The last 3 days in La Mosquitia.

 

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

Local grocery store

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

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

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

The children of Palkaka.

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

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

Nidia the Nomad, passing out candy.

Some of the homes in Palkaka.

Everyone was running for candy.

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

What a pretty girl.

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

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

This was a restaurant in Palkaka.

Yep, just walking around with a turtle shell.

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

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

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

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

Beautiful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Her KITCHEN. No Cuisinart here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snipping the lock.

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

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

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

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

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

Such a beautiful child.

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

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

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

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

Finally the Nicaragua bus truck came and pulled him out.

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

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

These boys were the first to greet us.

Before long they stripped to their undies and were swimming.

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

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

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

Babies, little kids everywhere.

These ladies had just gotten food.

The family living in the house on the waters edge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another home in Laka.

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

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

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

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

What stories these faces tell.

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

New shoes.

These feet haven’t been in shoes before.

The Mayor and his wife helping a young girl.

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

I would have brought her home.

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

Backpackers.

This pretty much says it all.

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

Mothers getting clothes and shoes

Men getting clothes and hats.

Nobody had shoes. Nobody.

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

No words for this one.

New dresses, no shoes

Another beautiful face.

The girls with new dresses.

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

She was waiting.

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

Playing in the stones.

So many kids, so many faces.

It was like a sale at a Serta store.

And the mattresses go marching home.

She has her hands full.

Mattresses everywhere.

People still carrying their mattresses home.

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

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

Check in counter, Puerto Lempira airport.

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

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

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

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

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Another 2 days in Puerto Lempira, La Mosquitia.

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

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

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

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

They all got peanut butter sandwiches from me.

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

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

Could barely get her to smile

So pensive.

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

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

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

Little girls playing in the boat while we waited.

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

No toys so they play in the boat.

Not very seaworthy

The whole horse family on the shores of Bali wood.

One of the homes

People on the bridge crossing to the other side.

Barbershop

Watching the ships go in…

More of Bali wood.

These two homes were connected.

Animal pen

Building something new out front

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

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

These are the nests of the Montezuma Oropendola bird.

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

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

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

Bathrooms at the school

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

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

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

Such cute kids.

Standing in front of the school

The Mayor was tossing candy for the kids.

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

Cow patties on the kindergarten porch.

They got giggly when they saw their photos

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

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

View of the side that has no school.

He posed for me.

They all watched us leaving.

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

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

Just a family out making a living

Bananas, plantains and fish. A floating market.

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

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

One of 2 bridges over the marshy areas.

I really liked this house, so nice and neat.

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

This guy loved it..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No water shortage but BRRRRRRR

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

The supermarket, ready for the holidays.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This woman was washing her clothes in the stream.

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

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

These boys got a kick out of their photo.

Loved this lady, what a sweetie.

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

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

She is so cute and she had on shoes.

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

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

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

Because We Care spends a week in La Moskitia

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nidia and the Alcade (mayor)

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

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

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

Local travel. The road taxis in Kaukira are motorcycles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unbelievable that the government does nothing about this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another view

Cool plant growing in the water.

Another home

Most of them were nice and neat.

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

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

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

Boat sitting on the beach

I assume this is a beach front store.

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

Here is a link about the jellyfish.

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

Kids were appearing from every direction.

Just a stack of boats.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a small small world

 

26/02/2018 On a warm Sunday eve, on the edge of the Caribbean, away from all the tourists, no ambient light, there was a concert. Not just any concert, a Brion James and the West End Players concert at Roatan Beach Club, 5 minutes from our house.  It was an amazing evening under the stars. Bill didn’t want to go, my car was in the shop (I don’t drive the yuck) but I was determined to go so I hitched a ride with Dwight and Karen. I hung out with Karen and Susan and the gang while they ate at Lionfish Louie’s and then the band started at 6. My friend the Duchess and her husband soon joined me. The Duchess and I danced along the waters edge, after dark. We danced up the walkway and down the pier to Buck and Amy’s boat that was docked there. It was the best, I felt 20 years old again for a few hours, that seldom occurs.

Brion plays all over the Caribbean and the world, he is a well known musician. And he lives here, on Roatan. A friend, Dave Barons is the drummer and Mike McGuire is the other guitarist. Fantastic trio. They are playing again in March, I will be there and I may wear bells.

 

Dave the drummer, chilling while they move a tree behind him

Brion playing, crappy pics, cell phone

The beach before sunset

Brion doing some sound checks as the sun begins it’s dip below the horizon, on to another land.

