Monday, June 28, 2010

Why my Spanish sucks – one way to shorten your week!

Marge here.

I just made an appointment for Jalis to have his Thursdays removed. Jueves, huevos, whatever.

FYI: for those who don’t understand:
Huevos=eggs, testicles

Marge is struggling, Tom has patience. Tom does not touch upon such sensitive subjects.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

El Progresso/7 Miles school system

The school systems here in Belize are different than the schools in the US and we have had to adjust to their terminology here. Students start school at around age 5 in what is called Infant 1, the next year they attend Infant 2. Then they start regular school and progress from Standard 1 through Standard 6. At the end of Standard 6, at the age of about 13, they have completed the mandatory schooling required by the government. Schooling at this level is primarily funded by the government but many of the villages have churches that are affiliated with the school as well. For example, in El Progresso, there are two schools, the public and the Catholic School, which is partially funded by the Catholic Church in El Progresso.

In 1997 the first school was built in El Progresso with funding from a nonprofit organization. When the school was started, there were no plans on how the school would be managed and where continued funding would come from. The Catholic Church in El Progresso decided to take on the responsibility for running the school and some funding was also obtained from the Government Of Belize (GOB). In the beginning, the school was operated in this fashion with some teachings from the Catholic faith mixed in with the regular school curriculum.

There are a couple of different churches in El Progresso, Catholic, Evangelical, and Pentecostal. After three years, in the year 2000, the majority of the community voted to change the school to a public school, not affiliated with any church. The Catholic Church still wished to have their own separate school so that they could teach their religion along with the GOB classes so the Catholics started teaching their school in their church. The following year they built and opened their own school next to the church.

Funding in general for the schools is as follows: for both schools, the teachers are paid by the GOB. For the public school, the grounds, buildings, desks, chairs, and other furniture is supplied by the GOB, the Catholic school does not receive any government funding for these items. Since the beginning of the 2008/2009 school year most text books are provided by GOB for both schools (previously the families had to purchase all text books) but some special texts, workbooks, and all other materials used in the classroom (like chalk, pencils, erasers, scissors, glue, tape, learning tools like toys and globes, etc) are provided by the students or the teachers. A registration fee of $15/year/student helps a little to cover some of the costs for the classroom supplies. And for both schools, uniforms are required for each student, which cost about $30 per set (boys, shirt and pants; girls, blouse and jumper or skirt).

Each student is responsible for wearing their school uniform each day. The blue uniforms are for the public school,

and the salmon and brown are for the Catholic School. Occasionally on Fridays they have “rags day” in which everyone is allowed to wear non school clothes, but there are restrictions on what is considered appropriate for these days. In El Progresso, there is also a small weekly fee for each student so that they can use the flush toilets at the school. There are latrines further out from the school but the government does not fund the cleaning supplies nor a janitor for taking care of any of the facilities.

Each day school starts at 9am, breaks for 15 minutes at 10:30, then gets out at noon for lunch at which time most students walk home to eat with their families (lunch is the big meal of the day here in Belize). At 1pm school resumes, breaks for 15 minutes at 2:30, and classes get out for the day at 3:30pm. No bussing is provided for students so they must walk, ride their bike, or get a ride in a car if school is too far for them to walk. On the last Friday of each month there is no school so that the teachers can receive their pay in San Ignacio.

In the Village of El Progresso they face a stumbling block that is not found in US schools (that we know of) and in only the rural villages without electricity here in Belize, there is no electricity. Here in the Cayo District there are 6 schools without power. Windows and doors are open at all times during classes to get enough light for reading. If it is a dark cloudy day, or the wind is blowing hard and the windows must be shut to keep out the rain, the classrooms are pretty dark. There are no movie projectors, TVs, DVD players, sound systems, electric clocks, etc. Also lacking is the ability to run computers which puts these students at a great disadvantage when they venture out for jobs or further education. There are some functions held by the school that require electronic devices for movies, or a sound system so that everyone can hear the speakers and for these occasions someone in the town lends extension cords, microphones, amps, and speakers. The school does own a small gas generator to run these devices when needed.

This past year there were 107 students in the school. Infant 1 and 2 were taught in one classroom by one teacher. Standard 1 and Standard 2 each had their own teacher. Standard 3 and Standard 4 were combined with one teacher. Standard 5 and 6 were also combined with one teacher. There are a total of 5 classrooms in the government school at this time. Next year some of the students from the Catholic School will be transferring to the government school which will put enrollment at approximately 130 students in 8 grades in 5 classrooms, or an average of just over 25 pupils per room.

