Tuesday, October 26, 2010
For the first time since Hurricane Hattie in 1961, Belize was in the direct path of a hurricane. Richard made landfall from Belize City on the north to the Toledo District on the south. It kept heading due west, on to the Cayo District. Bullet Tree Falls Village is about 3 miles NW of San Ignacio in Cayo.
We spent the late afternoon with several friends at the home of a lovely couple who are new friends. Doris is German and Walter is Austrian. Besides being about the nicest people you'd ever want to meet, she's an incredible cook. They invited several couples over as a thank you for making them welcome to the community. I won't even try to describe the food, but she must have cooked for a week. Everything from a German beef stew, ham, vegetable casseroles, fruit salad and the most incredible homemade cheesecake. Yum! Anyway, we all had a delightful time, but the rains were starting and we knew that Richard was coming our way, so we headed for home. As we came down Paslow Falls Rd., we passed a street light (there are only two)the light went out and homes were dark. The electricity ends about a half mile before our road heads up the hill. It was a slippery drive up, but we made it fine.
We don't have real windows in our houses, only screens. We closed most of the shutters, just leaving a couple open to the back. We moved the truck into the middle of the drive so that if a tree went down it wouldn't be hit. We then settled down to watch a couple of videos. The beauty of being off-grid is that we can stay functional when the infrastructure is hit. Of course, that's only as long as our system isn't hit too.
Having lived at the Oregon coast, where the winds are cold and can really slam hard, we went to bed and slept soundly. Yesterday morning we woke to quite a sight. We were very fortunate to not suffer any damage to our buildings, but boy did the trees get pruned. We lost quite a few and have branches EVERYWHERE.
We walked down the road and there were several trees across. One was a huge Gumbalimba that was actually uprooted. We loaded our little chainsaw and some other tools into the truck and went to work. One blessing is that the Gumbalimba is very soft and cuts easily. At one spot it had a diameter of at least 2'. That sweet little Stihl handled the job just fine. I must admit the job just about did us in tho'. It's hard to admit that we have limitations. We got the trees cut up and moved, but both of us have strained muscles.
We had a phone call from our friend Diane, who said that some fellows came by from the "government" and were cutting trees for folks who needed assistance. Such timing. We had cut the trees that were the immediate problem, but there was a tree over the road leading to our neighbors place. A truckload of about 8 guys came up and made short work of that tree. They were having a good time, laughing and working. Turns out they're from the village, just helping out.
Today we're heading out to see what damage there was to the cleared property. When Rene comes next we'll have him take care of the property line fence.
We're so fortunate that the hurricane that finally decided to hit little Belize head on, was just a category one. We're also extremely pleased with the design of our buildings and where we chose to place them. Our little place and this old couple fared just fine. And Bailey too!