Nidia messaged me the other day to see if I wanted to go to Miss Norma’s, the Luis Bogran school in Jonesville Point with her. I sure did, one of my favorite schools. Nidia was apprehensive about my driveway so I said I would meet her at the bottom. I got in her car,(first time I’ve ridden with the new driver and new car owner). She introduced me to the people in the back seat, Rick and Melissa. Melissa said to me, you’re the Mermaid on a Raft aren’t you? Small world, she reads my blog. They are from NY and brought school supplies for each of the kids and some things for the teachers. It’s a 2 room school and Miss Norma runs it. She’s a saint of a lady, I admire her.

They were given ice cream first, it was melting..

Rick and Melissa setting up the bags with school supplies

Waiting. again, taken with my phone b/c my good camera’s batteries died as soon as I got to the school. GRRR

Getting their bag of school stuff, construction paper, sharpener, pencils, erasers..and notebooks donated by my friend John and Lizeth.

They always ask me to take their photo and I always happily agree.

Yes, Nidia uses her vehicle hard. She is the only person I have ever known to carry a Pinata and 2 boxes of shoes and a box filled with bags of school supplies.

Impromptu fitting for some of the bigger kids who needed shoes

Two of Roatan’s finest ladies, Nidia and Miss Norma. Miss Norma is the teacher/principal of this little school. She is a mother to all of these children, sometimes giving the most loving the children get all day. She gives it freely.

The dock that many of the kids use to get to school, they come by boat from Lucy Point, across the bight.

After Nidia dropped me off at home I got in my car and left to go feed Sexy, the dog who lives at the Pirate ship. The owner drives a red tuk tuk from Punta Gorda. He says she is his dog and that’s her name. And then to emphasize what her name was he sexy strutted for me. My life should be a comedy but it’s all true. We (my friend and dog lover Pam) and I have been feeding her but she seemed pretty well taken care of. Or so we thought. Pam stopped to see her, as she passes that way on her way to town, and messaged me that she didn’t look good. She got some wormer and wormed her. I went two days after and she was happy to see me, she came running, but she was a finicky eater. She never was before. There were 2 other dogs there and she placed herself between me and the food and them. I went over and fed them and got her back to the dish but she was too upset that the other dogs were there, at least I think she was.

Sexy..what an awful name for a dog. I call her Pirata since she is at the Pirate ship.

This is one of the other dogs, there is a brown and white one that is identical but they are both spooked, scared of people. Sexy is very territorial with them.

For those of you who haven’t been along for the ride very long, you may not be familiar with the Pirate ship. This was intended to be a disco, complete with disco ball, light show, terraced inside around a large dance floor. You could walk around the boat, get right up by the ropes to the crows nest (non OSHA approved) There were three bars, gift stores, VIP seating, reserved areas (I was given a Reserved sign from there). It was a big deal and the neighbors were not happy, not in their backyard. I don’t blame them, they moved to the quiet end of the island and this monstrosity opens. Well, it had it’s soft opening but before they could do their GRAND opening night, the head of the whole thing was carted off to prison. He was a big dude with the Sinaloa drug cartel. The disco was a money laundering op. So, it closed. We stopped with friends one day to look at the outside and the guard offered us a tour. We gave him 100L, about 5 bucks. He then gave me 2 carvings, a turtle and another of monkeys and birds. Then we stopped with some other friends and he gave me a seahorse and her a fish. After that Bill saw him there and went and got him lunch and we ended up with the rest of the carvings. I kept the seahorse, turtle and another one with a monkey and bird. Our talented friend Kevin painted the turtle and the seahorse and now I don’t want them outside, I like them too much. Recently the club is supposed to be re-opened on the weekends, not sure about that though.

After I fed the dog I drove to Oak Ridge, parked up on the hill behind the muni and walked down to the bridge and over the inlet to my friends home. The people who adopted one of the 3 pups Bill found live there. I had some movies for them and some toys for Bailey the dog.

I love these buildings, on my walk to my friends.

Walking over the inlet

Miss Bailey. She’s adorable and she’s loved. Her friend Alice the cat is lurking above her. If Bailey is ignoring Alice, Alice goes after her tail, quite the pair. They will be great buddies.

I came home the other day and Max was inside with Highway (so Max and Barrio don’t fight) and Max chewed up 4 hardback books downstairs. I was pissed and had the books in my hands asking who did this??? Like he’s going to say, me???

He ran in the downstairs bathroom and hid. He thought he was invisible. That face though.

The pool has been in use, by the dogs..last year I swam all year. I haven’t been in since the end of September. Ridiculous. Hoping tomorrow.

Our friends Dave and Trish are leaving for freezing Toronto in a few days so we had them over for pizza. The Duchess (Jeanie) and Roger came too. It was a nice day but windy. So windy the tablecloth wouldn’t stay down. Bill fixed it with 4 clamps.

