Saturday, December 31, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR- 2012


From all of us at Village View Post-Best Wishes for a safe and prosperous New Year.
Linda…Jane…Winfield…Norman…Cherry


It’s that time of the year again folks; a time when people pause to reflect on the year gone by and make plans for the New Year to come. At this time of year, people often get nostalgic and sentimental about their loved ones, about things around them and things they didn’t accomplish but still want to.

We all have dreams, goals and hopes. We all have something we want to achieve in our lives. For some people it’s publishing a memoir. For others it’s just finding the time to sit down and write a very engaging article. And for others it’s something altogether different.  

When I started this blog three years ago, my only goal was to bring my community to the world. While there was a lot of procrastinating, I am thankful that I was able to spin my wheels all year long without running out of gas. I think I have managed to achieve more than what I set out to do.

One thing that I think is super important this time of year is to think about the things in our lives that mean the most to us. What are you spending the most time on? Where are you wasting the most time? How could you put yourself in a position to be more likely to achieve your goals/dreams in 2012?

Thanks for reading and I wish you a peaceful and Happy New Year!!

Photo courtesy of photobucket.com

BELIZE MAYA 2012- WHERE WILL YOU BE WHEN THE WORLD BEGINS ANEW?

The Countdown Has Begun!

December 21, 2011 marks exactly one year until the end of the Long Count, a 5,125-year cycle of the Maya Calendar. Belize, with its significant Maya heritage and modern-day Maya population, is gearing up for this momentous occasion with a series of events and initiatives that will celebrate this significant point in the Mayan cosmology.

The ancient Maya were the scholars and scientists of the Yucatan, pioneering mathematics, astronomy and writing systems that remain central to human societies around the world. What is the real significance of 2012 to these early astronomers and scientists? According to the Maya,December 21, 2012 signals the world's transition into a new era. Some believe this transition will be peaceful; others warn it will be nothing short of explosive. But there's one thing everyone can agree on: traveling to the Mundo Maya in the year 2012 is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity-and it's not to be missed!

In the past, scholars believed Maya civilization was not fully established until about 300 A.D., at the start of the Early Classic period. Recent research, particularly in the heartland area of Belize, has provided conclusive evidence that ancient Maya civilization was actually in full bloom centuries before, in what is known as the Late Pre-classic period. By this early date the Maya were already carving stelae and altars, conducting long-distance trade, utilizing mathematic and calendar systems, and constructing monumental architecture. At Lamanai, for example, the tallest building at the site (known as the High Temple) was erected during the Late Pre-classic period. In the Cayo District, both Cahal Pech and ActunCan have carved stelae that date to Pre-classic times. In northern Belize the sites of Cerros and Lamanai have Pre-classic masks that exhibit some of the earliest examples of monumental art in the Maya world.

But how and why did the ancient inhabitants of Belize and Central America develop such complex societies? Today, we know Maya civilization was the result of a gradual process that combined a number of inter-related factors. The Maya area is ecologically diverse and provided all the necessary resources required to support a complex civilization. The development of intensive systems of agriculture allowed the Maya to produce surpluses, to sustain large populations and to encourage some people to become craft specialists while enabling others to assume political control. The fact that different areas had access to different resources also led to the establishment of a well-organized system of trade and exchange.

While Belize is not the only country in the region with rich Maya history, it is notable within the Mundo Maya for several reasons. First, Maya make up 10% of the country's population, a thriving and vital cultural community central to Belizean identity. Second, Belize is home to many ancient archaeological sites, including the remnants of the sprawling metropolis of Caracol. The country's archaeological sites are recognized worldwide by archaeologists as a treasure of humanity and many are active research sites.

The archaeological sites in Belize are as popular among visitors as many of the other cultural and natural gems for which this Caribbean paradise is renowned, including its barrier reef, dive sites, and lush jungle. In fact, even before the countdown to December 21, 2012 began, the country began seeing a marked increase in enquiries about our inland features, especially the many Archaeological sites. Maya village home stays, cultural tours and Belize's fascinating network of sacred Maya caves, some of which have only recently been open to the public, are also garnering more interest among travelers.

Known as "Mother Nature's Best Kept Secret" and the epicenter of the Mundo Maya, the National Maya Committee is excited to unveil Belize Maya 2012 initiatives, inviting everyone to experience the rich history and culture of the Maya people. The Committee, consisting of representatives from the Belize Tourism Board, the National Institute of Culture and History, and industry partners, has spent several months developing events and activities highlighting the significance of the year. A Calendar of Events has been put together highlighting activities specific to the importance of Maya 2012 throughout the year. Each month is filled with numerous activities for any traveler or family. For more information on the Calendar of Events for 2012, please visit us atwww.belizemaya2012.com.


