Letter from Belize no. 45

12th August 2015

A final word (I promise) on the all-absorbing birds on our back verandah.

I came home from a few weeks break to find that the Orioles who had provided so much entertainment had done some repairs to the nest, had successfully chased away the potentially parasitic Cow Bird and were rearing 3 very definitely Oriole babies.

It turns out the incubation period for the eggs is about 14 days and another 14 or so days for the fledglings to grow and be ready to fly.

I was once again privileged to see them all take off just a week after the previous picture. Look how much they have advanced in just a week.

I really love and appreciate the fact that we are able to watch and learn so much from nature at first hand in this way. Those parent birds worked so hard, not put off by the fact that their first nest was invaded, they defended and protected their offspring without question, they worked tirelessly to feed them and guide them out of the nest and presumably to continue nurturing them until they are fully independent. You might say that they are doing their Dharma – doing what they are meant to do unconditionally, without question, to the absolute best of their ability without needing to claim a Ph.D or MBE.

Have a look at the news page on our website to see how the Cow Birds earned their right to lay eggs in other birds’ nests.

On a completely different topic, there are so many parallels I see with Zimbabwe and supplies in supermarkets is one of them. In 2008 when our directors first visited Belize the supermarkets looked pretty bleak with not much choice of anything and pretty inferior quality. So many people go to Chetumal in Mexico or to Belize City to do their shopping and, just like in Zimbabwe, they are very generous about offering to source or buy special luxury items or treats. In fact I could never understand why in Belize City one felt one was in a different country altogether so different were the goods in the shops; enormous DIY and hardware stores, huge supermarkets, a health food shop, a department store, not unlike UK’s Dunelm, selling just about anything and everything. But that is all changing. Just in the last 6 to 12 months one can get pretty much all one needs in Corozal and people who do that shopping elsewhere find their shopping lists are getting smaller and smaller.

So, for example I can buy English PG Tips Tea, McVitties Ginger and Digestive biscuits, Italian made pasta, pitta bread, bagels, cashew nuts, macadamia nuts ...

I bought these dates the other day, produce of Tunisia. That price of $19.95 is the equivalent of US$10 or GBP6.50.

You can find a remarkable variety of specialist flour

As well as delicious Indian mixes and masalas,

Olive oil

Any number of choices of sea salt – alongside Epsom salt, and even choccies ... and vino!

What more could you ask for? As you see we are not exactly roughing it out here.

When I was first making clothes I bemoaned the fact that it seemed that in the whole of Central America one could not find pure cotton or linen. No so now. I bought Chinese linen in Orange Walk recently and am now on a new spree of making and dying linen clothes. I find linen very good to wear in the hot weather because it breathes unlike all the synthetic stuff you mostly see here.

One of the continuing wonders of Belize is that you never know what is going to crop up next.

In my June Newsletter we saw these white flowers ....

and after a wonderful and much needed storm last week they bloomed again  — but this time pink.

My love to you all

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