Gringo has a new thing for the table. It’s why I always use tablecloths now.

Cal’s is open 4 days a week, I ate there 3 days last week. And once this week, it’s too damn easy. And so good. Bill and I went there with friends Dave and Lynda. They own a home down here but permanently live in brrrrr Minnesota. Teri, Olivia and Bill and I  rented their home in 2012 for a vacation, before we even knew Dave and Lynda. Always nice to visit with them when they’re here. I also met some new friends from Bellingham, Elaine and Jeffrey. They are friends of my jeweler Bill and his wife Gina, who were on Roatan last year with their daughter Mackenzie. They gave their friends my info and I helped them get island info, places to go things to do. Finally we got to meet one day at Cal’s, then I brought them up here to meet the pack and see the views. They brought some NW Salmon, Bill is beyond thrilled. We also went to dinner at Cal’s last Friday with friends, that was my 3 times in 4 days. He probably gets tired of seeing me.

I think I totally missed mentioning some new friends I met in January. Scott and I met awhile ago on FB and became friends. I was giving he and his wife Linda info about moving here from Tennessee, moving a dog here, just trying to be of some help. I knew they were coming on my birthday, that was their move down here day. We ended up finally meeting at, where else, Cal’s for lunch. We had a nice visit and they followed me home and met Bill and the dogs. They also brought me a bottle of vodka and some fresca. The vodka turned out to be a lifesaver one rainy windy night while Bill was gone and I realized I had no vodka. I have now become Linda’s favorite person to butt dial, Inside joke but funny nonetheless.

I have been social media friends with David through my friend Amanda and her blog. David and I have been chatting off and on via Instagram. Recently he messaged me he would be here with his Mother, who plans to live here soon. We began communicating more and chose a date to meet. I picked him and his Mother Isabel up at Pineapple, we went to feed Sexy (she ate 2 cans then) and then went to Cal’s for lunch. After lunch we came up here to meet the dogs. We went down to the pool and of course, all of the dogs went swimming. David brought me mermaid things, of course. He works for a company in LA that does hand painted wallpaper called Gracie. Seriously, it’s a thing, a very expensive thing. Check it out, it’s amazing. So anyhow, David recently started working there and told his boss he already had plans to go to Roatan. She freaked out because she comes here all the time to dive. He mentioned my blog and she said she reads it. OMG, (now the stupid Disney song, It’s a small world after all, it’s a small small world is stuck in my head). She ended up coming while he was here and went with him on a discover scuba dive with Roatan Divers. He’s hooked.

This is one of the gifts

And a lightweight Mermaid Tail blanket is another. It came with a a Mermaid charm. He also bought me a Mermaid sticker for my car, which is of course, already on my car. I’ve used the blanket already too, it was chilly the other night.

This sign was at Cal’s. Hole bean coffee. Yum, makes me happy I hate coffee.

Four, Highway is on an ottoman. They all have beds too.

Mr. Hunka Hunka Burning Love decided that he prefers sunbathing ON THE table.

Monkey see, monkey do. Lola joined him, Highway is behind her. Honest, she’s not malnourished. She eats a lot and is wormed regularly. She’s just hyper as shit and never sits still.

Gringo laying, Highway standing. You can see how much his hip is out in the photo and Lola the Dominatrix is under the table. So is Barrio but he’s hiding.

Last evening we had dinner at a friends and tonight Bill got take out chicken and we ate, well I did, in front of my laptop. I actually laid in the sun today, it felt good. That’s the first in a long freaking time. If only I had some Bain de Soleil. I’m seriously thinking of ordering two tubes of Bain de Soleil just for the memories. I could have Liza bring them with her. Liza?

It’s a very windy evening, it’s just howling out there. We have not had local phone service all day, that’s OK, I hate phones anyhow.  Thankful for messenger and email and seeing people in person.

I’m off to la la land..

AAAAAANNNNNNDDDD, it’s the next day. LaLa land snuck up on me last night and when that spell was cast, it was curtains for me.

Simply stunning day today, again. I spent it all outside reading a new book called: Tips for Living. So far, excellent. I have a tub of coconut oil in the fridge but it’s hard. I was in dire need of some moisturization for my skin so I came in and slathered Olive Oil on my legs and face and neck. The dogs thought I was dinner. The other night I allowed some coconut to melt and rubbed it on my arms and legs and feet. I became a giant oil lick for 5 dogs. Not a fun experience.

