Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Palapa roofing process

We are staying at the Copa Banana in Corozal. Our hosts explained that this summer's tropical storm left their pier and palapa damaged, but not un-useable. With the high season upon them, it was decided to replace the palm tree trunk pier posts with poured concrete posts and rebuild the palapa.

What a process! The pier walkway was evaluated and the old planks were replaced. One at a time, each palm tree trunk post was removed and replaced with a 400lb concrete post. Fortunately the water is less than waist deep as they dropped the concrete post from the pier into the water and guided it into the hole where the palm trunk had been.

Concrete posts in place, begin palapa construction
To rebuild the palapa took a crew of 5 about 3 days. The traditional roof was created first then the thatch was applied. The thatch had been pre-batched and tied together--like grabbing a large handful of spaghetti and tying one end together to hold the bunch so that, handful by handful, anchored with wire the individual bunches are then attached to the roof's skeleton. A rectangular crown made of branches is applied to the top of the roof for support and stability.

Scaffolding - OSHA approved?
Looking up inside the palapa roof
The end of an 8 hour day!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Challenge Gobie Bike Ride - A Weekend in Belmopan

The 5th Anual Challenge Gobie Foundation Bike Ride, a grueling 125 mile trek, began in Corozal late night Friday, February, 15, 2013 and ended for the exuberant participants mid-day Saturday at the Roaring Creek Golf Course in Camalote -- outside Belmopan.

The Challenge Gobie Foundation is a charity organization founded by Alan Gobie. Our mission is to assist Belizeans who are in need of medical care but cannot afford it. We are a relatively new organization so we only assist on a small scale.  However, we are involved in our first big project at the moment.  The Challenge Gobie Foundation's BIG GOAL is to raise One Million Dollars to assist with the construction of a brand new, state-of-the art Children's Intensive Care Unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City!!!  This is a project being spearheaded by Kim Simplis' Special Envoy for Women and Children in collaboration with Project Cure, KHMH, and the Ministry of Health.

Who is Alan Gobie?
Alan Gobie is the Production Manager at Belize Natural Energy Limited.  The idea for the foundation came about in 2007 when Gobie's wife started to lose her battle with cancer.  A frequent traveler of the Hummingbird Highway himself, Gobie as he prefers to be called, decided that it would be nice to complete the journey to Big Creek on a Mountain Bike. He would raise funds by asking people to bet on whether he would be able to complete the 130 miles bike ride.  Through friends, acquaintances and business partners locally and abroad he was able to raise just under $70,000.  That was the start of Challenge Gobie Foundation.

Alan Gobie

The participants were cheered on by family, friends and supporters as they crossed the finish line this afternoon. Some bikers were in matching team gear-yellow, black, blue, green- while others donned their individuality. The party was set: music, food, beverages, and ample tent space for the crowd. Raffle tickets had been on sale for quite a while - the grand prizes were 2 Great Wall Wingle trucks. The lucky winners were announced on live radio! This event was well attended and we hope  many dollars were donated to help such a worthy cause! 
At The Finish Line

Here comes the peleton!

In the peleton

More of the peleton

Still more!

Family and Friends at the Finish

Cheering On the Riders!

Whew - Finished!


A Well Deserved Break

The Festivities Tent Area

Buying Raffle and Lunch Tickets

2 Trucks Won

More Festivities

Ride Tee's


Kudos Jennie, Paul and volunteers for all your effort helping this worthy cause!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Belmopan Humane Society Fundraiser - A Weekend in Belmopan

We drove the 3 hours to Belmopan and easily found our hotel for the weekend, The Hibiscus Hotel www.hibiscusbelize.com located on Melhado Parade, immediately off Ring Road and nestled within the International Embassies and Belize Government buildings.  An unassuming treasure, for $55USD/night we stayed in a king bed room, clean and comfortable. The owners are young and energetic, the property is well kept with an excellent restaurant/pub- "Corker's"- and 50% of the profit is donated to the Belize Bird Rescue www.belizebirdrescue.com.

