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Only on Roatan

25 Feb

The things I share about Roatan, some, might say, “Oh you can find that on ANY Caribbean Island!” I dedicate this posting to you, because what I have to share today… can ONLY be found on Roatan!

I had the great pleasure of being invited to spend a day at Gumbalimba Park shooting pictures and taking notes (I felt like a National Geographic’s Field Reporter) accompanying Stesha A Pasachnik from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, while she conducted her research on the Ctenosaura Oedirhina.

Okay, that’s it for big words from me… I spent the day hanging out with Stesha (who is a super-duper expert,) taking pictures and asking questions about what the heck she was doing to those… Black “Spiny Tailed” Iguanas!

I’ve seen the Black Iguanas around Roatan, but certainly not as many as the green ones, apparently Black Iguana females lay up to 18 eggs at a time, while Green Iguanas lay up to 60 eggs at a time. I never gave the Iguanas much thought, Iguanas were like squirrels back in Ontario—wild critters that hung out in trees, doing their thing, but Iguanas don’t raid my birdfeeders like the squirrels always did.

Turns out I had a lot to learn! These Black Iguanas can ONLY be found on Roatan. That’s right, unlike the Green Iguana which has a territory stretching into North, Central, and South America, the Black Iguana has only one place it can be found and that is right here on the Island of Roatan! How cool is that!

But alas, they are in trouble, and on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species classified as ENDANGERED due to hunting and loss of habitat. Stesha tried to describe to me how a classification is determined, honestly, I didn’t quite grasp the information, but suffice to say there is less of them than there needs to be to keep the Black Iguanas going on Roatan. At the rate they are declining, the day will soon come when we on Roatan will have to tell visitors that there USED to be Black Iguanas (that were unique to Roatan)… but are now extinct!

It is not uncommon to see adults and children at the side of the road, looking up into the trees hoping to bag an Iguana that may be resting there. Iguanas (in general) are a food source here. I want to stress that Stesha’s intent is not to try to enforce a “no catch Black Iguanas” rule, she is on Roatan to track and record information about the Black Iguanas, and to educate us on their value as a unique to Roatan Treasure!

An interesting note on the Black Iguanas loss of habitat impacting their numbers is that Stesha is having more success finding them in developed areas where they are more protected from winding up in a stew pot, than in undeveloped areas where they are easy prey. Gumbalimba Park, Paya Bay Resort, Cocoview Resort, Mahogany Bay, and the village of Punta Gorda, all allow Stesha access to their properties to conduct her research and are becoming active partners in promoting eco educational programs for their visitors.

Meet #186
Upon arrival at Gumbalimba Park we were escorted via golf cart (also, my idea of something pretty cool) to a choice area for finding Black Iguanas hanging around in the grass and trees. Within minutes Stesha’s assistant, Mikel Belcires, caught one! Stesha was in place to bag the creature and immediately got busy preparing a syringe to take a blood sample. She had to work quickly to draw the blood before the stress of being captured effected the test results. #186 definitely wasn’t impressed and spent the whole time biting down on the sack he had been removed from. Blood tests complete, he was returned to the bag while she prepared the “pit tag” for insertion under his skin (this tag is similar to the ones inserted by vets to ID pet dogs and cats.) While the Black Iguana was still in the bag, Stesha weighed him, she removed him again and measured him, (the tail was measured separately due to the Black Iguana’s ability to loss and grow a new tail.) Inserted the “pit tag”, and then determined whether it was a male or female. Interesting tool to test that one… I won’t go into details.

Next up… body piercing and painting! #186 was assigned a unique combination of beads that made for a quite attractive piece of jewellery on the back of his neck, and “white-out” was applied for easiest identification at a later date. A few pictures were taken and #186 was free to go! The entire process took no more than 7 minutes, including Stesha recording all pertinent information as she worked.

I watched and took photos of a second Black Iguana being caught and data was also recorded for this one. The only difference was that #187 was much smaller and younger so some tests were not possible. Photos of the entire day’s activities can be seen here: The Black “spiny Tailed” Iguana Project

At noon it was time for us to part company and I headed for my vehicle parked in the lot at the entrance to Gumbalimba, I was pleased to see many Black Iguanas hanging around the area, sunning themselves on the rocks outlining the lot. I’ve got a whole new appreciation for the Black Iguana now!