Currently there is a library for the school which is a detached building that is about 100 yards from the other 2 school buildings. This building is one open room with some shelving for the random books that have been donated to the school. In July there is an organization slated to come help with some projects for the library which hopefully will help boost the usefulness of this resource.

Everything that is needed to maintain the school must be provided by the community. There is no machinery, like lawn mowers, weed whackers, saws, drills, hammers, paint brushes, plumbing supplies, etc. provided by the GOB. The entire town is called up to do things like mow the lawn, repair the roofs, fix the toilets, remove bats from the attics, paint the interior and exterior, and provide the tools and supplies for all of these necessary things to maintain a school in proper order.

Luckily there are some nonprofit organizations that come to Belize to help with some of the projects to maintain the schools, build new classrooms, erect shelving, donate library books and there are volunteers that occasionally come into the community to help teach as well.

Friday, June 25, 2010

El Progresso/7 Miles - Graduation 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 was graduation day in El Progresso. The graduating class was small this year, only six, but two students are continuing on to college this next year, Eric Ruano will be attending Sacred Heart college in San Ignacio and Kenny Tzib will be attending Eden College in Santa Elena. Congratulations to all that worked so hard over the years!

Tom, Lyanda, and Claire

Tom, Lyanda, and Claire from Washington State stayed at the Belize Zoo’s Tropical Education Center (TEC) when they first arrived here in Belize. We recommend this to anyone who is flying into Belize late in the afternoon and would like to do the day and night tours to see ALL of the animals. They loved their stay and especially liked the night tour when the guide got the howler monkeys going.

I picked them up in the middle of the day after they had eaten lunch at the TEC prepared by Ms. Muriel, their queen of the kitchen. We returned to the farm where they got the quick tour of where things are located and then they headed up to Rio On Pools for a nice relaxing swim and climbing on the rocks. Claire, a good swimmer and adventurous around the water, found a few of the natural water slides to try out.

The following morning the family went on a ½ day horseback ride with Joe Tzul, touring some local small caves, back jungle trails, and small creeks and waterfalls. In the afternoon they all went up to Big Rock to test out the deeper pools (than Rio On) and larger rocks to jump from. They had the site to themselves so Tom had to set up his camera and
dash to his position to get full family portraits!

After a few pretty full days of adventures they decided to take their next day a little easier so they ventured about a mile up the road to the Butterfly Ranch. Claire wore a very colorful summer dress and flowers in her hair to attract the butterflies. One thing that we have to remind our guests of is not to wear bug spray and suntan lotion to butterfly gardens since they are sensitive to the chemicals. In the afternoon, Lyanda decided that she would like to wander around the property to do some bird watching (she had worked with raptors in the past in Vermont) while Tom, Claire and I went back up to Big Rock (by popular vote) for swimming again. This trip to the falls I showed them some different rocks to jump from, how to get up into the smaller pool near the large falls, and we all swam to the base of the falls. You have to be a good swimmer to make it in but Claire showed she was strong and made it all the way to the base of the falls.

Their final morning they all ate a hardy meal in preparation for their journey to Tikal. They opted to have me drive them to the Guatemala border where the crossed, found a taxi driver, and set off to experience the sunrise tour at Tikal the following morning. After Tikal they were scheduled to go to Caye Caulker to round out their trip with some ocean swimming and snorkeling.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Marge finally out for a fun ride on Tony

Finally, after about 3 months of not having much down time and energy, Marge got out on Tony with Jalis along for the trip.

They are out in the jungle right now while I am doing some computer support for a former client in Upstate NY. It is a nice day but there are rumbles of thunder in the background that sound a little ominus, but it is sunny and breezy here at the moment. I hope they don’t run into any bad weather while they are out – if they do, Marge is prepared, she is riding in the all-weather saddle!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Gary, Bonita, Olivia – continuing their jungle experience with MRF

Gary, his wife Bonita, and their daughter, from Massachusetts, arrived here on the farm driving a rental car. Their first three nights they spent at Caves Branch doing tours like Black Hole Drop and cave exploring. They arranged with us to meet Gonzo in Teakettle so that they could do Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) on their way here instead of using that day for moving between lodges. They met the guide with no problems and were really happy to save some driving around and fit in as much touring as possible while here in Belize.

