oh. Christmas tree. ?.

okay, so we took the dog and the machete, and this is what we found.

no, it's not a branch. that's actually the whole tree.

and the final product.


i hope the video works. if it does i will add it.



Not to "ruin" anyone's Christmas...but we are struggling to find the resourses to send Christmas cards... so


Merry Christmas Everyone! Hope your season is warm and bright...may the spirit of this Christmas season warm the hearts of you and your loved ones and bring peace and joy into your homes. (that was for you, reno)

The Murdocks


soon it will be Christmas day...

well, we went to Belize city for thanksgiving. for some reason, and to my utter surprise, i was filled with joy to be there. i never thought i would get such a high from belize city. i was bouncing down the dirty streets smiling at people and almost cried with joy in brodies (the big grocery store) because they were playing Christmas music and had otis spunkmyer muffins and cookies. i was wishing that everyone could be there with me seeing the things i was seeing, which is why i didn't post a picture this time... i want to paint you one...so to speak: a pile of wheelchairs and broken mattresses in front of a retirement home, a man in a wife beater pacing and talking to him self, a man with a cast on his arm that was oozing with blood, a brown polluted river that looks like the toxic mote around the swings and the tital wave at lagoon, a man who stopped us to tell us the history of the myans for money and said the phrase "bull shhh.....ut your mouth little boy!", long wierd toenails, dreds, tourists getting thier hair braided (which if you come here, that's not okay..), a lot of t-shirts that say things like "my boyfriends cuter than yours", "no you didn't", "Sexy Diva", and for some reason, totally out of the norm was a miniture department store with a blow up snow storm ball on the front lawn. so welcome to belize city.


a quick tour

well, so not much different from the pictures. but maybe that will give a better idea of the set up. one great thing about living in belize is that people bring things to sale to you right to your door..tortillas, icecream, water, or you can just send kids on errands. it's cool. something less cool is that someone didn't pay past dues on the electricity so we haven't had any for a while. but it's been kind of nice in someways. and the water goes out every night. and we have fleas. and mice on the counters. and big flying beatles that are creepy. and the cat we got for the rat got caught in the rat trap and was stuck to the floor in sticky rat trap crap. other than that the house is great.


o sar.

well, right now i am laughing really hard, because i meant to put on the next picture, but i accidently uploaded this one. however, i think i will leave it just for a short while, for the lucky and diligent viewers.

there, that's better...kind of.

we are so happy you came sar. and so sad you have left. we can feel your absence in the house you helped turn into a home, especially with the creepy rabbit picture...but on a happy note your dad was right...we are SOOOOO excited to have our space back. j/k oh. you know i'm just having a little fun with you! LOVE YOU!
ash and todd
PS. i hardly ever do more then one blog at once, but if you keep scrolling you will find our house pictures....

Parade of Homes Belize 2007 Winner

Here it is, straight out of scenic silk grass. Going for $200 bz, $100 us per month, OBO.

The spacious living room. Sleeps up to 4: 2 hammocks and a futon.

Here is the modern laundry room. Not built without a price. We had to search all over Dangriga for those buckets, and then wash out all the pig tail grease. But as the saying goes 'it will all come out in the wash'.

The furnished bedroom with a romantic bug net mostly for looks, except for to keep out the bugs and rats.


thumbs up

SAR's HERE!! in case you didn't recognize her in that scary mask! we went down to punta gorda and picked her up! there was a big peace corps gathering there last weekend. YEAH!! (eric, you made the blog!)

so hitch hiking has become our main source of income savings. yesterday alone we saved $32 dollars between the 3 of us, and this was our best ride.

so this is it. i know what you are thinking. "but it cleans up real nice" we will post more pictures of the inside... we love it. it's so white trash/carribean. we burn our trash out back. who would have thought.

we went to the zoo! it was a hit. all the animals are native to belize and none of them have been taken out of the wild. these two pictured were the wildest animals in the whole place. blog ha ha!!

so we got a couple new additions besides sar. we heard that cats keep out rats...so here he is. rueben.

and here is ed. no todd is not a dog person. so ed wandered to our house last week looking starved and sickly. we didn't intend to get a dog, but he just sort of came to us. we gave him a bath and dewormed him and just as we were taking a liking to him and wanting to keep him forever, a small boy knocked on our door and took him right out of my lap while i swung on the hammock. so now we are in the process of buying ed back. oh ed.

last but not least...brian! thanks so much for coming down to visit! it was a pleasure!
and check sar's blog....www.saragilmore.blogspot.com
ps sorry some of the pictures are sideways. i can't flip them on this computer, and i didn't realize it til after the post. o well.


real quick... and maybe boring but..

there has been a few questions about what exactly we are doing... besides weird things... so i thought i would give everyone a quick little update...