A group of visitors were walking by as got in my car, and I heard one of them comment to his friends, “Hey look, an Iguana!” The rest of the group didn’t seem overly impressed. Then I leaned out the window and said, “These Black Iguanas can ONLY be found on the Island of Roatan.”

… The entire group returned, and started taking pictures of it, in awe of witnessing—Roatan’s Unique Treasure—the Black “Spiny Tailed” Iguana!

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French Harbour Public Library

13 Nov

The Grand Re-opening of the French Harbour Public Library was a huge success!

Thank you everyone for coming out and supporting Joan, and her hard working crew of young helpers. For hours open, and information on programs starting soon, contact Joan at 445-5260

A Common Connection

4 Nov

I got a little caught up in a new project recently and in-turn I haven’t been as visible as usual. No new postings at Roatan Vortex since Hurricane Richard. No visiting the travel forums and sharing my ideas on where to stay or what to do when you visit Roatan. I’ve been zipping through reading the latest stories at the blogs and websites my cyber friends post—but I’ve haven’t been leaving comments like I usually do. It’s been so long since I updated my profile on Facebook or tweeted anything, that I can’t remember what profound (yeah right) words of wisdom I had shared.

Holding back from writing a new story at (first and foremost) Roatan Vortex, with the other sites I contribute to taking a close second, has been a real test of my convictions to stay focused on learning a new skill set for sharing travel adventures and applying it to the project at hand. I am happy to report that I have completed and submitted what was required (a few days ahead of the deadline) and hope to share with you next week that my efforts have succeeded. The video above is an example of what I’ve been learning how to produce. I have a whole new respect for the Oscars for; editing, cinematography, set design, etc.

I am in awe and humbled. During my absence from the social media, many of you sent me a quick email or message on Facebook, asking if I was okay, concerned that I may be ill, or have a problem preventing me from sending out to cyberspace my usual offerings. Thank you all! I truly am blessed to be a member of such a global village of friends.

So, without further ado here is a story I have been tardy in sharing, actually it is a few stories rolled in to one—they all has a common connection.

The more you read, the more things you know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go. ~ Dr. Seuss

I had heard (a while back) that there was a Public Library in French Harbour. And that was only because, through no fault of their own, the library was being moved from a spacious second floor location, in the Jared Hynds Community Center, to a main level, much smaller room.

Now, when I say, “being moved” I actually mean, “being told to move”—there is a big difference. While some assistance was provided, it was minimal, so Joan the librarian, set out to make it happen. The majority of the work was accomplished by: Joan, her lovely daughters, parents of the children who use the library, and the amazing children themselves.

I got to watch them in action when I joined in and got some painting projects going. Every day I spent at the French Harbour Library, I learned so much about a community of people I previously knew nothing about. I’m very happy to now call them family and friends. We’d work away at our appointed tasks, and take a break at noon to enjoy the fantastic lunch Joan would provide. More children would show up after school let out, and do their homework, once completed, they would head upstairs, making numerous trips down to the new location with books cradled in their arms or balanced on their heads—this is how the shelves got stocked. As the children brought them in, Joan organized them.

While all this was going on, I got an email from my sister that a group from the Christian Record Services for the Blind (CRSB) was visiting Roatan on the Carnival Valor and were bringing a substantial donation of books, school supplies, and treats for children of Roatan. Making arrangements to meet with them and assist with getting the donations to the intended recipients proved quite challenging (that could be a story all of its own.) But ultimately everything was in place. Unfortunately, a hurricane that really wasn’t a problem for any of the Islands, caused the ship to be diverted, and I never did have the pleasure to meet the group. Arrangements were made to keep the donations on the Valor, and I would pick them up the next week, when the ship returned to Roatan. That too could be a story of its own.

I do want to share that I got to back my vehicle down the length of the massive dock, after dark, as the two ships in port sailed away. What a surreal sensation driving on a road that extended out into the Caribbean Sea. Knowing that if I didn’t keep the vehicle centered on the path, going in the water was a real possibility.

