Thursday, November 5, 2009

Until Next Time

Today has been a very hard day. I had to say "until next time" a whole lot.

My plane leaves at 12:20 tomorrow. It will be a long journey home.

I am sure that Carlos will be fine on the plane, but I got him some sedatives that were recommended by his vet. I tried them out on him tonight, the dose the doctor recommended. An hour after taking them we went for a walk and he still chased a cat and a dog. His legs did seem a little less sure of themselves, but it didn't slow him down much. He and Milly are still harassing dogs that pass by the fence too. I will have to give him a little more for the ride tomorrow.

I am pretty wiped out but I am going to quadruple check my bags again. I am down to three. Two checked and one carry on. I figure with this scenario I can't go wrong. I have a few more things to do tomorrow before I leave at 8:30, but I am pretty much set.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In the Fence!

When I got home from work on the 19th AKA my Close of Service day! I found Millie still in the fence!!!!

This has never happened before. I was so proud of her. I hate that just as she settles in, we are going to be moving and I am going to turn her world upside down. Just two nights ago she wouldn't leave my side so I could go in the grocery store. She followed me in and down the aisles despite many attempts to get her to stay outside. Lucky for us the owners and staff just laughed.

Despite the 19th being my last day, I have to go back to do some work in the morning...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Futon and Table

I know it was a long time coming, but I finally (almost) finished my futon. I only need 3 hinges to finish it off. But here are the pictures. I will do the structural part after I have sold it.

And my table.

A PC Survey from my LinkedIn Group

LinkedIn Groups

  • Group: Peace Corps Community Network
  • Subject: Better, Bolder Peace Corps - Take our Survey

Dear Peace Corps Community Network Member,

For the next phase of the our MorePeaceCorps Campaign, the National Peace Corps Association is seeking input from all members of the Peace Corps community (applicants, PCVs, family of PCVs, RPCVs, staff) on how to best improve and embolden the Peace Corps to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Between now and Thursday, October 22nd, we ask you to take our better, bolder Peace Corps survey.

Please follow this link to take the survey:

Because of the many issues to consider, please expect to set aside 10 - 20 minutes to complete this survey. After you finish, please forward this link to as many members of the Peace Corps community as possible. Initial results of the survey will appear in the winter edition of WorldView magazine.

Thank you in advance for your input.

Kevin F. F. Quigley
Thailand 1976-1979

ps – Subscription to WorldView magazine is a benefit of membership in the NPCA. Learn more and join here: .
Posted By Erica Burman

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Carlos' girl friend Milly

As requested, pictures of Milly.

The first one shows Carlos and Milly just before they are ready to play.
They go from calm and quiet to rowdy and loud in about half a second. Then they are back to calm and quiet. It is really amazing.

Carlos never barks, that is, unless he hears a dog he wants to chase along the fence or is worried about someone in the street. He whines a little when we pass other dogs while out on walks. He is convinced that they all want to be his friend and it is my fault he can't go and play. And now he barks when playing with Milly all the time. It is pretty weird to hear him so vocal. Milly on the other hand is vocal and barks at various noises and things she "sees". Carlos usually ignores her so I don't worry.

Milly climbs the fence quicker that you would believe. She goes and hangs out at her other house while I am at work, then comes to hang out with Carlos and myself when I come home. Carlos is always so excited to see her. They usually kiss through the fence before I can get to it. They both know they have to sit before I will open the gate. When I open the gate and say "OK" Milly will run in and they start pouncing on each other. If you didn't know any better you would think they are really attacking each other. They aren't though. Milly likes to grab Carlos' back ankles. When she does this he will sit down on her sometimes to make her stop.

Amazingly after all of the rough housing they look like this in about the same amount of time it took them to get going. These "innocent" faces don't fool me!

Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm leaving on a jet plane...

So, it hit me this weekend that I am leaving soon.

I was shopping (of all things) when I realized that in less than two months I am done. I will no longer be employed. (Not that what I am receiving is considered a pay check, but it is something!) This realization halted my shopping and threw me for a bit of a loop.

You would think that I would have seen this coming. I didn't. Not really. So, I know this is surprising, but true. Denial is a powerful force.

I have lived in Belize longer than any other place since I was in college so this is pretty big. That and the fact that I am in another country. The new trainees are all so fresh and new and I really like them so I don't want to leave them quite yet. They are all so excited and energetic and I can't wait to see where they are placed. I am jealous of their sites and want to join up again, but ready to head home at the same time.

I also have a list of people I have to visit for work and several that I have to visit for fun. I need to figure this out quick so I can buy my ticket.

