Thursday, May 31, 2012

Belizean Stewed Chicken

In just about every restaurant, cafe or roadside food stand in Belize, Stewed Chicken is sure to be an option on the menu. Sometimes, it’s the only option on the menu!
Generally served with rice and beans or coconut rice and cole slaw, this staple food of Belize is simple enough to make at home.

What you will need:
  • 1 package – chicken parts (breast, thigh, wings whatever you prefer)
  • Fresh vegetables – sweet potato, onion, garlic, tomato, pepper and anything else you have handy.
  • 1 tsp ground, black pepper
  • 2 tbs Ricado spice
  • 2 cups water
  • Coconut oil
  • Brown Sugar
  • Dash of salt (you can always add more later)
  • Side dish of choice, if desired
**Before cooking any chicken dish, let the chicken soak in a bowl of fresh lime juice (2 limes) and about a cup of water for 15-20 minutes, swishing it around occasionally – it sucks out a bunch of extra fat and grossness.**

  • In a large pot combine cleaned chicken parts, vegetables, black pepper, salt, red ricado and water.
Smells good already
  • In a medium sized skillet, add just enough coconut oil to cover the bottom.
  • On high, heat the oil until it begins to smoke
  • Add the brown sugar, lightly and evenly covering the oil. Over the next 3-4 minutes the sugar will caramelize and become foamy.
  • Using tongs, remove the chicken pieces from the pot -allowing them to drip-dry – and add them to the skillet. Turn the chicken frequently to evenly coat them with the sugar mixture until the skillet is almost dry – about 15 minutes. (The chicken may start to look burnt, trust me – it isn’t!)
  • Add the chicken back into the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce to low/medium heat and allow to simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
  • Remove lid and allow to simmer for an additional 15 minutes, or until the gravy is at your desired level 0f consistency.
Now it’s time to enjoy your authentic, homemade, Belizean meal!


More FAQ's I get about Belize

After being back in the States for a week and getting more questions about Belize, I decided to create a follow-up post to FAQ's I get about moving to Belize

Your house has no running water?? Where do you.... go to the bathroom?
Apparently people have missed my mentioning of the outhouse we have, about 50 yards away from the house. It was built before anything else so that the workers had somewhere to do their business and clean themselves up when they didn't feel like walking to the waterfall on the property below us to take a shower.
It's just a basic little setup - toilet, sink, shower. Eventually it will be the bathroom that guests of the cafe or people who want to camp up here, but for now it's for everyone. As of today, though, I have a working toilet and bathroom sink in my house, and hopefully by Monday, a shower, too, so I won't need to go down there anymore.

See? Outhouse.