Todd spends most of his days up at the park. Lately they have been smoking out the bats that live in the roof. they are working on getting the park ready for tourist season--which means mainly clearing trails and cutting the lawn. we are also working on a petition for the park so that loggers can't use the main road. i go up there with him about 2 times a week. he is also trying to get groups together to sell things at the park and marketing.

i have been working at schools mostly. i have 4 different schools i work with and right now i have 6 classes that i am teaching. i'm doing a program called jr. achievement and i'm working on starting some new clubs and i want to start teaching reading and english.

in between our projects we try to work on other things that are going on. last week we helped paint the school in silk grass, and we also got to go with some other volunteers to do a health project. we went to a school and helped check all the kids. we gave them deworming pills...which we should have given to todd... and measured them, weighed them, checked thier eyes...stuff like that. it was really cool.

so we met some friends down on the beach. they are always doing something interesting. todd always gets in on it, and drags me in somehow too. we thought mikey would like to make a sweet flip video with these guys!

and here is todd catching crabs with them!
so there it is. we love you and miss you!
ashli and todd



We dont know if this is the best way to tell you, but one of us has been eating for two!!!! We have only known for a couple of weeks!

NO Ashli is not pregnant, last week I (todd) found a strange little sore on my inner thigh, and early sunday morning I birthed a beautiful, not so healthy 1/2 inch baby worm, it was dead. yeah freaking nasty, i had been itching it for about a week and i had a thought that it might be the botfly, that puts an egg in you, but i thought thats only something you hear about on the internet, but it wouldn't go away, so i tried the local rememdy of suffocating the worm, everyone says that you need to cover the hole, and that is how they breath, So i still didn't think i had the botfly, but i put lotion on it to cover the hole anyway, and nothing happend, so i put some more on, put a strip of duct tape over the wound and went to bed. the next morning a woke up, stripped the tape off and nothing, so i tried to pop it again, annnd wallllah, the worm, sorry no pictures, true story
todd ash


things are going to get weird now, aren't they?

one morning i woke up and put my shoes on and there was a toad in my shoe. i wondered... 'what could this mean? what sort of omen is this, or is it?' then after that things got wierder.

the moon got strange...

and then, while we were on a hike last week todd was clearing the trail with a machete and cut a vine snake right in half thinking it was a vine. it was hanging right above his head, and the bloody tail swung down into his face to his alarm. the sad snake slowly looked at his wound and fell off the branch. it was very sad. enlarge the picture for a better view.

and some other wierd stuff happened... but i wondered if all the 'roots' were branching out from the toad in my shoe.


Mr. Poots, the Titman

i have named this blog after a cement plant box outside of the dangriga garifuna museum. on the huge cement plant boxes outside of the building they are thanking donars, and apparently this is one of them. if ANYONE has ANY information on who Mr. Poots the Titman is, please, please comment immediately. i'll post a picture if i get one.

this is in hopkins. the little village to the south of ours. pay close attention to the writing on the wall...

the prize goes to the person who can think of the best watermelon pun. the only one i could come up with was...i can't decide which melon is more full of crap...help me.

OUR ROOMMATES!!!!!!!!!! here they are! little dillan, brian, and jazzy jr. RASHIDA! first week of school!

well, i had a very "beachy" birthday! thanks to everyone for the wishes! i missed you all dearly!

At last! We as "great americans" finally have the warm blessing of the presidency. This is at swearing in. They only sent their sincerest best and their regrets that they couldn't be there in person.

Well, i thought i would take a brief moment to fill everyone in on a few facts and fun of our new home. first off things are beginning to roll. todd is working hard as ever at the park, and i have started working at the schools. all the kids wear uniforms and they are so cute! there isn't really any separation of church and school which is fun and amusing. one of my schools is named the "Holy Ghost Primary School" and is right on the beach. in the morning they draw pictures of the beautiful things God has created for them. i'm working in 4 schools. one in our village and 3 in dangriga town. dangriga is the kind of town that you don't want to walk around eating an icecream cone, because you are afraid of what might get in it. but we like it.

SHOPPING: most of the clothes that you can buy in dangriga look like the 'bedazzler' gone wrong. not that the bedazzler was ever okay, but you know what i mean. i needed a new pair of jeans and couldn't find any in town, so the whole neighborhood colaborated b/c i "just couldn't go to the pageant dressed like that." i picked the most conservative of the 3 pairs they collected for me and still ended up looking like Shakira.."oh baby when you talk like that..."

EATING OUT: pretty much anything that you can get at anyone's house in all of belize is what most restaurants sell. Rice and beans. so if people want to go out, it's not because they are sick of what they eat, but simply sick of making it. we have found an awesome pizza place in hopkins that we limit to once a week.

well, i have more, but i'm already embarrassed by how long this is. but just one last thing... the joke's on who??? after reading the comments from the last blog, i am beginning to wonder who's laughing. could we take a tally of those who thought i actually was in a beauty contest??


haad tymz.

well, this is me and mr. peck. i was trying my hand at the machete. mr. peck was teaching me the trick of the trade... always cut out. we have become his young, moldable apprentices.

well, i did it!! due to a number of requests on the blog i entered a beauty contest! miss belizean dream! this is swim wear!! actually this is at our beach party after swearing in as volunteers. everyone thought it would be real funny to see me in high heels. sorry everyone, but i couldn't bring myself to wear a swimsuit.

