Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fast food in Belize City...

We've been to Belize City several times. but never stopped at this restaurant before.  Typical fast food here is buying a plate of rice & beans with stewed chicken, or maybe some Mexican tacos, or some fried chicken with french fries.  All of which we have enjoyed plenty of times when we are hungry and in a hurry.

Yesterday after getting our errands done we took the time before the one hour drive back to Belmopan to stop in and see what Jamboree's had to offer.  The selection ranged from burgers, to fried chicken, to fish & chips, or even salads.  Pretty much the standard fast food fare you would expect if this place were located in the US.  It was clean and the staff was kind.  We got there in the late afternoon.  Way after the lunch rush but too soon for dinner.  There was only one other family there with us.  All in all, it was a pleasant stop with filling and yummy food!

Monday, April 29, 2013

What's in the news in Belize? Triple Murder

This weekend we heard reports of a young mother drowning three of her four children. Today there was confirmation of the story and details were released by the police.

Here is the story as reported by Patrick E. Jones on Facebook:  
TRIPLE MURDER: Police today released details of the tragedy that unfolded on Saturday afternoon in which 3 young children drowned, allegedly at the hands of their mother, identified as Felicia Chen, 22. The victims of the drowning are:Triana Teul, 4; Thomas Teul, 3 and Trinaya Teul, 1. According to the police report, Felilcia Chen went to Belizean Beach on Saturday morning with her four children. Police say that when Chen arrived she “took all her four children and walked with then into the sea until all three were drowned.” The eldest child, Trina Teul, 6, reportedly ran out of the sea and alerted someone on the highway of the incident. Police say the bodies of the deceased children were identified by their grandmother and taken to the KHMH where autopsies will be carried out. Police have since detained the mother of the children, Fellicia Chen, pending the outcome of the investigation.
As I was doing research about this young mother I found another story on Facebook that tells some of her tragic history:

Felicia: student, mother, accused of Filicide
by Jose Sanchez (Notes) on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 2:00pm
When I taught in a classroom, there was this vibrant third forms group 3B2. I had recently migrated from the public school system to a private one. 3B2 students had a good mix of energy from all parts of Belize City, there were students also from P.G. It was easy to notice when one is falling behind because there were so many of them who held promise and an excess of energy. Some students were talking about attending UWI, others were talking about careers. It was a different tune to listen to, as the stories at public high school that I heard were more of this sort “Sir, we can go there?” In response to asking them to view an exhibit at the Image Factory. Or “Sir, police raid my house last night and we had to go to station because they found weed my brother hustle with. Nonetheless, early on that year I had second period Lit. with 3B2. The class would be empty as the girls moved on to third period in the bio./chem. labs. So while I went over some work in the empty classroom, that is when Felicia walked in maybe on two occasions. The school had a system, so after clearing with the office she stopped by her homeroom to take her bags. I asked her about her tardiness. She could only say that she got late taking the bus. But I noticed her repeated absences and I asked her homeroom teacher. But apparently she was being taken in by this school as a ‘comeback kid’ after pregnancy elsewhere. The education system did not give up on her, and this particular institution which has been famed in literature for being harsh on pregnant teens, was giving her a chance. Pregnant teens don’t march for graduation, but they can get their diploma. They may take an exam, but not with their class. I repeat, this part of the system did not give up on her. I also asked her classmates, the ones who had that excessive energy to look into her but they said instantly that she kept to herself. She did not complete the term. The next time I saw Felicia it was on  the January 5, 2009 on News5.

Eighteen year old Felicia Chen, pregnant, and her one year old baby Trina Teul, were hit by a bus. The bus ran over Chen’s left leg and the toddler was bruised and under the bus.

Felicia Chen, Accident Victim

“I was going shopping because I was eight months pregnant so I had to buy the rest of stuff because I don’t know when I would have the baby... I just put my one year old on top of the sidewalk and as I was about to put my foot on the sidewalk I just felt something hit me hard right here. And the next thing I know I just looked and I saw my one year old underneath the bus. And she was, she was just vomiting everything up and then I tried to stop the bus but the bus didn’t want to stop and so my foot went underneath the tire and I was holding the tire and I was holding the tire and I told them to stop because I did not want them to ride over my baby.”

