Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hurricane Ernesto Update

Hurricane Ernesto

Update for Hurricane Ernesto:

There is now a 10:00pm tonite until 10:00am in the morning curfew in place while the storm passes through Belize.  Only officials and workers that are on duty will be allowed out at this time.  No alcohol sales from noon until.  The San Pedro water taxis and Tropic Air discontinued services today at noon.  However, international flights into Belize have not been cancelled as of yet.  Evacuation is still on a voluntary basis.

More information from Tacogirl's Blog.

Rapid intensification of the storm has not happened yet but is still expected. We will experience sustained winds of 55 knots or 65 mph. Currently the Caribbean sea temperature is 29 degrees, 1 degree less than yesterday. It is expected that the storm will intensify before it makes landfall and is currently traveling West North West and will turn a bit south. All computer storm models are showing in sync with each other.

Time of Ernesto’s arrival will be within within 24 hours, winds will pick up to 80 mph by 6am and storm intensification will stop by 8am. Hurricane Ernesto is currently 250 miles east of Belize 180 miles away from Roatan Honduras. Ernesto will affect Honduras, the entire coast of Belize, Chetumal, east coast of Yucatan and end up at Bay of Campeche by Wed afternoon.

3-5 inches of rain is expected over a 24 hour period and will be more extreme over mountains on the mainland of Belize. Waves 2-4 ft over normal, Corozal may see more of the storm surge. At 8am during high tide we can expect up to 6 ft of waves. Night will be less as tide will be going out.

Low laying areas such as DFC, San Pedrito, Elliot subdivision and San Mateo will need to evacuate and find safer accommodations, 50% of San Mateo should not stay put and head to a shelter center by this afternoon. Those in safer houses need to make sure they have potable drinking water and adequate supplies. In San Mateo there is a risk pipes breaking and water contamination. Shelters at Shalom, Living Word Church and San Pedro High School will be open and taking people from 2:00pm -6pm. Strict shelter rules, NO candles or matches at shelters, NO pets, and bare minimum of stuff. People are requested to stay with friends and family first and use shelter only in the event they have no where else to go.

Lara Goldman HURRICANE TIP: Roll up towel in bottom of large trash bag. Place bag OUTSIDE door, pull opening of bag under the door so that the roll is flush with the bottom of the OUTSIDE of the door. Pull taunt. The water will press the towel and bag to the bottom outside of the door forming a seal against water. Putting on the inside of the door doesn’t do diddly. Lesson learned and tested to success in Hurricane Dean :)

Next NEMO meeting at 12:00 pm. If there is anything new to report I will update in this post, if you do not see any further updates consider it no news is good news and everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing and on track to keeping safe and sound.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ernesto Our First Hurricane in Belize

Tropical Storm Ernesto will be our first experience with a hurricane since our move to Belize.  So far the forecast is that it will be a category 1 hurricane when it comes ashore in Belize.  A category 1 can bring winds of 74-95 mph.  Everyone on the island for the most part is going about as usual.  Some businesses are closing tomorrow until the storm passes.  There is supposed to be some pretty gusty winds with this storm, so Bill is getting his pepper plants inside and protected from the storm.

I thought I would pass along some hurricane evacuation tips that I found on Tacogirls Blog.

Tropic Air Hurricane evacuation Tips:

In the event that we are facing a hurricane, Tropic Air will begin Evacuation Service immediately.

Tropic’s goal is to evacuate their customers as safely and efficiently as possible. Please help Tropic Air make your family evacuation plan safe and efficient by keeping the following tips in mind:

1.  A hurricane evacuation will begin when a storm is declared within the Hurricane Watch.
2.  Tickets are issued on a first come, first served basis.
3.  Please arrive at the Tropic Air with your luggage, two small bags per person, prepared to      evacuate.
4.  Owners of large pets that require kenneling must evacuate pets during the hurricane watch phase of the threat to San Pedro. No pet space will be available during the height of an emergency evacuation (Hurricane Warning).
5.  Please remember that cargo is on a space available basis, and over sized items will not be sent during this time.
6.   During an emergency evacuation Tropic Air will evacuate as many people as possible. Sometime during the Red Flag stage, Tropic will be forced to stop flying.

