Monday, April 9, 2007

Belize Letter 8


Even though it is suppose to be the dry season, we still experience rain showers. Around the spring equinox, we experienced an all night shower (downpour) that must have exceeded six inches as it took a day or two for the standing water to disappear. The days have been in the high seventies and low eighties and the nights continue to be in the high sixties. Air conditioning or heat has not been required so far.


One of the things that Diane does extremely well is bake cakes. I have never eaten so much cake. We have chocolate cakes, vanilla cakes, white cakes, yellow cakes, and spice cakes all with a variety of icings. Occasionally she bakes a pineapple upside down cake. I always tended to be on diets, watching my weight, watching carbohydrate intake and fat intake. I think that was a bunch of crap! Down here I eat what I want and I have been losing weight! Staying active is the key.

I just started saving trees. In the forest, vines rapidly envelop trees. They do this, not only with the small trees but also with the large trees. It is a battle for light. Leafy vines grow very fast and block out a considerable amount of light that was destined for the tree and the tree starts to weaken and eventually dies. One of the cutters and I have been walking around the thick bush looking for trees that are covered with vines, that are not too far gone and are worthwhile saving. There are a lot of junk trees in the forest that are havens for all types of pests. We don’t save these! There are also good trees. Trees that flower, hard wood trees, fruit trees, and as the cutter says in broken English “pretty trees” are all worth saving! The cutter that I take with me is very knowledgeable about the trees. I constantly ask “what kind of tree is this?” He only knows the Spanish name for the trees or fruit. When we find a good tree we clean it. (Cut all vines that are on the tree and around it.) We have saved a very large breadfruit tree as well as several young ones. In addition, we have saved numerous varieties of palms, various hardwoods, and multiple flowering trees.


When Diane and I purchased the house and land we knew that it would be a challenge to get everything the way we envisioned it could be. We had numerous discussions on all the things that needed to be done prior to arriving here. Our thoughts and dreams about the house tended to center around the envisioned house and land, not the actual! Once here, however, reality set in! We realized that we were in for a monumental task. To make matters worse, building material as well as skilled workmen were not readily available. In addition, we had no electricity, poor phone service, and no Internet.

We created prioritized task lists and went to work. We are always adding items to the task list that we feel need improvement. When an item is completed we remove it from the list. Therefore we are constantly looking at literally a lifetime of work!

We found out that by constantly looking at what had to be done instead of what has been accomplished, we were overwhelmed. However, if we occasionally took time to review our accomplishments, we got mentally refreshed and were motivated to achieve more. Diane and I are assembling before and after pictures of our land and house. When we look at these pictures, we gain extreme confidence that sooner or later, be it 2020 or later, we will be finished! I will be posting these pictures on the web and will email the link with an upcoming letter.

John and Diane Madeira

PO Box 577, Belmopan

Belize, Central America

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