Belize Trips

tacogirl Soul Food Guide for all Relationships

After hearing a new friend Nurse Jennifer, recently compliment an old one Gary Bowline, in saying he is a good soul Sunday afternoon, I started began contemplating what that really meant.

Immediately I started thinking of short phrases with the word Soul in them – see below. For me, there was a common thread among the definitions I picked, something along the lines of living in lightness and fulfillment.

We are all traveling on a road in which our lives are shaped by the choices we make and as a result of the people and events we attract. I strongly believe in cultivating relationships with people who shine a positive light in your life. This will add substance and character to your world and help you stay on the right path as you fulfill your dreams.

If you are in a period where the light someone is shining feels like& harsh fluorescent bulbs at 4:00 am then take a step back and use the following list to help you honestly assess why you are keeping that person in your life and to what degree. The more you dim the harshness the sooner you can set your own mood lighting. You have two choices; either change the dynamic to a healthier one or admit to yourself it is time to peacefully let it go and make room for something better.

tacogirl Soul Food Guide for all Relationships

If you have people in your life that embody one or more of the soul qualities 7 listed below, consider yourself lucky. I am for sure – I’ve met so many soulful people in my 49 years.

Soul Food:Every ethnic group has what it calls “soul food” – soothing, comfort food that brings back warm memories of family dinners. (Source: Urban Dictionary.) I do believe people can be like really good Soul Food without the cooking part. Although I love when I hit the jack pot and get both, as is the case with many of my fabulous friends and family that like to play in the kitchen. Anyone who knows me well knows I got the eating gene, not the cooking one 😀

Soul Music: Music that originated in black American gospel singing, is closely related to rhythm and blues and is characterized by intensity of feeling and earthiness (Source: Merriam-Webster.) All kinds of music can bring soul energy to people and just like a really great song, some people in your life will make you feel that good. I use music all the time to enhance my soul side of life and have many people with song worthy energy in my life.

Soulful: Full of or expressing deep feeling or profound thoughts and emotions. (Source: The Free Dictionary.) Soulful relationships are a great place from which to create what comes next in your life. Think about your path right now and any recent major changes. Who helped you get there? Was it a good place to land, or is it time to set sail for a new direction?

Soul Searching: Involving or expressing deep consideration of one’s emotions and motives or of the correctness of a course of action. (Source: Google definition.) In addition to doing it, I also believe a person can be soul searching. I am lucky to have good people around me that inspire me to search inside and love what I see.

Soul-satisfying: A person, or thing that fills you with noticeable, genuine and positive energy. (Source: tacogirl.) This one ties in with soul food. Some people just have that ability to satisfy your soul just as well as if you had eaten a favorite meal.

Soulmate: People with whom you have a deep connection with. (Source: Urban Dictionary.) I think this one gets misused a lot as many people think you can only have one. I firmly believe everyone gets a few special people over the course of time.

Soul Train: The popular music and dance TV show had a positive affect on many souls, in its 35-year history. Even if your dancing skills are on par with Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes, throw some good music on and shake your money maker every so often.

I had to include the “Seinfeld” video in relation to soul train comment above. It is 47 seconds, very funny and includes a brilliant, simple and satirical toast for any occasion.

Of course, I agree with Jennifer, Gary Bowline is a good soul and holds several qualities on the tacogirl soul guide above.

Like Attracts Like

In the world of energy, like attracts like. So consciously let go of negative people if you have any in your life and actively choose positive people. You will be amazed at how good your life will get.

Gary’s compliment to his friend Jennifer was equally as nice as hers was for him. “So happy I helped get you together with Jenn. She has an incredible heart. A true caregiver. When I sent her the pics of San Mateo and the children that you took she immediately started working on it. We brainstormed on insect repellents (too expensive), window screens (same thing) and she finally came up with a great option. I’m not the only one she talked about it with either, Danielle Cecil Read is her sister and I’m not sure who others she consulted. All this while working at TGH and packing for her trip! Amazing lady!”

I will also say that Nurses Jennifer and Audrey are both good souls and though I have not met her I am betting Jenn’s sister Danielle does too – back to like attracts like 🙂

Weekend Fun in San Mateo Belize

USA based nurses Jennifer and Audrey took time on a gorgeous Sunday to volunteer with the San Pedro Belize Red Cross to do some much needed and well received Education in San Mateo. What a great time we had 😀

As the old saying goes, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” this was the case for us that day. We were going to hold it at the school but the universe lit our way in another direction. And further still the moment unfolded in a wonderfully different, even though we had a solid plan. We had arranged to do an education session in the church at 1:00 pm and ended up at noon on the Palacio household stairs.