You've mentioned a lot of Crime in Belize, is it safe to come visit you?
Absolutely - I wouldn't invite you if I thought you'd be in danger! Vacationing here and living here are two totally different things, and tourists just need to use common sense to get by.
  • Don't pull out a huge wad of cash out in public. If you feel like you need to have a lot of money with you while you're out for souvenir shopping or something, just split it up a little. Put some in your front pocket, some in your back pocket, some in your wallet. If you're a girl and you're wearing a dress and you don't have any pockets, just be really careful with your purse.
  • Be careful with your purse! Keep some cash in your wallet, and some in one of those inside, zippered pockets that almost all purses have. Don't hang it on the back of your chair or bar stool. Don't leave it at the table or on the bar when you go to the bathroom or get up to dance or sing karaoke unless you have someone with you (someone you've known more than 5 hours) to watch it for you. If possible, carry a purse with a long strap so you can wear messenger bag style while you're walking around town:
photo from Cute!
  • Don't wander around at night by yourself, and stay on the main roads. It happens - you go out with a group of friends and have a great time, but they decide to be all responsible and go back to the hotel to get a few hours of sleep before the next days 6am dive. You, however are having a really good time with the boy or girl you just met at some bar, and they have convinced you that it's a better idea to go dancing instead. (If you're in San Pedro, you'll either be heading to Daddy Rock's or to Jaguars, both open until 4am on weekends.) When you finally decide to go back to your room, even though you've already figured out the best way to get there by walking down the beach or down a couple of back roads, just take a taxi. The worse thing the driver will do to you is charge you an extra few bucks.
    don't be too hungover to go see the turtles!
  • Don't wear expensive jewelry when you come visit, leave it all at home. Guys on bikes will just ride past while you're walking down the beach after lunch and snatch the shiny, expensive looking pendant right off of your neck. And if they notice that Rolex on your wrist or that big, diamond ring on your finger, you may become a target if you're spotted a little inebriated in town later that evening.
  • Don't tell people where you're staying. You will meet a lot of friendly people in Belize, and most of them really are just making small talk. Maybe they want to know where you're staying so that they can recommend a good bar or restaurant or tour guide company that their family owns or works at that isn't far from your hotel. (Sometimes they get a small commission if you mention that they sent you, so definitely drop their name to help them out) If that seems to be the case, just tell them the name of the Hotel, but "forget" which room number you're in "because your other friend has the key." Never mention your room number, really. I've had people show up unannounced and uninvited when I've made the mistake of being too specific.
  • Lock your hotel room door and windows. Belize usually has a phenomenal breeze going through it - especially if you're on the islands. It's tempting to leave the windows open at night while you sleep, but it's just safer not to. I think that was my mistake, when I got robbed. I thought I was ok, being all the way on the third floor with no apparent way to climb up to the balcony, so I left the door open a crack for my cats to get in and out. I can't be certain (neither can the San Pedro Police Department) if that's how they got in, but from that night on, I kept everything locked up. And, locking your door? You shouldn't need a reminder for that, but there it is anyway.
  • Don't invite the cute guy or girl back to your room. That rule might be really hard for some people to follow - trust me, I know! Just keep in  mind that some people are known to pick up a wallet or some cash that doesn't belong to them while you're using the bathroom or sleeping off all the alcohol and other good times from the night before. Try to use your best judgement on this one.
Where's a good place to stay?
I can't answer that until you tell me:
  • Where you want to be. What sounds better - an island, a coastal beach town, the city, or the jungle?
Does the pool at Portofino look good to you?

Or a jungle hut at the Pine Ridge Lodge?
  • What you want to do while you're here. Are you interested in SCUBA diving, snorkeling and laying on the beach? Do you want to explore caves, check out some ruins, or go horseback riding through the jungle? Do you want to get married or honeymoon on the beach or at your own, private waterfall? You can do any of this, no matter where in the country you decide to stay - you can do day trips to the mainland from the islands, and day trips to the islands from the mainland -you just have to think about where you want to spend the majority of your time.
Ziplining through the jungle?

Drinks in the sea at the Palapa Bar, perhaps?
  • What kind of crowd situation you want. Are you picturing yourself out late at night, drinking, dancing, talking to locals and other tourists out to have a good time, or are you picturing yourself in a laid back, quiet atmosphere with just you and your significant other or small group of friends? Do you want just a little bit of both?
do you want to party with locals?

or enjoy your own hammock room?

Are there any nude beaches in Belize?
Not that I know of, but let me know if you hear differently. (I've found secluded spots on Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye to go topless, but that's about it.)

Will a lot of people try to sell me things?
There are always people on the beach trying to sell their crafts - and they obviously do it to make a living. They're so polite though, and they don't hound you to buy anything like they do in Jamaica (from my experience) Make sure you spend at least a little bit of money with the street vendors, it helps the local economy, and they're cheaper than all the touristy souvenir shops. You can bargain with them, too, but remember that they're trying to feed their families and you're here on a nice holiday.

not a bad place to shop

Well, that's all I have for now. Keep your questions coming.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Crime in Belize... not so new

Here are the front page headlines from The Reporter on Sunday, May 27, 2012

Eleven year old dies in gang war

Two charged for Maturas' murders

Belize City woman charged for BDF corporal's murder

Chang's Election Petition falls flat

I heard on the radio that there have already been 54 murders in Belize since January, and that a few days ago so I'm sure the number is higher now.