Fortunately, the donations, my vehicle, nor I, got wet.

The next day with great pleasure, a bag of treats, a toy turtle (hand made by children in North America) and school supplies were presented to each of the hard working kids at the library.

The remaining donations were dropped off at Cocoview Resort where they will be sorted and distributed by Roatan Children’s Fund, including a large quantity of books for the Roatan Book Mobile

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Now for the final note of this multi-faceted story.

The French Harbour Public Library is pleased to invite you to the Grand re-opening Celebration, Friday November 12, from 2-4 PM. http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=121340957926479

If you are on Roatan, please come and check it out. Joan will be sharing ideas and plans for various programs to best serve the children and adults of the community. If you are not on the island, still take a look at the Facebook page and add it to your Page Favourites—your support can make a world of difference! http://www.facebook.com/pages/French-Harbour-Honduras/French-Harbour-Public-Library/168854916464161

Just Call Me Gennyca

20 Oct

When my journey to Central America began, I had absolutely no idea what I was in-store for, I just knew it was time for me to go.

Saying, “goodbye for now,” to family and friends wasn’t easy. But through the wonders of internet I was able to keep my promise to stay in-touch, and update them regularly through stories and photos.

I started my first travel blog more than 3 years ago now, and, oh the stories I shared. I have since graduated to creating and posting tales of day-to-day life on Roatan at this website, and I’ll never run out of material.

But, I often reflect back to where it started, and the journey so far. I’ve had brief encounters with amazing people, saw firsthand, sights that I was in awe of, and experienced things that were unlike anything I could have imagined.

And now an opportunity to share that journey with you has presented itself through, Gypsy Girl’s Guide–wanderlust, inspirations and musings. “Gypsy Girl’s…is a resource and daily dose of worldly inspiration for women with a passion for travel and a bohemian lifestyle.”

My first, in a series of stories, was posted today! Thanks for asking me to “join the tribe” Alessandra!

Here’s where it began. Just call me Gennyca

Bees, Blocks, and Baby

16 Oct

Sometimes I specifically plan on taking pictures of things, other times I just hope my camera is nearby when that perfect photo-op presents itself to me.

When there is a planned event I will shoot perhaps a hundred or more—gotta love digital cameras, and I download them right away. I’ll click my way through them, delete the total duds and him-and-haw over which ones I’m going to share. Whether it is for my website, Facebook, or perhaps to a few friend and family, I’m anxious to get them out there.

But in-between those specific events, it’s not uncommon for me to snap a picture here, a picture there, and not download them right away. I know they will be waiting for me when the time comes to do something with them. Perhaps they are the before shots of a project, or the final result months later. I might be working on a new story and the pictures I’ve taken so far will be a part of that. And then there are the ones, where for just a moment it unfolds before me. Those ones that after the fact I’m glad I don’t have to say, “Dang, I wish I had taken a picture of that.”

In the last couple of days I’ve had reason to take pictures of three very separate, unique, situations that all start with the letter B—Bees, Blocks, and Baby.

Bees!
This one falls in the category of support material for a new story. On the Island of Roatan, bees do their part to keep our jungle paradise looking like, well, paradise.

You know, they go around pollinating the flowers—don’t you love it when I wow you with my technical descriptions?

On occasion the bees get a little confused and set up camp in people’s houses. I totally understand those people not wanting to share their homes with bees, but at the same time, killing the bees is not a good thing to do. Fortunately we have Brion James, world class musician, and bee whisperer, who will come in and somehow convince those bees out of your house, taking them to a new location, where they can keep doing what bees do best.

The call went out for Brion to work his magic with some bees at Sundancer. I grabbed my camera and headed toward the cabana in question. As it turned out the bees had started a new hive in a tree knot, not in a cabana.

Brion explained that was a perfect location for them and they should be left alone. So for now, I just took some pictures of the honeycomb peaking out of the tree.

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Blocks!

Here are some of the ‘after’ pictures for a project I’m working on at the library in French Harbour. I will be posting a few stories about this one, but for now—a few blocks.

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Baby!
Oh Baby, I thought someone was trying to break in, upon hearing scratching and scraping noises coming from the kitchen! I creep to the railing and peer over. There is no menacing character at the door, nothing out of place. And then I hear you meowing from in-front of me. How can that be, I’m in the loft.