NEMO Hurricane Information:

Hurricane – A low pressure, large-scale weather system, which derives its energy from latent heat of condensation of water vapor over warm tropical seas, (may have a diameter of 93 to 621 miles, with sustained winds exceeding 116 mph, near the center with still higher gusts). (PAHO, 1992).

Hurricane Categories and Intensity Scale
Numbers range from one to five based on the hurricane’s present intensity which gives an estimate of the potential flooding and damages to property form a hurricane is as follows:

One: Winds 119-153 km h1 (74-95 mph)
No real damage to building structures; damage primarily to un-anchored mobile home, shrubbery and trees.

Two: Winds 154-177 km h1 (96-110 mph) Some roofing, door and window damage to buildings; considerable damage to vegetation, expose mobile homes, and piers. Small craft in unprotected anchorage’s break moorings.

Three: Winds 178-209 km h1 (111-130 mph) Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings, with a minor amount of curtain wall failures, mobile home are destroyed.

Four: Winds 210-249 km h1 (131-155 mph) More extensive curtain wall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences.

Five: Winds greater than 249 km h1 (155 mph) Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings, some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away.
The following scale was developed by Saffir and Simpson and is commonly known as the Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale (SSH) and was submitted by the National Meteorological Service.

Category 1 – Storm surge – up to 5 feet of water
Category 2 – Storm surge – 9 to 12 feet of water
Category 3 – Storm surge – 15 to 18 feet of water
Category 4 – Storm surge – 18 to 21 feet of water
Category 5 – Storm surge – 18 to 24 feet of water

Adapted from Health Sector Hurricane management plan 2000

Hurricane Warnings-The system of hurricane warnings is divided into four phases.

Phase I – Preliminary – One Red Flag – 21 N 80 W This Phase is declared by the Prime Minister after a tropical depression, tropical storm, or hurricane moves into or develops anywhere in the quadrant south of 21 degrees North Latitude and west of 80 degrees west Longitude.

Phase II – Red 1 – One Red Flag with Black Center – 20 N 84 W (24 – 36 hours) This Phase is declared by NEMO when a tropical storm, or hurricane moves into or develops anywhere in the quadrant south of 20 degrees North Latitude and west 84 degrees west Longitude.

Phase III – Red 2 – Two Red Flags with Black Center – 20 N 85 W (Likely to strike in a few hours)
This Phase is declared by NEMO when a tropical storm, or hurricane moves into or develops anywhere in quadrant south of 20 degrees North Latitude and west of 85 degrees West Longitude and appears likely to strike the coast of Belize in a matter of hours.

Phase IV – Green – Green Flag ALL Clear (has passed) This Phase is declared by NEMO after a tropical depression, tropical storm, or hurricane has passed, or no longer poses a threat to Belize and coastal waters.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Humane Animal Eradication Begins in San Pedro

A few weeks ago I blogged about the brutal stray dog eradication by strychnine poisoning by the San Pedro Town Council on July 9th.  Since that time, Bill Milstead with SAGA Humane Society (and my husband) and Dr.Laurie Droke with San Pedro Animal Hospital met with Mayor Daniel Guerrero to stop the eradication by strychnine poisoning after a national out cry from animal lovers about the inhumane process used to control the dog population in San Pedro. 

Mayor Guerrero agreed to stop the inhumane practice but also made it very clear that he is depending upon SAGA to handle the humane eradication of the island dogs in an efficient and timely manner or the town council will authorize the poisoning by strychnine poisoning again.  The first week of August SAGA will begin the process of picking up any stray animals on the streets and will do so on a continuing basis.  Any animal picked up will be held for 3 days.  If the animal has not been sprayed or neutered, SAGA will do so and the fees will be passed on to the owners.   If no one claims the animals, a decision will be made as to the adoptability of the animals and they will either be humanely euthanized or kept a short while longer in hopes of finding a good home for them.   
SAGA is asking for your help by donating, you can contribute by going by SAGA or through the website at www.sagahumanesociety.org.  SAGA is a 501c charity through the United States which makes your donation 100% tax deductible for Americans. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th, 6 Months of Living in Belize and Belizean Betty Friday

Today is Friday the 13th which is considered unlucky in Western superstition and it also marks our 6 month anniversary of living in San Pedro, Belize in Central America.  We flew to Belize on January Friday the 13th, 2012 and I am usually not superstitious, but our trip to Belize in January was definitely a Friday 13th kind of day.  I feel certain today, July Friday the 13th will not be as eventful.  You can read about our January, Friday 13th move to Belize here.

