Friday, March 31, 2006

Andy & Aidan

It's a shame that you can't see how blue his eyes are in these pictures

Cheeky smile

This is where our new house is going to be build (the river is down where those trees are)

Our new car port is coming along nicely

Relaxing at the pool with Lucas

Aidan in his swing

Taking a breather

I’ve decided to have a nice chilled day at the Dome today. It’s all been a tat too hectic lately. So today I just want to hang out with my kids, read, swim, faf around on the computer, take pictures and read. There are plenty of things to get on with, but I’ve decided that everything can wait for a day. It’s so tempting for a new mum to do too much too soon & run herself into the ground. Anyway, I choose not to go there.

Talking of doing too much…I remember how we all used to overdo it at MTV. Seeing as I had never really had a ‘normal’ job before, I actually thought that it was normal for people to work and work and work (and party like crazy too) until they had a breakdown. These breakdowns could happen anywhere and at any time. People would literally loose it at those moments. They would usually cry their eyes out and say something like ‘I can’t do it anymore, I can’t do it’. We all recognized those moments and were very understanding. The person in question would take a few days off and when they returned they would work like crazy again until their next breakdown.

Isn’t it insane that I used to believe that this happened in all professions? Anyway, none of that for me anymore.

Last night we even managed to have a quiet evening. Both the kids fell asleep early! What a treat! Sitting by the side of the pool, eating a late-night bowl of cereal & staring at the stars (the stars are amazing in Belize as there isn’t any light pollution) made me realize again how good life really is. Andy and I could really do with more nights like that.

So enjoy your weekend, wherever you are! And may it be a relaxing one.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Jaden Foundation

Things are looking up for my little charity The Jaden Foundation. This current school year has been pretty low-key, as I just couldn't deal with anything too ambitious whilst I was pregnant (by the way, I love not being pregnant anymore...what a pain that was)

I haven't actively looked for funding for The Jaden Foundation for quite a while now & a few days ago Karen asked me how the charity was going to make ends meet with the new school year creeping closer, as we only had $800 BZE left for the year, which would only get us 8 more weeks of transport. I smiled and told Karen that something would come up as it always does. And I was right!

The next day I received an email from Peter Freer, a banker from the UK who decided to raise funds for the Jaden Foundation as part of a jungle adventure challenge that was held in Belize recently . Together with his team 'the Belize Bankers' he came in 3rd place. They apparently had to kayak, run and survive in the jungle with nothing more than the shirts on their backs for several days. Thank you so much Peter for doing this for the Jaden Foundation. I think you're crazy, but there you go. You all seemed to have survived the ordeal.

There was one problem with this whole story, though. The Jaden Foundation is not registered as an official charity. I didn't do this as it would have cost me $8000 to do so. And that money I would rather spend on the Belizean kids (100% of the Jaden Foundation donations go to school fees, books, uniforms, transport and whatever else the kids need).

Peter told me that he could only donate to a registered charity, which is fair enough. So I decided that this was a sign to push through a dream that I have had for years now: to try and get as many local kids as possible accepted into a private school. The Belize Christian Academy is the closest school to us and by far the best school in this part of the country. It is linked to a registered charity in the US, so Peter and his team mates could make the donation directly to the school to pay for school fees.

It is already amazing that all the children in our community go to school these days, but if they could be going to BCA that would make an ever bigger impact on their lives. Many of the kids are currently 'falling through the cracks'. They are being passed along the grades, but should really be kept back as they still struggle so much with the English language. Right now they are crammed into classrooms with over 30 kids and don't get the attention they would need to excel. At the BCA they would be in classes of only half the size and they would not be getting so confused by the mix of Creole and English (which is another problem at the state schools)

Anyway, I am not sure what it would take to get all the children from our community accepted into that school. It may be too expensive. In that case, I will focus on getting the youngest kids in that school and let the older ones continue in the school that they are at now.

I hope that next school year we will not be 'wasting' any more money on transport. Right now, we have to spend $100 BZ a week on that. And what you get for it isn't even that great. It's an old pick-up, that really isn't the safest option.

If the kids can go to the BCA they can all cycle to school together. It's across the river, at the end of a dirt track. The school that the kids go to now is in a village called Roaring Creek. To get there, the kids would have to cycle along the highway, which is way to dangerous for the little ones. If we can get the younger ones into BCA, than hopefully the older ones can make the bike ride all the way to their old school. That is...Unless I can raise enough money to get them all into the private school.

It's going to be quite a challenge, as the school fees for the private school are $250 BZ ($125 US) a month per child. I will try to get a special deal or assistance from the school & hopefully that way I will be able to send all.

Anyway, Jay and Jasper have just made a wonderful donation to the Jaden Foundation. They have given us $400 US! John and Rich' parents donate a further 20 Pounds per month & have done so for last year! Thank you, thank you, thank you, you guys. And now it looks like Peter Freer and his team mates have raised roughly $3500 US (to be donated at the end of then month). So we are getting there. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your help. This is all so exciting!

If any of you blog readers out there would like to sponsor one of the kids, please contact me. You could even donate directly to the school, so the donations are tax deductible (rather give it to these kids than the tax man, right?)

Thank you,

P.S. I'll let you know what happens in the coming weeks....

