Thursday, September 21, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

Today, the country of Belize celebrates its 25th birthday! This is the Belize flag and below you will find a description of the flag, if you are interested:

Description of the Belize Flag:
Royal blue background with two red horizontal borders; one top border runs horizontally across the top from left to right and one bottom border runs across the bottom (baseline ) from left to right. Embellished in the center of the flag is the coat of arms: a white, filled in circle bordered by a green, circular, garland flowing in a clockwise direction.

The coat of arms features:

1. A mahogany tree: the first European settlers in Belize became mahogany traders and the mahogany trade was once the economical backbone of the colony.

2. Two woodcutters, the one on the left holding an axe and the one on the right holding a paddle (rivers were the mode of transportation for getting cut logwood back to the settlement; the logwood cutters found themselves paddling further up stream to find fresh logwood areas).

3. A shield showing the tools of the mahogany trade including a paddle, squaring axe, beating axe, saw and ship (Most of the Mahogany was shipped to Great Britain where it was in much demand for creating fine furniture).

4. A flowing scroll bearing the Latin motto "sub umbra floreo", meaning "under the shade I flourish", or/and implying "under the shade of the mahogany tree we flourish".

The Blue is the dominant party colour for the People's United Party (PUP)

The Red is the dominant party colour for the United Democratic Party (UDP). The PUP was in power at the time of independence (Sept 21st 1981) and naturally their colours would dominate. However, a bi-partisan committee for the designation of the official flag of Belize, which included representatives of the UDP agreed to or rather compromised to include the red horizontal stripes (red being the dominant party color for the UDP). This in my opinion was a fair and sensible inclusion, since upon election, any self respecting UDP majority government's first order of the day would have been to change the flag to reflect their party colours. Thankfully the flag has been accepted and embraced by all Belizeans and remains the National Flag of Belize.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

David is fixing the sidewalk!

To avoid any other accidents on the sidewalk where Robbie slipped and fell, David is now lowering the cement steps from 2 inches to almost ground level. Now will be no danger of someone losing their balance on the edge. It is pretty hard work in the sunshine, so today we invited him to stay over lunch (usually he goes home) when Robbie made some hamburgers for Alexias birthday (yes, Robbie can cook with only one arm ... as long as I cut the onions and tomatoes and hold the pan handle when the burgers are flipped - Great teamwork!). We also had yummy lime pie (from our own limes) frozen and tart ("sauer") and very refreshing!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pictures from the Birthday Party at Rolson's Mexican Cantina!

OOOOOHH, farm-made aloe vera soap from Karli's Soluna Farm!! And then there is Alexia with Robbie, and Joe and Hanna. Isn't that a great view from the verandah!


Yesterday was my birthday and although I had to work a bit in the morning, it was still a great day. Robbie and Macarena had arranged a surprise party for me and those two were really tricky :-) Macarena told me to be ready to go somewhere Monday at 5 pm, she would pick us up and didn't tell us where to. So we were all organized (David was at the house to watch the dogs), ready to go and she took us to Rolston's, a Mexican restaurant in San Ignacio with a great view of the town, good drinks, food and music.

Although I thought I recognized some cars in the parking lot it was still a wonderful surprise to see Joe, Teresa, Karli, Hanna and Alexia (a very nice French Canadian lady who works with Macarena at the real estate office). Robbie, of course, had been the one who had made all the calls, but she kept completely quiet about everything, so it could be a real surprise. The funny thing was that by early afternoon all my friends and family from Germany had called, but from my friends in Belize: not a sound ... so I said to Robbie: "How strange that I don't hear from them ...".

We had a wonderful time, lots of fun and it was really different for me not to organize something as usual. But that time will come!!! Robbies birthday in October is the perfect opportunity!!


That was kind of funny: the real butterfly sitting on the big plastic butterfly. Sometimes you really have to have your camera ready to go! We have a lot of butterflies right now, even the gorgeous Blue Morpho with its radiant colors (click here for a really pretty picture: - we haven't been able to take a picture of one yet). This one just sat on the big one and swung on its big spring wings :-)


As small as they are, but they sure make a lot of noise! Tiny little frogs, which are everywhere right now. We find them in the house, where they are carefully carried out by Robbie into the yard ...

Friends Aki and Sheree

Robbie made new friends a little while ago and we had them over for a very relaxing afternoon and a chat. There names are Aki and Sheree and they are lovely people. Here is Sheree in the hammock on the backporch and Aki sitting in the big recliner, working on his computer!

More babies... now birds...

When I tried to water one of my orchids on the front porch the other day, a very small bird came flying out of the pot, making a lot of noise, so I looked INTO the pot! The complaining bird was a female ruddy ground-dove ("Mittelamerikanische Taubenart: - only English"), a very tiny brown bird that we have in abundance ("Überfluss") in the yard at the moment. In the pot I found a nestling and an egg and I put the pot exactly in the same spot, so I wouldn't disturb the little family. We are now waiting for the baby bird to start flying - it could happen any day! Those birds have a very nice song and it is fun to watch them.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Gecko Baby

Narda, Teresas young sister from Honduras, helped me out in the house the other day and brought me super tiny eggs. They are so tiny and I would have never recognized them as what they are. Narda found them between pages of books ... She told me (which was difficult, because she only speaks Spanish - but we managed!) to put them in the sunshine and they would hatch soon. Which one actually did two days later! The last picture shows the gecko baby next to one of those ghastly ("grässlich") Doctor Flies, which really hurt when they get you! It stings horribly!! The other pictures are just from the birth process which was amazing to watch!


Pumping Iron David

David, our farm hand, is working out on the "machines" now, to get in the shape ... for the September celebrations ... for football ... for many reasons! That sure is an employee benefit!

Robbie's Fall and Rise

OUCH! Robbie fell really bad a few weeks ago on very slippery tiled steps outside and crashed into the toolhouse/outhouse with the forehead, which gave her a scar, and while falling also a broken elbow. It was 6 am in the morning and she was sitting outside in the grass calling out for me, but I was sleeping and it took a while until I registered it ... When I finally woke up and saw her sitting outside, with blood all over her face and holding the arm, I was pretty shocked. I called David to take care of the house and help me get Robbie to the car and then I took her to La Loma Luz, the 7th Day Adventist Hospital in San Ignacio. They took good care of her and the scar has healed nicely in the meantime. The arm is still in a cast ("Gips") and Robbie will have to wear it for another week or so. She was very lucky that not more happened and we are really grateful! AND, she never lost her smile :-)

More insects ...

A pretty Praying Mantis ("Gottesanbeterin") jumped on my shoulder the other day, Robbie came just in time to take a picture of it before it left again. Funny feeling on the skin ... but somehow I like those insects, they look so strange! And then the story with the murdered husbands ... ooooohhhh...


Insects ...

These spiders make beautiful webs within an hour, usually shortly after the sun goes down. Then they hunt all night, catching everything that flies in their path ... or walks into it ... YIKES!


Raku Ceramics

A couple of weeks ago, our Rotary Club had a Fundraiser at Andre and Nan's place in Bullet Tree, everybody could buy a clay pot and glaze it and then it got fired in a kiln ("Brennofen"). The technique originates in 16th century Japan, but has been modified. Find more on this Wikipedia website (Raku English, Raku German). We had a great time, lots of visitors and bystanders and made good money, which is urgently needed for our various Rotary projects. Here are my two pots: