January 1, 2008


by | Uncategorized

Yes, it’s me in case you all thought I had fallen off the face of the earth. Just wanted to let you know I’m still alive and kicking and have been running like mad to get all the projects I needed done, started or concluded. It has been a very busy last few months, and my repetitive stress injury has been stressing me out when it comes to spending too much time on the computer. I find I cannot even go on everyday, or I go on for very short periods before it starts to bother me. I will have to come up with some solution as I love being in contact via Blog.

My dad who is ninety – one years old next year has come to spend the next couple of months with us to escape the winter winds and will return to Toronto in the spring.

We continue to meet some really amazing Belizean’s. One that stands out readily is a single mom who has six wonderful kids who she is trying her best to put through school. We would see her leave early in the morning and return home late at night, and wonder where she got the energy to do it all. The kids range in age from eight years to eighteen years. The one good thing is she has her family near by, who help each other when needed. I had not seen or heard from this mother for awhile and we usually touched base often. I finally got her on the phone only to find out that her eldest child was stabbed many times in an unprovoked attack and was in the hospital. Apparently, the older son was sitting in the car waiting for his mom to return from seeing a friend, when he saw his younger brother had dropped his bike, and was running from someone. The eldest brother hearing the commotion got out of the car and went to retrieve the bike. As he bent to pick up the bike, the person who had been chasing the younger brother, turn and started to stab the elder brother. His mother heard screams and saw her son on the ground fighting the attacker. Just as my friend and others including a policeman got across the street the young man collapsed and was taken to hospital. There was fear that he might have a collapsed lung and for a while it was touch and go, but he finally pulled through. Turns out the person that attacked him was unstable mentally, and was on the street because his family could not manage him. He eventually went to jail which was not the right place either but proper facilities are not readily available, so everyone in the community suffers, which is a sad state of affairs. These are some of the challenges for health care that are faced here.

We have new neighbors who have moved in right around the corner from us who we really like. The woman is a psychologist from the states and her partner is a builder from Montreal, and they both have been living in Mexico for at least 20-25 years. They bought the property beside us which had a partially constructed foundation of a house, got a building crew together, and within three months had the house constructed and ready to move in. What a beautiful house. They are both great assets to our community. The Psychologists was good enough to see my friend’s son who was very angry and depressed after the attack, and helped him move through some of the feelings he was having related to the attack. Really some super people. This is what life is all about. Helping who ever we can in what little corner of the world we are. Ashe

Our newest addition to the family is a wee kitten named Tiye. One night, I had a dream of a cat that was orange with stripes, sitting on my lap, curled up in a circle. I woke up and it was three a.m. I sat in bed trying to figure out what the significance of the dream was, but could not. The next morning someone we know said she was awakened at 3a.m. to the sound of meowing, which she tried to block out for an hour. Finally, she took her flashlight and went outside to find the source, and there under her truck was this little kitten no bigger than the palm of your hand cowering next to the tire. She picked it up took it inside and gave it something to eat, which she said she lapped up. The next day she saw us in town, and asked if we would be interested in adopting her as she already had a cat. We said we would see if we liked her first before agreeing. Well I nearly fell over when I realized she looked exactly like the cat I had dreamt about earlier. I guess she was meant to come into our lives as she bounded into our arms when we called her. Marlene has never had a cat before and at first was a little hesitant to take on more animal responsibilities, but Tiye has captured our hearts, and it is joy to have her, and watch all her tricks and antics.

Life here in Belize is full of drama, surprises, and gifts. There is rarely a dull moment. We had one of those dramatic episodes when our youngest dog spirit was bitten by one of the deadliest snakes in Central America, called a Fer-de-lance or Yellow Jawed Tommy Goff for those of you who want to look it up. I had just fed the dogs at six-thirty a.m. and had gone back outside a few minutes later to do something when I saw the dog’s face swollen to twice its normal size. I thought maybe he had eaten something and was reacting to it. The swelling didn’t seem to be going down after fifteen minutes and he seemed to be breathing heavier and was in some distress, so we packed him into the truck, and headed off to the vet. As soon as the vet saw him, he said he was a victim of a snake bite from a poisonous snake and needed anti- snake venom right away in order to survive. The real scary part is that all the places including the hospital, that should have had medicine had none .Finally we found the one vile of serum at a hospital but it was outdated. The vet gave the dog the needle and put him to sleep to relax and take the strain off his heart. Had it been one of us bitten, it may have been good night Irene. I truly believe our dog took the hit for us, in what could have been a very different outcome. Praises be.

Well talk about tempting fate. Spirit got bitten again within 6 weeks, so here we were again going through the motions of getting serum and visiting an amazed vet at our second encounter with the Fer-de Lance snake. This time we found Serum at the hospital and had to convince them to sell us one for the dog. A couple days later a seven foot Fer- de –Lance was killed at our gate bye some passing good Samaritans who saw it out the side of their vehicle. We are now cutting a lot of the jungle away from our living space. In the process we have found the skin of an eight foot Fer-de-Lance which I now have for healing medicine. A Mayan woman told us of a certain plant we should plant around the property to keep them away. There is a snake-man / herbalist who is trying to track down the plant for us so hopefully it will help to deter these unwanted guests plus the thinning of the jungle right around us. We have to keep reminding ourselves this is the rain forest, part of which we have laid claim to and somehow we need to live with the utmost respect with all beings. Saved again by our dog Spirit. What can I say? He gets the biggest piece of steak around. He’s earned it wouldn’t you say? Thanks to God, the Orisha, and the ancestors for keeping a watch over us. Ashe.

We have been involved with doing a lot of rituals for people and had been doing some of them by a beautiful water falls near here, until the snake doctor told us that Fer-de-Lance like to go down to the river to feed and will go into the water. Figuring we are a magnet for them, we decided not to tempt fate, and find safer environments to do rituals. Marlene has been busy doing her massages and is becoming sought after. Ashe.

Many of my family and friends seem to have their birthdays in November. Marlene, my mother and my sister are November people and the principal at the school was also celebrating her birthday and our new neighbor plus another friend who runs a great little resort. Anything for a party so I hosted a potluck dessert party. We had about 40 people and I had all the needed items to make funky birthday hats. People really got into making hats and came up with some good designs. The desserts bought by the guests were tasty and the birthday cakes I order were fantastic.

Our cat decided she wanted to see if there was any truth to the nine lives story, and almost became dog chow. I had just opened the door and somehow she slipped out without me seeing her. All I saw was one of our dogs come round the corner at the same time and pounce on her causing the other two dogs to come and see what the commotion was. The dogs attacked the cat and bit it but it escaped. I grabbed two dogs and I was trying to hold on to them as they dragged me across the yard in pursuit of the kitten. By this time I was screaming on top of my lungs for help. Marlene finally came out after what seemed like centuries and held two of the dogs while I grabbed the third. My dad came out of the house and was able to get the tired hissing traumatized cat into the house. I tell you that cat fought for her life that day and I think she used up three rather than one life. When my Dad got her in the house she was still fighting and scratching so he put her down and the kitten was so frightened it hid and it took us an hour to find where she was hiding as none of our calling to her or tempting her with food, was enticing her out. We finally found her shaking like a leaf and not sure if one of her hips was dislocated, because she seemed to be limping on it plus the missing pieces of fur where she had been bitten. Off we went to our good friend the vet who kind of raised one eye brow and looked at us as if to say what now? The vet examined her and gave her something for pain, inflammation and antibiotics. Apart from being a nervous wreck when the dogs bark, Tiye and all of us got over our emotional trauma in the following days. Even my bruises from being dragged by big dogs healed. Whew!! Never a dull moment and so much for animal tales.

Oh! Big news!!!!!!!!! Something I wanted to start for the longest time is finally a reality. I have started a foundation “The Winsom Foundation” which will among other things be involved in teaching art, community beautification programs, health teaching and education which Marlene and others are interested in and sponsorship for attending high school. I have been volunteering my time and what resources I have to the local school in the village of Cristo Rey since 2005, and find I cannot continue to fund them from my dwindling resources, but the need is so great, and I passionately care about children and encouraging them to explore their creativity and who they are through art. The art these kids have produced is amazing and they soak everything up like sponges. Marlene and I have seen kids who barely look at you, to a talkative bunch who have been able to use art as an expressive tool, and it has been a beautiful process to watch. For example, I taught them to do macramé and they have been making bracelets to give to family members and friends and hopefully sell some on the weekly market. That’s entrepreneurship for you!!!

The foundation threw a Christmas party at the school through contribution of one of the sponsors Carlton Watson of Canada. It was soooo much fun as we gave Christmas bags to each child which included art supplies like sketch pads, paints, paint brushes. We also had a Santa piñata which my dad helped stuff with candy for the kids to bust, and then had a massive Christmas lunch which included their favorites BBQ chicken, potato salad, tortilla, cake, lots of chocolates / candy and pop to drink. A good time was had by all.

Living here in Belize has meant we have had the privilege of meeting a lot of different people from all over the world with all kinds of stories. It is amazing how many Canadians are in Belize either visiting or living here. There is a whole community of Mennonites who are both old and new order, who have come from Alberta. Many other Canadians are from Ontario, Winnipeg, and Vancouver. We have also gotten to know a few Belizean families, one of which we invited for Christmas dinner. This family has just recently experienced a few devastating losses in the last little while. Last year their Mother died in the first week of December quite suddenly to an illness, and this year in November the father lost his mother suddenly after two days of illness. On December 22nd the 17year old son who works on a construction site with his dad was cleaning a cement mixer when somehow it started up with his hand inside it, and he ended up with various injuries to all four fingers. A part of each finger except the thumb had to be amputated because they were so mangled. This is a devastating injury for him and we are being supportive as he goes through the mental and emotional healing. We met his mother shortly before she died last year and she told us we were one of the few people she invited into her home, because she tended to keep to herself. It was a real pleasure to have known her for that short time, and her son being the only boy really lived for his mom. The father and son are working for a Canadian company who the father says will pay treatment expenses and compensation for his son’s injuries. This is good news.

Christmas saw me cooking up my regular storm with all the usual favorites of turkey, stuffing, Spicy roast beef, fish, an assortment of salads, macaroni and cheese cake, and then some, all washed down with homemade ginger beer, sorrel and wine. Santa brought stockings for everyone, and the music kept us going. The dogs of course could not have been happier with the leftover’s and Christmas bone to chew on for a couple of days.

With the buzz of Christmas over, we decided to take up an invitation to go to the beach, to help a friend celebrate his 50th birthday. One thing I like about Belize is of course the warmth, but also that it only takes three hours to get to the Sea, where you can enjoy a great beach, stay over night and return to our jungle retreat. My friend is renting a beautiful house, a stone’s throw from the Caribbean Sea with a porch that allows you to walk right around and look out. I of course had to do a ritual giving thanks and praise to my mother Yemaya, for continued health, prosperity and financial abundance that I am receiving. I also said a prayer for the world, and the raising of positive and healing energy.

On the eve of 2008, I am wishing you all the blessing of the Great Spirit and the Ancestors and that your path may be the right one for the New Year and beyond.

Life is Beautiful Blessings from Ocean Spirit Fire Temple in Cristo Rey Village surrounded by many, many Pyramids of the Mayan Dynasty of Belize. Winsom & Marlene



Maroon Canadian artist based in Ontario, Canada " Keeping it in the Light "

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  1. Jojopahmaria Nsoroma

    Dear Winsom:
    Thank you so much for sharing your slice of life in the jungle. Thank you for so beautifully holding space for community, healing, and evolution of humanity. Blessings to you and your family and spiritual kin as you continue to walk in the Grace of Creator and the Ancestors!

    In truth & gratitude, Jojopah Maria

  2. Anonymous

    Dear Winsom-

    I am so glad to see you blogging again. I realize that as I have returned to Belize how fortunate we are to be here as well as how quickly some things have just turned on a dime. We all just do what we are able to make our corner of the world better.

    I happened to attend the children’s Christmas Party at the school; what a howling good time. You can just see the potential wealth of the kids coming to life through themselves aided by the good of the Foundation. Talk about giving me a run for my self as an “elf” and “dancer” celebrating with them. What a great time and eye opener.

    I also am able to attest that Tiye is a force of nature as are Winsom and Mar. Oh yes she is. Beautiful Kitten who has an Abbysianian body with orange mackrel tabby makings and something like an Ocicat as well. She is a handful but at least she didn’t climb the Xmas tree after all is said and done. I think she has taken over but none of us realizes the extent to which she makes us her staff through her antics.

    As for Spirit… he is all that. I was horrified when he was struck again but talk about a great dog with a giant heart. What a lucky mutual relationship.

    It has been an interesting time here. It has been a pleasure to sit with you and Mar and the Community we have here. I think of this as home even more than you know where. It is just incredible here, EVERYDAY. We have much for which to be thankful and that includes each other as we all reach out to do what we can in a ways that we can feel make a huge difference for not only the people it directly touches , but in the ripples it will send out for years over the spans of lives in the community through the kids.

    It is indeed a pleasure to be a small part of the work and also a participant in the fun and laughter and love.

    By the way, the Falls is wonderful as we felt we renewed ourselves and out vows with the help of Winsom, Marlene and Mac and friends.

    What a great place for a moondance and another reason to celebrate.

    Yes we have much for which to be thankful as we mindfully roll up our sleeves to get even more busy.

    I just feel privleged being here. It’s also nice to have your Dad here. He is doing well and seems to enjoy the children and the happy activity in which we partake.

    Blessings to you and to your readers-


  3. Anonymous

    Hi Winsom,
    Thank you for the Holiday Greeting. I have some good news and sad news. My Mom died on Nov 7 after a short illness, she was 92 and had played bridge the previous week and won! I miss her a lot but she did have a long and good life.
    I saw Lisa for a short visit in October, she is still enjoying Hawaii. I spent a few days in Florida with Alison and her parents and they are all well.
    I occasionally run into Karl here in Kingston and we have a chat.
    Please give my love to Marlene and Tara(where is she),

    love Michael

  4. Anonymous

    Hi Winsom
    Glad to hear from you again especially about your life in Belize. I know you are enjoying dad’s visit and I wish you all the joy, love, health and happiness in 2008.

  5. Charmaine

    HI Winsom & Marlene

    Great to hear from you. I am happy that you continue to walk your path. wishing both of you continued blessings throughout 2008 and beyond.