I know so many people who have been mugged or jumped or burglarized - even I got robbed! :(
It's nothing new though - crime in Belize.

We met a guy named Melvin who owns a piece of land behind ours (Its for sale, by the way.... not that this story will make you want to buy it)

Melvin built a little house way up here in the foothills of the Maya Mountains and hired four Guatemalans to work on the land during the dry season. When the rainy season came, he had to lay them off and told them to come back when it was dry again.
A few months later, the dry season comes back around and the Guatemalans don't show up, so Melvin has to hire four new guys.
A month or two after that, the Guatemalans show up and want their jobs back, but Melvin tells them, "Sorry, you weren't here and I had to get new workers." The Guatemalans ask if they can build themselves a little thatch hut on Melvin's land so they have somewhere to live while they look for work.
Melvin has a wife and small child living with him and just doesn't feel like it's the most comfortable situation, if the Guats live on the land, so he says no.
Over the next few weeks, Melvin notices the Guatemalans every now and then, and he feels like they're stalking him.
One day, finally, they came up to his house and ask him to come outside so they could talk to him. Melvin had a bad feeling, but went out to see what's up. He said that they kept telling him to sit down so they could talk, but Melvin didn't want to sit down. After a few minutes, he decided that he was in a bad situation, so he turned around to go back inside.
Just as he was opening the door, one of them hit him in the back of the head, and then they hog tied him while he was down.
Melvin's wife and kid were just cowering in the corner while the Guatemalans robbed them of everything they owned, including Melvin's shotgun.
They left, and Melvin's wife untied him, and the three of them ran down through the bush to make sure Melvin's father was ok - to check that the guys hadn't decided to stop there are rob the old man on their way back down the hill.

Everything ended up ok, all things considered. While they were at Melvin's father's house they did hear a gun shot and later learned that the Guatemalans had used the shotgun in a robbery down in the village, but he doesn't think anyone got killed.

Melvin and his family don't live up here anymore.
The Guatemalans got away with it, and with probably a lot more home invasions and robberies and things like that.

People get away with a lot here. It's actually really rare for me to read about or hear about someone actually getting charged with a crime and being sentenced to a prison term.

We're getting guard dogs up here in a few months and eventually we might even hire and overnight security guard, and if I end up living in San Pedro again, I'd definitely want to adopt a dog for my apartment... I just wonder, is there any really safe spot in Belize? Somewhere that people feel ok leaving their house for a few hours without having burglar bars or guard dogs on duty?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

New additions to the Farm and a Circus in Dangriga

I was hoping to come home to a house with running water. I did not.

I did find finished counter tops in the kitchen, a finished bathroom floor, a fancy new grill to cook on.... and 6 new baby chickens!!

2 yellows and 4 blacks


I can't name these ones because I'm not allowed to get attached... When they're old enough we'll have to sell them and everyone here knows that I'll probably cry if I start picking them up and petting them now and have to give them up in a few months. I'm doing my best to ignore them.... but I do have a favorite...

I call him "Fluffy." Don't tell anyone.

On Friday I went to take advantage of the faster internet connection at the Pelican Beach Resort in Dangriga and finish up a writing assignment I've been putting off for a few weeks. On my way there I passed something I've never seen in Belize before - a circus!

animal tent
I don't know what that tall structure is for
sleeping tigers

tiny horses

and a camel.

I normally avoid any circus that uses animals in their show, but I was curious about this one, run by Boletos (I can't find any info about them online.) I would have gone yesterday to check it out, but it's been raining here all night and all morning every day since Thursday. We get a few hours of sunshine in the afternoon, but not enough to dry up the driveway enough to get down it safely.

Have any of my Belizean readers ever gone to a Boletos Circus before? I want to know what kind of acts they have.... tight rope walkers, jugglers, clowns, acrobats?? Tell me all about it!

It was raining all morning, as I mentioned, but I just went outside and took this clear picture of Victoria's Peak we have while the sun is shining.

 a bit cloudy, but that's the highest peak in the country, as seen from my home on Overlook Farms

Additional, random thoughts:

As much as I love riding the bus on a bright, sunny day here in Belize, I'm terrified to get on one in the rain

I have to remember my interview with immigration on June 7th. I never pay attention to the day/date, so I have to keep reminding myself to check the calendar every single day. I think it's next Thursday

Chickens really do sound like dinosaurs

I wonder if the Mango Festival or the circus got cancelled this weekend

I'm bummed that the rain ruined my San Pedro trip tomorrow

This isn't even the rainy season yet, what the hell? I wonder if the Earth really will flood during this new age of Aquarius we're going into

How hard it DIY plumbing? Could I learn to install gutters and pipes and stuff myself? I really, reeeaally want my own shower.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ready to go home

This trip back to Pennsylvania has completely exhausted me.

Maybe it has something to do with drinking more liquor in 3 nights than I have in the past year, or maybe it's because I didn't go to bed until around 4am almost every night that I've been here, or maybe it's from trying to catch up with 20 different people in 7 days, but I'm BEAT!

If you know me in real life, then you probably know that I had been craving a greasy, South Philly cheesesteak for, like, 3 months, so I had my friend Eric stop at Pat's before we headed into the 'burbs.

I didn't take this pic, I found it on the website.

I have to say... the cheesesteak was not as good as I remember it being. I could, like, taste the chemicals in the cheese or something - and I've been noticing the same chemical taste in a lot of the food here that I used to love. It's slightly disappointing, but I guess it's kept me from gaining 10 pounds while I'm visiting, so that's a plus.

The best meals I've had since I've been here were the home cooked ones, obviously;
My mom made me chicken cutlets with corn and garlicky spinach; my sister Shannon made me a lasagna and chocolate chip cookies; and my sister Lisa made me Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with cinnamon buttercream frosting on Wednesday night -  and then salad, corn on the cob, two different varieties of chicken, and a Brown Sugar Pound Cake for the dinner party she hosted a few days later for me and a couple of friends.

Another stolen picture - but the ones Lisa made tasted as good as this one looks.

Tonight, my dad made pasta with shrimp, garlic, spinach and olive oil. I love my family.

Ok, enough about food.

I was super excited to meet my niece's new adopted dog, Loki, while I'm here and OMG, he's the cutest little thing, I love him! 

with my neice and her new doggy

he's so cute

I feel like I didn't really DO a whole lot during my stay here in Bucks County... I didn't play any disc golf, I didn't get to any shows, didn't go for a walk to the fountain...  but I DID get to see some of my favorite people!

Nate, me, Kathy, Ben, Melissa

Ben, me, Kathy and Eric

My Kymmberly!

I saw other favorite people throughout the week but somehow managed to lose an entire album off of my laptop. I seriously have no idea how I lost it, but its gone... and there were some good ones in there from our nights in New Hope and Big Heads, and pictures of the new Churchville Nature Center building.

I still have the pics from last night, though.... they're cool, but there aren't any pictures of my friends and thats dumb :(

Stogie Joe's on Passyunk Ave

me gettin punched by a statue

The Bottle Shop on Passyunk Ave

Adobe Cafe, also on Passyunk Ave

Loading all these pictures on here makes me miss my friends, family, and Loki already.... but I'm still looking forward to going home tomorrow.
I think I miss my chicken.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

5:12am, Tuesday morning

My first flight out of Dangriga is at 9:20 this morning... and I've been awake since 3:30, so I'm just trolling the Internet and looking for interesting stories...

