Introduction and Summary
Our Annual Review is intended to provide an accessible account of the highlights and challenges of the year, plus a snapshot of financial comings and goings. The Review is an opportunity to show the work being done, to promote and reiterate our objectives (what the Retreat was set up to do), outline the resources available to it and how these have been used and especially to thank our donors. We hope you will be interested to read what has been achieved during the year.
Objectives — What We Do and Why
This project’s purpose is to create a Spiritual Retreat enabling like-minded people who follow the timeless teachings of all Enlightened Masters to live a simple, quiet life in a loving and supportive community. Some may be visitors; others short term or longer term residents. The environment offers peace, tranquillity and a slower pace of life.
The Gateway Retreat is situated on 30 acres of forest near Corozal in the north of Belize. It is off grid and utilises sustainable energy in the form of solar power to provide electricity (plus back-up generator) and rainwater harvesting provides water for the house. A well supplies water for crop irrigation. Sustainable methods of farming are used for crop growing in a cropping area and beautiful organic gardens have been created. Local Belizeans are employed to help with maintenance, clearing, watering, weeding, repairs, etc. Maya history can be found on the Retreat with a Maya well and an extensive Maya village mound site which is awaiting further investigation.
At present there are just two permanent residents (unwaged volunteers) living in a Mennonite house on the land, with an en-suite Guest Room on the ground floor, along with lock up tool storage and parking for the Retreat’s Pick-up truck. Further houses will be added as more suitable people join this venture. Cabanas are also planned for shorter term visitors or guests. As the community grows and develops, additional buildings will be required eg: an Office and a Meditation Hall to enable residents and guests to gather together. The Retreat aims to be financially self-supporting at a later date by a commercial enterprise plus cottage industries taking place on the Retreat – which will be situated away from the main housing area.
How We Are Funded
The Gateway Retreat is registered in Belize as a not for profit company - The Belize Gateway Trust Foundation. The accounts are externally audited and submitted annually to the Attorney General’s Ministry. At the moment, until more residents arrive and a commercial enterprise and further cottage industries can be established, it is funded by donations and fundraising. This is most warmly appreciated by all involved and the ongoing generosity and support is greatly valued and allows the project and this wonderful vision to continue. To donate please go to either Facebook or Website Donation Page.
The Gateway Retreat received its annual Registration Certificate from the F.I.U. in June this year which demonstrates our full compliance with money laundering regulations.
Snapshot of Accounts
Overview of the Work and Achievements 2018
- Excellent harvest of black beans (excess supplies were donated elsewhere). Other crops include mung beans, cassava, groundnuts, bananas, avocados, mangoes, custard apples, papaya.
- A maize crop was destroyed by birdlife and will have to be covered by mosquito gauze in future to allow the shoots to establish.
- Some symptoms of iron deficiency were found in one bed.
- Soil fertility is maintained by mulching with forest leaves. A donation of manure was received which was helpful.
- Garden Tree Trail which extends around 3 sides of the house was completed. Trees are numbered on hardwood squares. Assistance was received in identification by botanist Henry Martinez and Rangers from Shipstern Nature Reserve amongst others.
- The food sufficiency project and cropping area is being wound down. The labour saved will go towards greater priorities such as keeping the bush under control in areas that visitors are more interested in such as the Maya Mounds and Garden Tree Trail.
- Maya Mound Site. Regular maintenance undertaken to keep the site clear of undergrowth. At the suggestion of Professor Valdez, the Institute of Archaeology in Belize has been approached to see if they have any contacts who may be interested in the further exploration of the Maya Mounds on the Retreat.
- The Stone Garden was re-vamped with 3 bird baths designed by Rose and made by Charlie (a regular Belizean employee) and the old gravel replaced with white. A similar design water fountain was also made to enhance the entrance to the Guest Room. At the same time the entrance path to the house from the parking area was gravelled and widened.
- General Maintenance – An external beam supporting the steps up to the house and some fence posts protecting the former Security/Workman’s house had to be replaced. Ongoing weeding and watering of the gardens.
- Daily prayers and Satsang from 05.30 to 07.30. Weekly Satsangs on Saturday morning at 10.00 am. and Sunday afternoon 2.00 pm.
- Monthly Women’s Spiritual Book Group
- The Retreat had a stall at the NGOs’ Fair and at Art in the Park — both events held in Corozal Town Park in February. Pamphlets on the Retreat were handed out and clothes sold at the latter event.
- Annual Open Day held on 4th February 2018, 40+ people attended.
- Christmas Singalong held on 23rd December attended by approx. 20 people.
As well as local visitors to the property there were visitors from the US, Canada and the UK.
Keep in Touch
Regular monthly Newsletters are sent out - please follow the link link here.
We are on Facebook where news of the Retreat and its environs is regularly posted.
Our website is https://gatewayretreatbelize.org.
We have set up a YouTube link for videos.
A Slide Show has been created to show you around the Retreat and its environs.
The Visitors’ Guide has been updated with information about visiting the Retreat and Belize.
And for regular inspirational quotes from Masters of all traditions please see our Twitter Page.