In addition to the Calendar of Events, a first-of-its-kind Maya 2012 Passport has been developed. The Maya passport, which will be individually stamped at each of Belize's main archaeological sites, including Altun Ha, Barton Creek Cave, Cahal Pech, Caracol, Cerro Maya, El Pilar, Lamanai, Lubaantun, Nim Li Punit, Nohoch Che'en, Serpon Sugar Mill and Xunantunich, will be available for travelers from December 21, 2011 to December 21, 2012. The passport will be made available at a cost of US $25. As a part of Belize's year-long national celebration of the completion of a 26,000 year cycle of the Maya Long Count and the long awaited Winter Solstice of 2012, this passport, which has been designed as a sovereign, will be for travelers interested in visiting the country's mysterious archaeological sites and learning more about the Maya temples throughout Belize. The passport also includes background information and maps for all of the participating sites.

"2012 will be a momentous occasion, not only for Belize's large Maya population, but for all Belizeans. Given the amount of interest we're seeing from around the world, it's generating global excitement as well," said Yanick Dalhouse, BTB's Director of Marketing. "People are also discovering they can be married at ancient archaeological ceremonial centers, have truly exotic honeymoons, or create their own unique experiences while exploring the fascinating Maya culture," added Dalhouse. She also indicated that the Maya Passport is just one of many initiatives the Belize Tourism Board, NICH and other tourism industry partners will be rolling out.

Other activities include signature Equinox and Solstice Events. The Equinox is a time when the sun is directly at midpoint of the Earth, making both the days and the nights of equal length. To capture this event, the Ancient Maya build specific buildings such as the E - groupings that mark the alignment of such rare celestial occurrences. Belize welcomes travelers to take part in Equinox Celebrations at Caracol Archaeological Site on March 20-21, June 20-12, September 20-21 and December 20-21 of 2012 respectively. Given the allure of Belize's Archaeolpogical sites and the mystery shrouding December 21, 2012, the National Institute of Culture & History (NICH) in Belize has also decided to allow visitors with a once-in-a lifetime opportunity: witness the rising sun over the structure of Caracol while celebrating the spring and Summer solstices or the vernal and autumnal equinoxes.

Limited to 100 guests per event, the Maya Equinox Celebrations will allow travelers to camp overnight at Caracol on the evening of the 20th in the given month. Upon arrival, on the 20th, guest will be given a tour by Dr. Jaime Awe, followed by a traditional Maya meal of cochinito en pibil, tamales and more in the Caracol camp kitchen. The camping party will welcome the morning of the solstice or equinox with a traditional fire ceremony, performed by a native Maya Shaman. After witnessing the rising sun over the temples, travelers will have a traditional Maya breakfast and then return to San Ignacio. "This is an extremely rare opportunity for travelers to actually spend the night at Caracol and witness the beauty of the rising sun on these sacred final days of the Maya calendar," said Dr. Jaime Awe, Director of the Institute of Archaeology. "2012 is such a special year for the Maya and Belize as a whole. We're overjoyed to share it with our guests at these events." Tickets to the Maya Equinox Celebrations cost U.S. $150 per person and these tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis The price covers camping fee, site entrance fee, professional guide, fire ceremony and two meals. Certainly, this is another event we don't want to miss. For more information on where you can purchase tickets, contact the Institute of Archaeology in Belmopan at(501) 822-2106.
  


Friday, December 30, 2011

PRIME MINISTER DEAN O. BARROW'S NEW YEAR'S MESSAGE

Hon. Dean Oliver Barrow
No install­ment in any of the annual increments by which we most reckon the passage of time, is ever com­pletely without tri­als and tribulations. That is why as human beings, as so­cieties, as nations, we always welcome the New Year with ex­pectation and excite­ment. It is a chance to recover from ad­versity in the preced­ing twelve months, to do better and be better. The ageless ritual of ringing out the old and ringing in the new, is thus em­blematic of the eter­nal capacity for hope and renewal. And this, in turn, is part of God's legacy to the Race; to all thinking, sentient creatures that believe in Him. But while last year was, like all oth­ers, not without dif­ficulties, they were small ones. Indeed, given the global situa­tion; given the contin­uing fiscal, debt and joblessness problems of the US; and given the absolute crisis in which Europe contin­ued to be engulfed, economically our country did well. And a look at the numbers will serve to confirm what, in all the cir­cumstances, is a per­formance for which we must give thanks.