Did you hear about the 24 year old girl in Georgia who was on a homemade zip line that broke? This poor girl - the line ripped her leg open and she needed 27 staples to close it back up. That's horrible enough - but it gets much, much worse.
This all happened last Tuesday - so then Wednesday she goes back to the hospital because she was in excruciating pain and they give her some pain pills and send her home. Another day or two later, she goes back, still in pain, and they send her home with antibiotics. By Friday or Saturday, she was back in the hospital and diagnosed with some kind of flesh-eating bacteria... long story short, this girl had to have her leg amputated at the hip, her other foot had to come off, both hands at the wrist, and part of her abdomen.
You'll have to Google the story yourself - my internet connection is being uncooperative.

I heard on the news last night (on the radio, Love FM, 6pm news hour) that someone was arrested for trying to bribe GSU officers for information about the raid of John Mcafee - and that the GSU is trying to link McAfee to some other guy who was in the news a few months ago that got busted with a whole bunch of meth. (I KNEW that laboratory on his property was bad news!)

That's all I have for you today, only because I keep getting kicked off line and I don't want to start getting frustrated and end up smashing my laptop.
The sun is starting to come up - so I'm gona go tear through the house and see what I've forgotten to pack...

I'll see all my PA buddies SOON!!! :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A lazy, rainy Sunday

Mother nature is giving us a little taste of what to expect when the rainy season comes by sending a nice storm our way for a few hours this morning, so it's been a nice day to just stay in and mess with my blog. (If you've been reading as religiously as you should be, you'll notice that I adopted a new template and background image - and you can now leave a comment without signing up for a Google account.)

The rain has also provided me with plenty of muddy cat footprints in my house, and some time to start going through and organizing all of my pictures on my laptop.
I found so many pics from driving up and down the Hummingbird Highway - the road that made me fall in love with Belize, and the one I'm lucky enough to live off of here in Stann Creek....

The "Sleeping Giant"

My favorite highway

What part of my driveway looks like from the Hummingbird.

If you look in the picture above, where that little smudge or raindrop is on the top there and follow it straight down, you can kind of see more of the driveway between the tree line. The houses are up there, too.... and all that dirt that turns into mud is a bitch to get through!

This is probably my last post before I head back to Pennsylvania on Tuesday, but I might get a chance to write while I'm crashing on someone's couch and, hopefully, while I'm traveling through Mexico on my way back here.

That reminds me - one of my missions while I'm in the States to get my online banking and paypal account figured out so I can try to make some money with this blog thingy (help!), and start submitting articles and stuff. I need a little "donate money" link so I can afford medical care for the chicken, pay to get my Jeep down here so I can provide all of you with more fascinating posts about Belize, and a fancy camera for amazing pictures to go along with the fascinating posts.

Here are some pictures of Muffin and Turkey before I sign out...

Thinking about being friends

Do you see that backwards foot?!

Friday, May 11, 2012

News Breakdown Updates, Pictures & Permanent Residence part 2

I haven't read anything else about the GOB paying gang members, but I did see somewhere online that the dentist story was a lie. Total bummer.

my breakdown of the news

Everyone's all over the John McAfee story, though, and I've found this article by the San Pedro Sun has the most information: McAfee vs GSU.
Will the GSU apologize to McAfee, or will he get the US State Department to issue a Travel Advisory against Belize? Inquiring minds want to know...

Moving right along, here are some pics from my day yesterday:

As I struggled to get out of my morning haze from the early wake-up, I hung out with the chicken.


Then I strolled down the driveway, a mile downhill hike to the bus stop in the village of Alta Vista.

Pretty flowers lining the driveway

Pretty hibiscus

Part 1 of the driveway

Alta Vista bus stop

I love how quickly things grow down here. "We" chopped down this big section of da bush about 2 or 3 weeks ago and these plantains are already shootin right back up:


new leaf unfolding

tiny guy

I don't remember what tree these things come from - they're, like, pods that explode into furballs. 
At first glance they look like dead squirrels

Once I got to Belmopan, I went the little copy/fax hut in the parking lot of the immigration and had a whole bunch of papers signed, stamped, and notarized by the Justice of the Peace guy in there, then handed everything in at immigration.
I had some copies of things I didn't need, and I was missing a few things*, but the guy wrote me a receipt for everything that I turned in and gave my me interview date - June 7th.