The family arrived here late in the afternoon after their ATM tour and were happy to relax in their hammock prior to eating dinner. They were all a little tired after 3 full days of jungle tours and they knew they had more full day adventures ahead of them while they were staying with us. We were happy to see that they loved their previous tours and knew that they would be up to the itinerary they had set up with us.

The next day we set out for a tour at Ka’ax Tun under the supervision of Julio. I (Tom) went along since I love going to this site. Ka’ax Tun is an educational center for kids here in Belize as well as for tourists. You can get some more information at their website at Since Olivia was especially up for more cave exploration, climbing up rock formations, and swinging on the vines, Julio tailored the morning to capture all we could of these features of the park. We also learned about strangler figs, give and take trees, sapodilla trees, poison wood, pacaya, orchids, and many other plants and trees. We heard toucans, trogans, mot mots, and many other birds and we caught a rare sight of a coral snake off the side of the trail. Coral snakes are very pretty but also very lethal here since there is no antivenin but the good thing is they are not aggressive and try to just get away from humans.

We ventured into some caves that the Maya used for ceremonial purposes, climbed the limestone chimney and descended with the help of the strong jungle vines, crossed a ravine on a fallen tree, and then we slithered down into a cave with some spots we had to crawl through on our bellies (Bonita decided to pass on the crawling cave section). Then we had to hike out through a ravine and scramble up the rocks to get back to the main path.

After Ka’ax Tun, we headed to Julio’s house where his wife Janet made us a wonderful local meal of rice and beans, chicken, macal, and we had banana pudding for desert. After lunch the family drove themselves up to Big Rock to go for a swim and relax in the river for a while.

The next day they were off to Caracol on their own. Gary had contacted us while planning their trip and asked about the options of going to Caracol. There are basically 3 ways to do the trip:

1. Go with a guide in the guide’s vehicle, all food is provided by the guide, and you usually stop at Rio Frio Cave on the way to Caracol, then drive to Caracol, tour the ruins, eat lunch, and on the drive back you stop at Rio On Pools to go swimming. This is the most expensive way to do the trip but provides you with a very comprehensive tour with everything setup for you and you don’t have to worry about anything. Most tourists choose this option since the drive is over 45 miles on rough dirt roads, not like driving in most areas of the US or Europe.

2. If you have your own vehicle you can hire a guide for a day rate and do the above. Hiring the guide helps a lot so that you know exactly where to go in the Pine Ridge, what the timing is for stops to and from the sites, and the guides provide excellent information regarding the ruins and the natural resources.

3. Or, if you have your own vehicle and are adventurous you can do the trip on your own. We can pack you a lunch (there are no restaurants near Caracol) and we can give you some directions to help you out as well as approximate times for where to be when for the day.

After researching the trip quite a bit, Gary chose option 3, driving themselves without a guide. He felt confident that they would be okay since he’d read our blog about another family who successfully toured Caracol and the Mountain Pine Ridge on their own from Moonracer Farm. He did his homework, got good advice from all of his sources, and had a great time exploring Rio Frio Cave, Caracol, and Rio On Pools as a private family. One other advantage of doing it all on their own was they decided to try to get to 1,000 Foot Falls as an added side trip. Unfortunately, they got there too late and the park was closed.

The following morning, they packed up and left around 8:15 so that they could tour the Butterfly Ranch one mile up the road and visit the zoo before returning their rental car and heading out to Caye Caulker to do some snorkeling.

Jenn & Derek

Way back in November, we donated a night’s stay and a day of food for two people to the Belmopan International Women’s Group as an item for their silent auction at their 2009 Annual Dinner Dance. We received a very nice Certificate of Appreciation shortly after the dinner, but we never heard who, of if, anyone placed a winning bid for the night at Moonracer Farm.

Finally, in the beginning of May, Jennifer emailed us. She and her husband Derek had placed the winning bid, and they were ready for their night “away.” They have lived in Belmopan for the past four years, and Jenn is the principal of the Belize Christian Academy and Derek is a teacher there. They’re heading back to the US in July because Derek is going back to school, and they wanted to come stay with us before they left.

They came on a Friday night with their little dog Mia, and we had a very nice dinner and lots of interesting conversation about all of our experiences in moving to Belize. They’ve been here just a little bit longer than Tom and I have, so we found that we had many common experiences, and that we’ve met a lot of the same people – and our views on just about everything are remarkably similar.