The Statistical Institute of Belize re­ports that for the first nine months of the year, our economy grew by 2.7% as com­pared to 1.8% for the same period in 2010. Last quarter growth is traditionally most robust, so that we are well on track to ex­ceed the overall 3% GDP increase for 2011 that I had predicted on Independence Day. This is a significant jump and will be al­most one full percent­age point above the 2.4% growth recorded for the previous year. When we look at the particular sectors that are most respon­sible for this picture of economic advance, the panorama is even more encouraging. Up to September it was the Wholesale and Re­tail Trade Sector that was one of the leaders, showing a 7.7% in­crease. And the Coro­zal Free Zone alone was responsible for a business rebound of 23% in improved year-on-year sales. Over the three quar­ters Hotels and Res­taurants grew by 2.1% as a consequence of a 3.3% increase in over­night tourists; and Transport and Com­munications went up by 2.5%. Construction was also 7.4% better. But it was Fishing that led all comers with a 14.5% hike.

And while overall sugar produc­tion fell, ratios, quality and prices improved so that we are now poised for an outstand­ing new season. Final­ly, Inflation remained low at just over 2%.  It is on the basis of all this that I can say that we were blessed in 2011. We easily out­paced 2010, and the story is even more re­markable if we go back to 2009. Then, we all remember, was when there was actual con­traction; when the fall­out from the world re­cession threatened to swamp us completely.

The econom­ic success of 2011 meant that increases in export earnings, in­cluding in particular from crude oil, enabled Government to con­summate a great leap forward in cementing its social agenda. Job-creating infrastructure projects were imple­mented; educational and economic second chance opportunities were expanded; and the wind was fully in the sails of our signa­ture home improve­ment, food pantry and cash transfer programs.

Our democracy was also in fine flow­er. We maintained our commitment to accessi­bility, transparency and accountability; and we continued our forward march to true national­ism by way of the Consti­tutional enshrinement of public ownership of our essential utilities.
Perhaps most noteworthy of all, we succeeded-certainly since September when we forged the Belize City gang truce-in de­celerating the incidence of senseless murders in this country. The signif­icant reduction in the homicide rate for the last four months of 2011 as compared to 2010, is great progress. And it comes at just the right point, when too many were beginning to feel that there could be no rescue from the abyss.

But the real pur­pose of this Message is to look ahead; to assure one and all that the in­herent promise and op­portunity of the New Year will not be forgone. Efforts will be strength­ened, commitments will be broadened, suc­cesses will be deepened.

In 2012, as one example, the infrastruc­ture drive-and the jobs it brings-will scale new heights. The Jalacte Road in the South, the Blue Creek one in the North, the Macal River Crossing in the West, the comprehensive Be­lize City drainage and street works, will all be hitting full stride. The new Marion Jones sta­dium will be coming out of the ground, the new Civic Center will be rising from the rubble. The contract for the de­sign and build compo­nent of the Solid Waste Management Project, has also been signed; and it will see 14 mil­lion dollars spent be­tween January and July in Caye Caulker, San Pedro, San Ignacio and Belize City. And their delayed reha­bilitation and beauti­fication drive for the District Towns will now start by April, the World Bank assures us.

A countrywide money contribution for working mothers will join the appren­ticeship, food subsidy and BOOST programs. And the drop-in cent­ers in distressed Belize City neighbourhoods will help with com­munity development, social recovery and violence prevention.

Millions of dollars will continue to fund Government's home improvement and home repairs across the na­tion; and every single registered surveyor in this country has now been contracted to work on the subdivision of the 4,709 acres iden­tified by the Ministry of Lands for the alloca­tion of building lots to first time landowners.

Our outreach to the poor and the mid­dle class continues. They, and indeed all Be­lizeans, will be helped by the lower electricity rates that I promised in September, and which are now a certainty. BEL, owned at last by Government and peo­ple, has already accept­ed, by way of its sub­missions to the Public Utilities Commission, that rates must come down. And the PUC may well reduce even more what has been proposed by BEL. The final decision will be on January 31, and the new, lower rates should under the current law take effect a few months thereafter. But we are a Government in a hurry to do good things. And the ease to the consum­er, the ease in the cost of living, the ease to business and industry and agriculture, can't wait. Thus Government will amend the law to implement from the very next day, February 1, 2012, this historic decrease in what Belizeans pay for electricity.

But there is more that we offer by way of festal cheer. Unlike 2012, our vision of up­lift and opportunity and egalitarianism is not newborn. But the underlining of fresh beginnings that always takes place on January 1, provides a proper op­portunity for us to reas­sert our creed: that this Government's flame of social justice will never dim; that it will burn even brighter in the next twelve months. And our preoccupation with those at the margins, with those of fixed in­comes, low incomes and no incomes, has caused us to hit on yet another idea for New Year relief and assistance. Accord­ingly, I announce today that Government will purchase all mortgages of 50 thousand dollars and under, owned by the Belize Social Secu­rity Board. These num­ber 780 and have a total aggregate value of 17 million dollars. Gov­ernment will thereafter write off these mortgag­es, forgiving the house­holders all of their loan obligations, and putting that money at their disposal to spend on the economy and generate more activity.