Awry turned Irie (To be at total peace with your current state of being. Source Urban Dictionary)

Time stopped and The three of us fell in love with the Palacio Family. Older daughter Miriam was great setting us up to use the church. Pastor Robert and his wife Lavern were salt of the earth and the younger ones so cute. Such nice people and they really want to help the community. I took pics of the steps the girls showed as a visual reminder of the girls showing them how to properly use their nebulizer.

We had a great discussion on teen pregnancy prevention and both agree we need to beef it up. Lavern really wants to start doing some education in this area to help young girls make better choices and not seal their fate so young, by taking a hard road. I shared about Street Beat with the Belize Red Cross and how it was a Norwegian RC funded sex education course that our youth and adults participated in.

At one point in our conversations about the area, Lavern mentioned something I have heard before from different people. Residents have pride in their houses and they want to make them look nice, they just need a little help to make it happen. I strongly believe that we can call in the cavalry get rid of all the garbage and properly fill the area.

We all agree, this year more so than ever we need to join forces and put our thinking caps on so we can restore San Mateo grounds to a healthy environment for all living things.

I am giving Jennifer a gold star for thinking outside the box. Before coming here, as mentioned above she was masterminding San Mateo Zika prevention solutions with her crew.

Ideas – Cutting Room Floor and the Clear Winner

A bit more on one of her ideas – first came the thought of teaching people how to make a natural bug spray. Already being familiar with the area and residents she knew that though the option was a great environmentally friendly one, it would not suit the residents. Reason being they do not have easy access to or budget for essential oils. (Jennifer we need to rethink this one after seeing Lavern’s skills in making all natural personal care products. I bet we could set her up pretty easily.)

While we were standing in the Palacio yard, Jennifer looked around the neighborhood and reaffirmed that screens would never work due to the fact that too many people have wood slat windows and keep their doors open for breeze.

I had to mentioned those two things above as they are an example of the utmost importance – that people truly understand the communities they are trying to help. Especially this one. The faster we can join together and make solid improvements in the living conditions for San Mateo, the more we can make the lives of the residents a little easier and a lot healthier.

Thankfully Jennifer’s idea bulb had lit up before she arrived and illuminated a great free solution to help keep the mosquito population down in San Mateo.

And the Winner Is…….

Bat Houses. A brilliant idea – free to make, and bats eat 600 or more mosquitoes in an hour. Mother Nature to the rescue – she has also joined the cavalry thanks to Jen and will set the neighborhood up with a team of aerial hoovers for life. 😀

Scrap wood is easy to get and the amazing Sandbar Brittney who is overseeing the San Mateo House rebuild (and always so much more) already has Jennifer’s test sample model. We are all hoping the electric company joins the cavalry and will help get them high up in the poles to immediately keep Mosquito population down and stop Zika in it’s tracks.

She is also making a list of health related issues that the area is at risk for. Jennifer is a flight nurse at Tampa General and when not flying she does outreach to state wide hospitals for TGH. She’s knowledgeable about Zika, water contamination, sanitation, etc.

I am over the top happy with the progress being made and all the cool folks that are joining the cavalry. Thanks for sending these two Gary they are keepers 😀

Belize Red Cross San Mateo Belize
San Pedro Belize Red Cross Zika Education session in San Mateo.
San Mateo Belize
Lavern told me to go see the garbage behind Faith Bible Church in San Mateo – so sad.
San Mateo Belize
Contamination is bad for birds, and dot of a child in window. A contaminated lake is not a carefree yard.
San Mateo Belize
Far to much contaminated standing water. We need to join together and fix this unhealthy situation.

We Have to Clean Up the Neighborhood

This summer marked the 5th annual Kids 4 Clean Water Camp – more good souls. Every year they come and do some amazing child education in the neighborhood. This year as always they took the kids out to do water testing and in addition to ground water samples, they went to some houses and took pipe samples.

Sadly the reports were very scary.

Confirmation of small amounts fecal coliform bacteria or E. coli in household water systems indicates a possible pipe break recent fecal contamination, which may pose an immediate health risk to anyone consuming the water.