“The only thing I worry about is my baby girl because she is the one that is really traumatized in all this. I feel very sorry for her because she was born premature already, she is a sickly baby and now all of this that went on, I don’t know if she’ll ever get better after this. I just want to tell everybody whoever saw it what happen, please contact my mom or please go to the police station and make a report please because for one I won’t have my life back and worst my daughter because she is in complete shock right now.

I was surprised to see that she was on child number two. Eighteen and two children. She should be like the rest of her former classmates, having fun somewhere dancing, being foolish in love, studying at sixth form...maybe just finishing high school.

But now she’s at the police station being questioned about the death offour year old Triana Elica Teul, three year old Thomas Edilberto Teul and one year old Trinaya Felicia Teul four year old Triana Elica Teul, three year old Thomas Edilberto Teul and one year old Trinaya Felicia Teul.  One year old, Felicia had barely rested from giving birth. Twenty three years old, unemployed, under educated, and being a mother from when the father could have been arrested for carnal knowledge. What hospitals did she give birth? What clinics did she attend? Why did social services miss this case? Let’s stop with the ‘why’ because when will it stop? should be the next question. And Trina, the girl who survived the bus accident and now the loss of her siblings, who will help her?

An article on CNN quotes Cheryl Meyer, a psychologist at Wright State University in Ohio and co-author of several books on the subject.  He said, according to the article  “it's probable that a mother kills a child somewhere in the U.S. once every three days.  One common trait among women who do not follow through on such harmful impulses is positive social support, she said. But many women are afraid of seeking help because they are afraid of being ostracized or accused of bad parenting... The Ohio psychologist says women who kill with purpose tend to be devoted mothers in their 30s who have suffered some kind of loss, and who murder all of their children at once by a violent means such as a knife or a gun. Those who kill by neglect tend to be younger and of lower socioeconomic status, who do not kill all of their children at the same time, and the cause of death is usually suffocation or smothering.”

Paula Bruce, clinical and forensic psychologist says cases, mothers who turn against their own children have chronic depression. Continual feelings of insufficiency and unexpressed anger can build up over time; killing one's own children is the "ultimate expression of rage," she said.  In some cases of filicide, the mother is unable to think about the experience of the child and can focus only on her own feelings of pleasure or distress, Bruce said."Getting rid of the children is just about getting rid of her own pain, not about thinking about the children as separate from her. Late this evening, Felicia was charges with three counts of murder. This afternoon, I went to buy some lunch and I saw one of her former classmates, Maya. I told her about it, she was surprised. Maya was having lunch with a friend at the Brodies deli having a good time as any person barely over twenty years should be. Felicia could have been sitting on the other end of that table.

Felicia Chen, Charged with 3 counts of Murder


The murder of these three precious children is such a tragedy and speaks to the need for wider spread access to mental health care here in Belize. As well as that this stigma regarding seeing a therapist needs to end. Fear of people thinking that everyone will know their problem or a fear of what the neighbors will think is killing the children here in Belize.  This girl began having children a year before the legal age of consent to sexual activity according to the laws of Belize and I am left to wonder if anyone was held accountable for that.  One reporter asked the question, "is she a victim or a murderer?"  My answer...she is both.  And sadly she will have to live the remaining days of her life with the consequences of both states of being.  And I pray that someone is there for little Trina, the survivor, as she moves forward in life and seeks to understand what happened that day.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

a reflection in a coconut shell...

 What I saw when I looked at the coconut shell...

What the camera showed me...

Stepping outside after a much needed rainfall a few weeks ago I notice pools of water in various objects, droplets of rain on flowers, and birds singing to each other in celebration. The rain cooled the air and brought peace in the midst of a muggy day. 

As I look at the second photo leaves from the plum tree stare back at me.  I think of seeing things dimly, the importance of focusing, and the need to pay attention to the little details.  On first glance I didn't see any leaves.  Without my camera I never would have noticed them.

This passage comes to mind as I contemplate the photo: 

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  1 Corinthians 13:12

How I long for the day when we shall see Him face to face.  How I yearn for the hour when I shall know fully. 

I am grateful for moments when His reflection is revealed,
and grateful for glimpses of the divine in small things,
like water-filled coconut shells after the rain. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Holding up traffic...

Last week there was a check point set up in the middle of the city.  It happened close to the Catholic church around the time kids were getting out of school.  It was an odd place and time to shut down the flow of traffic.  

I wonder how many violations they found that day and if it was worth it?

Since we rarely have traffic jams here in Belmopan...I had to snap a photo of the occasion!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ugh...back to the dentist.