The notion of helping not just indi­viduals but businesses in this way, brings me to the last point I wish to make. In all that we do, Government can­not forget the private sector. There is need for an equal partnership, and we made the right start late in 2011. This must be consolidated in the year ahead. Gov­ernment is therefore, among other things, ap­pointing a Business De­velopment Facilitator in the Office of the Prime Minister to help oversee the new relationship.

I close by referring once again to the rebirth of optimism that is the special province of New Year celebrations. All across the globe, this is an occasion for the re­kindling of inspiration. It is the annual re-start of the quest for human progress, of the alche­mist mission to turn even brass into gold. In the case of Belize, our resolution is to re-ded­icate and re-consecrate the crusade by which we build a shining, fair and just country. One that will be the envy of, and model for, the region and the world.

Happy New Year everyone, and God bless Belize.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

OUR BELOVED PASTOR- REV OWEN FREDERIC RHABURN

Our Beloved Pastor- Rev. Owen Frederic Rhaburn 
Pastor Emeritus Crooked Tree Baptist Church
Sunrise: April 12, 1928 Sunset: December 23, 2011

Owen Frederic Rhaburn was born in Crooked Tree Village on April 12, 1928, the third child of John and Edith Flowers Rhaburn. He attended the Crooked Tree Baptist School and church. After completing primary school he went to work along with his father in his farming and chicle operations. 


Rev. Owen Rhaburn, a beloved husband and pastor served the Crooked Tree Village community well. He was a leader and centerpiece in the community officiating at many weddings, baby christenings and funerals. He was very committed and he touched many lives in the village. Pastor Rhaburn was a man of character, upstanding in our community and an incredible man of God. 

The year 1957 was a very important one in his life. In June he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior. And on August 3rd he took Maggie Crawford as his wife and there a month later, on November 3, the Reverend Michael Marrith baptized him and his wife on the profession of faith in Jesus Christ. He was subsequently admitted into the membership of the Crooked Tree Baptist Church.

He served in various capacities of the church including that of deacon. The Reverend Arnold Pearson Superintendent of the Baptist Mission and Pastor of the Queen Street Baptist Church assumed pastor ship of the Crooked Tree Baptist Church. He retained pastoral responsibility while delegating most of the operational functions of the Crooked Tree Church to the then Deacon Rhaburn. While serving in this capacity, the position of pastor became vacant and he was appointed provisionally as the pastor of the Crooked Tree Baptist Church in 1964.

With the support of Pastor Pearson and the Baptist Church Mission he enrolled in several courses of studies. In 1970 he graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a Diploma in Theology. He subsequently did a post-graduated study and was awarded certification in ‘Sermon Buildings” and “Church Growth”.

In 1968 Pastor Rhaburn left Crooked Tree Village for the Stann Creek Valley Community to serve as pastor of both the Light of the Valley and Stann Creek Town Baptist Churches. He served in that district from 1968 to 1971. In 1971 he returned to Crooked Tree and resumed his position as pastor of the CT Baptist Church. He served in that capacity until his retirement in 1998.

It is with great sadness and heaviness of heart that we announce the death of our beloved Pastor Owen Rhaburn. He wrestled long and hard with much pain and illness, and the Lord decided it was time to take him home.

He passed away peacefully on December 23, 2011 at 7:30 p. m. with his loving wife Maggie Crawford Rhaburn at his side. He is now in a place of vast beauty, having passed through the valley of the shadow.


He is survived by his wife Maggie Crawford Rhaburn.
Son: Andrew Rhaburn

Brothers: Cordel Rhaburn, and the the late Alvan Rhaburn, and Clinton Crawford.

Sisters: Mrs. Emma Rhaburn Westby of Crooked Tree Village, Mrs. Isa Rhaburn Matthews of Miami, Florida, and the late Ms. Illa Rhaburn.

He is also survived by 5 grand-children and a host of nieces and nephews.  

On Friday, December 30, 2011 the body will be borne by relatives and friends for funeral services at the Crooked Tree Baptist Church at 2:00 p.m. with burial at the Crooked Tree Village Cemetery. Pastor Maurice Westby and Brother Joel Westby will be conducting the funeral sermon.