Fecal coliform presence is a warning sign that action should be taken. Finding the source of the problem and correcting it is very important.

This bacteria was rampant in all ground water tested in the area as a result, there could be presence of disease-causing pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. (we are working on a health risks list)

On the Brighter Side a Notable Camp Moment

San Mateo Kids want recycling.

They said to one of the organizers “hey shouldn’t you be recycling” as she was throwing her bottle away. The organizer told them how bright they were and asked where she should recycle it. Sadly there was no answer.

But the question was still very important. It shows that the kids know it is not supposed to go on the ground. Lets give them a better place to put it.

Notable After Camp Moment

We drove around and walked to anyone that would listen. Those we did not have time to get to in person got emails with pictures and data. When we walked into the offices of the Belize Water Systems and Health Department with out map, they both agreed to help the cause and wanted to know more information. BWS was on it the very next day touring with us and ordering water samples of their pipes.

We also spoke to Owen Vellos, Administrator of the Dr. Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic II andfilled him in on new developments in the level of unsanitary living conditions. Yolanda Parham the Mayors assistant was also on board to help get the information out there and learn more.

The staggering number of red dots on the map and the size of the areas yet to be tested spoke louder than words. Everyone is listening and agrees that we need to do everything we can to improve the living conditions in San Mateo.

San Mateo Belize
Walter and his certificate. Last day od camp info session -Erin,  MaryBeth, map and I. Magical prize table.
San Mateo Belize
Too many dots on the map. Showing BWS suspected pipe break. 2 houses tested positive.
San Mateo area Ambergris Caye Belize
Small boy running alongside contamination lake. Right distinct algae change in 3 days not sure why.

Please Watch

The video below with Kids 4 clean water camp environmental Scientist scientist MaryBeth Sutton says it all.

So Do Her Credentials. If there is anyone well qualified to give important science based statistics and has genuine concern and love for the community it is MaryBeth Sutton.

She has a Masters Degree of Science in Environmental Science, M.S. in Public Health in Environmental Chemistry and Biology with a focus on wetlands and her M.A.T. in Science Education.

In addition to doing the annual Clean water 4 kids camp, MaryBeth has put her heart and soul into making a positive environmental difference in this world.

She is the Executive Director of USA Not For Profit grassroots organization Caribbean S.E.A. (Student Environmental Alliance) where their focus is on empowering local kids to lead their communities in stewardship and restoration of the watersheds, from rain-forest to reef. Their signature projects include Kids 4 Coral, Kids for Clean Water and community based Stream Teams.

For the past 18 years has also been MaryBeth director of the Chattanooga Nature Center. She has worked in the classroom and as a curriculum director in public and private schools as well as 2 years in environmental consulting.

And now for the qualified scientific perspective on this years findings of contaminated pipe water after testing peoples houses in San Mateo. Sadly about 7 houses tested positive for Coliform bacteria – not good. We need to take action and make living conditions for San Mateo Residents safer.

Any qualified people out there who can help us do water testing of all San Mateo houses? We need help in this area.

To learn more about camp and the groups that are involved, please click through on Belize Community Conservation.

Keep Ambergris Caye Magical

Here are some tour pics from when Belize Community Conservation, Caribbean Student Environmental Alliance and Caribbean Youth Environment Network were here. They illustrate the magic and beauty that we risk loosing if we cannot seriously clean up the garbage in San Mateo and island wide.

I do not want to lose moments like this. With Belize Community Conservation and 18 year old friend Erin in town at the end of August, I got to go on two gorgeous sails on the Ecologic Cats, Voyager 500 Catamaran, Impromptu.

Caye Caulker Day Sail with Ecologic Divers
Caye Caulker here we come
Caye Caulker Day Sail with Ecologic Divers Ambergris Caye
Enjoying a snorkel stop at Coral Gardens before heading onto Caye Caulker
Ecologic Divers Ambergris Caye Belize
I love Disco Sunset sail – a great way to spend time with friends.
San Mateo Belize
Ecologic Divers thank you card and certificate for being in sport of Clean water in San Mateo
Wild Mangos Restaurant Ambergris Caye Belize
Second year for after camp delicious celebration dinner at Wild Mangos with the Ecologic Beymer Family

I know this post was a bit of a read but some times there is just no way to make a long story short 😀

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