*When they ask you for an income tax statement/letter, they want one from Belize, not the States.

Before I caught bus home yesterday I stopped at some little cosmetics store and almost bumped into this guy napping in the back:

he's a snorer

This morning I came back to town with the rest of the info I needed and turned that all in, too, so I'm good to go now.

I'm now shacked up for the night in  the Belmopan Conference Hall Hotel, waiting on the manager to finish vacuuming the pool and thinking about stealing a few clippings from their nice, light orange hibiscus flowers outside of my room and the purple plants outside of the office. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My breakdown of the News in Belize

I've decided that, since American news channels never mention Belize unless a US fugitive is captured down here or there's a hurricane heading our way, I'll recap some of our news articles for my friends back home.

The biggest story this week is about John McAfee, the antivirus software pioneer, investor and philanthropist. I knew that he has a mansion somewhere on Ambergris Caye, but apparently he also has some kind of compound with 9 buildings and a laboratory here on the mainland, in the Orange Walk district.

So, basically what happened was that 42 members of the GSU (gang suppression unit) the BDF (Belize defense force) and the B-SAG (Belize special assignment group) all raided his house early on Monday morning. I can't find anything that gives their reason for the raid, but they ended up killing one of McAfee's guard dogs and kept him and his employees in handcuffs for 14 hours before bringing him to the police station and trying to charge him with possession of an unlicensed gun. He was eventually released without any charges, but 3 of McAfee's security guards were arrested and charged for "providing security services without a license."

Mr. McAfee thinks that he was targeted because he didn't donate money this year to a certain politician, but who knows. I read online that a few weeks/months ago, the BDF asked permission to search his property and he told them no and to come back with a warrant. (which they did have this time)

Now, I personally think this McAfee guy sounds a little shady - he's 66 years old and has a 17 year old girlfriend, and that laboratory on his property... what's that about? And why not just let them search it the first time, if you have nothing to hide?

What's scary about this is that it can happen to anyone living here... and, from what I can tell, without reason.

The next story I find interesting enough to share with you all is about the Government of Belize (GOB) paying gang members here to "keep the peace."

Now.... they say there's no money for salary increases for public officers, teachers, nurses or police officers, but they have plenty of money to give to gangs?? They have already spent over $1million to pay the gang members, and they plan on continuing to do so. They call it their "gang truce" program.

Ummmm... the truce is NOT working! Over the last 2 weeks, almost a dozen people have been killed due to gang activity and rivalries.
To quote an article from The Belize Times, "One cannot buy peace and gangs are illegal."

Under the Prime Minister Dean Barrow's watch the gangs have "gained notoriety, prominence and recognition. Gangs have gone from issuing press releases, to suing the government to now naming Ambassadors."

Yeah - they will pick a gang leader to be an "Ambassador" to sit down with Dean Barrow and the government of Belize and negotiate the truce. (The prime ministers presence is demanded...)

My opinion? The GOB just gives money to gangs so they themselves don't get killed.

The last story I'll recap for you today also involves money and the GOB.

There is a police pathologist named Dr Estradabran who does autopsies here, and he has "several dead bodies piling up" because his contract ran out recently and the GOB still owes him money for his services over the past several years, and he will not get back to work until his contract is renegotiated.
Part of the problem Dr Estradaban is having? "The increased level of violent crime in Belize was too difficult to keep up with as he had to respond to incidents all over the country to conduct post mortems."

