Jesus Only (part 2)

February 20, 2017

You Better Belize It! Part 2

March 13, 2017

You Better Belize It! Part 1

March 6, 2017
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Our trip started here: slumped shivering and tired in those uncomfortable airport seats while we waited for our early morning flight for Belize City. Using beach towels and backpacks for pillows, charging phones while we (kind of) slept. You know the drill.

The next thing we knew, we were here.

The world was warm and soak-into-your-bones sunny. And we could tell, the minute we stepped from the tarmac into the Belize City airport, way more laid-back than the USA. More scratched and worn than the bustling, cold-in-your-soul metropolises they call airports in the U.S. Here there were fewer signs, fewer rules, fewer people. Different, more distinct smells.

We ordered food at the very expensive little airport restaurant and waited a very long time for them to make it for us. The orange juice was worth every minute and every Belizean dollar we paid for it. Imagine the best, sweetest orange you ever tasted, fresh-squeezed into a glass.

We took a taxi to the bus station, and from there a bus to Spanish Lookout. In Spanish Lookout, we stayed in the  beautiful home of Harvey and Rosella Plett.

And spent time with our friend Sandra. Here I am with her at Western Dairies, home of the absolute best ice cream I have ever tasted.

Spanish Lookout is a Mennonite colony and a beautiful and productive farming community. They even have their own oil well. One gets the idea that if the world economy ever crashes, Spanish Lookout will keep right on ticking, with every necessity from milk to lumber to meat processing to education supplied right there on the colony.

With gravel roads and hay fields, the Spanish Lookout scenery reminded us in some ways of Wisconsin. Only instead of black and white Holsteins grazing the fields, there were Brahmas, well-fitted to their tropical climate.

In a Belizean colony, Mennonite is not so much a faith group as an ethnic group, we were told. ONLY Mennonites are allowed to own land in the Spanish Lookout colony. And those Mennonites could attend any one of a number of different denominational churches. Hmmm.

The Mennonites who settled Spanish Lookout came from Mexico in the 1950’s and 60’s. Before that, from Russia. It is a completely different branch of Mennonite than my own, and one I knew virtually nothing about, before visiting Belize.

Ronny showed us around the Plett orchard and let us sample the (to us) exotic fruits.

He hacked open coconuts so we could try fresh coconut milk. It’s actually more an oil than a milk. It was good, but our American stomachs could only handle a little of the unfamiliar taste and texture before we’d had enough.

We visited Sandra’s church, the “deaf church,” Sunday morning. We couldn’t understand a word of the sermon because it was given in sign language and German, but it was interesting nonetheless.

Sunday evening we crossed the river by ferry to visit the Cayo Deaf Institute on the other side.

The ferry was hand-cranked, and the driver let us each have a chance to turn the crank.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any good pictures of the Cayo Deaf Institute, where Sandra attended school when she was young,  but we enjoyed our visit very much.

During our time in Spanish Lookout, Jeffrey developed a real affection for the van the Pletts let us drive around.

Monday morning, after a breakfast of fresh tortillas and eggs and white cheese made in Spanish Lookout, Ronny dropped us off at the edge of Spanish Lookout to catch another bus. And after that, a taxi with a scintillating taxi driver named Bert.

Next stop, ocean!

Check back next week for snorkeling adventures and the bite of the deadly doctor fly.


  1. Those Brahmans look a lot more intimidating than our Holsteins though.

    My middle girl, the RN, has been to Belize, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, all on separate mission trips. There is so much to see and experience, so different from here.

    1. I love the look of the Brahmas! I get pictures in my mind of India, brown-skinned barefoot boys, a muddy little watering hole in the middle of nowhere with cows dripping up from it. That sort of thing.

      Did your daughter use her nursing skills on her mission trips? It is such a useful skill to carry to any part of the world.

      1. Actually, the first 2 were with church groups, the 3rd was with the University nursing class. Right now she is getting experience working in the hospital. She is pretty fluent in Spanish. She took it 7-12 grades and through college. She hopes to work more in Spanish speaking countries or in areas that serve a Spanish speaking population.

        1. Very cool. I’ve always taken an interest in learning Spanish, learned a bit of it off and on, but not fluently.

          1. If you’re interested, there is a website, Duolingo, that you can use to brush up on and learn a language. Have not looked at it myself but have heard of others that use it and like it.

            1. I have heard of Duolingo, and used it for a while. I really like it, just got busy and let it fall by the wayside. One of these days I’ll pick it up again.

  2. I hope you got into the Old Order colony at Barton Creek. About 10 years ago we went there to visit my husband’s bachelor uncle. In Barton Creek everything is done by hand or horse power, no engines of any kind for anything. It was quite an adventure! Sleeping on a pad on the floor, a shower using a bucket of water with a shower head fastened in the bottom, traveling by horse and wagon . . . From there we went to Punta Gorda to visit missionary friends—who had electric and more comfortable accommodations. We never did make it to Spanish Lookout which is much more modern than the places we visited.

    1. We didn’t visit Barton Creek. Sounds fascinating! I heard it mentioned a few times while we were in Belize. Is your husband’s family from that Old Order background? We DID visit Punta Gorda, where we have relatives, and loved our time there. I’ll write about that in my next post.

      1. My husband’s grandparents were Old Order Mennonites of the Stauffer church. His uncle took it back further and went with the Hoover group–the ones who use only horse and hand power. We visited David and Nancy Stutzman and their family in Punta Gorda. Nancy and I have been friends for a long time.

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