Owen Frederic Rhaburn
SUNRISE: April 12, 1928
SUNSET:   December 23, 2011 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

WINES FOR THE HOLIDAYS


WINES FOR THE HOLIDAYS

The sun is setting and the candles on the chanukkiah are glowing. Today is the eight and last night of Chanukah and I would like to share with you some of the wines I drank….more like tasted…so far over the holidays. I have already cleaned up the dishes and wiped the stove clean from all that cooking for this evening. Now I’m ready to sit and relax and wait for the New Year. Hanukkah was never so simple! 

Choosing the best wine for the holidays can be easy, too. This year I’ve got a few wines in mind that can match up with some of your holiday foods and desserts.

Here are five, but I poured only three for this Chanukah:

2010 Duchessa Lia Moscato D’Asti (Italy); $15. This sweet white wine is only 5.5 alcohol content; yes more like juice for some of you, but I love it. This wine is straw yellow, with a light golden reflection. The aroma is intense, with wisps of fresh fruit; it’s sweet and aromatic. It’s ideal for after dinner with desserts like tarts, cakes and pastries.  For me it’s a wonderful sweet wine!

2010 Bartenura Moscato Rose (Italy); $15. This sparkling wine is a light rose color with a weekday-friendly low alcohol content of only 7.5% and a delicate fragrance and sweet taste.  It pairs well with fruit, cheeses and desserts. It is best served chilled.

2010 Carmel Single Vineyard Riesling (Galilee); $22. An off-dry white wine made from White Riesling grapes, grown in Kayoumi Vineyard, at an elevation of 780 meters above sea level in the shadow of Mount Meron. The wine is pale straw with tints of green, and has an aroma of blossoming citrus, green apple and lime, with a prominent and refreshing acidity.

2009 Alexander Syrah (Galilee); $36. This one has a deep red color with a shiny black tint. Aromas and flavors of red and black berries, with black pepper and spice. A long finish with excellent aging potential. The wine was aged for 20 months in French oak barrels.

Adar de Elvi Cava Brut (Spain); $20. Bubbly, and dry with flowers, citrus and strawberry. The dry white sparkling wine is a blend of three local grape varieties: Perellada, Macabeo and Xarel-lo. The second fermentation takes place in the bottle and the wines are aged for 12 months in the bottle.

Photo: Joy of Kosher

Sunday, December 25, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

A Merry Christmas greeting to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. I feel honor and privileged to say "Thank You" for all that they do; risking their lives each day to provide security for us.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other holiday, take this time to count your blessings! Hope you are all celebrating with your families or those closest to you. As for me, I spending the day with my sons.  And I am thankful for all of you that commented and visited my blog.

Merry Christmas to Sgt. Allan Rhaburn in Seoul, South Korea.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

BELIZEANS AT HOME AND ABROAD MOURN THE DEATH OF DR. MICHAEL DeSHIELD


Dr. Michael DeShield BA BVSc, MSc passed away on Dec 20, 2011 after battling colorectal cancer which had spread to his liver and lungs.  Deshield had been at the forefront of Belize’s bio-safety standards system since the nineties when the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, BAHA, was formulated as the local inspection agency for animal products.  He retired as its Technical Director for Food Safety Services after 11 years and eight months.

He was also the co-owner and founder of the first privately-owned, Animal Medical Center Veterinary Hospital in Belize City.  Exactly one month ago, on November 18th, Dr. DeShield made his last public appearance when he told his colleagues in the agricultural sector that he was very ill and was retiring from public life.  

He is survived by his wife and business partner, Miriam, and their children Christopher and, Phillip, daughter in law Miriam Loh, grandson Omar Gibson and loving niece Nikita Fairweather. He is also survived by sisters Rosalie "Peggy" Fuller, Ann Collins, Sandra Collins Fairweather and Sharon Reneau Washington also several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister Yvonne Deshield.

Dr. Deshield was born on Jan. 3rd 1957 to Carrie Smith Collins and Wilton Deshield (both deceased). He attended St. John's Primary School, St. Michael's College and Belize Technical College in Belize City. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Tropical Agriculture from Goshen College in Indiana; he graduated from the University of Queensland in 1988 with a Bachelors Degree in Veterinary Medicine and in 1995 from the University of Edinburgh with a Masters Degree in Tropical Veterinary Medicine. He has served as President of the Veterinary Association of Belize and also served on the Vet Surgeons Board.


In 1990 Michael began twenty-one years of service with the Ministry of Agriculture as a Veterinary Officer in Central Farm, Cayo. He was posted to the Central Investigative Laboratory in Belize City in 1996. Michael opened animal Medical Centre in 1998. He was one of the founders of the Belize Humane Society and Animal Shelter and of the Placencia Humane Society.