Here are other headlines from The Belize Times and The Reporter:

NTUCB SELLOUT - Union leaders agreed to keep members and public in the dark about negotiations with GOB

Boco T dies inside San Pedro police cell (still no autopsy after one week)

Fuel Prices Increase Again

Cousins stabbed dead during Agriculture show

Renowned Economist says Belize's problem is poor governance

Man, 30, accused of sexual assault on 10 year old girl

Suspended search dooms Corozal fishermen

Francis Petillo charged with robbery and damage to property

Beans from Belize seized for rat feces contamination

2 Guatemalans detained for illegal logging

Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Belize and Guatemala agree on referendum date

Invester John McAfee says GSU terrorized him

Green Tropics Ltd. to build new Sugar Factory in Cayo

High taxation hurting regional tourism

US$100,000 grants available for innovative Caribbean business ideas

Expert recommends Belize eliminate bureaucracy and Central Bank

Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce to Belize: Let's work together

I'll leave you with this story from the World News section of The Reporter:

Dentist pulls out all of her ex-boyfriends teeth after split.

A Polish woman is facing 3 years in prison after she removed all of her ex-boyfriends teeth during dental surgery just days after their breakup.
"I tried to be professional and detach myself from my emotions," Anna Mackowiak, 34, told the Austrian Times. "But when I saw him lying there I just thought 'What a bastard' and decided to take his teeth out."
Marek Olszewski, 45, reportedly showed up to Mackowiak's dental office complaining of a toothache just days after he broke up with her. She then allegedly gave him a "heavy dose" of anesthetic, locked the door, and began removing all of his teeth, one by one.
"I knew something was wrong because when I woke up I couldn't feel any teeth and my jaw was strapped up with bandages," Olszewski said.
"She told me my mouth was numb and I wouldn't be able to feel anything for a while and that the bandage was there to protect the gums, but that I would need to see a specialist," he said.
"I didn't have any reason to doubt her. I mean I thought she was a professional."
Adding to his trauma, Olszewski said his new girlfriend has already left him over his now toothless appearance.
"And I'm going to have to pay a fortune on getting indents or something." he said.
Mackowiak is currently being investigated for medical malpractice.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Permanent Residence in Belize - the beginning

The first step to getting your permanent residency in Belize to come here and stay for one full year, without leaving for more than 14 days during that year.
In order to stay for that long, you'll either need to go to immigration every 30 days and pay for an extension, (the cost of an extension is $50bz ($25us) every month for the first 6 months, and $100bz ($50us) for the last 6 months) or do what I did and buy yourself a work permit, which allows you to stay for one full year without having to go to immigration every month. *

I've been here for just over a year now and I'm ready to apply, This has taken me, so far, three trips to Belmopan (which  adventure in itself: My solo trip to Belmopan, lessons learned), but the first thing I did was go and pick up my Application for Permanent Residence. **
This is the information they ask you for in this form:

  • Name, previous names, address, nationality, sex, marital status, date of birth, country of birth.
  • Details of wife, unmarried children and dependants. (All details to be given whether or not members are to accompany applicant to Belize)
  • Your date of arrival to Belize and port of entry, address in which you reside, country of last residence.
  • Amount of capital held (include bank statements)
  • They want to know if you can make an immigration deposit equivalent to the cost of transportation to your country or origin (if they need to deport you for some reason) I'm saying No, I do not have enough money to leave for an emergency deportment, because it's true. I guess I'll find out if that's a huge problem or not.
  • They want to know "particulars" of any temporary employment and permit. I don't know what that means.. so I just made a copy of my work permit and hope that's answers their question.
  • They'd like you to list any mental illnesses or physical disabilities of anyone in the family or dependants.
  • Education, languages spoken, special skills
  • Particulars of all your employment since leaving school, as well as particulars or service in the Armed Forces. (I've had over 30 jobs in my life, I'm listing the most recent three)
  • Proposed employment in Belize., proposed employer, address of proposed employer.
  • Amount of capital available for transfer to Belize (I guess this is the same as "amount of capital held?")
  • Passport particulars for applicant only (passport number, date of issue, place of issue, date of expiry.
  • And the last thing they want to know is how you plan on supporting yourself.

