. He’ll eat the pumpkin ones though. And he thinks he’s so smart!

Friday is my day to misbehave with my friends, however, I spent it at home, dogsitting. Bill poured 1/3 of the concrete garage floor and his back was killing him, he was done for the day.

Friday afternoon Nidia called me. She had been in Oak Ridge at the school when she heard a shot. Not thinking too much about it, she went to BJ’s to see if I was there. She realized when she got there that the party must have been at The Reef House again because none of the usual misfits were there and BJ’s was closed. She saw the lady who sells pineapple cookies every Friday and she told Nidia that Carmen, BJ’s husband, had shot himself. He was dead. Nobody is really sure what went down other than the week before, on my way to the Reef House, I went in and hugged Carmen and asked about BJ. He was upset, saying he didn’t know how BJ was and he was told he had to move out. He was 78 years old and he felt he had nowhere to go. (My friend recently told me that three different people offered him options. She also said, most suicides in elderly are successful because it’s not a cry for help, it is their choice of a solution.) She’s right. What happened was Carmen’s choice. Knowing that helps, but it doesn’t make me any less sad.

A week later (Friday) the lawyer and the cops came to evict him and he got a gun and killed himself. We are all in shock, profoundly hurt, not sure why someone didn’t recognize that he was desperate. There is a big black cloud of anguish hanging over the east end of Roatan. Oak Ridge and BJ’s will never be the same. BJ is out of the hospital but none of us have seen her, she is in Sandy Bay, hasn’t returned to Oak Ridge yet. She is doing much better, the internal bleeding has stopped. I hope she makes it through this. I hope we all do and that at some point we can accept what happened. Blink, and your life changes.

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BJ and Carmen at the Pirate Party Feb 4th. He was pointing his finger at me (I was in the pool) and saying, “girl, you better behave.”

RIP my sweet friend Carmen, you will never be forgotten. Oct 2, 1938 to April 29, 2016.

Carmen’s obit was just shared on FB so I am sharing it here so that those of you who never knew him have an idea of what the man was like. This is the best written obit I’ve ever read, it’s like Carmen wrote it himself.

He was born Feb. 12, 1938, in Pascagoula to Floyd and Ava Byrd, passed away in Roatan, Honduras on April 29, 2016. Carmen was a graduate of Pascagoula High School Class of 1955 and University of Southern Mississippi. He was a beloved brother, a prodigal son, a well-intentioned father and probably a better husband in theory than in practice. Carmen loved women–probably too many–and was loved by them in equal measure. As a young man, he dove from the Pascagoula Bridge at midnight and swam home to Gautier, was rumored to be the first to waterski jump barefoot, and taught Elvis how to waterski. His career spanned days as a proud Marine in Oki Nawa, where he once played a trumpet solo for the Emperor of Japan; as an orderly in the psych ward of a hospital in California; ups and downs as an elevator repairman in his then father-in-law’s business; a successful general contractor in New Orleans (until he wasn’t); an owner of a dive resort and marina in Roatan, and most recently, as the chief entertainer at his wife’s restaurant, BJ’s Backyard in Roatan. His suspected career was imagined by some to include stints as CIA operative, DEA agent, drug smuggler, jungle guide and exotic fish consultant. We may never know which were true and which were someone’s fantasy, but we do know Carmen thoroughly enjoyed the speculation. Hearing issues caused by firing deafening artillery in the Marine Corps led to the title of his as-yet unwritten biography, “Consonants and Context Clues; the Life of Carmen Byrd.” And when that book is written, it will tell the story of an adventurous spirit, a teller of tales that seemed tall but always rang true, a debonair rake, and a lovable scoundrel. His ego was large, his heart was larger and he could strike just the right pose for any occasion. He has left a throng of heartbroken survivors, including his wife, BJ Ebanks of Roatan; his devoted sister, Carolyn Byrd Norton of Washington, DC; his children, Kimberly Erwin of Louisiana, Ashton Byrd of Phoenix, AZ, Shannon Byrd of Roatan, and step-daughter Tracy Ebanks of Roatan; his nieces Amanda Norton Miller of Alexandria, VA, and Julia Norton of Washington, DC; his grandchildren Amy Harris Schwendimann and JJ Harris, James and Maegan Byrd and his great-nephew Ryan Miller. –

Life in the nut house

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05/15/2015 My life has changed in a way I never dreamed it would. I rescued a dog with a bad leg that had to be amputated and a month ago yesterday she gave me 7 gorgeous babies. I guess they were my gift. For the first two weeks they were pretty easy but that has changed exponentially. Frito is not too into these little milk suckers now that they have teeth and I have been designated the surrogate mom. They are eating a formula made up of evaporated milk, egg yolk, water, yogurt and Karo syrup. I mix powdered baby rice cereal and a dog food gruel of a good puppy chow. The gruel is tiny little puppy chow nuggets softened to mush in water. They go through one whole can of evap. milk mix a day. All I do is make puppy food, seriously. Well, that and clean up puppy pee and torn up newspapers and wash their bedding.