I was supposed to be getting a crown done today.  But, no.  The tooth in front of the one needing the crown is having a problem.  The whole area is inflamed.  So I get to take antibiotics and wait.

Oh joy. 

I guess the silver lining is that today's appointment was quick because all she could was clean the area and give me medicine.  The cost for the cleaning and the medicine was only $12.50 USD.  Oh how I wish she were completely finished and I could put this all behind me.  Sigh.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Two are better than one...

We've used Skype or Facetime, or Google+ as the tools to keep in touch with Nathan and Spencer no matter where they are in the world.  Yesterday morning when my cellphone rang and I saw Spencer's name in the display... an actual international long distance phone call from India to Belize...I knew exactly what he was calling to tell me!!  It meant so much that they took the time to tell us personally and I am so grateful for that.  

It was not easy to wait until they made their public announcement.  I was ready to tell the world after hanging up the phone. This morning it was a thrill to wake up and see it officially on Facebook!  I took some screen shots so that I could always remember the joy of this day.

Meesha is the woman I have prayed for since the day Spencer was born.  They are such a great couple, we see so clearly how God brought them together, and how they were made for each other.  Three years ago Spencer arrived in Kona, Hawaii from Krasnodar, Russia.  Several months later Meesha came to Kona from Pune, India.  Both of them are biracial, and bi-cultural, and both of them are children of missionaries.  Their story is such a sweet one and their friendship is real and beautiful.

We are so blessed to be adding a daughter to our family...blessed indeed by her grace, her smile, her love of life, and her passion for God.  Her love for our son warms our hearts and we see how she completes him and fills him with peace.

We can say of him that he has found a good woman.
We can say of her that her worth is far above rubies.

And we can say of them that:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor;
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
And though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
Their relationship truly is a cord of three strands that will not quickly be broken!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Trying to eat and drink a little healthier so I whipped up a few treats to soothe my sweet tooth!

Tom called this one soylent green.
It was actually broccoli, apple, ginger and banana, with the juice of one lime.

 And this one is mango, papaya, banana, and coconut water.

Whether it's a fruit or a vegetable blend it's all tasty!  And I am looking forward to seeing what other combinations will come together based on what is available at the market.  I would love to give making juice a try but the cost of juicers here is unreal.  So I'll stick with my blender and use my money to buy more produce and make more smoothies!  

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Body is Precious...

In tonight's news, here in Belize, is a story about a new children's book:

Special Book Launch for Children

The office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children along with the Ministry of Human Development and the United Nations Children’s Fund this morning launched “My body is precious” a book for little ones discussing the topic of child sexual abuse.

The book depicts three children discussing their knowledge of good and bad touch, and the person who blew the life into these characters is Starla Bradley Acosta, the Director of the Community Rehabilitation Department in the Ministry of Human Development.  She told Love News that her inspiration came in part by the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis Barrow who approached her about writing a book on the topic.

Starla Bradley Acosta:
"She approached me through the CEO at the time, even before I was working at the ministry to partner on this project and I immediately said yes because talking about the issue of sexual abuse, it has to start in the home; it's the parents' responsibility to have that discussion.  We are not taking that away from the parent but we are hoping to help the parents by giving them this book as tool to become comfortable with the information and to talk to their children about sexual abuse and to transmit some of the family values that they want their children to have.  It's a primary prevention tool, it's prevention education; this by itself can't stop sexual abuse if a perpetrator is more powerful but it's the first line of defense, if you will, in the sense that is gives children that voice, it teaches them that their bodies are precious , that it should be respected and each part  should be called by name and that other people should respect it too.  Regarding, the distribution, right now we are targeting from Infant 2 to Standard 2 and each child countrywide is going to get a copy but really and truly it's for early childhood up to about 8 or 9 years old; from very young, from the time you start reading to your baby you can start reading this book to them and it's something we hope will not just be read once."

The launching of the book took place at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts and featured the welcome address by Kim Simplis Barrow and remarks by the Minister of Education Patrick Faber and Country Representative for UNICEF, Christine Norton.  Various primary schools attended and were delighted to a skit portraying the plot of the book.

Friday, April 12, 2013

To market, to market...

If you need furniture, flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, shoes, clothes, or household goods...the market is the place to go.  Market days here in Belmopan are Tuesday and Friday.  It's best to go in the morning if possible.  By the late afternoon many of the vendors are packing up for the day.

