Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa in Belize

It’s difficult to get my head around the fact that we are actually spending Christmas away from family and friends, in Belize! Luckily, we have some new friends to lessen the loneliness. Coming from the mountains of central Oregon, where already this winter the temperature has dropped to -20, to Central America where today’s temp hit 90, is taking some adjustment. Of course, getting away from the snow was one of the incentives for making the move. Art is pleased that he’s traded a snow blower for a rototiller. That’s another wonderful difference. It’s Christmas and we’re actually planting a garden. There are two growing seasons here. In Bend, it seemed a joke when they told us that we had a one month growing season. We found it to actually be the truth. We could have a nightly freeze almost any time of the year, leaving only August. Here in Belize cold is 50 degrees. It actually feels very cold at that temp, but the plants seem to love it. The lack of cold weather will keep us from growing many of the veggies that we’re used to, but we’ll adapt. At this point tho’ we can’t see ourselves living on hard corn and beans, which are what most folks are planting. I’m hoping for lettuce, onions & sweet corn.
A week ago I planted a border of zineas and some sunflowers and they’re up already. Wow! How rewarding is that. We had a dumping rain and they actually loved it. The trick to most of this will be to keep the bugs and birds at bay. Hoping the mylar tape will scare the birds and send them to other farms. Projects, projects, projects!
We’ve been invited to have Christmas dinner with some wonderful new friends, the Robersons. Just a small group of 40 for a sit-down dinner and then more folks for dessert. How lovely to be included. I’ve just finished baking two apple pies as our contribution. Beth was excited when I suggested them. I had seen apples in the market and found that they appear to be Granny Smith’s, but when I asked the lady in the stall what they were, she said “Mexican”. So much decent produce seems to come from there. The local produce is pretty scrappy. I hope ours will be better. We’re going to attempt to be as “organic” as possible.

What does Santa do when he makes the decision to move to the tropics. He brings down his suit and visits the kids, of course. Art has had a wonderful time bringing Santa to so many of the children in the area. For those of you not familiar with my wonderful husband, he has been a professional mall Santa for 9 years. This year he decided to forego the grueling 6 weeks and just visit the local kids here in Cayo.
He started at a party for the Anglican School in San Ignacio, which has a large population of AIDS affected children. The party was held at a club called Hodies where he saw about 100 children. Two days later he visited the Catholic school in Bullet Tree with 350 students. What a surprise at the size. We almost didn’t agree to going to the RC school because the principal kept asking “what will Santa be bringing for all the kids?” Of course, we all know that ALL gringos are wealthy. Ha! I made the initial visit to the school so that Santa wouldn’t be seen wandering in regular clothes. We agreed that we just didn’t have the funds to bring bags of goodies for 350 kids. One of the teachers phoned and begged him to visit. We did agree to buy some little sweets. As it turned out, most of the teachers had candy for him to hand out. The other school in the village is Adventist.
Last Saturday, our friend, Bill, who owns a little restaurant called “Mom’s” held a free party for kids. He furnished hot dogs and juice, a bag of fruit and a present for each child. About 45 folks donated gifts to the cause, but sweet Bill footed the rest from his own pocket. He doesn’t have a family and was so pleased to be able to do this for the children. In four hours, Santa (Art) saw over 600 children. Most were the local kids who had never seen Santa. They were in awe and so excited. When we got there at 2pm they were already lining up. Some of them waited in line for4 hours, just for the chance to touch Santa. Art was frustrated that he didn’t have the time to actually visit with them, but the crush of little ones dictated that he move them thru rapidly. A wonderful photographer, also named Art, took photos. All-in-all it was a fantastic day. Everyone was exhausted, but exhilarated to have had the opportunity to make a special day for the kids.


Bebedores do Gondufo said...


Anonymous said...

that's just great to have Santa come visit the kids! I'll bet it was something they won't forget!
I'd like to hear about how your veggie garden goes. So, you plant some veggies for dry season and some veggies for rainy season? How does that work?

kayo said...

there's LOTS of wonderful local produce, but it sells out EARLY (lol, like by 6 am) on Saturday one can find papayas, pitayas, crisp & lovely local lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, oranges, manzana bananas, "pumpkins" cocoyams, etc etc.

yes, much of it is "small" and odd-looking by US supermarket standards, but then, it doesn't have the agrobusiness 'advantage' of tons of fertilizers, pesticides, and modern harvesting equipment.

the trick is to get it from the small pickup trucks in the parking lot, before the stall vendors get to it, and oh, it's so CHEAP in bulk... a cubetta (sp?) of tomatoes or HUGE bunch of local callaloo costs a fraction of the US price.

love & hugs, and WISH I'd gotten to see Santa... didn't know he was making his debut local appearance !!!