In addition to the application, you also need:

  • Evidence that you have been in the country legally for one year prior to application (this is where they want you to copy EVERY page of your passport or refugee card)
  • An immigration fee (I hear it's $2,000bz)
  • Alien Registration for yourself and members of your family over the age of 16 if you remained in the country for at least 6 months.
  • Recent police record for yourself and all members of your family over the age of 16. To obtain a Belize police record you must have been in the country for at least 6 months For the police report you need to fill out another application that pretty much just asks about your passport information and where you come from. You need to have 3 passport size photos of yourself to turn in with the application. I dropped my app off on Friday and picked it up today (Monday) at 4pm. (If you get your police record checked in Belmopan a up at 4 to pick it up, don't show up earlier. They seem pretty strict about their pick up time.The record itself just lists my name and passport number and says that I do not show up in their record. The fee is $25bz)
  • Documentary evidence that you ave acquired land in Belize or that you have access to land if you make such a claim. (Obviously, if you're just renting this doesn't apply to you)
  • Certificate of health including HIV, VDRL, and TB for you and all members of your family. ***
  • Three recent passport size photographs of yourself, wife and children if they are to be included.
  • Wife/husband's birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Sworn declaration of support (from husband or common-law husband)
  • Recent local bank statement or otherwise where means of financial support is not indicated.
  • Temporary employment permit if you are or wish to engage in gainful employment.
  • Income tax statement.
All tests must be in Belize. Photographs of all original documents need to be submitted along with originals.

 Once you have all of that information, you can drop off your application. It should them take about two weeks to call you for an interview, and then you need to have a formal interview with the police. I'll post about it once I get that far.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Baby Chicken - Updates and Travels

I still don't know if this chicken is a hen or a rooster, and I don't want to do this: Sexing Chickens, to find out. I've met some people who say that, because she/he has longer tail feathers (butt fluff, as I call it) it means it's a boy. Other people say that the longer butt fluff means it's a girl. I guess I have to just keep waiting so I know if it's name should be Camilla or Gonzo.... although it doesn't really matter since I always call it "Turkey," or "Penguin."

3 1/2 weeks old

On Friday, "Turkey" will be one month old - she's already been to Cahal Pech, San Ignacio, Dangriga, Antelope Falls and random spots throughout the Stann Creek district. She's also been stepped on by a large rooster and in two car accidents.

Yesterday, she got to go on her first bus ride with me to Belmopan. (Nope, no big deal here to carry a chicken on the bus with you here.)

On the bus

Once we got off the bus we went across the parking lot to a bar called Charishma, where Turkey enjoyed a light snack and a cold, refreshing beverage.... as did I.

Eatin in the box

Makin a mess on the table

I didn't get a picture of our nice bartender, Esmeralda (I have a chicken named Esmeralda!) but I did bump into Carol, from San Pedro, and she was nice enough to pose with the baby chicken for me.

Carol and Turkey

After drinks at Charishma and lunch at Formosa (free carrot cake and ice cream yesterday) we ended up getting a room for the night at the Bullfrog Inn -which has a very nice room and decent shower, and a good bar/restaurant in it, but a little bit pricey ($140bz for single, $170bz for double occupancy)

Bullfrog room

Today we just ran some errands in town before heading home, and we stopped at the
Country Barn for some homemade, Mennonite ice cream and a pee break for the chicken.

Small cup of ice cream, $1.00bz

Ya'd think that a Mennonite girl would know what a baby chicken looks like, right? The girl working today asked what kind of bird it is and sounded surprised, and a little disappointed, that it's a chicken.

Someone suggested I get her a passport and take her on a tour of Central America with me... but I think it might be time for this penguin to start acting more like a chicken and start spending more time at home, out in the yard.... like a normal bird. What do you think?