Interesting events that happened on Friday the 13th. (Information obtained from Wikipedia)

  • On October 13, 1307, Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay and several Templar Knights were arrested by King Phillip of France. Most were eventually tortured to death.
  • On January 13, 1939, the single worst bushfire in Australian history struck Victoria, Australia, claiming 71 lives and causing widespread damage.
  • On March 13, 1964, Kitty Genovese was murdered in Queens, New York. The lack of reaction by her neighbors has been called the bystander effect or "Genovese syndrome"
  • On October 13, 1972, Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed in the Andes. Books and movies told of the survivors' stories.
  • The renowned rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur was pronounced dead on September 13, 1996.
  • On November 13, 1998, Michel Trudeau, son of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was killed in an avalanche in Kokanee Lake, British Columbia
  • On August 13, 2004, Hurricane Charley slammed in to Southwest Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since 1992.
  • An engineering train on the Northern Line of the London Underground became uncoupled and went on a 13-minute journey southbound from Archway station, finally stopping at Warren Street tube station on the West End branch of the line on August 13, 2010. The train in front was forced to skip several stations and was diverted to the City branch of the line.[24]
  • On January 13, 2012, France, Austria, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Italy, Portugal and Spain had their credit ratings downgraded by Standard & Poor's[25][26][27]
  • On January 13, 2012, the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia sank in front of the island of Isola del Giglio, killing at least thirty-two aboard and injuring 64.[28]
  • North Korean satellite launch attempt Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 failed on April 13, 2012.
  • The asteroid 99942 Apophis will make a close encounter with Earth, closer than the orbits of communication satellites, on April 13, 2029.[29]
  • On April 13, 2012 at 8:30, an earthquake hit Palermo, Sicily, Italy with a 4.3 magnitude.
  • On April 13, 2012 at 4:00 PM a tornado hit Oklahoma.

Here are some Friday the 13th Belizean Betty pictures.

Betty is learning to write her name.  She is practicing her B's.

Betty started taking gymnastic classes.   Look at that smile.

Betty went to her annual 4th of July parade in Austin.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Brutal Dog Eradication by Strychnine in San Pedro

It should have read "Dogs Beware".


As many of you know, we moved to San Pedro, Belize this past January with our three Siberian Huskies.  They are part of our family and we could have never moved to Belize without them.  Back in the states Bill was on the Board for both CARA (Community Animal Rescue and Adoption) and Mississippi Spay and Neuter.  So naturally one of the first things he wanted to do when he got to Belize was help with SAGA Humane Society.

Our pups love riding around town in the golf cart.


Waiting for their daddy to get home.

In Belize dogs are not always looked at the same way as we do in the states.  Most of the local dogs do have homes and owners.  Most wear collars and all seem to be well fed.  But the dogs are allowed to roam about town and yes defecate on the streets and beaches.   A few weeks ago Bill signed on as the President for Saga and had a meeting with the Mayor of San Pedro about stray dogs running the streets.  The Mayor said he needed something to be done and Bill asked that he work with Saga and try to find a solution. 

We had heard about the way dogs in Belize and other 3rd world countries were poisoned in mass eradication roundups.  The last time this what they call "Bait Strychnine" happened in Belize was about 5 years ago when a mass poisoning eradication project was carried out in Belize City.  The San Pedro Humane Society heard about it and immediately contacted the Town Council and then Mayor Elsa Paz to have a meeting to suspend further eradication of stray dogs for the time being. 

Showing how dogs were poisoned with Strychnine.  (Reef TV)

Fast forward to July 9th, 2012.  Everyone is waking up and checking their facebook page, like we all do.  It has happened again on the streets of San Pedro.  31 dogs were poisoned during the early morning hours with Strychnine laced meat balls.  Yes at around 2:00am, these poor defenseless animals were poisoned and then picked up and thrown in the back of trucks to be taken off and buried somewhere on the island.  This is being done due to the health issues of animal feces.

What is Strychnine and how does it poison its victim.  According to Wikipedia, Strychnine poisoning produces some of the most dramatic and painful symptoms of any known toxic reaction.  Death occurs as a result of respiratory arrest.  Following the ingestion of strychnine, symptoms of poisoning usually appear within 15 to 60 minutes.