They ran into Santa Elena in the morning, and then returned here for lunch. After lunch, we did a quick tour of Ka’ax Tun, mostly so Jenn and Derek could see it and talk it up for the teachers at Belize Christian Academy so they’ll consider bringing their classes to visit. They had to leave fairly early in the afternoon because Derek is the light and sound man for productions, and he had to go prepare for a dance recital on Saturday night.

However, before they left, they booked another night, this coming Friday, so they’ll be back for another quick stay. Tom and I are delighted that they’re choosing to spend some of their last valuable weekends in Belize (for now) with us, and we’re really looking forward to another evening and day of getting to know them better.

Meredith & Mark

Honeymooners Meredith and Mark from Boston spent the last few days of their wedding trip with us. They did their trip the opposite way of most of our guests, spending the first few days on Caye Caulker, and then heading inland. They realized that the inland part of their trip would require more physical exertion, but decided that they wanted to chill on the beach for the first few days because they needed to relax after a hectic couple of weeks just before their wedding. By the time they got here they were well rested and ready for adventure!

Tom picked them up at the Belize Zoo’s Tropical Education Center and took them to Jaguar Paw to go cave tubing. They were here by mid-afternoon, and spent a few hours relaxing around the farm before dinner. On their first full day here, they went to Caracol with Selmo. Besides finding Caracol interesting, they were happy to spend the day with Selmo’s family, who went along for the ride because it was Sunday, and Belizeans can tour the archeological site for free on Sundays – which gave Mark and Meredith a chance to get to know a few more native Belizeans. The next day we took them to Georgeville in the morning to meet Gonzo for a trip to ATM, which they thoroughly enjoyed. After ATM, instead of being picked up in Georgeville, they went into San Ignacio and spent a couple of hours wandering around town and picking up some souvenirs for family, and Tom picked them up just before dinner.

Tom and I had a good time talking to them because although they now live in Boston, Mark is from New Jersey, and Meredith went to med school in Philadelphia. Since Tom and I grew up in New Jersey not far from Philadelphia, we spent a lot of time talking about things we have in common from living in that area – and laughing because Mark still has the strong Jersey accent that we’ve managed to shed after not living in the area for close to 30 years!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Blood, Sweat, & Tears

Or, for this story, it should be Sweat, Tears, & Blood.

Sweat: What I do all day, every day, 24/7, with no end in sight. If you knew me from up North, you may remember that I loved going out in the winter with no coat, I only wore a sweater in the winter to work if it was really nasty and below 10F, and then only if it was really windy and freezing precipitation would soak me. On the weekends I loved working in the barn all day in my Carhart overalls and a flannel shirt, but I have traded my overalls for Carhart shorts. I am usually dripping wet from working outside now by about 8:30am and stay sweaty all day when I am working. So, I KNOW sweat. I do like it here though, I don’t have to worry about frozen pipes, the trucks are easy to start (well, they aren’t hard to start due to the cold), and Marge likes to go outside with me year round now.

Tears: We have had our heartbreaks here as we would have if we were back in the US. We have experienced the death of friends here and have worked on our experiences with this in the communities with the expats and the locals. Our ever changing pack of dogs has had the natural attrition starting with the very predictable passing of Mellow, then our potlicker Recona, and also the Ruckus Twins. Those that know us understand that our dogs and horses are very dear to us and the passing of each pet is hard. We have been very fortunate at this point in time though that all our close family and friends are doing well, with a few exceptions. We have been in contact with those who we know are having difficult times and are thankful that we have internet to keep in contact.

Last but not least – BLOOD! When we moved here from the US I doubted that I would be giving blood again in my life. While in the US I donated blood 34 times (I still have my donor card – I know, anal me) and I did pheresis a number of times (white blood cells and platelets for cancer or leukemia patients). I believe the last time I gave blood in the US was in 2004, before we came to Belize for the first time in January 2005. After that visit I called the Red Cross to see if I could donate again and was told that I had to wait one year. Marge and I never stayed out of Belize for more than a year at that point so I was never eligible to donate again in the US.

After moving here in 2007 I always thought I would never be able to donate blood again since we have lived here permanently for so long. However, I never really gave much thought to donating blood HERE in Belize – why not? I don’t know, it never really crossed my mind. Anyway, about a month ago Marge was reading the Belize Ag Report, and was skimming the classified ads (yes, Marge is reading EVERYTHING she can get her hands on since there is a lack of new books in the country). She found an ad from someone searching for O negative blood. Huh, why is that? A specific type, that’s strange, and that’s MY blood type. We recognized the email address to respond to and it was a friend of ours, so we sent off an email and got an immediate response.