So today, I ate breakfast, had tea by the pool and then gathered my “pool” stuff in my Gracie bag and hung by the pool with my tablet and all 5 dogs. They swam many times throughout the day and kept trying to steal my chaise lounge by the pool…they have their own chairs. We all had a great day in the sun.

A few weeks ago I got a FB note from my friend Sue. Sue and I have never met but were introduced on FB by our mutual friend Cathilee. Sue had something for me and wanted my address. Well, we don’t get mail here so I said I could give her a friends address and they would bring it to me. Then another friend chimed in and said she would be here in a week and was willing to bring it. I met my friend Kristi today and got the envelope Sue sent to me. This is the note that was in it:

And this is what she sent me. I LOVE it, the colors, the saying, it’s just perfect. This is a close up of it, made by Vicki McMahan @ Pewter Lane.

Full size and it is so cool! Thank you so much Sue!

 

I spent another day by the pool reading. I think it burned me out so much yesterday that I went to bed before 8 PM. I have to get tan again, this white girl crap isn’t cutting it.

I’ve finally given up the “being a blonde ruse.” I had a hairdresser in Williampsort tell me it was a genetic mistake I wasn’t born blonde. I adapted that and made it fit my life quite well. After all these years the blonde has tarnished so I’m giving up the ghost and going gray tomorrow. Probably with a hint of purple underneath. Shit happens when you get old(er).

I’m going to go make a drink but before that, this is getting published. Adiós amigos.

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.

Equalize, equalize, equalize. My new mantra.

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09/07/2016  I’ve been in a fog or lost somewhere. Not sure which. Wednesday was 2 weeks that I have been home and I don’t remember what I’ve done.

I got home Wed. and on Friday my cleaning gal came and cleaned downstairs and upstairs in preparation for our guests arriving on Saturday. After cleaning all day Friday (I do everything upstairs and let her do the floors) I decided Saturday was a day of rest. As was Sunday and Monday and and and..

Saturday before the guests arrived I met my friend Trish and her husband Fred in Brick Bay to visit with a monkey who is tied to a tree. My friend has been visiting this monkey for awhile now and contacted me while I was in the states to see what I knew about it. (Nothing) I agreed to go see it. I’ve been told the monkey has been there for years and is taken care of. She’s not skinny, she had fresh water and shelter; however, she has a dog collar around her belly and it is sewn together so that she can’t remove it. It’s sad.

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Meet Mona. She belongs to the decrepit old derelict hotel across the road and is fed by a guy who lives there.

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She carries her rope with her tail.

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She hates the dog collar and points to it all the time.

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She is adorable. I was told she is mean but she has been very sweet to my friend and never bitten her.

I sent some people messages inquiring about her and from their responses, she is not up for grabs and belongs to someone. Bummed.

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I saw this on my way home.

Our guests arrived, dropped off their luggage then went and ran some errands. They just bought a home not too far east of us, our friend Alex was their agent. They plan to move here in Nov. and recently got an HGTV offer to film, pretty exciting!

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Chris and I on the roof

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Bill and Jimmy and Highway and Max

On Monday I pulled out the 4 bags of soccer uniforms that were donated by the Hillcrest Village Soccer Club in Toronto (and brought down by my friends Trish and Dave) so that I could sort by size. I was AMAZED at the amount of stuff donated. The shorts were all new, tags still attached and brand new soccer socks too. There were jerseys, goalie jerseys and gloves along with 60+ small soccer balls. It’s an incredible gift for the island kids.

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Dozens of pairs of shorts

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Jerseys of every color

I got them separated and ready to deliver. On Tuesday morning Dave and Trish came down to our house and we drove down to Juticalpa loaded with soccer uniforms and soccer balls. The director was really excited, but not as much as the kids!

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The director (to the L of the pillar) getting the students to line up.

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Clearly not a student. Many of the mothers bring their small children with them when they walk their kids to school, (most don’t walk them) and they stay while their child is in class rather than walk home. Still don’t have that figured out.

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Checking out their gear.

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Trish in light purple, her husband Dave, with the black ball cap, and me passing out stuff. It was pandemonium for a few minutes.

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Trish, Dave, the director and I looking at sizes. My cleaning gal Carla is on the far right in a purple tank. She lives near there and came down to translate.

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Me with a few of the boys. We got so many hugs when we got there and before we left. These kids love to hug you!

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The uniforms made the day for these boys.

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We all fell in love with this guy. Everything was too big but he didn’t care, he had a uniform. I see a few more pairs of TOMS shoes.

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Bill and I (L) and Trish and Dave (R) with the newly uniformed kids.

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This little boy took off his TOMS shoes that we (Because We Care) fit him with this spring and played soccer in his bare feet.

