Friday, March 30, 2012

What's in the news in Belize?

Man Caught Allegedly Trying to Traffic a Teenaged Girl 

53 year-old Jose Alfaro, a Guatemalan businessman of Ladyville, was arraigned for attempting to commit human trafficking when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith.

It is alleged that sometime between February 22 and March 16 of this year, and on March 17, he tried to recruit a 16 year-old female minor to become a prostitute in his bar in Ladyville.

Alfaro pleaded not guilty to two counts of the same charge, but he couldn't be granted bail because the prosecutor objected on several grounds.


The prosecutor told the court that Alfaro is a flight-risk because he is a Guatemalan national. Secondly, the prosecutor asked the court to consider the serious nature of the crime, its penalties, and the age of the victim. He also objected to bail on the grounds that he may be able to interfere with the victim and the witnesses.


After considering the prosecutor's objections, Chief Magistrate Smith remanded Alfaro to prison and adjourned the matter until April 26.




Legalize it!  Regional Security Meeting Discusses Drugs 
A regional security meeting was held over the weekend in Guatemala. It was billed as a summit but only two heads of government attended. 


Panama’s president Ricardo Martinelli and Costa Rica’s President Laura Chinchilla were in Antigua for the meeting. Belize was represented by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington and Minister of National Security John Saldivar. Representatives from Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua also attended the meeting which was chaired by Guatemala’s President Otto Perez Molina. 


The meeting was proposed by Perez Molina to legalize drugs in the region as part of a regional security plan. The Guatemalan president proposed several options for dealing with drug-related violence in Central America, including creating a regional court to try drug trafficking cases, getting economic compensation from the United States for seized drugs and decriminalizing the transport and consumption of drugs. 


Panama’s president said that the proposal deserved more consideration and analysis. The leaders did not come to an agreement during Saturday’s meeting but Perez Molina described the summit as a success. Elrington and Saldivar have returned to the country, but we have not confirmation as to what position Belize took at the meeting.




Taxicab Operator Propositions Female Passenger
Lincoln Miguel, 38, a taxicab driver of Belize City, was today brought before Magistrate Hettie-Mae Stuart to answer charges of unlawful imprisonment and common assault.
  
It is alleged that on March 20, 2012, a 23- year-old female left her home and caught Miguel’s taxi, a grey Honda Civic bearing license plates #D6733, and asked to be taken to her work.
  
Whilst en route to her work, Miguel told her that he wouldn’t take her to work; that was when he asked her how much money she made and propositioned that he would pay her that amount of money if she stayed with him.
  
The female, who became fearful for her life, managed to jump out of the moving vehicle and run into her work place as the car was passing by.
  
No plea was taken from Miguel, but he was offered bail of $6,000 and a “suitable surety”; the bail was offered under the condition that he does not interfere with the complainant, her family or any of the prosecution witnesses.
  
Miguel could not make bail and was remanded to prison until his trial. The case was adjourned to May 2, 2012.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How many Belizeans are on Facebook?

Source

Have you ever thought about how many people use Facebook in the country where you live?  Belize ranks #157 out of 213 countries on Facebook.  To find out if there are Facebook statistics for your country you can check here:  Facebook Statistics.

This chart breaks it down by the age of Facebookers here in Belize:
Tom and I are part of the 5 % of Facebook users in Belize between the ages of 45-54.  It is not surprising that the majority of users are in the 18-24 bracket.  We started using Facebook when our sons were teenagers.  And now it is a way for us to connect not just with them, but with family and friends back home in the states and around the world.  

After reading these graphics I remembered that the Belize Census information that I posted back in November showed that 26% of Belizeans have computers and only 23% of Belize's population have internet access.  However, there are also internet cafes throughout the country and in Belmopan you can use the internet while you dine at the Bull Frog Inn or between classes at the University of Belize.  And some people have internet access on their cellphones.  Over at the iBelmopan blog they figured out that 90% of Belize's internet users are on Facebook.  That number is not at all surprising...it seems that everyone we know who uses the internet here in Belize has a Facebook account.  

So how about you...are you on Facebook?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

thought for today...let's go to Mercy's place


This photo was taken last year in Orange Walk.  We went there for both of us to speak at a Youth Rally put on by CDF.  On our way home we stopped at this street side stand to pick up some tacos.

The name Mercy's Place struck a chord with me.  I want to be in that place.  The place of God's mercy.  His mercy is a precious gift which is not based on what we do or don't do.  It is completely up to His discretion whom He chooses to grace with His mercy.

We are seeing some clients in severely difficult situations right now...and we find ourselves calling out to God for mercy on their behalf.  Some are finding relief.  But, a few are feeling the heat turned up even higher as they are caught in the wake of someone's sinful choices.  And yet we know that God is faithful.  And in His time He will set them free.