The thought of packing up and leaving is a little disturbing and exciting and daunting.

I am not going directly home. Carlos won't fit on planes heading to NC and there is only one carrier that will take him out of Belize. He has to have a giant crate! The crate does not even fit through my door assembled! I hate the thought of having him routed throughout the country, so we are flying into Texas then having a road trip with Mom. I call him my puppy. I know he isn't really. A few weeks ago when I took him to the vet he weighed 82 pounds! I hope they don't charge him by the pound.

And then there is all of the packing. Really there is going to be a lot of getting rid of clothes that I don't like and haven't worn in ages. You save things like this for the rainy season. There are days and sometimes weeks that the rain doesn't stop, or doesn't stop when you can wash and dry clothes. Those are the times that the clothes you would rather forget are pulled out, dusted off, and worn.

I have to deal with all the stuff I have acquired in the 3+ years. And then there is all of that stuff that has been saved for a special occasion or when I am missing home. I have a feeling that there are going to be lots of special occasions coming up. This weekend I really tried hard and put a dent into my stash of Thin Mints. It all has to get used up, sold, or given away since a minimal amount of my stuff is coming back with me. Next week I will have to have the shrimp in the freezer!

And then there is Milly. Oh, Milly. She is Carlos' friend. She was emaciated and scared of every person and every dog. I wish I would have taken pictures of her when I first started feeding her. Now she has a little meat on her bones and only scared of half of the people. Dogs are still scary for her, even the little ones. Walking her is a chore since she moves from side to side to avoid things that frighten her. Pictures of Milly and Carlos playing will have to be taken and posted soon!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

International Friends of Belize

Hi! I know it has been a long time and I don't have a lot of time to write, but I thought that I would post this to let you know more about International Friends of Belize. It is a great organization that makes a big difference in the peoples' lives that receive the scholorships.
Unlike in the US, school is not free in Belize. Families pay for uniforms, books, transportation (in most areas), and lots of other things we take for granted. Many Peace Corps Volunteers know of kids that have not been able to go to school because they didn't have bus money. While school is compulsary until kids are 14, this is impossible for many families for financial reasons.
So consider not stopping for fast food once or twice this week and sending the dollars you save to a kid who may not otherwise get a chance to go to school. With the hard economic times, every cent is appreciated even more.
Food pantrys around the world are going bare. If you are not interested in sending money abroad, consider donating that can of food in the back of your pantry, that you don't really like/need, to a family that is going hungry.
All the Best!

International Friends of Belize

E-News: Make Back-to-School Season happen with International Friends of Belize!

It’s in the air-you can almost feel it. Back to school time. New backpacks for kids, school buses on the roads again and fall is just around the corner. And for the International Friends of Belize-our annual Back to School fundraising effort. For the past four years, International Friends of Belize has granted needs-based scholarships for Belizean secondary school students and grants for community development and environment programs. Our first project was born in 2005 when a small group of individuals threw money in a hat to create a scholarship fund for Stann Creek. Since then, hundreds of generous individuals have contributed thousands of dollars to support this small country that holds a special place in their hearts.

As you may know, Belize’s economy is directly tied to the U.S. economy with a large percentage of the country’s GDP related to tourism and travel-one of the first items go from someone’s budget if things to go if the economy is sluggish. So if the U.S. is feeling it, Belizeans are feeling it even worse. Students and communities really do need our assistance. In Belize, back-to-school season is a time of busy preparation –uniforms are sewed and ironed, shoes are polished, backpacks are filled with sharpened pencils and blank notebooks, and the hope for a bright future is renewed. Yet sadly, for far too many deserving Belizean students, back-to-school season is time of anxiety if their family cannot afford the mandatory school fees.

Today our program has expanded to assist students from all corners of Belize. Our work aids bright young scholars intent on furthering their education, but who do not have the financial means to do so. Since 2004, our collective efforts have funded a total of 39 Secondary School Scholarships of up to $500 USD each - including some multiple-year funding for renewing scholars. IFOB’s Community Grant program has funded 9 community projects thus far with grants of up to $1,000 USD and we will be accepting applications soon for three more additional projects.
Now, more than ever, International Friends of Belize needs your help to support a new generation of Belizean thinkers and doers. Will you help us make a positive change in the lives of Belizean students by becoming a member of International Friends of Belize? If you are already a member, please consider an additional donation to help out students as they prepare for the next school year.

Our goal for the next month is to raise $6,000 to support scholarships and small grants for the coming year. An ambitious goal, but we’re confident that we’ll be able to raise the funds to continue supporting Belizean students and small communities. A one-year annual membership is just $21. Become a lifetime members at $200. You can mail us a check or donate online.