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I love seeing girls playing soccer!

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Their bleachers

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Rumor has it this little girl kicks a$$ on the field.

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The field is very rough, barely any grass, rocks, cans, glass, trash. Nothing like the fields the kids in the US get to play on. The director allowed the students to play against each other and then the winners played each other. We couldn’t stay for the whole thing but I guess new uniforms trump class any day.

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Bill was in the process of lifting this little girl up, I tried but she was too heavy!

I’m really happy that Dave and Trish were able to come along and meet the kids and see how happy the uniforms from Hillcrest Village mean to these children. Nice uniforms make it a whole new game. Many thanks to Hillcrest Village Soccer Club!

On Thursday my friend Caroline and I went diving with Ernesto @ Blue Island Divers. It was an insanely HOT day and all I wanted to do was get underwater. We hung around BID until Ernesto was ready to go. We got on the boat, got geared up and tumbled overboard into the sea. It was my first time with my new camera case, still a bit of a learning curve.

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Beautiful sponges

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These are so fascinating, I can’t swim by one without looking inside it.

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Love the blue color

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Caroline took this of me

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Sea fan

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Caroline, she has been diving for years and had a business called Scuba Diving Divas.

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The coral and sponges were amazing here. We were at a spot called DD’s.

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Ernesto spotted this Scorpion fish, very poisonous. He also took the photo with my camera because he can control his buoyancy better than I can. I will be working on that. It’s eye is the yellow dot on the R.

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Ernesto also spotted these cleaner shrimps. So cool.

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They attach themselves to whatever needs cleaned.

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A Nassau Grouper

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Ernesto pointed up, when I looked this is what I saw.

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There is something down there but I have no clue what.

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Stunning blue sponges

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Coral

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This was huge, over 3′ tall

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There is something down in this one also.

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I don’t know what this is called but it’s beautiful.

We had an excellent 50 minute dive. I realized after this dive that I need to hone equalizing my ears and my buoyancy so I plan to get my Advanced Open Water certificate which will address both of those issues. Once I got home from the dive I had an earache in the ear I screwed up when diving in Akumal many years ago. After reading online about equalizing I figured out what I am doing wrong. I should be equalizing with every breath during my descent through the first atmosphere (33′), I was not doing that. I was trying to do it when I got almost to depth, which is wrong.

By Friday morning I had an earful of fluid and when I swallowed it sounded like I was underwater. I was trying to get into Dr Rafael at the clinic but couldn’t get through on the phones to verify he was in. I messaged my friend Andrea, who is the nurse at CocoView dive resort and she said to come see her. I met Andrea when I first moved here alone, we both lived at Pineapple Villas. She has been diving for years so I drove there and she picked me up on the boat and we went over to her office. She looked in my ears and yes, I had water behind my eardrum. She has these small ear vibrators called Ear Docs and said vibration was the best way to open the eustachian tubes. She took me back to the dock armed with what I needed to do and some Sudafed. I took a pill and used my large back/neck massager on the front of my ear and behind it and by the next morning my ear felt better. But I didn’t. I was getting a wretched airplane cold.

I was down most of the day Friday and Saturday. Sunday we had company coming. We were all going to a party at the Reef House then coming back here for pizza. I decided instead of not going, to just go and relax and see my friends. I’m glad I did.

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My diving buddy and dinner company Caroline and my BFF Marilyn.

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Bill and I, thanks Keri for the photos.

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This is me with 2 hats on my butt cheeks. Thanks Ann for encouraging me.

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Ann took this also with David floating in the background. If you’re wondering where we are with such an amazing view, we’re at Trish and Dave’s. And yes, Ann has a bubble gun and is blowing bubbles.

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A photo of the western tip of Roatan taken by Nixon Oneal. Fabulous.

My friend Linda posted on FB that she had limes to give away. I was all over that. Bill and I were there at 8 AM Tuesday morning and I got 2 colanders full of limes. Some were huge Key Limes, never seen them that big.

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I sat on the porch and squeezed them all.

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So juicy

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Picture perfect

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I threw all the skins over the bank so the lizards, watusas and whatever else could feast on then.

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I filled up 4 ice cube trays with lime juice.

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Once frozen, I pop the cubes out, put in a zip-loc and use them for cooking or throw one in my ice water. Yummy!

The other day on FB I got a friend request from a college friend. I haven’t heard from Kathy since we moved. She said she didn’t have my correct email so I sent it to her. Then she emailed me saying: Sounds like you are enjoying your life in Honduras. I was just reading an “ISLANDS” magazine a couple of days ago (searching for a new vacation destination—we usually go to the Bahamas Out Islands)  and came across your name (shocking!!) in an article about living in Honduras. So I decided to try again to find you and am so excited that I finally did!

