Oct 23, 2008

You are what you love.

(picture courtesy of the Secret Museum of Mankind http://ian.macky.net/secretmuseum/)

"When we feel love and kindness toward
others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also
to develop inner happiness and peace."
The Dalai Lama

Aren't we lucky we can love? We eat, sleep, get jiggy with it and poop. Those things don't give us much to feel superior about as a species. But above and beyond all that, we love. Who and what we love probably are one of the biggest factors in who we are as individuals.

Colette has just come back from the USA and there is a lot of love going around there. People in the USA right now really love their political party, they love their candidate, they love their country and they love the fact that the cost of gas is finally going down. A lot of people love Tina Fey too.

But this blog isn't about that sort of love because love is a word that can be bandied around far too easily. 'I love my car' and 'I love my HD TV' are really strange but truly human expressions of love. 'I love my Mother' and 'I love you' are the sorts of love that make us feel much more fuzzy inside. Maybe some sports fans will disagree as I suspect that some people love their football team (and 'football' here is universally used to encompass both American and proper (ie British) football) almost more than life itself.

So, let us start with 'I love my Mum'. Colette and Maya both call Colette's Mum, 'Mum'. Well, 'Mum' right now is heroic with many people in her family and community depending on her; one in particular is Mum's CASA kid. 'What is a CASA kid?', you may ask. Well, CASA stands for 'Court Appointed Special Advocates'. This is a national non profit organisation in the USA, which does a remarkable thing. It gets volunteers from all over the country to become the champion of the most vulnerable children. Kids who find themselves thrust into the court system in the USA find themselves often the middle of battles between adults who all have their own agendas. Children have no legal right to proper representation in these circumstances and some of these children have been terribly neglected, abused and violated by those who are supposed to 'love' them. The CASA looks after the interests of the child and makes sure that they have someone fighting their corner. Mum is one of these. We love her and we just wanted to let her know.

So here are a couple of pictures we've scanned in tribute to our Mum.

Colette & Mum in France in 1972

Mum in Louisville in 1973 - Eat your heart out Victoria Beckham

So while Colette was in Georgia sharing in all the love, Maya was in Belize sharing in all the rain. Oh boy has it been raining. Parts of Belize have been declared national disaster areas. Here is a picture from our front porch of our neighbour's garden.

Is the laundry dry yet?

But of course, we had puddles of our own. This is Midas enjoying a waterfront home at last.

Now where did I bury that bone?

The rain didn't stop Maya from spreading her love to our wonderful garden though and in the short breaks, she tended to the plants that she has nurtured so tenderly. Of course the dogs all helped.
Oh for a sweet, sweet watermelon

That isn't my bone. Why do humans think that rubber toys are anything like bones?

Meanwhile in the nursery, Buddica hides the bone in a hibiscus

This is Avril the Avocado grown from seed

This is our baby jungle

This is a Flamboyant Tree grown from seed

Maya also managed to get a couple of great pictures of birds expressing themselves when the rain stopped.

This is weather for ducks, not a Kiskadee like me

If I had lips, I'd be pouting

While we all think of love as a great thing we need to remember that love, or the pursuit of love, can lead to serious consequences, particularly for the young. That is why Maya and Colette are involved with the San Pedro Aids Commission. Maybe some of you didn't even know that there is an AIDS commission for San Pedro. Well, it is part of the Belize National Aids Commission. The San Pedro Aids Commission has many accomplishments under its belt already including:

  • Teacher training
  • Educational materials for young people
  • Production of AIDS informercial
  • Production of AIDS awareness posters and billboards
  • Financial assistance for people living with AIDS and their families

They even managed to win 1st place at the San Pedro Lighted Boat Parade last year with their fantastic floating red ribbon.

To put it all in context here are some of the most up to date figures on HIV/AIDS in Belize

HIV/AIDS in Belize
3,400: Estimated number of people living with HIV/AIDS by the end of 2007
2.1%: Estimated percentage of adults (ages 15-49) living with HIV/AIDS by the end of 2007
59%: Estimated percentage of HIV cases that occured among women (ages 15-49) by the end of 2007
over 200: Estimated number of children (ages 0-15) living with HIV/AIDS by the end of 2007
over 200: Estimated number of deaths due to AIDS during 2007
UNAIDS 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic. July 2008.

The San Pedro Aids Commission is sustained wholly by volunteers and community contribution and does a wonderful job. They are about to introuduce condom machines to San Pedro to be placed in 'useful' locations.

So a reminder - World AIDS Day is on the 1st of December. The weekend before World AIDS Day, the 29th of November, the San Pedro AIDS Commission will be excited, thrilled and quite beyond themselves to announce a Rock Fest for AIDS. Watch this space for more information.

We think the French AIDs poster below reminds us all to be careful where we seek love.

With much love and a sting in the tail from us both to you all - Signing off from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.