There has been a national out cry to the Mayor of San Pedro to stop this cruel and inhumane treatment of animals.  There are ways to humanely euthanize animals.  Saga is more than willing to work with the Mayor and San Pedro Town Council to help with the stray animal problem.  Most of these dogs did have owners and families that cared about them.  Pet owners need to be educated to proper pet ownership and benefits of spay/neuter.  Learn about leash laws and cleaning up behind your pet on the streets and beaches in town.  The biggest and most important things that we can teach the people of Belize is to spay and neuter their pets.  That in itself can help stop the killing of poor and innocent animals.  We just have to work together to find a solution and STOP STRYCHNINE POISONING.

UPDATE:  Today PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) became involved in the issue of Strychnine Poisoning of the animals in San Pedro on July 9th, 2012.  Today at 5:00pm on Belize Reef TV, the Mayor of San Pedro, Daniel Guerrero addressed the issue of Strychnine poisoning of the 31 dogs by the Town Council.  The original plan was to go out every other night for approximately two months and round up and poison about 200 animals.  During his interview today at five, he has agreed to suspend all poisonings and to consult with both Sage Humane Society and the San Pedro Animal Hospital on finding a more humane and ethical way of dealing with the dogs in San Pedro. 


Mayor Danny Guerrero suspends brutal dog eradication. (Reef TV)

Dr. Baptist from SAGA explaining a more humane way to euthanize animals. (Reef TV)

San Pedro Animal Hospital

Saga Humane Society

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How Can I Earn Income in Belize If I am Not Retired??

Living in Belize one of the number one questions that I get asked is "How can I earn income if I move to Belize and I am not retired?".  Well sometimes, the answer can be something quite simple, with a little thought and creativity you just may come up with a great idea that can produce income.  A friend of mine Sharon with Red Roof Management, who lives on the mainland and also started several businesses in Belize met a couple on facebook who did just that. 

Below is a post from Sharon's Blog, Wealthships.

Charlotte and Chris recently moved to Ambergris Caye, Belize. Prior to that, Chris grew up in San Francisco and Charlotte went to school in Berkeley – my old stomping grounds in the States! As they were living in San Pedro, they noticed a problem all islanders face: fruits and vegetables going bad! Since produce is only delivered once or twice a week to the island, by the time the end of the week rolls around, it is very difficult to find anyone selling fruit or veggies that looked half way appetizing.

This experience sparked a memory of a product on TV back in the States. They found the company that is the exclusive manufacturer and patent holder and negotiated an exclusive distributorship for the product in Belize. Now they want to bring it to market for the Belize consumers!

Produce Genie is a sachet containing U.S. patented Power Pellets, which are designed to control ethylene gas. Fruits and vegetables naturally emit ethylene gas, which causes them to ripen really fast. Merely keeping produce in the refrigerator won’t necessarily extend the life of produce, since ethylene gas can get trapped inside, which can actually accelerate the ripening process.

Using this product is very simple. Just add one sachet in a regular refrigerator crisper. Just make sure not to let the sachet fall to the bottom of the bin to ensure its maximum effectiveness. You can also add a sachet to a fruit bowl covered by a breathable material (such as a towel). Produce Genie takes the ethylene gas out of the air to slow down the natural decay process of fruits and vegetables.

Produce Genie is very effective with popular fruits and vegetables of Belize: banana, avocado, mango, orange, papaya, apple, broccoli, lettuce, okra, bell pepper, parsley, cilantro, and tomato. Each sachet lasts for three months while it is being used. You can store unused sachets in a plastic bag to prolong the sachet’s shelf life. For $12 bze ($6 usd) you can purchase four sachets, which is a year’s supply for every refrigerator crisper or fruit bowl you have (just $1 bze per month!).
Produce Genie isn’t available in local Belizean stores yet, but they have plans to make it available in all the stores by sometime later this year. To get samples of the product, please contact Charlotte or Chris at ProduceGenie@gmail.com. To see case studies, pictures, and more, check out their fan page at http://facebook.com/ProduceGenie (and “like” their page while you’re there!). Since they can’t possibly cover the entire country of Beelize, if you feel like you would like to be involved in helping bring Produce Genie to market, please feel free to contact them, as they are actively looking for partnership opportunities.