“Oh-oh, Baby, what have you done?” I ask my cat, clinging to the louvered wood slats, high on the wall. “How the heck did you get up there? Why the heck did you go up there? …How am I going to get you down?”

I did the most logical thing—I went and got my camera!

After satisfying my need to take pictures of my terrified cat trapped high on the wall, I consider my options for getting him down. My choices are few. With no ladder at my disposal, I set a barstool on the bar, and climb on top. Baby is still too high for me to grasp.

“Come on Baby. You can do it!” I try to convince him to meet me half way.

Baby extends one paw toward me, starts to lose his footing, and pulls back, while pleading with his eyes for me to rescue him. I glance at the beam that Dave had installed for the light fixture hanging above the bar. Will that hold my weight? I press my hand against the beam. Like that’s going to prove the beam is secure enough to hold my full-body weight. Will Dave come home from his gig to find me crumpled on the floor, crushed under a barstool and beam? Of course, Baby will have found a way down before Dave returns home, leaving no clue as to why the beam had crashed on me. Poor Dave will think the beam had just randomly given way!

Sensing my hesitation, Baby howls a pathetic, “please help me,” in a cat voice, of course. Oh, to heck with it, I’m going up!

I stand on tippy-toes, raising my leg, far more than my hip appreciates, to get one foot on the beam. Hoisting myself up the rest of the way, I too am now clinging to the louvered slats, while balancing my feet on the beam like a gymnast might. I release one hand from the slat to grab him by the scruff. Baby, digs his claws deeper in the soft wood. As I tug, his body stretches like taffy, but he won’t release his grip on the slat.

“Come on Baby, you’ve got to let go,” I plead with him.

Without warning, Baby retracts his claws, and leaps towards me, uses my head as a landing pad to nimbly launch himself to the beam! I’m now the only creature left clinging to the louvered slats on the wall, high above the floor below.

I really can’t help but giggle at the predicament I find myself in, while Baby sits at the other end of the beam preening, completely oblivious to my plight.

I wish I could get a picture of this!

Knowing that my hip is not going to appreciate the trip down, anymore than it liked the trip up, I shift my position, and lower one leg off the beam, reaching with my toe for the barstool below. A few grunts, a couple of groans from my hip, mixed in with some more giggles, and I am on solid ground again.

Glancing up at where I had just escaped from, relatively unscathed, and Baby still sitting on the beam—I grab my camera and snap one more picture!

The Roatan Road

19 Sep

The Roatan Road

Question #3 for the Tiny Buddha Book of Wisdom asks, Why is there suffering in the world? My answer, (in 140 characters or less), Suffering is one of life’s lessons for the person experiencing it and for the person who can help ease it.

While it is an enjoyable challenge to impart my thoughts on all ten questions being asked by Tiny Buddha (for possible inclusion in a book being released next year.) I also see it as an opportunity to expand on my answers from a Roatan Vortex point-of-view.

Recently I watched the movie The Road—adapted from the novel of the same name, written by Cormac McCarthy. I had read the book on one of my return flights (after visiting family and friends) from Ontario, Canada to my home on the Caribbean Island of Roatan, Honduras.
I was intrigued when I read the book, even though, at times I struggled to follow Mr. McCarthy’s writing style. But, I remained detached from the situations father and son found themselves enduring in this tale of a post-apocalyptic world—it was too far removed from anything I could comprehend as plausible.

Then I watched the movie…

It is the story of a father and son in search of the basic necessities to sustain life; food, water, and shelter. There is no electricity, no resources for clothing, shoes, or transportation. What time it is, the day of the week, or even the month of the year doesn’t matter.

The relevance to Roatan?

There is certainly none in the scenery. Father and son wander through a bitter cold world of solid grey skies that the sun is unable to penetrate, a bleak landscape of dying and dead foliage, vehicles abandoned on over-passes, and burnt out skyscrapers. When they reach the shoreline they encounter a body of water reflecting the steel grey sky.

