Monday, April 9, 2007

Belize Letter 7


Cloudless skies, cool nights, spectacular lunar eclipse, no rain, high sixties at night, mid eighties during the day was the weather the first week of March. The second week of March, the rains returned in the form of heavy, short duration showers (about ½ hour each).


Since the electric has been installed, I completed installing ceiling fans in all rooms inside the house. I still have two fans to install on the screened in porch. I have a lot of varnishing to complete as well as painting on the screened in porch. I have been searching for a hammock but haven’t found any. I will be switching from community water to well water. During the dry season, the community water sometimes stops. However, we always have water available from the well. Now that we have electric, I am installing a pressure tank, and pressure switch, to provide the house with water.

Satellite connection

I decided to go with a Mennonite firm in Spanish lookout to help with the satellite hookup. A group of technical Mennonites??? Anyway, they speak English and appear honest. They came on Thursday March 8th. They were very skilled in getting the satellite connection established. They work on a fixed fee basis and come prepared for everything. Now that I have internet connectivity, I can do research on a lot of other things. For instance, VOIP connections via satellite are not the best for long conversations due to latency, but people are running them. I brought my equipment from the US that I used for VOIP in the US and it should work here.

Belize expressions dealing with time

When I ask when something I ordered will be delivered, be it a service or a product, the answer I get is “soon.” I have learned that this can mean anything from two weeks to they have no idea when the delivery will take place. If they say “in a few days”, this is meaningless also because a few days could mean months. They also use the expression “the other day” when speaking about things that occurred in the past. This also does not indicate a specific span of time. They person could be referring to something that occurred two or more years ago! This would drive me up the wall when I first came down, but now I am getting use to it. Interestingly, I catch myself using “soon” when Diane asks me about when I will get one of my tasks finished!

Tree color

With the weather change to the dry season, quite a few of the trees in the area are experiencing a color change. There leaves are changing from dark green to a brilliant yellow. I have even seen a few that are changing to a brilliant orange. This causes the mountains to take on a fall-like appearance. I have been told that these leaves will drop and be replaced by green leaves before the weather changes to the rainy season.


In addition to orange and grapefruit trees, we have breadfruit trees, guava trees, a lime tree, cashew trees, banana trees, and mango trees. In the “bush”, rain forest that hasn’t been cleared or cultivated, we have all types of leafy trees and quite a few varieties of palms including coconut. There are several large trees whose leafy branches come within several feet of our porch. These trees get cottony blossoms several times during the year and produce a string bean like fruit or vegetable which is not eaten by the locals. However, the birds of all varieties love the blossoms and fill these trees with amazing color and sounds through out the year. Another interesting tree is what the locals refer to as “iron tree”. This is the tallest tree on our property at 100 feet or more, and is one of the trees whose leaves change to a brilliant yellow. One of the locals who we hire to chop the bush with his machete exclaimed that this tree is so hard that sparks fly when being sawed. I guess there are exaggerators in every culture!


It is hard for me to believe that I have been living in Belize for four and a half months. It is equally as hard for me to believe that Diane will hit the one year mark at the end of April!

John and Diane Madeira

PO Box 577, Belmopan

Belize, Central America

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