I also like that instead of reinventing the wheel, they contacted the manufacturer directly and arranged an exclusive distributorship. Who knows how many other products are out there that you could do the same thing with? It’s just a matter of noticing what voids need to be filled. And, in the process, they are providing opportunities for others who may want to distribute the Produce Genie as well.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fourth of July Without Fireworks

Peace and Happy 4th of July

Independence Day, commonly known as the 4th of July in the US, a federal holiday commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, and declaring Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.  In the United States July 4th is usually celebrated with parades, baseball games, barbecues and of course fireworks. 

This year since we are now living in San Pedro, Belize where there is no red, white and blue celebrations and no fireworks.  You can always get some good barbecue in Belize, so that is no big deal.  But last night a few of us Americans here on the island decided to celebrate with Wednesday night at Roadkill Bar in San Pedro with Karaoke Joe's.

The Americans.

There were lots of Karaoke singers and of course the evening would not be complete without a round of Lee Greenwood's song "Proud to Be an American".  So we felt a little bit American last night even without all the fireworks and celebrations.

They were proud to be an American.

Artist: Lee Greenwood
Song: Proud To Be An American
If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I’d worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.
I’d thank my lucky stars,
to be livin here today.
‘ Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.
And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

Our very own American Soldier Dov Magy singing "An American Soldier".  Thanks Dov.  I think I have decided that if you live in San Pedro, Belize you eventually become a karaoke singer, but I am not sure what the time frame is on this and seriously you never want me singing karaoke.  I shall stick with being a Roadkill backup dancer.

Dov, Karaoke Joe's

An America Soldier (Toby Keith/Chuck Cannon)

I’m just tryin’ to be a father, raise a daughter and a son
Be a lover to their mother, everythin’ to everyone
Up and at ‘em bright and early, I’m all business in my suit
Yeah I’m dressed up for success, from my head down to my boots
I don’t do it for money, there’s bills that I can’t pay
I don’t do it for the glory, I just do it anyway
Providing for our future’s, my responsibility
Yeah I’m real good under pressure, being all that I can be
And I can’t call in sick on Mondays when the weekend’s been too strong
I just work straight through the holidays, and sometimes all night long
You can bet that I stand ready, when the wolf growls at the door
Hey I’m solid, hey I’m steady, hey I’m true down to the core.

And I will always do my duty no matter what the price
I’ve counted up the cost, I know the sacrifice
Oh and I don’t want to die for you, but if dyin’s asked of me
I’ll bear that cross with honor, cause freedom don’t come free.

I’m an American Soldier an American
Beside my brothers and my sisters, I will proudly take a stand
When liberty’s in jeopardy, I will always do what’s right

I’m out here on the front lines, sleep in peace tonight
American Soldier, I’m and American, Soldier.

An American Soldier an American
Beside my brothers and my sisters, I will proudly take a stand
When liberty’s in jeopardy, I will always do what’s right
I’m out here on the front lines, sleep in peace tonight
American Soldier, I’m an American, an American, an American, Soldier.

It was a great night and I also wanted to see off my friend Lorna from my aerobics class that is leaving San Pedro today and going back to Scotland.  We will miss you.

Lorna, Joe and Me.

Since there were no fireworks in San Pedro last night, I thought I would post a few pictures of some beautiful fireworks. 

Betty, our very own little firecracker.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Africanized Honeybees in Belize

Africanized Honeybee in Belize.

The house next door to us has been abandoned and vacant for some time now.  They have been trying to sell it.  We noticed several months ago that we kept seeing bees flying around and on the ground.  The guy that owns the house we rent had gotten someone to go next door and check out the bee situation and they removed part of the hive.  It had not been a problem any more until lately we started  noticing a lot bees again.  Last week Bill was out in the yard doing some cleaning and yardwork and he was attacked by a swarm of bees.  He was stung on the face and ear numerous times.  Luckily for Bill he is obviously not allergic to them and other than some minor discomfort and pulling out some stingers, he had no swelling or anyhing.  I on the other hand am allergic to bees and wasps, so I have had to stay out of the yard completely. 

Virtually all honeybees also known as "killer bees" in Belize and throughout Central America are now Africanized.   The sting of the Africanized honeybee normally does not hurt any more so than that of a regular bee, but the hives can be very large and aggressive.  They say if you are attacked get under a building or in the water.  The bees generally will not follow you.