Roatan on the other hand offers a world of endless sunshine and warmth, with lush tropical foliage from the shore to the highest ridge. There are no over-passes or skyscrapers. And the Caribbean Sea surrounding this tropical paradise reflects every shade of blue imaginable. Something I had previously thought only possible in re-touched photos.

But yet for a father and son who live on Roatan, I can simply copy and paste this (previous) paragraph to describe their lives.

It is the story of a father and son in search of the basic necessities to sustain life; food, water, and shelter. There is no electricity, no resources for clothing, shoes, or transportation. What time it is, the day of the week, or even the month of the year doesn’t matter.

I met this father and his son last week at the library in French Harbour. It was a time of day when the library normally would have been closed, but I was there painting. The father knocked on the door, and asked if he and his son could come in. I explained that the library wasn’t officially open, but they were welcome. While I continued to paint, the man picked out some picture books for his son to look at—the father couldn’t read and the son was only 2 years old.

The father then shared their story with me.

He was looking for work and was open to doing anything, for any wage offered, so he could take care of his son. The son was well behaved while the father searched for a job, but needed some relief from the heat and tedium of following his father around. The air conditioned library with colourful children’s books lining a few shelves was the father’s treat to his son.

When they left the library, the father smiled and his son waved goodbye. I watched them walking away, hand-in-hand, and I wondered where would they go next? Has the father found a job? Do they have access to the necessities of life?

What I offered the father and son was minuscule. What they offered me was a huge reminder that suffering comes in many forms and magnitudes and by being aware of it—I can help ease it.

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On the side bar section of this page, scroll down and you will find YOU CAN HELP with links to organizations on Roatan doing what they can to help ease suffering.

Frog Rescuer

4 Sep

I moved to Roatan, Honduras for a few reasons, one of them because the Roatan Vortex was pulling me here…of course. Another reason was to embrace a simpler lifestyle, surrounded by the beauty that only nature can supply. The challenge everyday is to live in harmony with the glorious wonders of Roatan, while doing the least amount of damage to the natural balance. That might sound corny, but let’s face it pretty much everything made or introduced by humans for the comfort of humans does far more damage than good.

My sister Laurie chose the same idea, different location. When we were kids, for a period of time, my knick-name for her was Duh. I once locked her in a suitcase…well, she agreed to get in it, not like I forced her to, and she believed me when I said I wouldn’t lock it, hence the name Duh! She got wise to my evil ways and I couldn’t call her that anymore, but thirty odd years later I’ve come up with a new knick-name for her—Frog Rescuer.

Laurie aka Frog Rescuer hasn’t visited me on Roatan yet. Some things about it appeal to her, but for the most part she is content hanging out in Canada with her husband Glen and their two cats. A few years back they decided to move to a new subdivision in Guelph, Ontario, the biggest attraction for them was to be next to Guelph Lake, with meandering paths nearby to stroll or go for a bike ride. They weren’t alone with this desire to live closer to nature while still having the advantages of being in the city. The building lots quickly sold and one by one new houses sprang up around them.

In a recent email she shared with me a crusade she had begun. It would seem that living closer to nature—while nice for the humans—it wasn’t working so well for the critters.

My sister’s home has window-wells around the basement windows, as do all her neighbour’s homes. One day she noticed some frogs trapped in one of the window-wells. Now, Guelph frogs are not like Roatan tree frogs. They can jump, but not high enough to get out on their own, so she climbed in and rescued them. Doing an inspection of the other window-wells surrounding her home, she found more frogs needing help, and a few that it was too late to rescue (they had dried up and perished.)

A daily routine of checking for frogs began. But what about her neighbours, did they know that frogs may need to be rescued from their window-wells too? Just in case they didn’t know she made a poster and taped it on the community mailboxes.

SAVE THE FROGS!!!
Please save me from your window wells…a lot of us are dying out here as we jump in and can’t get out!
You will be glad you take care of us, because we take care of your gardens by eating the bugs that eat your plants… so please cover your window wells with plastic covers….or check for us every day and free us from them.
Sincerely, your local frog population

And she didn’t stop there, next up was to talk to the building company to ask them to cover the window-wells on the show-homes. That request was met with blank stares and snickering.