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They are rough with each other!

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And cute cute cute

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Love watching them wrestle

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Outta my face!

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My boy Barrio

These guys and girl are big healthy puppies and they are active and OMG, they are so loud.  The loudness proof follows, and if you think to yourself, “oh that is so cute” imagine it at 1 AM and again at 4 AM. NOT CUTE. Click HERE. We have a huge pen for them on the covered and protected downstairs concrete porch. They love it down there. They also spend a lot of time in the grass chasing each other and climbing on Lola but they are only in the grass if we are there to watch them. I wish I weren’t such an anal dog owner, but I am. I’m afraid to have them downstairs after dark because of the Boa Constrictors. Granted we have never seen one at the house but one is all it takes and I could never live with myself if something like that happened. This may no longer be paradise. When it gets dark we bring them upstairs and they run and pee all over the living room. I may as well just keep my steam vac out here and filled. We have a wooden pen for them up here too but they hate it and howl when we put them in there. Hence, the sleepless nights and I can’t stand to let them howl because #1. They are loud (have I mentioned how loud they are?) #2. They get so upset from crying I’m afraid it will hurt them. No sleep sucks.

Last Friday evening a new friend and her husband came over. We had never met except on Facebook. She and her CHIROPRACTOR husband are considering moving here. YAY for a chiropractor! They came to the island for a week and drove down to our house Friday afternoon. The 4 of us went to Cal’s for dinner and then came back here and hung out for a bit. Michael was kind enough to give me a treatment for my upper arm that has been bothering me for almost a year. He did acupuncture, cracked my neck and taped me again.

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He thinks I may have a torn muscle in my upper arm. Not what I need. A few of the needles wouldn’t come out of my arm, we had to wait about 30 minutes until they could be removed.

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Kinesiology tape

Saturday was my airport gig day. I got there at 10:20, first flight was due in at 11 but it came in @ 10:30. EARLY??? It was a busy day however we did get an hour break in between flights so I had some time to chill. All the other times I did the greeter thing I came home and could hardly stand up my feet hurt so bad. This time I wore my Crocs sandals and my feet and body were fine. I could have danced that night! If only. I really enjoy volunteering there, I get to talk to people from all over the world, some making their first visit to the island, some returning year after year. Once we get all the passengers in the immigration building and sorted into the proper lines we then ask them to have their passport ready, get all the papers out of it, and we talk to them about the areas they are staying. We do this because the Immigration officers are from the mainland, they don’t know the island. One of their questions is “where are you staying?” Parrot Tree Plantation or Anthony’s Key mean nothing to them, they don’t know where they are on the island. We get everyone ready in hopes we speed up the process and then we just chat with them and try to keep them from realizing how long they are waiting. Sometimes a LONG LONG time. It’s fun, I like to talk to new people and always hope I display the persona that the visitors wish to see when they get somewhere new, a friendly face. I’m filling in for someone again this coming Saturday.

Sunday the pups had been so active that Bill went and got groceries alone. I stayed home to keep them in the pen. The whole week was filled with puppy care, feeding, cleaning up, playing with, kissing holding and snuggling and that’s pretty much it. When Nidia from Because We Care messaged me to see if I was up for a school drive on Thursday I said, HELLS YEAH! Bill was home working on re-making louvered shutters for Craig and Cleo’s house so he was in charge. Unfortunately I was up until after 11 with the pups and they had me up again at 4:44 AfreakingM. I was zombified the next day.

Sherri was here at 7:30 in the morning and we met Nidia @ 8. The first stop was mid island at Santa Maria, I was there with Because We Care for the Christmas food drive and TOMs shoes deliveries.

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Schools are given rice and beans for the students, many of the schools make tortillas and fill them with the rice and beans so the students have at least one meal during the day.

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Nidia and a local dog explaining about the school donations they are receiving. She makes sure they know that people buy them and bring them down here for the students.

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We handed out 363 packages of school supplies.

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Students at Santa Maria waiting

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Some were wearing their TOMs shoes

After there we went to a school in Brick Bay, we also delivered shoes there. It is right down on the water and there are mangroves and I am sure mosquitoes in the standing water.

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Kindergarten students coming out to get supplies. Notice the steps? They are cinder blocks filled with dirt.

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They all came out holding onto the shoulders of the person in front.

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This little boys insole was coming out the back of his shoe. We may go back there and do another shoe fitting.

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Little girls in line

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This little boy came over and started talking to me in Spanish, I wasn’t sure what he wanted but I figured it out.

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He wanted his photo taken so he could see himself in the back of the camera.

