Monday, April 9, 2007

Belize Letter 5


On New Years Eve morning, Diane and I decided to walk to our British friend’s house. I thought it was going to be about two and one half miles. We walked down Five Blues lake road to the Dry Creek crossing. From there we figured we would have about two miles to Bernard’s house. I couldn’t quite remember whether Bernard told me his house was two miles down the road or a few miles down the road. We had to wade through one foot of water crossing Dry Creek to get to the road on which Bernard lives. The road was bordered on each side by rain forest. It was somewhat warm that day but the forest’s canopy provided cooling shade. The forest was incredibly thick and appeared almost impenetrable; however, we did see a few paths that appeared to be used by large animals. The hardwood trees are very tall and thick and tower over the many softer wood trees and huge plants. We walked and walked. I thought for sure we had gone more than two miles. There was no site of Bernard’s house. We kept saying “let’s just go around the next bend” or let’s just go over the next hill”. Soon we had to stop as we realized that Bernard must have said a few miles and that could mean ten miles! We turned around as rain was imminent. We hiked back over dry creek and were somewhat disappointed that we weren’t able to find Bernard’s house but happy that we saw this road and that part of the forest. On Sunday, January 7th, we decided to go to Bernard’s house by truck. We hadn’t had much rain and Dry Creek would be low. Crossing the Dry Creek was no problem and when we reached Bernard’s house we realized that we were within a few100 yards of his house on the previous week’s walk. We were showed around their house and then we talked for an hour or so.


We finally have it! It took quite a bit of encouragement, contributions, and daily phone calls. I have been busy testing and hooking up existing circuits as well as running new circuits. Running new circuits in a cement house is a challenge. We included a brand new electric refrigerator in our initial shipment and that is running fine. I will be installing ceiling fans which will be welcome in summer. Now the weather is sixties at night and seventies during the day. We keep all the windows wide open all the time. Since the electric is in I was able to setup the video system. Everything worked great.

Madre De Cacao

Due to the electric install, we had to clear a path for a few poles. Now that the electric is in, I have planted quite a bit of Madre De Cacao. This is unbelievable stuff. All you have to do is get a branch from an exiting tree. And stick it into the ground and a new tree will grow. It grows at a rate of 15 to 20 feet a year. It has foliage similar to a mimosa tree but has pinkish-purplish flowers. With the help of two village people, 175 branches, some 4 inches in diameter, were planted. . This Madre De Cacao forest will more than cover the 20 foot wide path I cleared.

Belize City

Diane and I traveled to Belize City to pickup tile to complete the kitchen. The hardware stores in our area do not carry the selection that is available in the Belize City stores. In sections of the city, close to the Caribbean, they have ver narrow side streets. On either side of the streets are 18 inch deep cement trenches for storm water I presume. This makes driving a nightmare as the streets are also full of very deep potholes. One can’t swerve too wide to miss a pothole or he may end up with a wheel in the trench. While on the way to the tile store we did see a water taxi depot. We plan to take water taxi trips to the islands very soon.


It seems that I am doing more physical work down here than I did while I lived in the US. I work long days and weekends similar to when I lived in the US. The only real difference is that I don’t get paid down here.

There are still quite a few challenges that Diane and I need to address. Now that we have electric, I will mount the satellite dish for internet service. Fighting back the rain forest remains a constant challenge.


Both December and January have been incredibly rainy months. We are having exactly the kind of weather one would expect in a rainforest! We are getting reports that due to La Nena effect on Pacific Ocean temperatures we can expect very dry conditions for the next few months. Some positive aspects of the bad weather is that I can get the inside electrical work done and the Madre De Cacao will get off to a good start.

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