In 2000, Michael was one of a group that formed the Belize agriculture Health Authority (BAHA) and he was made Director of the Food Safety Department. Michael served on the Committee on Biosafety while acting as the Biosafety Focal Point, the Bureau of Standard as the Chairman on the Standards Advisory Committee, the Food and Nutrition Commission as Chairman and Vice Chairman and was a member of the Scientific Steering Committee where he acted as first Chairman.


Internationally, Michael worked with a multiplicity of food and agriculture organizations in matters relating to food safety including WHO, FAO, OIRSA, IAEA, was on the roster of Experts for World Health Organization and was Belize's representative to the CODEX Alimentarius Commission.

Funeral Services is set for Dec. 23rd 2011 at All Saints Church in Belize City at 2:00pm, Bishop Phillip Wright will be presiding.

NOTEWORTHY BELIZEAN BOOKS- A HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

WE ARE FREE-A NEW BOOK BY MALI CAYETANO
 A new book for children in Belize "We Are Free;” tells the story of the Garifuna's passage from Africa to St. Vincent in a vividly illustrated, and warmly narrated story. With the help of the wonderful bird Dunuru, the brothers and sisters Binah, NamulĂ©, and Hethu meet Dah, an old herbalist from the tribe of the Garinagu, who lives in the middle of the jungle. Like magic they fly into the past and experience the history of their people originating from Africa.

This is a distinctive piece of work by Mali Cayetano, the daughter of well known Belizean artists Pen and Ingrid Cayetano. Mali grew up in Germany where she is currently a musician, illustrator and designer. She is a graduate of the University of Applied Science Trier (Germany 2005 - 2010) where she majored in Communication Design.

Mali says the book was made for an exam in a graphics design course she took in Germany, but in creating it, she was focused on her culture. Her motivation for the book is to inspire a new generation of Belizean youth to learn and connect with the rich heritage and journey of the Garinagu.

You can learn more about Mali or place an order here: www.malicayetano.com


Bomba Codex
The Bomba Codex focuses on the Mayan civilization which subsisted within the rainforests of Central America. They were an advanced culture with notable achievements in astrology, mathematics and agriculture. Along the way, millions of them disappeared mysteriously off the face of the earth. The artifacts they left behind are now not only a valuable study for forensics to trace their journey, but a jackpot for the unscrupulous ruins' raiders who obliterate invaluable evidence in order to enrich their personal coffers.

Author and Master Storyteller, John Alexander Watler is well known in the Belizean theater community in Chicago for his lively one-man performances portraying Brer Anansi or one of his own creations such as “Onefoot” and ‘Sunkutu.’ Watler is a favorite of’ school children throughout Belize for his fresh stories and energetic performances and is recognized for his efforts to keep Kriol culture alive. Universities in the US have hosted John Alexander Watler as Literary Performer.


You can learn more about John or place an order here: www.johnwatler.com

Belizean write and author Elroy Johnson second book A BAAN DE II, translated as "I Was Born There" based on his life experiences growing up Punta Gorda, Belize. He writes about life "bak enna dem days" (in those days) in Punta Gorda, entertaining and delighting those who are acquainted with its history. Both books are framed as a collection of short narratives to serve as tangible reminders of a time in Punta Gorda, Belize affectionately known as PG, when life was simple, serene, unhurried, yet richly rewarding. 

A BAAN DE II can be purchased by contacting the author. He can be reached at elroywjohnson@aol.com. The price of the book is $18.00, which includes postage (continental US). Check or money order will do, and can be mailed directly to him. So, write to him and he'll respond back with his mailing address.
Panning to Perfection

Writer and poet, Norman C. Rodriguez launched his new book of poems, “Panning to Perfection” on August 18 of this year. This is Norman’s fifth book of poems and his second major publication.

Norman is a nature loving guy who listens to a lot of eighties music. Poetry writing comes when he is most emotionally challenged especially when the issue at hand concerns the social welfare of others. He was born the 16th May, 1970, the tenth of twelve children for his parents. He attended primary school in the Stann Creek Valley and high school, college and university in Belize City. He is presently reading for a law degree at the University of Guyana after which he will study at the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica.

Norman C. Rodriguez is A Lover of all things Belize


You can get your copy for Bz$20.00 by contacting Norman at:normancrodriguez@yahoo.com

Middle Schoolin a book co-authored by Belizean American Garifuna author/teacher Frank Palacio and Salvadorenian French author/teacher Jacques Rallion
This book is based on interactions with students, parents, and other education professionals, the stories both educate and entertain and include anecdotes that are humorous, sad, tragic, hopeful, uplifting, and thought-provoking. The vignettes reveal the day-to-day challenges that teacher’s face and the rewards that are often bestowed as a result.