OK, here is how small Belize is: the email we sent was to a friend that is the publisher of the Ag Report. She put us in contact with someone else whose kid has a blood disorder and needs regular transfusions of O neg blood. We know the kid’s mother, I have met the kid and know all the brothers and sisters of the mother, one brother very well. And in Belize, all this is out in the open, no big HIPPA problem here.

So, on Tuesday I went and had lunch with the mother and we talked about business, living here in Belize, etc. and also about the health and problems her son has. Everything is out in the open and I have the correct blood type (I am #37 in the country as a possible donor) so I am so psyched to help this young guy. The mother showed me to the hospital, introduced me to the blood donor lab, and got me set up to give my first pint here in Belize! Wow, back in the blood donating game again.

Well, donating here in Belize is ultimately the same as in the US when everything goes well in that the donor is 1 pint down, feels fine, and walks out happy and the blood bank is happy since they have 1 more unit of blood.

There are some differences though:

In Belize you sit upright in a comfortable hospital type chair with armrests and your feet up. This chair takes up ¾ of the donation room. In the US you get a table to lie down and look at the ceiling and from my experience there is usually 1 nurse/lab tech working on 2-4 donors at a time.

The consent form here in Belize has one declaration on it, you have to disclose if you have had malaria in the past; that’s it, nothing else. What I remember from the US, there was a four page questionnaire that took about 10-15 minutes to read and check the boxes and then the screener would ask questions for another couple of minutes. Then, in the US, you got a bar code form so that you could remove a sticker for accept or not accept the blood; in other words, if they take the blood and you have lied on the questionnaire, you can pull the sticker to say don’t accept that unit of blood, give blood at that time, and they will discard your donation after you leave.

In Belize, they draw a sample vial to test your blood right there in the lab before you donate to see if they should draw a full unit. I was told that people with low blood counts get refused here all the time. I am not sure what they test but they passed me right off. In the US, they prick your ear or finger tip, put the drop in a test tube and watch the blood sink to the bottom to test your iron levels or something. In the US they pull additional vials for testing but that is done later after you donate and leave.

In talking with the guy drawing my blood (by the way, he did a great job getting into the vein 1st try and didn’t have to rearrange it to get a good flow) if you partially fill a unit and your vein collapses (this happened to me many times in the US), they will withdraw the needle and take more blood. In NY State, if you only give a partial unit and your vein collapses, they are not allowed to stick you again to finish the unit, and the entire unit is thrown out.

Here in Belize, when you are done, you get some juice and you are on your way. In the US, you get juice and COOKIES, then you are on your way. I do miss the cookies.

Belize rules are you can donate every 90 days. I think it is every 56 days in the US.

Overall, giving blood here in Belize was simple and I was glad to do it, makes me feel like I am “plugged back into the community” again.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

LM vs. Marge: End of Round II - Marge is leading

Marge is making progress with her LM. The other day she completed the second set of 5 shots to rid her body of the little critters. Dona Celia, a local woman from the village of 7 Miles, has been doing the injections, part in the area right around the sore on Marge’s shoulder and the balance of each vial in the butt (ouch, what a PIA).
After the injections around the sore the area is quite tender even though those injections are done with very fine needles. In the beginning Marge was thinking that the IM shot in the butt was going to be the worst part since the needle is bigger but part way through the course of the shots she changed her mind and preferred the butt shots to the shoulder.

The sore is getting smaller at this point and closing up. Marge went to Dona Celia yesterday just for a visual checkup and Celia said that it was looking better, no more shots at this point, come back on Sunday so we can see how it is after 6 days of no shots. Note: Marge went to get the checkup without my help, and did fine conversing only in Spanish, she is learning Spanish faster than me.

Needless to say, Marge is very relieved. She is maintaining her jungle prescribed diet of no dairy (tough since she likes her own homemade yogurt), very low fat (not a problem), and no alcohol since the meds are tough on the liver (not easy since we now have bottles of tequila lined up ready for Marge when she get better, our excuse for going to Melchor to get the drugs).