Do you know of others who have connections to Belize? Please consider asking them to join us by becoming members as well! The International Friends of Belize now also has a group on Facebook. Please consider joining this group as a way to stay connected and also consider posting a message about our Back to School Fundraiser on your own page and helping us spread the word about this worthwhile fundraiser.

Help us reach our goal of raising $6,000 by September 21, 2009 –Belize's Independence Day.

Thank you!

Please visit our website at to find out how to donate, renew your membership or made an additional contribution.

International Friends of Belize is a volunteer-run, nonprofit organization (501c3) supporting community-based projects and secondary school scholarships in Belize.All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Can you hear me???

YEA!!!! for technology. I am now on Skype and have a "phone number".
It is a number I picked out in North Carolina so friends and family who aren't interested in downloading another program can keep in touch. There was a small- but completely worth it- price to pay.

I am not going to list it, but if you are interested let me know and I will probably pass it on to you!

cute phone photo:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yoga- Scissors and the "Funky Chicken"

I have been doing yoga now for about 7 months. When it is possible I go twice a week. Marla- my yoga instructor at Yoga Twist& Things-is wonderful!!! I am addicted to class and have even started teaching basic lessons at the King's Children's Home. The kids and staff, I am excited to say, are becoming addicted as well.

Not that we are supposed to boast or anything, but last week I was able to do the "funky chicken" for the first time on one side. I partially got it on the other. I was so excited because I was able to actually stand up for the first time. Tonight I was able to stand stably on both sides. Check out this article to see how it is done. Oh yeah, no one else really calls it the funky chicken. They call it the bird of paradise. I think you will agree that my name is a little closer to what the pose or asana really looks like. This is as far as I got. To complete the pose you actually extend the leg up in the air. I think that will be a few more weeks or months down the road.

Tonight I was able to do the scissor pose on both sides! I have been able to do this with my legs to the right side for a while now. Tonight the right side was pretty stable. The left side was less stable, but at least I was up. Another student was able to do the pose for the first time tonight! It was so exciting to see how far we have come.

Pictures from the following websites:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

COS and June Bugs

It's a little late and my mind is wondering. Actually, it has been wondering all day. The cup of coffee that got me moving after lunch has seemed to run out.

I was going to tell you my official COS (close of service) date is 13 months after the original one. (But then I got distracted and wrote another post.) That would mean September 20thish. I can leave 30 days on either side of the official date with out having to ET or extend.

Before that I was going to tell you about the June Bug invasion we are currently under. One was flying around my room and triggered my need to write. Maybe it is the same one that was sitting on my bookshelf. Maybe it crawled in the hole above my backdoor the honey bees love to enter through. I haven't experienced this many June Bugs in the last few years. Maybe they weren't as bad. Maybe I didn't notice them while working in my house. Maybe they just didn't like the beach. I have seen a lot of brown ones but none of the pretty iridescent green ones. Right now they are everywhere though. Hanging on walls, on the floor doing the backstroke, and for some odd reason, flying into my face. At least they don't bite like the fire ants do...

If you click on the June Bugs you can reach the sites I found them on. Thanks!

June Bugs to Alphabet Soup

Somehow, but don't ask how, thoughts on June Bugs lead me to think about COS...

Because of the COS date, I got to thinking about...

alphabet soup. .

It is a language that I have learned over the (nearly) three years I have been in Belize. One language, until this very moment, I have never, not even once, thought about putting on my resume. Perhaps I should... I wonder if anyone would recognize it as a second language. My proficiency is pretty strong at this point... I can see it on my resume right now: English- Native speaker, fluent in Southern; Spanish- clear understanding and appreciation of helado; Alphabet Soup- I Can!

Just thoughts of: deciding on a COS date; final interviews with my APCD, PTO, CD, and PCMO; visiting PCVs; contacting RPCVs; and becoming a member of IFOB; the PACA/PDM session this weekend; next week's training with PASMO for our PC HIV and AIDS committee and arrival of our new TD Jamie; and Ginnie as the new PTS in July make me see Training Of Trainers in that spoon!

What do you see?

I found the lovely pieces of art above at the sites below. There are also links to the websites if you click on the soup.

soup by Marshall Fels Elliott (I don't know if Elliott is responsible for the art or the story that went with it, but seemed appropriate since the info was under the bowl.)


Monday, May 18, 2009

Ice cream for breakfast

I recently went on a fabulous trip with good friends Jess and Brian from the States. We traveled from Ladyville, to Placencia, then Flores and Tikal Guatemala, through Cayo, on to Burrell Boom, and finished in Caye Caulker.