So she contacted a local newspaper and told them what was going on. Guelph Tribune

I’m proud of my sister. She can’t save all the frogs from the invasion of people, but I’m sure the ones she does rescue on a daily basis from a grizzly death are grateful. Besides, it’s not gratitude from a frog that inspires her to do this. She moved to the area to be close to nature and all it has to offer her sense of being—shouldn’t she take ownership of helping protect it?

No matter where we choose to call home, shouldn’t we all?

Rescued any critters today? I’d love to hear about it.

What does it take to be happy?

28 Aug

As promised I am referencing a challenge that Tiny Buddha put out to answer ten questions (in 140 characters or less) that deal with some of the hardest questions in life. Today’s question, #2 What does it take to be happy? My answer, “To be happy you have to be content with who you are and what you are doing…right here…right now.”

Sounds simple enough, but even though I wrote that, following through is something else. And then I got involved with the Roatan Hospital Concert Committee…

The race was on to have everything ready for the Roatan Hospital Benefit Concert, August 26, 2010. Almost three months ago the call went out for volunteers to help organize and set-up for a fund-raiser for the only public hospital on Roatan.

At the first few meetings, the plan was laid out. The atmosphere enthusiast, yet calm…we have lots of time.
I went to the Roatan Hospital to take some pictures, give people a feel for how desperately they need community support. I had been there a few times before and had seen first-hand the conditions, so I wasn’t surprised by what I photographed…but I was still amazed at what the health care professionals had to work with to care for the people of Roatan. And I am always in awe of what they manage to achieve.

It wasn’t too busy on the day I walked around with my camera. There were a few people waiting to be seen on this day that I took the pictures. They lined the hallways, sitting with children on laps. A few people in the emergency area having their medical needs tended to.

I shot photos of paint peeled off walls, and chipped from baby cribs in paediatrics, mouldy ceilings, and stacks of supplies crammed in every available space. I didn’t want to intrude on people’s privacy so avoided taking pictures of them. But one new mom did graciously allow me to snap a picture of her new born son.
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The Roatan Hospital Concert date that seemed so far away was suddenly only a week away. The notes I had scribbled down of things to do had turned into pages and the challenge was on to get it all done in time.

Before I go any further I want to note that I was only one of the many committee members and volunteers who were giving their all to bring this together. We were a team with a common goal.

Each morning I woke, my day’s plan in-hand, check emails, revise day’s schedule, make phone-calls, receive phone-calls, and head out. I drove into neighbourhoods that I didn’t know existed and had the pleasure of meeting people I had never met before. A whirlwind of activity that started at 7 AM each morning and didn’t end before 11 PM each night.

A few days before the big event I had to make a stop at the Roatan Hospital to pick something up for the concert and I was blown away by what I saw. The halls were jammed with people waiting patiently to be seen. In the emergency area I saw people being treated for every injury imaginable by dedicated health care professionals who did the best they could with less than adequate supplies. They were calm and companionate as they struggled to meet everyone’s needs. I would be told that this was a typical day at Roatan Hospital. What I had witnessed on the day I came to take the pictures was not.

That evening, I lay in bed, trying to convince tomorrows list of things to do to stop swirling around in my brain and let me go to sleep. And while my brain wouldn’t cooperate—it has a mind of its own don’t you know. I was worried I wouldn’t get everything done in time. I was frustrated by having to put off other things I wanted to do. I was heartbroken by what I had seen at the Roatan Hospital that day.

But, I realized something else…I was genuinely HAPPY. I was content, with who I was, and what I was doing, right then! If I was allowed more than 140 characters for the Tiny Buddha Wisdom Book challenge I would add, “Your world being in perfect order has nothing to do with being happy.”

Thank you everyone for your support, assistance, donations, sponsorship, and for attending the Roatan Hospital Concert! Let’s do it again next year!

Be sure to check out Roatan Hospital Concert for all the pictures of the event, and coming soon a detailed update of the difference the Roatan Hospital Concert has made for helping Roatan Hospital care for the people of Roatan. Roatan Hospital Concert HD Video

And one more note: Davey, I’m so proud of you! Your list was way longer than mine and what you pulled together was truly amazing!