Great reading for parents with children in elementary school. You will learn about the challenges, humor, and rewards of teaching, as well as classroom tragedies and successes, that take place in inner city public schools. These 50 vignettes describe human-interest, and middle school events.
This book can be purchased at www.amazon.com, www.bn.com, and also at Angulus Press locations in Belize. www.middleschoolin.com

PRIME MINISTER BARROW'S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE-2011


The usual good wishes that my family and I offer all our countrymen and women every Christmas, are this year mixed in with the thanks we give for the solidarity and support we have received from Belizeans over the last month and a half. Ever since the nation learned of my wife's cancer affliction, people's prayers and intercession have been non-stop. This has served not just greatly to comfort us, but as a wonderful reminder of what Christmas is really about: individuals drawing closer to God and to each other in recognition of the supreme sacrifice of the Christ child, and what that has ever since meant for the ties of our common humanity.

My Christmas hope, then, is for the star that lights Belize and all the world at this time, to be extra bright. May it bring good tidings and peace to everyone; but especially to those that are sick and in need. And let each of us that is able, personally reach out to the poor and the less fortunate. Let us, with kind words and good deeds, ensure that no Belizean is without the spirit and the good things of the season. Let us spread cheer in every corner of our beloved country.

To all in this great land, then, a blessed Christmas and a prosperous 2012.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

THE TRIUMPH OF CHANUKAH


Because Chanukah usually occurs in December, it is sometimes thought of as the "Jewish Christmas." It isn't, of course. And yet it is fair to say that the reason for Chanukah's popularity -- especially in America, where it is the most widely observed Jewish holiday after Passover and Yom Kippur -- is precisely its proximity to Christmas.

Chanukah used to be regarded as a minor half-holiday, cheerful but low-key. It has become something bigger and brighter in response to Christmas, which transforms each December into a brilliant winter festival of parties, decorations, and music. Attracted by the joy of the season, not wanting their children to feel left out of all the merriment and gift-giving, American Jews in the 20th century began to make much more of Chanukah than their grandparents ever had. Today Chanukah is well established as part of the annual "holiday season," complete with parties, decorations, and music of its own. Its enhanced status is a tribute both to the assimilating tug of America's majority culture and to the remarkable openness of that culture to Jewish customs and belief.

Ironically, Chanukah was established to commemorate the very opposite of cultural assimilation. It dates back nearly 22 centuries, to the successful Jewish revolt against Antiochus IV, one of the line of Syrian-Greek monarchs who ruled the northern branch of Alexander the Great's collapsed empire. Alexander had been respectful of the Jews' monotheistic religion, but Antiochus was determined to impose Hellenism, with its pagan gods and its cult of the body, throughout his domains. When he met resistance in Judea, he made Judaism illegal.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE by JEFF JACOBY: Aish.com

Monday, December 19, 2011

GIVE YOUR CHRISTMAS A TROPICAL TWIST


Coquito de Puerto Rico
Janelle and David
Rum popo, a rum-infused eggnog is generally part of many Belizean homes during the holiday season. But this Christmas lets hop on over to the island of Puerto Rico with my friends Janelle and David for a yummy creamy shot of coquito. And what better place to be because we all know that a Latino Christmas is full of cheer, happiness, great food, good music and dance. David said that they deserve only the best at Christmas time and that coquito and the Christmas dinner goes hand in hand!

The Christmas dinner, where family and good friends come together to celebrate, is an ancient Roman tradition that began moons before the Christian era. Christmas was officially declared in 354 AD by the Roman Bishop Liberius who choose December 25th as a day to celebrate the birth of the Christ child. Some scholars believe that Bishop Liberius chose this date so that Christians, at that time, members of an “outlaw religion” in the eyes of the Romans, could celebrate the birth of their savior without fear of being persecuted for their religion.

For ten years now Latinos in New York City battle it out to be the Coquito Masters champion. You can take trolleys to different locations in Spanish Harlem to sample coquito and vote for the best coquito drink.  

Christmas time is the best time to savor all the delicious coquitos in Puerto Rico and in all the Latino neighborhoods in NYC. There are different variations to the drink and Puerto Ricans tend to keep their coquito recipes top-secret. But David has agreed to part with his grand-mother’s secret recipe.

Coquito, an integral part of Puerto Rican Christmas!

I would love to learn all about your holiday beverages! What are you drinking; punch, rum popo or coquito?
Puerto Rican Coquito Recipe – Coquito de Puerto Rico

Many people opt for not including the eggs. If you opt out, transfer all ingredients to blender.