Meanwhile...we keep praying...we keep crying out to Him.  And we keep trusting Him for mercy.


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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sugarcane and peanuts...an afternoon snack!

Frequently when we are in the office at CDF there is a man who comes by selling sugarcane and peanuts.  We have always smiled at him and said  "no, thank you".  On this particular day we decided to say "yes".

Tom and I are not new to seeing peanuts in the shell so we didn't need a tutorial on how to eat them.  But, neither one of us had ever tried sugarcane before so we had to ask what to do.  One of the girls in the office, Shelly,  taught us to just chew on the sugarcane but not actually eat it.  She even claimed it was good for cleaning your teeth.  Her statement made me curious about the benefits to eating sugarcane...so I turned to Google to investigate.

According to LIVESTRONG.com
Raw sugarcane has fewer calories than refined sugar and contains no saturated fat, cholesterol or sodium. Per teaspoon, raw sugarcane provides 2 percent of the daily value for carbohydrates needed for muscles and brain cells. Sugarcane's juice is a source of iron for the production of hemoglobin; B vitamins, especially niacin and B-6; and calcium, magnesium and phosphorus for strong bones and potassium, essential for the proper functioning of the body's cells, tissues and organs.

And the article goes on to say "that antioxidants in some sugarcane concentrates exceed that of many existing commercial antioxidant supplements and many natural foods including prunes and raisins".

I really love it that we enjoyed something fun to eat, lightly sweet, and that it is actually good for you.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Mementos make a house a home...

We have been in this house for over a year.   

Usually it takes me much longer than 12 months to make a 'nest'.  Growing up in a military family I got used to moving around.  And Tom and I have also made our share of moves over the 30 year life of our marriage.  

This weekend we realized that we needed to get some personal items on the walls and truly make this house a home.  We don't own much...the boxes we packed  up in Russia and will never receive contained many of the gifts and treasures from our travels. 

But, I still have a few crosses.  Enough to call a collection. 
And we have the gift of memories that no one can ever steal from us.

As I continue counting to One Thousand Gifts I choose to add these blessings to my list:

582. the gift of precious moments and the memories we share as a family.



583.  a treasure from island of Cyprus made by the ladies of Lefkara


584.  remembering time spent in Rome babysitting for a dear friend


585.  collecting bamboo on the shore during our 30th Anniversary trip to Maya Beach


586.  the incredible depth of His Amazing Grace


587.  a precious treasure given to Tom by Alexei before we left Russia

588.  Tom helping me with repairing the cross I made

and a few gifts from daily life:
589.  Going out for ice cream with Gene and Liz after Bible study Wednesday evening.

590.  Lunch with Patty and Max after church on Sunday.

591.  Enjoying an episode of Amazing Race with Tom and Spencer that was filmed in Azerbaijan.

592.  sunsets that take my breath away.

and gifts found in the Word:

593.  He will strengthen us when needed Isaiah 41:10
594.  His goodness 1 Chronicles 16:34
595.  His righteousness  Psalm 7:17
596.  that He increases the power of those who are weak Isaiah 40:28-29
597.  His perfect faithfulness  Isaiah 25:1
598.  that He watches over us  Psalm 121
 599.  He knows us intimately Psalm 139:1-5, 13
600.  that His promises never fail  Joshua 23:14




 joining in with the gratitude community:

Friday, March 23, 2012

My cross broke

Now, I realize that there may be a great spiritual application to the title of this post... but today... it really is about a craft item and not about my walk with the Lord. 

It is a simple styrofoam form covered with twine and embellished with a charm from an old necklace.  But, I made it...so it was special to me.  I had it on my dresser because I was still deciding where the best place would be to display my creation.  One morning I knocked it over.  And it broke.  

At first I couldn't decide how to make the needed repairs..   I mean, I didn't have a lot of experience with styrofoam.  My first thought was to heat up my glue gun and see what I could do.


 

Tom suggested using toothpicks to reinforce the area before I glued it back together.


and it worked out perfectly!
 
I am so glad to have him on my team!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How much sugar are you consuming?

Source
Have you seen this chart on Pinterest

I am fascinated by the comparisons.  But, each time I look at it I end up wanting to eat something sweet.  Sugar has always been my weakness...and my goodness that Cinnabon Cinnamon roll looks good. But, it is more likely that I will eat watermelon or some pineapple because there are no Cinnabon stores in Belize!

Is there anything on this chart that surprised you?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

thought for today...