As of 2002, the Africanized honeybees had spread from Brazil south to northern Argentina and north to Central America, Trinidad, Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Florida.  They have since been found in Louisiana, Arkansas and Georgia.

Since the first time someone came out about the bees, the house has now been sold.  So the new owners were contacted and said they would send some one out to take care of the bee situation again.

After about two weeks, we had Sam from the Belize Town Counsel show up all dressed in his bee garb from head to toe and was ready to take on the Africanized Honeybees of Belize.  Sam brought one helper with him.  He was the guy that went in with the smoke.  They were going to use the smoke to calm the bees before going in and removing the hive.

Sam, dressed and ready to get some bees.


After the smoke was blown in near the hive, Sam went in to get the bees out.  Sam said the hive was about 4 to 5 feet tall.  I would have loved to have gotten a picture of that.  But sorry I was not going near those bees or the bee hive.  A short time later Sam came out of the house and he said the job was done.  Sam told us there was not much honey in the hive only eggs.  He said with all of the rain we have had the last few weeks that the bees had not been able to get out of the hive and outside to eat and therefore were having to eat the honey. 

This smoker which burned wood chips that created the smoke used to calm the bees.

Squeezing the bellows on the smoker makes the smoke come out.  When bees are frightened they send out a special scent to alarm the other bees to attack. When a beekeeper uses smoke on a beehive, the bees are no longer able to smell the alarm scent so they keep on working in the hive.

Unfortunately Sam had to kill the bees.  He really hated that but he had to this time.  He said they make some really good honey too.

What do honeybees eat besides honey?  Well I didn't know, so I thought I would google it.  Don't you just love google.  You can find the answers to anything there and this is what I found.  Bees eat nectar and pollen when they are outdoors.  The nectar mixes with enzymes within the bees stomach to produce the honey.   Sam also told us that the male honeybees do not have stingers and therefore cannot sting.  The female worker bees are the only ones that can sting.  Go figure, us females get the bad rap for everything. 

Honey had dripped all over Sam's shoes.

Sam said the bees were not being very aggressive this time.  Here are the hives they took down.  There were still somes bees buzzing around.

Sam's mask he wore before going in the house to get the bees out.

Sam's gloves.  He said they stung through his gloves and one stung him on the hand and another on the knee.  Sam said he likes to be stung, it builds up his immunity to them.

You could still find a few bees here left on Sam's clothing.

The house where the bees were.  This home was a foreclosure but has been sold now and they should start working on the rehab of it soon we hope. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Medical Care in Belize and Hablo pequeño inglés.

Bill getting fitted for glasses.  What a cutie pie!!!


Vision Eye Test Chart.

This week Bill and I were able to experience the medical care in Belize and from what we can tell so far, we like it. 

People ask, "what do you do about medical care while in Belize"?  After much research and thought we decided that we would no longer carry health insurance in the United States on Bill.  He would use the healthcare system in Belize.  But for me, we chose to continue to carry my insurance with Blue Cross in the states.  Why you ask?  Bill is almost 63, very healthy and in 2 year he will be eligible for Medicare in the US.  I on the other hand (I am much younger) have many years before I will be eligible so I continued to keep up my insurance in the US.  I also am the one that travels back and forth to the US the most.

The one thing that concerned us the most healthcare wise before moving was to Belize was the fact that Bill has glaucoma and he also takes blood pressure medicine.  On our exploring trip to Belize in September 2010 when we came to look at the island from the point of moving here, we made a trip to Chetumal, Mexico to see if we could find his eye drops for his glaucoma.  We went to the Sam's Club Warehouse (Walmart) in Chetumal and we were able to find his eyedrops with no problems.



Since moving to Ambergris Caye in January 2012, Bill now has an additional medication that he now also has to have for his glaucoma.  So in April, 2012 we made a trip to Chetumal, Mexico again in order to try to find his medications he needed.  This trip he was able to find one of the drops and the blood pressure medicine, but not the new drops he now has to have for his glaucoma.  Luckily he has had enough of that med that we have not had to worry until now. 