What article?? Then I remembered I was interviewed for an article but had no idea it was for Islands magazines. Click here and scroll down to Roatan. Actually the best part of this article is that Kathy and I are in touch again!

It’s past my bedtime. I’m going to publish this, give the dogs their treats and go to bed. Buenas noches amigos.

Island style Christmas Magic

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12/22/2015  Aaaah, yes, holidays on the island. It’s so different from what I am used to, from what was brainwashed into my head for so many years, the unrealistic expectations of Christmas. Here it’s different, people don’t get new cars and big trucks for Christmas or another diamond necklace, people are happy with a bag of rice and beans and the kids take a jump rope or a stuffed animal and they smile. In the states kids want Wii, Xbox and iPads, here a truck or a frisbee or a Beanie Baby is wonderful! No excessive gift giving on this rock.

On Thursday we had the kids party in Fiddlers Bight, an area with water access only. The kids from Calabash Bight came also, we think there were around 175 kids total, more than the previous year. When our boat arrived at the party spot the kids were busy making and flying paper airplanes with this cool set Marilyn and Alex bought for them. They were having fun with that, seeing who could throw theirs the farthest. A few of the girls were drawing with chalk on the macadam. It was a calm, hot as hell day, my shirt was soaked by mid afternoon and Francie was glistening.. At one point I thought my calves were melting. Too bad the sun can’t melt your ass off, or your gut..

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The coolest paper airplane kit that Marilyn and Alex brought

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So bizarre, part of a doll hanging on the fence. Random

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Santa’s new chair, made by Bill, painted by Marilyn

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I love DUBAI?? The country?? HUH?

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Kat, BJ’s gorgeous daughter, explaining the folding process for the airplanes

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Frosty in a box

The kids played for awhile, then the story lady told her version of the birth of Christ and Kat translated it to Spanish and rearranged some of the story to keep it on track. Lets just say the story lady has a slightly different version. Kat was great though, she told the story in a very animated way, the kids were really paying attention to her.

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Story lady on the right holding up a picture.

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gorgeous little girls

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really, could she be any cuter??

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Derek, my favorite

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Marilyn and her jester hat

After the story lady was done we gave the kids a stick and let them take turns beating the candy out of poor old Frosty the Snowman. I kept getting freaked out, afraid they might whack Francie a few times, the boys were slammimg the crap out of Frosty. Once they got a hole torn in it, it was all over. The kids dove on top of one another for the candy, as always, some get a lot some get a little.

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My new friend Judy staying WAAAYY back from the stick.

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Yes Carmen has on 2 sets of antlers.. It’s a look.

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Bashed Frosty

Then someone spoke the magic words, “here comes Santa”. Sure enough, standing up in the boat that was coming across the water was Santa Claus. Pandemonium. In all reality, for as little as these kids have, seeing Santa is a big deal and they were exceedingly excited. Second year in a row I’ve had tears running down my cheek when Santa arrives. You can feel the excitement.

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Waiting for Santa

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You can see by this little boys face that he sees Santa’s boat coming

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The one and only, SANTA!!

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Kids of all ages

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Even Santa’s boat captain is a reindeer.

Santa (we have a fabulous Santa) insists on wearing the full outfit, boots and gloves too, despite the 90 degree heat. He spoke to every child and when they left he told them “Santa loves you”. How cool is that? Mrs. Claus, chief elf and organizer Francie did a fab job too, hoisting the kids from their Mom’s arms to Santa and then back to Mom when they were done. She was the one glistening. Elf Joe helped keep the gifts flowing, Dave did crowd control, Melanie was the main photographer while Rosalie marked their hands, indicating they already got a gift. Smooth as clockwork.

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Twins were having none of this Santa stuff..

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Love the little boy’s look

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Such gorgeous kids

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He looks a little shy

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This kills me

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Anxiously waiting

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No Santa for this boy either

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This is the first little boy I ever fit for Tom’s shoes. He’s the one who hugged me before I even fitted him. His name is Derek

Mom must have a busy night planned. All the Moms want to sit on Santa’s lap too, that’s why he needed a sturdier chair.

Melanie took 465 photos in a few hours. For over an hour she knelt on her knees, on a piece of cardboard, on the dirt ground, taking photos. Amazing.When Santa had seen everyone the ladies there (many mothers) served the kids food.

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This little girls hair is so long, just beautiful.

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The most gorgeous kids

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Nice looking young boy

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Another good looking boy

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These kids are all cute

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Pensive

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So pretty

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With her new doll

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Family rowing home after the party

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Party is over, time to go home.