well, we decided to make the bike trek to cockscom jaguar preserve. it ended up being quite the ordeal. we rode our bikes about a total of almost 30 miles, 12 of which were on a rocky, hilly dirt road with snakes and stuff on it on our beach cruisers. we ended up having to throw our bikes into the back of someones truck at about 10:30 that night. but it was fun. Todd wouldn't stop on his bike for anything, except for the sound of a bird. so this is nerd picture of the year. he saw a hawk.

and here is the beautiful jaguar preserve. all to ourselves. we will have a rude awakening when tourist season begins.

our first boa encounter. it's weird to live in a place where you can say... 'i think i will sit here until i see a snake,' or 'i think i will look over this ledge until i see a crocadile' and then it really happens


another pictureless blog..

sorry everyone. once again i can't put pictures on at the moment, but i will work on it...but as alina so eloquently put "real bloggers don't need pictures..only many many many words to paint pictures.."or something like that.

well things have been wild and crazy around here. in the past 2 weeks we have consolidated twice with all of peace corps for hurricanes. but all is well. it has been flooding like crazy. roads and shops have been flowing like rivers, but the great thing is, is that a little flooding doesn't stop anyone around here. they will just keep on shopping in 2 feet of water and continue to sit and watch people go by on table tops while the water runs beneath them. the flood has also brought out some great road kill. there are frogs, crabs, and turtles lying about all dried out like worms all over the place.

so between hitch hiking and going to todd's park we have also found some GREAT entertainment. apparently, beauty pageants are a BIG hit here. they are all over the place almost every weekend. however, unlike at home, they don't bother to disguise the fact that it's a "beauty" pageant with words like 'scholarship'. they are just blatant about it. the one we went to was called, "miss bamboo." there were a whopping 4 contestents. it was everything we hoped it wouldn't be. and in the middle of this uplifting family event there was a beer drinking contest. classy. it was great.

we are slowly getting into our jobs, which is about as fast as it can go here. at the park they pretty much just boss todd around and he spends most of his time there clearing trails with is machete. everytime he suggests something, mr. ramon just says, "that's right, that's right." and goes on whistling and ignores him and does what he wants. i'm trying to bring a "woman's touch" to the visitor center. just kidding. actually i just sweep it out and reorganize it and stuff. so are the lives we lead.. oh and we got beach cruisers! so we are trying to feel more normal by riding bikes around and making cookies whenever possible. we miss you all! hope you are doing great! keep posting and don't let life "blog" you down! just kidding.


Hey everyone... just real quick i wanted to send you our address and our most reachable current phone number:

Silk Grass Village
Stann Creek District
Belize, Central America

011-501-669-2929 or you can try our unreliable cell phone: 011-501-669-8059. Hope you are all doing well! We miss you all! oh, and i'm being kicked off my email, so from now on you can send emails to todds:

AND WE OFFICIALLY SWORE IN AS VOLUNTEERS!! at the U.S. embassy. We'll post pictures soon. LOVE YOU ALL!
Ashli ..and Todd


Butte called...

So it's been a while. We have officially gone to our new site. Perhaps the title will give you an idea of what it's like. You never know what your past expierences will be leading up to..But just like Butte, it is right in the middle of a lot of sweet places. We have been in Belmopan for the past few days. We had to do a hurricane lock down of sorts, but all is well. If you youtube peace corps, you will see what it was like being stuck in a hotel with 64 volunteers. And so with that, here are some picture updates...

Well, here it is. Todd's "office" for the next 2 years. Well that was really bad humor, but you know what I'm saying.

This one is a little out of order... but we were part of a youth rally in Orange Walk. It was quite the event. Todd blended right in.

This is the road on the way to the Mayflower National Park just a coulple of miles outside our village.

And here is proof...Todd and the infamous Mr. Peck himself. Just quite literally cutting out todd's work for the next while with his machete.

This is a waterfall inside the park...

We got to go on this awesome boatride up a river to some Mayan Ruins. There is a huge lagoon when you get there. On the way up the river todd saw a fellow volunteer pop up out of the water holding a rack of fish he had just speared. Small world i guess.

The weekend before we went to our site we stayed in San Ingasio. It was awesome and we visited a meninite town while we were there. You have to cross a river on a ferry to get there.. so todd took the initive and asked if he could take over the manpowered crank and get it across. unfortunately, his arm wasn't as beefy as the workers and he is still recovering. There are only 2 guys that work there and they both do 12 hour shifts everyday... so you can imagine.

We went up to Pine Ridge while we were there and went to a cave and swam in the waterfalls. it was sweet.

Last but not least... My friend Ang was in town!(like it's normal..) and to illustrate what a small country belize is... first i met up with her in Belmopan--on purpose in the middle of country. Then we randomly ran into her a week later in Orange walk which is in the north part of the country. Then the very next day she yelled to us out the window of a bus in Cayo on her way to Guatamala located clear over on the west part of the country. So it goes. It was great.