This time we decided that we would try and find the medications he needed here on the island.  We made a trip to the local Poly Clinic to inquire about his meds.  They told him he would need to see the doctor.  Bill stayed to see the doctor who was Cuban educated and was on duty at the time, to talk with him about his medications.  If you don't already know, since moving to Belize Bill has lost nearly 35 pounds.  Bill has been on blood pressure medication for some time now and even with meds his blood pressure would still run high.  They checked his blood pressure at the Poly Clinic and it was 134/68.  WOW, he couldn't believe it.  Losing weight, exercising and eating healthier has really made a difference.  The Poly Clinic II did not carry the same blood pressure medicine that Bill was taking in the states, but instead gave Bill a medication that will replace the one he was currently taking and can be gotten each month at The Poly Clinic.  Also since Bill was there and had been having a sinus cold he asked for medication for that as well.  The cost of the visit and medication, nothing, yep nothing.  It is on donation based only as long as you are a resident of San Pedro.  The clinic also did not carry Bill's glaucoma medications, so we headed out to go to some of the pharmacies in town to see what we could find.

The Poly Clinic II

Bill saw Dr. Rodriguez at the Poly Clinic II.

The doctor gave bill medication for his sinus cold and for his blood pressure.

We went to a few pharmacies in town but it seemed no one could get the two drops that Bill has to have to put in his eyes for glaucoma.  He will have to put these drops in his eyes every day for the rest of his life or take a chance on going blind.  So we had to find the drops for his glaucoma.

The Pharmacy.

Looks a little different than the one's we have in the US.

Bill was reading the San Pedro Daily this week and in the notices it said that the BCVI was going to be at the Lion's Den with a specialist from the USA Thursday and Friday for any vision attention for FREE consulatation and assistance.  Thursday morning we went down to the Lion's Den on Front Street.  Bill signed in and waited to see the doctor.  Soon he was called for the vision test and a very nice looking young American man was the one doing the vision tests.  Bill was number 14, so when his number was called he stepped up to get his vision test.  The nice young American boy said to Bill, " do you speak English?"  Bill replies, "Hablo pequeño inglés (I speak a little English). 

Do you speak English?  Hablo pequeño inglés (I speak a little English).

BCVI-Belize Council for the Visual Impaired.





While Bill was waiting to see the doctor, I decided to go get breakfast.  I walked down to the bakery and picked us up some donuts.  I had really been wanting a donut lately and I was finally about to give in and pick out a chocolate covered donut from Casa Pan Dulce Bakery.  I figured we weren't seeing the dentist today, so a donut was just what we needed.

Bill waiting for his number 14 to be called.

I got back to the Lion' Den and we had our breakfast while we waited to see the doctor.  It wasn't too long before our number 14 was called again.  The doctors were a husband, wife and son team from Fayetteville, North Carolina in the US.  They were Laurie Arcolano and William Vaughan with Village Eye Care.  They had been to Belize once before with a vision team that came last year.  This year they came on their on.  We told them that their son had asked Bill if he spoke English.  We all got a real laugh out of it.  They too said they were not sure if we were Americans or not until we spoke and then they recognized our southern accents.  I guess we can't escape our southern accents even in Belize.

We say this a lot in the South.


This piece of equipment Dr. Vaughan had made by a machinist in the states just to bring to Belize.  He carried it on the plane all the way here. 

Dr. Laurie Arcolano checking Bill's vision.

Dr. William Vaughan helping another patient.






The Vaughan's were more than helpful and yes they had the glaucoma medications that Bill needed.  They gave Bill an ample supply of both medications that he needed for his glaucoma and yes it was all free.  Dr. Vaughan also gave him the names of other drugs that were basically the same medication to make it easier to help find next time.   If you are in Fayetteville, North Carolina area you should definitely check them out at their clinic, Village Eye Care.  Doctors Arcolano and Vaughan believe strongly in giving back to the community and caring for the eyes of all those in need through their International Outreach Program and Overseas Mission Trips.  At Village Eye Care, Dr. Arcolano and Vaughan have worked with many VOSH eyecare teams in Central and South America. They have made multiple trips to Peru and Nicaragua, as well as missions to the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Belize.  Thank you Dr. Arcolano and Dr. Vaughan, y'all are the best, hope to see you in Belize again next year.

Here are your choices for frames from the BCVI.  Bill opted to use his own frames and just get new lens.

Prices shown are in Belize dollars.