I walked 2.6 miles getting my shopping done.  That mileage includes the walk to and from my house.  I found the produce that I needed, got some more seeds for my garden, and picked up a few outfits as well.  Most of the clothing is used and comes from the U.S.  If you have the patience to dig through the clothes on a table or look through racks hanging up inside the tents...you can always find a bargain or two! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Truth vs Confusion

Confusion doesn't have much to offer to us spiritually.  There are days when my mind feels like those tangled branches in my photo.  If I don't get enough sleep, or have been too busy, I just cannot seem to focus on Truth.  

Today I spent time at a Women's Bible study, time at the office, time in my garden, and time outside walking.  Each activity had a clear purpose and there was no confusion as to what was expected out of me.  Hearing from Him throughout the day is calming and reassuring.  I feel grateful for the days of purpose.  I even feel grateful for the errors I make from time to time because they bring me closer to Truth.   

Seeing these branches in our yard reminded me that I don't want my mind or my relationships or our ministry to be tangled and confused.  I want clarity.  I want purpose.  And I want peace in all of those areas.  

My prayer is to embrace the role of Truth seeker each day. 
And may confusion stay far far away from me.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

what makes your garden grow...

I'm trying my hand at gardening...these are watermelon plants.  I've planted cilantro and onions and I would love to get some tomatoes planted as well. 

One of my favorite memories from childhood is being at my grandparents house and helping out in their garden. The first thing my Paw Paw let me plant was a pumpkin.  I started off okay with watering but then as kids do I got bored.  But thankfully my pumpkin was planted near a well so even though I was derelict in my watering duties from time to time it was still taken care of. 

The best part of that first gardening experience was the beautiful pumpkin pie my Big Mama baked utilizing my pumpkin. Hopefully, I'll have the joy of cooking with produce from my own garden soon!
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Monday, April 08, 2013

gratefulness, gratefulness, is what You want from me...

We are so grateful for the missionary community that is here in Belize.  There are several local missionaries who meet together regularly to support one another, network, and brainstorm together.  Tom put the word out that we needed someone who could help fix the tiles in our bedroom.  A fellow missionary responded and actually came and did the work himself.  We are so blessed that he was able to make time for us!

Back in January we had some tiles buckle...

Tom and Spencer were able to take up the damaged tiles.and save the ones that were not affected.
On Friday Rich came over to begin repairing the floor.

He'll be back on Wednesday to grout the floor.  We are so grateful to see progress on this project.  Our house is beginning to feel like a home again and not a construction zone. 

Friday, April 05, 2013

Spring cleaning...

Most of our neighbors were working on their houses before Christmas.  So, we're a little late with our 'spring cleaning'.  

We hired our gardener and his family to scrape the old paint and scrub the mold in preparation for painting.  They did such a great job with the clean up that when they asked about actually painting the house we wanted to give them the work. 

Here are a few before shots...

and here are a few after shots...

While the grownups were at work... the little daughter had her own projects going on!

They are coming back later today to finish off the front of the house.
It's good to see our home looking fresh and new again!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Let His peace rule...

Lord, help me to remember to keep my focus on You and not on my circumstances.   

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Pineapple Salsa

Making this salsa was very simple.
I used half of a fresh pineapple, diced (about 2 cups)
1 medium size red onion, diced
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
Plus the juice of 1 lime.
Mix until combined.

I let it sit overnight in the fridge.   It can be eaten with tortilla chips or you can serve it with chicken or fish.  But, no matter how you eat it...it's yummy!

Monday, April 01, 2013

Easter weekend joys!

Good Friday started off with welcoming a new little sister in Christ!

Resurrection Day was a great celebration for our Bethel Disciples family...

This was our first meeting under the new roof.  One year ago a ground breaking service was held on the property.  It is exciting to watch the progress as God provides the funds and workers for it to move forward.

Around 300 people came together to celebrate the Risen King!

Watching children get caught up in Toni's Easter lesson was a joy...

And we finished off our fellowship time with a potluck at Max and Patty's house.
This was our third Easter here in Belize.  Our first year we celebrated with friends from Canada who came down for a week.  Our second year we had Spencer at home with us.  And this year it was just the two of us at home but we were graced with plenty of 'family' to rejoice with.  God has blessed our time in Belize and we are excited to grow in Him along with our brothers and sisters in Christ at Bethel!