The Meaning of Life

15 Aug

As an avid follower of Tiny Budhha I was thrilled to see a recent posting for something new. Not only will inspirational quotes and words of wisdom be shared from the Tiny Budhha website, on Twitter, and at their Facebook page—a book is in the works too! The coolest thing (in true Tiny Budhha form) is that we are invited to join-in, to contribute to the content.

I had submitted a story to Tiny Budhha a few months ago, and felt honoured when Lori contacted me, and posted When Your World Gets All Shook Up as a feature story on the Tiny Budhha website.

I get great satisfaction when I check the posting every now and then and read the comments from people who appreciate what I shared with them. Have I made an earthshaking (pardon the pun) change in their lives…of course not. But for a few moments I shared their journey through something that perhaps was earthshaking for them, just as reading stories from other contributors have done for me. Living with Purpose.

Ten questioned have been posed by Tiny Budhha. Each answer can be no longer than a tweet (140 characters.) I took up the challenge and will share my answer for each question one posting at a time…from a Roatan Vortex point-of-view of course.

1) What is the meaning of life?
The meaning of life is accepting that we may never know…it just is…and that’s okay.

I have pondered this question as far back as I can remember. Always wondering, what the heck am I here for, what’s it all about? And then I moved to Roatan. With that big-picture question lurking in my sub-conscious, I became preoccupied with the day-to-day questions about my new chosen home…Roatan.

Why do the grocery stores sell twenty brands of yellow mustard, but not offer; Dijon, honey, or other flavoured mustards?

Why do geckos poop on my bed after I’ve just put on fresh sheets?

Why are there speed-bumps on already bumpy roads?

Why do I have to stand in-line at the bank for 2 hours to do a transaction that should take 5 min?

Why are there so many chickens on our property and roosters crowing all hours of the night?

Why does the power go out so much?

The best advice I got soon after moving here was to stop asking why. There is no answer…it’s just the way it is. When I settled into that way of thinking it did wonders for my blood pressure and instead of asking why anymore, I try to appreciate the benefits of accepting…it’s just the way it is.

Now, don’t get me wrong I still do the happy dance when I find Dijon mustard at the grocery store, even found it at the hardware store once. And I definitely would prefer that roosters didn’t crow all night long.

But standing in-line at the bank for two hours introduced me to an amazing little girl Child’s Play.

And while the power doesn’t go out nearly as often as when I moved to Roatan three years ago, it too has benefits for being…just the way it is. When the Power Goes Out.

So, when it comes to the meaning of life? Heck, I don’t have a clue and I probably never will…it’s just the way it is.

What about you? I shared my profound (giggle) quote. But I’d love to know…What do you think the meaning of life is?

Roatan Hospital

21 Jul

Another frequently asked question, “What about medical services and health care on Roatan?”

I must admit when I moved to Roatan, I didn’t give much thought to it. Irresponsible? Perhaps. But I was at a point in my life where I decided that I would worry about it when I needed to…that time came.

I was a passenger in a vehicle involved in a serious collision. The care I received was second to none. Compassion & Respect Heal Better than Medicine *******************************************************************************

I wouldn’t let them take me to the Roatan Hospital, in Coxen Hole, not because I didn’t trust their ability, but because I knew their resources were limited and my friend needed them more than I did.

Since that experience, December 2008, I have visited Roatan Hospital a few times; once to be with neighbors who needed emergency medical care, and another time when friends visiting the Island wanted to donate medical supplies to Roatan Hospital.

On the second visit I got the full tour of the Roatan Hospital. I saw first hand the conditions, and lack of supplies the medical professionals have to work with. And yet, they treated each patient with dignity and compassion. They tended to everyone…the best they could.

I wanted to help in some way but was uncertain what, I as one person could do to make a difference. And then I joined the Roatan Hospital Concert Committee! As a group we have found a way to help…and you can too!

Please visit Roatan Hospital Concert. If you are on Roatan, Thursday, August 26, join in on the fun. If you are anywhere else in the world, there are still ways you can help Roatan Hospital…care for the people of Roatan.

The Roatan Hospital website is currently under construction, but new information is being added daily. Please check back often – YOU can make a difference! Please link the Roatan Hospital website to your site. Help get the word out. Thanks, Genny

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