Monday, March 20, 2006

Changing times suddenly dawned on me today that in ten years (or so) from now there will be a conversation between myself and my two children along these lines:

"You know, when I was a child we didn't have computers"
"Really? So how did you send emails?"
"We didn't send emails. We wrote letters"
"What, by hand?"
"Yes, and we send them by mail"
"Wow, that must have taken ages"
"It did. And we didn't have mobile (cell) phones either"
"So how would you contact anyone if you were out of the house?"
"We couldn't...Unless there was a payphone nearby. But for them you needed the right change or a prepaid phonecard"
"What a pain"
"Yes it was actually"
"And our music was bought on vinyl and later on CD's. Those damn things always got scratched up. It used to really annoy me"
"Thank God I wasn't born yet. Things are so much better now"
"Well...I guess some things are. Still, overall I believe that things were better back then. At least people used to have time to chat with each other.....and not just online!"

So I suddenly realized that, to our children, Andy and I are going to seem like creatures of another era. I remember my mum telling me about her childhood, when most people didn't have a car, washing was done by hand, etc. It all sounded like a different century to me.

I guess that time just seems like this enormously long-stretched thing when you're a kid. And once you get older, you realize how quickly it actually passes.

So, it seems that I am getting old. Soon my children will become embarrassed by my dancing too. Now that would really kill me. I better dance through the house now whilst they are small and I am still allowed to do so.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Crocodile at Calico Jack's in Placencia

Our fearless water baby

Lazy days on Placencia

Last week's sportsday was a disaster! Lucas refused to take part in anything. We all left after half an hour. 3-year-olds are just so unpredictable!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Just got back from a short trip to Placencia. Andy had to pick up some guests there, so we decided that we might as well grab that opportunity and have a little break ourselves. We spent two nights on the peninsula and took John and Rich along with us. It was fun. Although, as parents, you never get a 'real break', if you know what I mean. Still, John & Rich were a great help. They ran around with Lucas a lot. Checking out the crocodiles, jumping off the pier, burrying Lucas in the sand, etc.

Andy and I were surprised to see so many virtualy empty resorts in Placencia. We had expected everyone to be as busy as us this time of year. We are constantly turning down bookings these days and really need those two new rooms to be ready soon as they'd fill up straight away, by the looks of it. Guess we're doing something right at the Dome (which is always nice to know)

Placencia has changed a lot in the last few years from the sleeping fishing village it once was. There are now mega resorts going up, gated communities being build and, believe it or not, plans for a casino. But even with all that, there still isn't a decent supermarket on the whole of Placencia. Isn't that funny? That's just soooo Belize.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Two little Hunts

Lucas has sports day at school tomorrow & he has got a whole crowd of supporters coming to cheer him on: John, Rich, Andy, Deborah, Aidan and I. One problem though, he's become quite a sore loser these days. He recently raced 4 girls and lost (they were all a little bit older than him, but still...) Lucas absolutely flipped. The girls ran straight back to him and tried to rescue the situation by saying "No Lucas, you didn't really lose, Emelda lost". Even Emelda said "Yes, I lost Lucas". But he knew the truth & just cried his eyes out. So anyway, tomorrow should be interesting.

Oh and by the way, I'm happy to report that Lucas loves his little brother so much, he even asked me to get a second baby out of my belly soon. Can you believe it?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

(Not so) Super mum

I remember how, after having given birth to Lucas, I went through a phase of feeling like a useless mother. Maybe it was the hormones, maybe it was all the well meant, but bloody annoying “advise” other mums give to new mothers, maybe it was just inexperience….who knows.

Still, I didn’t expect to go through that phase again with my second one. But I was wrong. Last Saturday I cracked. I felt like such a failure. Covered in baby poo (don’t ask) & frazzled from hours of arguing with my 3-year-old, I was convinced that I was the most incapable mother on earth. Poor Karen happened to walk on me, just as I was breaking down & didn’t quite know how to react. I guess it shocked her, as I had coped pretty well up to that point. I hadn’t spent enough time with Lucas since the baby was born and now he had started to act up to get my attention. That was just too much to take for me.

So I decided that I wanted and needed help. Tella (of course) knew just the girl for the job, a preacher’s daughter called Deborah. Deborah jumped to the chance and showed up at 6.30 am the next morning! And what a blessing she’s been!

It’s so great to have an extra pair of hands around the house, especially as Aidan wants to be held for much of the day (he’s as cuddly as Lucas was). Deborah’s job is not particularly hard. She just has to hold the baby and help with a few household chores. Still, it makes the world of difference to me. I now have more time again for Lucas and his behavior changed almost immediately. He just needed more time with mum. He’s still a tat naughty…but nothing we can’t deal with.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Belize elections

The Belizean public has shown its PUP government their extreme unhappiness with them. In yesterday's local elections, the PUP got beat in every municipality by their opposition, the UDP. And not just that, but the PUP won only 3 seats in the whole country! (Mayor and councilor in Punta Gorda and one councilor in Benque)

Will the UDP be less corrupt than the PUP? How capable are they? Time will tell, I guess.

The expectation is that the UDP will now call for an early general election & that Prime Minister Said Musa will try to block this. I'll keep you posted....