We left shortly after that and went to Alex and Marilyn’s house for dinner. She is so phenomenal in the kitchen, she can whip up an impromptu meal in no time and it rocks. Tonight was no different.

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Brett AKA Cute Boat Guy and Carmen

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The guys chatting

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Kathy and Judy

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Marilyn’s recycle bin

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Lounging in the living room

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The tree looks great

Great meal, yummy salad (Carmen).  There were quite a few friends there, we sat around and chatted for awhile. I met a new lady from Cali that lives here too. She had further to drive than I did and it was dark so we had Alex deposit us back at BJ’s and we each drove back to our homes.

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Ride home

Friday was BJ’s, I went there after my fiasco at the municipal. Late Saturday morning we took the dogs to Parrot Tree swimming. They haven’t been for a while and they knew exactly where they were and they were uncontrollable. Once they got to the other side of the lagoon, we set them free.

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My babies

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Barrio chilling on the chair

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They are water dogs

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Handsome Barrio, out of the 3 pups he has the sweetest demeanor and is the calmest, also the most skittish.

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Sweet boy Barrio

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L to R, Max, Barrio and Gringo in the front, he is the biggest by far, pushing 55# of solid muscle.

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Gringo, Barrio and Max

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Gringo, I’m not positive but he might have been taking a whizz..

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Barrio in front, Gringo, Max

These puppies have a serious hold on my heartstrings. I can’t really describe the depth of the emotions but I feel so responsible for them, even responsible for their happiness. I worry that they are bored, maybe they need exercised, maybe we need a bigger enclosed area, how about a pool for them to swim in?  Is their food good enough, do they eat enough? It’s an issue for sure. I truly feel like I gave birth to these dogs but obviously I didn’t, and I do know that, but it does not lessen my feelings of motherhood to these 3 pups. Plain and simple. They own me.

Saturday afternoon we went over to our friends, Chuck and Nancy’s for drinks and dinner. It was a nice break from our daily busyness and it’s always nice to visit with them and see the progress on the building they are working on. It is almost done and it looks fabulous, amazing…I could live in that space.

Sunday was the first of Nidia’s Because We Care Christmas parties for the kids. I arrived too early, as is my damn style.

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The Ark is taking shape..

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Just the view going into Punta Gorda. I make sure to NEVER take this view for granted.

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A house in town

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The party was held on this beach.

Nobody was there so I turned around and drove back through town, called Nidia and then decided she wouldn’t be there for 45 min. so I went home, (10 min.) and kissed the dogs for awhile. On my way home one of the boys who was dressed in shorts and nothing else, his body covered in black oil, wearing a mask  and brandishing a wooden spear, walked up to the front of my car and shook his belly. Then he came over to my open window and said ‘gimme 5 dollars. ” I said No, I’m not giving you 5 dollars, now move. And he did.

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They call themselves something in Spanish that roughly translates to Barbaric Indian. I guess I was supposed to be scared.

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So beautiful

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You can see forever

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Photo op

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I want this boat

When I went to Punta Gorda the second time things were starting to happen. Nidia and her two daughters and one of her sons were there, Santa was there and Nidia had lots of helpers. They brought the tables so we put the gifts out on the tables, which maybe is a mean thing to do. Mixed emotions on this one. After 2PM the kids and parents started to arrive.

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Getting the toys out

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Hats and jump ropes

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Nidia arranging the dolls, mouse ears, cars, trucks and assorted other gifts

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Flip-flops

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quite a variety of toys

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These kids are so cute

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Nidia in the center, her 2 daughters, Krista in red and Janisha. Love them all.

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A little bit of everything

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They delivered chairs and all the kids sat on them while the adults stood. Finally Sully (Santa) stole 2 for us.

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She posed for me, OMG!!

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Blowing up a balloon

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Cutie

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She was also trying to blow up a balloon.

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Kudos for him even trying. They were long curly balloons, not easy to blow up at all.

Once there were lots of kids there, most all in Santa hats, Nidia had the kids play musical chairs for a while, the DJ was rocking the tunes. It always blows my mind to see kids playing this game and wondering, do kids in the US still play musical chairs, like ever??

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Musical chairs using the chairs from the restaurant

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Pretty girl in her Minnie Mouse ears

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Couple more cuties

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Her dress, her barrettes, her ears and the balloon..

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Kids in Santa hats were everywhere…

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Once they were done playing musical chairs, Santa came.

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Such a doll!

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Getting organized into lines

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These kids are so gorgeous…

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This is my friend Gail in the pink. I met her the day I picked my friends up at the cruise ship, she was hanging in my friends store. She is from eastern Canada. She is with 2 Barbaric Indians. The kids all ran and screamed when they saw them.