Hibiscus and Corker's

Our friends Robby and Joyce Robinson, who live outside Belmopan, invited us to attend the Belmopan Humane Society www.belmopanhumanesociety.com Valentine's Day Cocktail Fundraiser which was held at the UK High Commission Complex. We dressed up in our Sunday best and arrived at the gate, our names were on the guest list (after being checked for security clearance a few days prior) we were directed to the clubhouse for the party. The party decorations were all Valentine's Day themed--red, white and pink abounded - and the majority of people were festively dressed in red. Raffle tickets were sold, entry tickets were gathered, beverage tickets sold and a silent auction completed the fundraising menu. Hors d oeuvres were freely passed around the crowd as music filled the air. Prizes and silent auction items were awarded all through the night - golf balls, wines, jewelry, acrylic painting (by Carolyn Carr), brownies, cakes, chocolates, perfumes - something for everyone! We had a great time and understand some of the party-goers stayed until 3:30 a.m.!! 

Kudos to the Board of Directors:

Chairman - Dewey Morison; Treasurer - Graciela Diaz; Secretary - Lilly Morison; Directors - Tom Tullsen, Kenisha Hoare and Roberto Guerra; Patron - Phyllis Kadle.

We hope that the success of the evening will help support the Belmopan Humane Society's objectives:

  • To organize activities and services that promote responsible pet care.
  • To reduce the unwanted pet population through an affordable spay/neuter program.
  • To provide temporary shelter for animals in need.
  • To provide a facility that can function as a hurricane shelter for animals.
  • To offer education about care and treatment of pets and promote a bond of caring between humans and all animals, domestic and wild.
Silent Auction Table

Another Silent Auction Table

More of the crowd

DJ and MC

At the Bar
Joyce, Dewey and Lilly

All In Red!
Joyce, US Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally, Babs

Dancing with the US Deputy Chief of Mission Margaret Hawthorne

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

OMG This Is So Cool! Santa Rita Ruins-an active archaeological dig!

Santa Rita Ruins December 15, 2012
Before Excavation
Rumor had it that the Santa Rita Ruins in Corozal were to be excavated and rebuilt with the ultimate plan to create a "wedding garden" complete with flower gardens and an area for parking.

February 6, 2013

Curious, we stopped by. Sure enough, men, wheelbarrows, picks, shovels and trials abounded. We approached and were welcomed to the dig site by the excavation foreman, Andreas Novello. Andreas, we came to find out, had worked his way from caretaker to manager of several of the Belizean Mayan sites. He was extremely knowledgeable in the excavation process and the history of the Maya in Belize. He took the time to explain to us what they were doing currently and what they planned to do over the next couple of months.

Left Side of Staircase Excavation
February 6, 2013
Left Side of Staircase from Base Corner
February 6, 2012

Plaza Level From Left Base Corner
February 6, 2013
Andreas Novello

Getting back to the dig, he turned us over to the restoration manager Jorge Can.  Jorge continued the lecture, showing us a had drawn sketch of what he expects to find as the temple is excavated, and explaining to us that they had just unearthed a tomb--literally 2 feet from where we were standing at the base of the temple steps! This tomb contained 2 skeletons, some broken pottery, a pelican bowl and jade. All the artifacts had been sent to "the lab" for cataloging and identification and possibly reconstructing the pottery.

Shadows Peering Into the Tomb
As we stood with Jorge,  Andreas had begun to use a trial on an area about 20cm down from the surface of the plaza floor and began to find pottery pieces, feet of pots, some chards of engraved pottery and a piece of green obsidian! Jorge explained to us that the obsidian piece was indicative of trade as it is not found in Belize but in Pachuca, Mexico. This particular piece, chisled down to what appeared to be a knife, could have been used in a blood-letting ceremony at the temple and had been intentionally broken to "release" the spirit of the obsidian--everything created for Mayan use had a spirit and it was to be released at the end of the use of the object. I was thrilled to be the 2nd person, in modern times, to touch some of the artifacts and place them into the site bag!

Obsidian Knife Blade
We intend to return to the site on a weekly basis and see the progress they make.

February 13, 2013

So this week we stopped by after hearing that Dr. Jaime Awe would be on site. OMG! As we approached the temple, displayed on 2 tables were recent clay "finds"---a pelican bowl, a large incendiary pot with most of 2 seated figures supporting the bowl, several bird heads, some feet of bowls and a black obsidian knife 
blade. Dr. Awe was in deep conversation with a representative of the US Embassy, the workers were working on the right side of the central staircase, and several of us gawkers just walking around taking pictures and looking.
Jorge Can with Pelican Bowl

Pelican Bowl

Pelican Bowl

Broken Incindiary Bowl and Cup

Clay Artifacts

February 13, 2013
Crew Working on Right Side of Staircase
February 13, 2013
Right Side Excavation