Life in the Jungle: It’s amazing how I was so exhausted to do anything yesterday but it took so long to fall asleep last night. I don’t know what the temperature was last night but for the very first time since sleeping in a hammock, I needed a blanket.
On my way to the bus, I dropped off a bag of personal items at Verna Mae’s. Today is my do-or-die passport stamp at Belize Immigration. While I am confident, I will get a stamp very few things have gone my way down here.
I got to the passport office at 8:20 AM. I showed all the proof required. They made me walk to a print shop to print off my screenshot that my work permit was under review. Why do I need to print that off for an extension???
Then they called the Labor Department to dig into my application. Apparently, a letter from my old application was still in my file from my old application that states I am trying to apply as a farm caretaker. Which has nothing to do with my current application that is under review. The lady at immigration is telling me that it’s not her job to fix this. Then why are you calling the Labor Department when I proved my application is still under review?!!! She wouldn’t give me an extension until I went to the Labor Department to have this fixed!!! These issues have nothing to do with each other!!!
So I had to bus into the city to the Labor Department. I got sent to Mrs. Theus and she was pissed right off at me from the moment I walked into her office. She tried to tell me I almost cost her job when I went to the Labor Department in Belmopan the other month. In Belmopan, I was just trying to get to the bottom of what my paralegal was working on because he completely stopped communicating with me. The whole problem has been that the fee for my work permit is $1,500 USD because of my Airbnb. My Airbnb does like $1,000 USD in bookings a year. Yet according to the head of the Labor Department in Belmopan, I gave Mrs. Theus $1,500 USD instead (???). And supposedly Mrs. Theus had called me multiple times to get a hold of me (???). You only have to look at my phone to see there are no missed calls from her. And of course, no one can tell me why my older work permit was approved in the first place when it had to be reviewed by a case worker and a review board! I would love someone to explain that to me.
Mrs. Theus passed me to a Mr. Novelo. I explained EVERYTHING to him. He removed this letter from my file and booked me an online meeting for next Monday for the approval process. Why I didn’t have this same meeting for the first application is anyone’s guess.
Now I had to bus it back to immigration to prove this letter was deleted from my file. Except now the cashier skipped out on lunch 20 minutes early, resulting in me having to sit with a thumb up my ass for over an hour until 1 PM. $100 USD, 5 hours and 10 minutes after my arrival this morning I finally got my passport stamp. As far as I can interpret, Belize Immigration thinks this is all my fault and I am to blame for all of it and they don’t care. I can’t even shrug this off as they are just doing their job.
I got some groceries, had some beers (stress!), and took the 4 PM bus home. The 4 PM bus was absolute chaos on a Friday. I can hardly wait for my next stamp in 30 days. I fucking hate this country. I got home seconds before it got dark out. I went to bed at 8 PM last night. What else was I going to do after such a day?
Life in the Jungle: It took a while to fall asleep last night, but not forever. I woke up at some point and it took a while to fall back asleep. The last two nights I have actually used a blanket in the night. This is the first since I started sleeping in the hammock.
I biked about 10 km to Willows Bank to pick up a rooster and 3 hens. Getting home I pulled my two original hens from their chicks and put them along with my new chickens in my main chicken coop. They will all remain locked up in there together for the next four days so they know the coop to be their new home.
I reinstalled my lawnmower blade. I bent the blade on a tree stump probably a month ago last time I cut grass. Because of daily or every other day’s rain, I have not been able to cut grass in a while. We are going on 4 days without rain and for the first time, the ground is barely dry enough to cut grass. The road is still quite muddy but probably the driest it’s been since June. As can be imagined the grass is ultra-high and thick. I cut grass right till dark.
Life in the Jungle: The first part of the day was working around the ponds. The rest of the day was spent cutting grass. I finished around the house and cut the grass around the ponds.
Keeping the ponds (mounds) maintained
Life in the Jungle: My morning job was to get my paperwork in order and go up to the village to do my online interview for my work permit. I went all the way to the next village over, Bermudian Landing to ensure my strongest internet signal. I logged on for my 10 AM meeting and no one showed up. I called the Labor Department to tell them I was waiting online for this appointment I had. I was told there was no one in the office to do interviews (!!!) Why did they give me an appointment time (!!!)? It’s a wonder I even get up in the morning anymore. I now understand why people start drinking first thing in the morning.
The bus shelter in Bermudian Landing
I have so much to do but it’s pretty hard to get motivated with this much mental fatigue. I forced myself to drain my flooded septic ditch for my apartment toilet. The trench was dug a long time ago and has been full of rainwater for months. The job became a gong show. Wet sopping mud everywhere and all over my clothes. I had to glue my PVC pipes together. I tipped over my PVC glue bottle. I got glue everywhere. I had to muck around getting muck out of the trench to reset the septic drums. I filled the drums with water (to prevent floating during the next rainfall) and inserted and glued the PVC pieces together.
Gravel was supposed to be delivered tonight for the main drainage pipe but of course, was not delivered. In case the gravel came I stayed close to the house collecting wood stakes for seedlings in the coconut field. I got 2 big armfuls of stakes. I need to stake all my fruit tree seedlings so the bushhog doesn’t cut the seedlings down when the grass gets again someday. The road is the driest it’s been in months.
The first time I seen a chicken “getting some sun” freaked me out
Glossary of Terms
Glossary of words or people that may or may not be part of this blog post. This glossary will be at the bottom of every blog post for Belize.
Jack & Jill – These are my ex-property managers (names changed). They are Canadian, they introduced me to Belize in 1997, sold me their house in Belize in 2003, and rebuilt my house from 2014 to 2018. I have known them for over 30 years. After almost 20 years of me supporting their life here in Belize Jack decided quite unexpectedly to declare “war” on me right before Christmas 2021. They would end up stealing my business license and causing me a lot of grief. They live on the farm, but not on my land.
Wayne – He is the son of the original owners of the farm (both owners are deceased). The original farm was 2 – 30 acre pieces minus 2 – ¾ acre parcels for my house and 2 – ¾ acre parcels that Jack & Jill own which were all originally purchased from the original owners. In 2017 Wayne sold me 40 acres of land from the original 60 acres (30 acres plus 10 acres). Wayne lives in his parent’s house and has a few cows on his remaining 17 acres of land.
The ponds – I have 2 large (300ft long x 50ft wide x 10ft deep) ponds on my 30 acre parcel of land which is basically a jungle. I have about 60 coconut trees (mostly mature) around the ponds. I have plans to plant a few hundred papaya trees here plus other fruit-bearing trees around the ponds.
The coconut field – I have about 400 coconut trees planted (various growth states) on about 3 acres of cleared land of the 10 acre parcel. I plan to add various fruit trees to the same field as soon as I can.
The river lot – my house sits on an ¾ acre lot. I have a second joining ¾ acre lot that allows me river frontage on the Belize River. I call that my river lot.
The dry – Belize has 2 main seasons. The rainy season and the dry (no rain). The wet is obviously the rainy season.
Chopping – using my machete to clear brush, vines, weeds and unwanted trees.