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The little girl in the pink frilly dress had 2 balloons stuffed in the front of her dress.

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hmm, one of everything please

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And here he is, Santa. Sully (Santa) also helped out last year with some toy and food delivery. I believe he has helped Nidia many times, really a nice guy. This Santa was a tropical one in flip flops!!

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He was swarmed by the kids

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It was a sea of Santa hats

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Ho Ho Ho

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Adorable

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Santa and the kids

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My friend Miss Linda from Camp Bay and her grandson

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Santa, in between passing out gifts..

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Feet

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I always find the shoe choices interesting

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Gorgeous

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Sweet boys eyeing the goodies

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Santa passing out candy bags, then I passed out toothbrushes..

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Lunch, hot dogs, juice and ice cream

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Kids waiting for their gifts

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you could cut the tension with a knife..they wanted gifts

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The gift guarders

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How do you keep a few hundred kids in lines and quiet when all they can see is gifts?? Answer: YOU DON’T

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Please, something for me…

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Gorgeous twins. I walked over later and gave their dad 2 toothbrushes for them and 1 for their little brother. He thanked me in perfect English.

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He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

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eating ice cream

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Then something happened and he started crying and there was no adult with him. We kept trying to find out why he was crying but could make no sense of what he was saying. Poor little guy.

It was a long afternoon,  5.5 hours there and I was done. I headed towards home around 5:30 and became a vegetable. Sheer exhaustion set in. I tried like hell to get this blog out that night and just COULD NOT DO IT.

I did some stuff around here this morning, ran to town, got groceries, brought them home and went to Oak Ridge to pay for the permit. I did the Pay To line on the check before I left home b/c it’s long and with my shitty hands, I have a hard time writing legibally. I did NOT make out the written dollar amount, I wanted to wait. I also took a SPARE check, just in case. Well, it’s a damn good thing I had that extra check because I did the Payee name in blue and the amount in BLACK, dated and signed in BLACK and they would not flipping take it b/c it was in 2 colors of ink. They said Davivienda Bank is very fussy. WTF? At that point I wished I had a sharpie because I would have written the damn check out on his forehead. Good thing I didn’t because when I left the office I saw the Mayor and got a hug and kiss before I left the Muni. He was sitting out in the waiting room watching TV. He’s a really nice guy and I do like him and, I think he tries his best.

When I left today, this was in the road. Bill took the photo. Not a soul around, no glass, no signs of blood, no bodies. Really, nobody came to investigate this accident??

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I got home and was working on the blog and picking up around here when Trish called. They were on their way home from Mondays Don’t Suck (I missed it again, too busy) and stopped by here for a drink on the roof. It’s the first I’ve seen her since she arrived last Monday! Looking forward to hanging out with them while they are here.

The wonders of Facebook continue to thrill me on a daily basis. It allows me to be in touch with people I used to see daily while working for Bank of America. Believe it or not, you make friendships with those people and being able to maintain those friendships via Facebook is incredible. One of those friends is Chris Castle, Chris was in the bank daily and he and I became friends. I knew he and his wife had 2 sons and that Chris was a soccer ref. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Chris and his boss Phil. After I left the bank I would run into him every now and then but when we moved, we lost touch. Until I saw him on my friend Katy’s FB. The rest is history, except for the fact that Chris’s wife is a very talented artist. I really enjoy seeing Julie’s work that Chris posts. He recently set up an Etsy shop for her. Please take a few minutes to look at her work, she is really good. The web address is https://www.facebook.com/Sand-Castle-Shack-Studio-448528448665578/?fref=ts  and her Etsy address is: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SandCastleShack?ref=hdr_shop_menu. Merry Christmas Chris, Julie and family!!

It’s 10 PM, I have to get 4 dogs outside and drag this tired old butt to bed. I have the one big BWC Christmas party on Wednesday then it’s fun and games and partying with our friends this Christmas season.

To all the amazing people who follow my blog, thank you. Bill, Highway, Lola, Frito, Gringo, Max, Barrio, Emmy and I wish you a fabulously Merry Christmas and an enchanting New Year..XOXO

JINGLE BELLS, ISLAND STYLE. Thanks to Jeanie for this one..(sung to the tune of Jingle Bells)

We sit with drink in hand
Without a hope of snow
Under spreading palms
A hurricane’s sure to blow
Santa Claus will find
That things can turn to shit
He won’t be riding eight reindeer
He can’t get his permit
      Oh, hells bells….coconut shells
       Cervezas all the way….oh what fun it is to ride….in a pick-up truck today