My goodness it has been an incredibly busy couple of months here. 29th January was our annual Open House which is an all day event to promote the Retreat, not only to inform people of what we have to offer here, but to give them a first hand experience of it. This year my Hereford Art College friend Pat volunteered to come and help and was indeed a saviour, being thrown in at the deep end with gardening, baking bread, making flapjacks, writing out signs, cutting up the flyers to distribute, cleaning the house, brain storming, creating new artwork for the garden, ... oh and getting bitten by unfriendly creatures.
Click on any of these photos for a larger view.
The day began before sunrise with an early morning bird walk on which 50 species were identified by sight and/or sound. It was led by Hugo Sanchez whose youthful eyes, ears and enthusiasm were an inspiration.
Then there was a tour of the Maya site led this year by Andreas Novello who is a neighbour and also a qualified tour guide. He gave a talk on Maya culture to start with and then showed the group the village site on the Retreat which is looking so lovely now it has been further cleared.
Beverley Turner, who made the delicious smoothies brimming with health last year, came with her smoothie making gear and also have a talk on Create your own Health in which she explained the empowering benefits of eating right. It was like a mini-workshop really and people found it fascinating and informative.
Then Christina (of singing fame) led a group on a sort of scavenger hunt in which they used all their senses to experience the garden – sounds and sight obviously but also touch and smell. As one woman, a city girl, a New Yorker said, she will for evermore see and hear the birds in a different way.
And of course we sang, and we ate and I sold my Clothes by Rose, Henry sold literature and talked to people about the Retreat, and folk just hung out enjoying the tranquility that has now become such a feature of the Retreat.
So in the post mortem of our Open House we can say it was a huge success. Each year one makes improvements, each year new issues arise to be considered for the next one. Thinking of next year already??? Noooooooooooo!
But it wasn’t all work. We did make some time to show Pat around and had a wonderful time. My slightly flagging faith in Belize has been restored as I was reminded of some of the good work that goes on here and I saw some places and activities that were new to me and in fact they were so good they require their own separate newsletter so look out for Letter from Belize No 60, Part 2.
And in the midst of all the busyness we also managed to have clever young Robert the welder make a new sculpture which stands at the entrance to the forest.
This depicts how we come from the One Source, Pure Awareness represented by the sun but we believe we are the individual rays, separate from that Oneness.