This photo was taken near a waterfall on the grounds of Cisco Citrus.  We had to cross over this bridge to walk up to where the fall is located.  Keeping our feet on the path was important but also difficult.  The bridge was slippery.   It was an unexpected stop for us so we were not dressed for a hike.  But, God protected us.  No one slipped.

I know that there are times when God's hands are on us, guiding us, directing us, and we may not even realize it.  But on this occasion God's literal protection and care was evident to us all.  We stuck to the path that was laid out for us and we all made it safely to the waterfall and back.

Praise God for the faithfulness of His word!

linking up with:
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Corn dogs, Cake Dogs or Cup Pups?

Have you ever had one of those days where you forgot to defrost the meat 
and needed to think of something quick and easy for dinner?

 Well, I have... and this was one of those days.

I call these Corn Dogs Without A Stick... but, Tom calls them Cake Dogs or Cup Pups.
Actually, no matter what you call them, they are easy to make and tasty to eat!  




I mixed up 1 box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix according to directions on the box, poured the mixture into muffin tins and then added sliced hotdogs in each one.  The first photo above just shows one slice of hotdog in each muffin but I used one hotdog cut in thirds in each muffin.  It takes 15-20 minutes to bake and voila!  You have dinner.  I topped mine with honey mustard but Tom ate his plain.

So what would you call them?

A Stylish Little Lady

Monday, March 19, 2012

the gifts of breaking ground...

Yesterday we attended a ground breaking service for the church that we've been attending.  It was exciting to be a part of this new phase in the life of Bethel Disciples Church.

The church property will not only benefit the congregation here in Belmopan but also the sister churches in the various villages.  It was such a delight to see such a beautiful rainbow of people coming together to celebrate this step in the life of the ministry.

part of the worship team
 
the children's choir is so big I couldn't get them all in one photo!
 
Pastor Han playing the guitar while the children sang...
 
another view...
 
the Spanish worship leaders...


prayers were written on cards and taped to balloons...

leaders of the various sister churches preparing to launch the balloons...

balloons soaring into the skies...


officially breaking ground...


There were so many joys throughout the day...so much to celebrate!

568.  colorful bracelets on the arms of little girls...

 
569.  prayers attached to balloons...

570.  listening to Pastor Han preach in English while Phillip translated into Spanish

571.  being a part of such a diverse congregation
572.  truly feeling at home among this body of believers
573.  having a new believer lean over to me and ask if she belonged to the church now
574.  sitting next to her in the group photo
575.  enjoying a girls day out with several women from Bible study
576.  coming home to a hot meal waiting in the crock pot
577.  conversing with group leaders from the Women's conference back in March
578.  hearing stories about 'the way it used to be' when they were growing up here in Belize
579.  touring the Good Shepherd clinic run by a nurse down in San Jose Succotz
580.  the beauty of the peace-filled grounds
581.  having a blog post featured in the Cayo Scoop!  Best of Cayo E-Magazine
 

 joining in with the gratitude community:

Friday, March 16, 2012

oh, the places you'll go!

Last Saturday Tom and I took a walking tour of the Community Baboon Sanctuary (CBS).  This was one of the items that I have on my list of Things to do in Belize.  So I was thrilled and grateful when our friends, Andrea and Dion, invited us to go out there with them. 

The sanctuary was founded in 1985 by an American Primatologist, Dr Robert Horwich, and a Belizean landowner in Bermudian Landing, Fallet Young.  From its beginnings with 12 landowners it has grown to have the support of over 200 private landowners.  CBS focuses on four main goals-- Conservation, Education, Research and Tourism.  And not only does it provide protection for the estimated 2000 Black Howler Monkeys in the area it also serves to protect the flora and fauna as well.  


Here are just a few of the photos I took on our tour:

the museum...

warning about feeding and littering...


inside the museum...


Robert, our tour guide, led the way...


Robert was great at pointing out the various birds...he saw this tanager long before we did.


this is one of the two large lizards we saw in the area...


we saw a total of five monkeys...1 male, 3 females and 1 baby.




here is the baby peeking out to see us... the funny looking creatures down below!


these "baboon crossings" help ensure that the monkeys can safely cross the roads... 

The tour we took was a nature walk through the private lands.  It is mandatory to have a guide with you on the tour.  Along with the nature walks they offer night hikes, river tours, crocodile night tours, and birding.

Our walk was confined to Bermudian Landing but there are also things to see and do in the villages of Big Falls / St. Paul's Bank, Willow's Bank, Double Head Cabbage, Isabella Bank, Scotland Half-Moon, and Flowers Bank as well.

Please go to the website http://www.howlermonkeys.org/ to learn more about the sanctuary or about how you can get involved with the work that CBS is doing.  You can also check them out on Facebook.

And if you come to Belize... the sanctuary should definitely be on your list of places to go!