Ingredients
1 bottle of Malibu Coconut white rum (1 liters)
2-15 oz cans canned coconut milk
2-12 oz cans evaporated milk
4-12 oz condensed milk
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 Eggs yolk beaten
 Cinnamon or nutmeg to taste


Directions
In the top of a double boiler, combine egg yolks and evaporated milk. Stirring constantly, cook over lightly simmering water until mixture reaches a temperature of 160 degrees F (71 degrees C). The mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Transfer mixture to a blender, and add coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, rum, cinnamon or nutmeg, and vanilla. Blend thoroughly for about 30 seconds. Pour into glass bottle or pitcher, and chill overnight in the refrigerator.

It's best to drink it within 3 days of preparing, if your family and friends don't raid your fridge and finish it before then. Coquito is eggnog, Puerto Rican style, enriched by a delicious addition of coconut.


Source: (Christmas dinner): The Christian Book of Why, by John C McCollister, copyright 1983, ISBN 0-8246-0317-6 
Photo #1: istockphoto

BELIZE TOURISM BOARD KIOSK LAUNCHED AT NORTHERN BORDER


The Belize Tourism Board officially opened its Information Kiosk at the Santa Elena Border arrival area in the Corozal District on Thursday, December 15, 2011. According to Interim Director of Tourism, Javier Paradez, “Belize has seen a significant increase of 24% in overnight arrivals coming through the Northern border with an outstanding 12% being accounted for just for this year. ” Certainly, this adds to the continued strengthening of local tourism business, ultimately increasing visitor spend and length of stay in the country.


As outlined in the Action Plan 2010 -2012, the BTB’s Marketing Department, through the dedicated work of the Hospitality Team successfully established this Kiosk in an effort to continue stimulating an already vibrant cultural Belize experience with the natural integration of tourism while providing a welcoming environment to the overnight tourists.


With attendance from the Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture – Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Mayor of Corozal – Mr. Hilberto Campos, Board of Directors and Industry Partners, it was highlighted that the establishment of this Information Kiosk at the entrance of our country from the North is the first step to activate an alluring presence to all tourists while building the country of Belize as a tourist destination.


The fully equipped Kiosk is staffed by two BTB Hospitality personnel who will be available to provide all visitors with an orientation to Belize. This includes assisting them in familiarizing themselves with the different activities and tourism product being offered in Belize. Paradez also mentioned that the information kiosk is acting “as a catalyst in promoting cultural understanding, an awareness of conservation ethics, environmental standards and visitor safety through the provision of a centre with professional visitor servicing while being a centre of cultural activity promoting the arts, music, and heritage of the town, promoting community events, local pride and cohesion.”


The BTB Team is proud in accomplishing another milestone for the year and looks forward to more elated initiatives in 2012. For more information on the kiosks and events from the Belize Tourism Board, feel free to contact Clive Myers, Local Press Officer and Events Coordinator at the main office on Regent Street or at cmyers@travelbelize.org.


Via:http:www.ambergristoday.com/content/stories/2011/december/19/btb-northern-border-information-kiosk-launched

Saturday, December 17, 2011

BELIZE AND BEYOND~~CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEARS PAATY TYME


The year is speeding to an end and the party season is fast approaching – do you know how you will be spending New Year’s Eve 2011? Check out some of the party scene below and tell me where you are going to be. 

Where are all the Christmas and New Year's eve parties and how can we find them? Send in your flyers to add to this post. I aim to have as many party organizers in Belize and abroad to list their venues and events here. Free....Free!
An exciting alternative to conventional New Year’s Eve parties.....come check it out right down yah suh in Placencia!
A desirable location and a unique experience for all the trend setters. 
One of the grandest celebrations around Los Angles in the Belizean community
ever!
Come to Cayo for an experience of a life time, a great location among the Alps of Belize.
CHRISTMAS EVE PACHANGA NITE WITH MAIKEL GARCIA

Saturday, December 24, 2011......6:30 to 9:30 P.M.
Elvi's Kitchen on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2011

MAIKEL GARCIA entertains your whole family performing Jazz, Romantic Ballads, Cuban Music, Salsa, Merengue, Kumbia, Cha Cha, Samba on alto saxophone, synthesizer, vocals.

Enjoy delicious seafood and special Christmas dishes, awesome cocktails, fine wines on that special evening of the year. See you all there !
Merry Christmas !


CHRISTMAS & JAZZ DINNER
Sunday, December 25, 2011.....6:00 to 9:00P.M.

Las Terrazas Resort, 4 miles north

MAIKEL GARCIA entertains with Jazz & Caribbean music
on alto saxophone, synthesizer, vocals !
Make your Christmas Day a truly special one, enjoying Gourmet cuisine and great music at this elegant poolside Christmas dinner.
Reservations please : Tel. 226 4249


Get ready for the ultimate Old School Fever celebrations at the Tropicana to usher in the holiday season.




Belize and Beyond....LoveFM