The morning we went to Tikal I knew I needed some serious caffeine to function. This was the second morning at the lovely Hotel La Casona de la Isla. I was feeling much more confident in my Spanish skills, they actually seemed to be returning. Coffee generally hurts my stomach, but an iced drink called a Frozen Choli from Moonclusters is a fabulous treat so I thought I should order iced coffee. As I groggily ordered my pancakes and iced coffee. I got a strange look from the waiter. My cafe con leche y helado y azĂșcar was met with a moment of silence and then an explanation that helado wasn't served at breakfast, but they did have cold milk. Mumbling something to the effect of "thanks" and "that sounds perfect" the waiter smiled and went away. The waiter returned with the coffee, milk, and pointed out the sugar on the table.

On the way back to the hotel at the end of our day I heard a song on the radio. There was something about helado. (I don't know if that is what they are actually singing, but that is what I hear...) So, I am sitting there in the van, I have been climbing over temples, exploring rooms royalty once inhabited, and flew threw the air on a zipline; not once, until that song came on, did I realize that I ordered coffee with milk and ice cream and sugar.

Hielo is ice, not helado.

By the way, helado is an ingredient in a Choli, so I bet it would have been great had the waiter brought the actual drink I ordered. I also bet that the waitstaff is still laughing about the crazy gringa wanting ice cream in her coffee.

Still here!

Hi. I know it seems as though I might have dropped off the face of the Earth. Really, I just didn't have internet at home until recently.

I am still trying to figure out what is coming next. I have figured out that I am pretty good with logistics and I enjoy them. I would like to work with an organization that focuses on helping people without just giving stuff out. While I have understood that people appreciate something that is earned far more than what is given; this has really be reinforced over the last three years.

I was recently in a conversation about a $30 USD a month being given to some of the poorest families in a Central American country, this would be the equivalent of a lot more. The parents in the family had to attend parenting classes including health information. The children in the family had to stay in school. On the surface this seems like a no-brainer. There are people who would like to determine what the families do with the money. One of the "problems" is some of the families treated themselves to a fast food dinner with their earnings. Do you think that there should be additional stipulations on how the money is spent? -Or- Should the families be able to do what they choose to with the money?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy Holidays!!!!

Happy New Year!

I had a lovely New Year with friends here in Belize. We got dressed up, hung out a while, then we went out for a little while. It was fun.

Yesterday was fabulous. It was a holiday and I got to lounge around the house and do nothing. Today I passed my PC vehicle orientation. It had been more than half a lifetime that I have driven anything other than an automatic. I was a bit nervous at first but did really well. YEA!!!

Actually, the last couple of weeks has been pretty chill. Most of the people from the office have been on vacation. Chanda and I have spent a good bit of time avoiding the seemingly constant rain showers by working from home most days or at a secondary project. I have been trying to decide what my secondary project is going to be. In the States I had occasionally volunteered at a humane society and have contemplated that. I now have Carlos and occasionally think about getting another dog to keep him company. He really enjoyed having Molly to play with while Erin was in the States. Because I have been thinking about another pooch I have also decided that working at the humane society would be a bad idea... Instead I have done a little bit of work with the Kings Children's Home near by. It is kind of heartbreaking to have the little ones just walk up to you and put their arms up for you to pick them up. When you sit there with them it doesn't take long for another kid to come over in hopes for attention as well. Anyway. At the beginning of their holiday break from school Melissa L, Ashley V, and I went over for a crafts night at the home. Most of the kids were well behaved. I was amazed with the number of kids who were excellent artists. Several of the kids made things for me, but most of it ended up being hung up in the home.

It didn't feel much like Christmas this year though it did get a bit chilly. I got to call my family and talk to nearly everyone. Unfortunately the phone line was not clear and it kept cutting out on Christmas day. I am sure it probably had to due with the number of people calling from here. Anyway, I felt lucky to even have to opportunity to call. Instead of being with my real family I got to spend the holiday with my Peace Corps family. I attempted to make some family favorite dishes. While nothing quite turned out like Mom's or Meme's everyone thought it turned out well. We decided that the sides are actually the favorites so we didn't have a meat- green bean casserole, mac and cheese, fried apples, corn (out of a can unfortunately), banana pudding, sausage gravy, biscuits, and cinnamon rolls... The gravy and biscuits were brunch, cinnamon rolls for a late lunch with left overs. We ate or lounged for both Christmas Eve and Day!

Anyway, I need to catch up with some other stuff.

Happy New Year, may you be prosperous and happy!