When we were done there we went east to Politilly. This is a school that my good friend Janice and her husband Don do so much for, it is in their ‘hood. These kids probably don’t know how lucky they are, the view from the school is absolutely amazing.

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The tree was covered with wild orchids

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The view is stunning.

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Sherri leading the kids in a circle in an attempt to get them to line up

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They kept going round and round…

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So many braids and barrettes in the girls hair!

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Grateful students with Nidia

When we were finished there we headed down to Crawfish Rock. I was also there during Christmas doing the food and Santa drive. This school is situated on the water too and Sherri and I were getting eaten alive by the sand fleas or mosquitoes, they liked us, I couldn’t wait to get in my car!

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The school @ Crawfish Rock

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OMG, she is beautiful

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The joy these students get when they see their face on the display of the camera is incredible! Look at his eyes!!

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So cute!

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Nice desks, thankfully these are not in use.

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This little face cracks me up, she is so funny! I’ve never seen school desks like these before.

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Another beauty with no hope for the future.

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Nidia telling the students once again how we get the school supplies and that they MUST say thank you or gracias when they are given them.

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I’m not sure but I believe the mattresses are for naps. More than likely this is more than the kid have at home to sleep on. Usually their beds are the floor, maybe a blanket..

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The older students saying thank you in front of the Honduras flag

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Kindergarten students showing me their new books. This classroom has the newest desks and chairs of any that I’ve seen in the schools. (except for the new ones we are distributing with Because We Care)

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Wonder Woman Nidia showing the students how to use dental floss

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It’s a good thing I can’t pick up kids like I do dogs, he would be # 1. Kindergarten boy with no shoes.

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Supplies and a trashcan

After we left Crawfish Rock we traversed the mountain (hill) to the last stop of the day, Hottesparrow. I had been spelling it Hottest Sparrow but I was wrong. The road from Crawfish to there was bad to say the least, thankful for my AWD car.

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I guess you can call this a road

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A home on the way there

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Yep, that’s how you spell it!

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The line up begins

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We had toothbrushes for all the kindergarten kids

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And the teachers got supplies too

We got a lot accomplished in a few hours Thursday morning. After we had handed out all the supplies we loaded all of the backpacks and supplies I had in my car into the truck Nidia was in. Next Friday we are headed to Helene with 20 more desks and LOTS of school supplies for the students there.

Sable and Bandit’s future parents came over on Friday to see their babies. It makes me feel so good to know these two will have a good home. Last night we had them all inside and they were really good, we put them in their box as soon as they woke up and had no accidents on the floor. They all slept until 5 AM when Highway barked. Then they were up, we fed them all and took them downstairs. I went back to bed for awhile because I could and I like to sleep.

I had to do my airport thing again today, I really enjoy that except I sweat like a freaking pig. I am going to invent and patent some sort of under boob deodorant, I’ll be rich in a few months, rolling in the dough with dry boobs. I mentioned earlier that we are asking people where they are staying; well today I asked a young girl and she said, “with my dad.” I asked where her dad lived but she didn’t know. I asked who her dad was. She told me and I said, “Oh, XXXXX, the Lionfish Hunter?” She said “yes, do you know him??” I told her no, only on FB and that his birthday is the same as my son’s, Sept. 17th. I also told her where her dad lived. Small island.

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See, I’m official!!

We just fed the pups for the umpteenth time today and now they are running all over upstairs. I never wanted puppies, never in my life. I have owned dogs my whole life and aside from my mom breeding her toy poodles, we never had puppies, we always had our dogs fixed. This is new territory to us. We are both busy enough as it is, add in 3 dogs, then #4, who has 3 legs then 7 puppies and this house is sheer bedlam. But at the end of the day I can sleep (when they allow me to) knowing we are giving these pups the best start at life that we can. I kiss each and every one before I feed them and after, they are ALL held several times a day, they are used to people and other dogs. We are trying our best to be responsible puppy parents and can only hope and pray that the new owners of these dogs love them and give them the care that they deserve.

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Barrio, chilling, not a care in the world. We love this guy and all 5 of his brothers and his sweet little sister Sable.

It’s been a busy fulfilling week and I’m fried. I’m signing off with a fresh glass of wine in my hand and am headed to the couch, that is until we have to feed the pups again.

P.S.  I was messaged this morning by my friend Stephanie about a dog with mange and starving that she saw near our house. I had to leave for the airport early but told her I would go look tomorrow morning. Bill ran to Oak Ridge today and said he saw the dog also. Stephanie set some wheels in motion and some fabulous people will take this dog and rehab her. Bill and I are going to go look for her early in the morning and bring her back here until Marc can come and get her. Hopefully another dog saved by the fabulous people willing to shelter them. Thank you so much Olivia and Marc, you two are amazing!

Adiós Amigos!