So we are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that on Sunday, just after our current wave of guests depart, Marge can toast good riddance to her nasty jungle scarfus.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Five Shots Down…

…and I’m not sure how many more to go, hopefully none. The first five weren’t too bad, although when I started I was dreading the big horse needle in my butt and not too worried about being poked by the little insulin needle around the sore, and it ended up that the shots in the butt weren’t too bad because they were quick, but the poking and shooting around the sore became pretty painful after a couple of days. I’m not getting any shots over the weekend, and I have to go back and have the woman giving me the shots look at the sore on Monday to see if she thinks I need more shots.

I’m not sure if it’s any better. Tom seems to think it’s looking somewhat better, but it’s hard for me to tell because it hurts more than when I started the shots, and it’s very red and sore around the hole mostly from all the little shots. And, I think the sore is drying out, which makes it pull and hurt a little more when I move my arm, since the sore is right on my shoulder joint.

This medication isn’t approved by the FDA because of the side effects, but I don’t seem to have suffered any serious side effects. I’ve been a little nauseous and headachy, but I’m not sure if that’s from the shots, or because the migraine preventative I’ve been taking every day for the past twenty or so years is on the list of drug interaction cautions, so I haven’t taken that for the past week. And, I’ve been trying not to take anything for the headaches because the medicine is hard on the liver, and I figure the less I give my liver to work on the better. So, I’ve just been feeling a little crappy, but not really sick, and I’m not sure if it’s from the shots or from what I’m not taking that I usually do.

I’ll post another update after Monday when I know if I need more shots or not.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Piñata Party, Melvor Style!

Last Saturday, we were lucky enough to be invited to a three year old’s birthday party. His parents said that when they asked him what he wanted for his birthday, all he wanted was a party with a piñata. Woo hoo, you think, a wild party for a three year old. We didn’t even know how much fun it would be.

His parents didn’t really want the piñata party because they said the piñatas make the kids violent and greedy. But Tom and I thought it would be fun, so we went with Melvor’s parents, who decided a small piñata would be okay, the day before the party to pick out a piñata and the candy to put in it. We then took the piñata home, filled it, and planned to show up at Melvor’s house for the party on Saturday night. The piñata was a little red person – supposed to be Elmo maybe? – and his parents told him that we were going to be picking up a friend for Melvor and bringing him to the party. When we pulled in the driveway and opened the car door, Melvor came running out of the house to see who was with us, and we handed him the piñata, which was almost as big as he is. Melvor’s face lit up, and he grabbed the piñata in his arms and ran for the house to show his family.

His dad put a string up across an empty part of the dining room, and hung the piñata by the wire from its head. Melvor wasn’t quite sure why his piñata had been taken from him and hung by its head, but then his older brothers and sister started whispering to him that the piñata was filled with candy, and if Melvor hit it with a stick and broke it, the candy would come out and they could all eat it. Melvor was appalled! He started yelling “I don’t want to, I don’t want to!” and demanded that the piñata be removed from the string. He then carried it around, wrapped it in a blanket, put it to bed, and generally showed the nurturing side of his delightful personality.

The older siblings weren’t going to stand for that. They took the piñata from him and made him feel the candy through the skin. They somehow managed to get a hole poked in its back so they could get some of the candy out so Melvor could see that his new friend really was filled with candy. They finally convinced him that it was okay to hang the piñata by its head and hit it with a stick, but after a couple of good whacks, Melvor again erupted into tears, yelled “I don’t want to,” and demanded that the piñata be taken down and put to bed. Tom made the piñata walk and got Melvor to kick it a few times, but then that was too stressful and the piñata, and the rest of us, retired for the night.

We don’t know what happened overnight, but we stopped by the next day – and found Melvor gleefully beating the piñata with a stick as it hung from its head on the string. Candy was flying everywhere, the older siblings were sliding in on the floor to get the candy and trying to avoid being beaten by Melvor who at that point was willing to beat just about anything or anybody, just for the fun of it. The piñata was in shreds, and by the time we left the head was disconnected from the body and both legs were off – and most of the candy had been pocketed by Melvor’s older brothers and sister.

We found the whole thing fascinating, watching the transition from the cute little kid who wanted to protect his new friend, to the bloodthirsty little candy monster having fun beating the piñata just for the sake of beating it. Melvor’s parents were right – the piñata did bring out the violent and greedy side of the child, but it also brought out his sweet and nurturing side. Since we don’t have kids, we’ve always gotten a kick out of watching our dogs interact and studying their behavior, but after watching this, we think it’s just as much fun to study kids’ behavior!