“HBHS Fall 2013 Newsletter”

hbhs3hbhs2hbhs4hbhs5You are one of the reasons HBHS has had such an amazing year. We set our sights high, and we have been able to achieve our goal….. to date, in 2013 we have spayed and neutered 1031 animals! And with two weekend clinics to go, we know that number will go up.  Having once a month weekend clinics with Dr. Orlando Baptist in addition to our visiting veterinary teams has really impacted the animals of Belize.

On October 17th, HBHS joined forces with Saga Humane Society on the island of San Pedro, targeting the San Mateo neighborhood.  San Mateo is an impoverished area, and HBHS has wanted to work in that area for years. We were finally able to make it happen, and we hope Saga Humane Society will work with us again to help this community.   Dr. Orlando Baptist, Dr. Tonya Pruett and Dr. Linda Leavell worked for two and a half days with the Saga Humane team, treated almost 200 animals and spaying/neutering over 50.  

From San Pedro, we went to Placencia to team up with the Placencia Humane Society for an evening and morning of clinics.  Drs. Baptist, Pruett and Leavell did 13 surgeries and over 35 exams. Then, back to Hopkins to meet up with Dr. Rob Echentile and Dr. Mia Canton for HBHS clinics.   Animal Health Director Joseph Morgan worked with all doctors and volunteers to see that animals were picked up, their needs met, and they were delivered home safely.  Volunteers Kelli & Stephen Blank, and Carol & Brian Gregory spent many hours at the clinic organizing, cleaning, giving out dog food, providing transportation for patients, and making calls to people that needed animal assistance. And professional photographer, Amanda Thielman, was on hand to capture the moments for all of us! 

As Dr. Pruett and Dr. Leavell departed, the next group came it.  Belize veterans Dr. Tina Cone, Anita Beeson and Ramona Hambrick (Carroll Country Vets Without Borders) arrived and jumped right into work, assisting Drs. Echentile and Pruett before going to their room at Villa Verano!  Dr. Cone and Dr. Baptist held clinics in Hopkins, while I went to San Ignacio to assist with a six vet “mega clinic” set up by Humberto Wohlers of the Belize Zoo.  And what a weekend it was!  Dr. Cone and Baptist were working in the flood waters in Hopkins, Drs. Edwardo Tesecum, Jorge Lopez, Isabelle Paquet-Durand, Mia Canton, Angela Gimmel, Jennifer Riley and Kelly Schmitz conducted clinic in the pouring down rain for two days.  It was wet, crazy, and fabulous! In two days, over 200 animals were treated in Belize, and almost 60 surgeries. If only the sun had been out, we could have done miraculous things!  

The flood waters trapped the Carroll County Vets Without Borders in Hopkins, but I was able to travel to the Belize Zoo to meet up with Dr. Baptist. Humberto and the amazing Zoo crew were superb hosts, and despite the bucketing rain, Dr. B did 14 surgeries and treated over 20 animals.  And, as the flood waters slowly receded, Dr. Cone and her team slogged through crocodile infested waters to continue with clinics at HBHS for several days.  

When Dr. Cone and her crew departed, Dr. Jon Kendall arrived.  Dr. Kendall, Dr. Canton and Dr. Baptist treated over 90 animals in Dangriga in one day between 9 am and 2pm. Wow!  Then they treated even more over the weekend at HBHS, helping us reach and go over our spay/neuter goal. 

HBHS was also able to give out 4000 does of Pet Trust dewormer this year, thanks to the donation of the products from the Pet Trust company… and over 2000 Kind News magazines thanks to the Humane Society of the United States. 

Only one month left, and we are finishing 2013 very strong! We are looking forward to 2014! 


“Janice and Pete Henderson Contribution to the HBHS”


Volunteering at Hopkins Belize Humane Society was the best part of our trip to Hamanasi!   My 15-year-old, Pete, and I helped Dr. Baptist and Joseph during one of the monthly spay/neuter clinics.   We helped prep the dogs for surgery, wash surgical instruments, and organize supplies.  Our favorite part was returning the dogs to their families in Hopkins and San Ramon the next day.   The village children swarmed our truck when we drove up.  It was fun to hand out the dog food, leashes and collars along with their pet.   The children (and adults) were eager for information on how to take care of their pet and it was rewarding to teach them how to be good owners.     Because of HBHS, getting your dog spayed/neutered is becoming the cultural norm.  As we drove by, families would stop us to ask us to take their dog for surgery (“Next time!!  We’ll be back!!”)  It was a remarkable experience!


“Zan Art Classes”

Gail Morris a repeat guest, recently returned to Belize to introduce her daughter, Zan Morris to the Hamanasi family.  Zan contributed to the Hopkins community by doing four separate arts & crafts classes with the children at the local library. The kids ranged from five to twelves years old and were so excited.  Zan supplied all the materials, she gave very basic instructions and encouraged the kids to be creative in their own unique ways.  Some of the projects Zan did with the kids were :

-painted wooden masks (elephant, pirate, flower,  and lion masks)

-made God’s eyes (weaving yarn around craft sticks)

-decorate/painted star and fairy wands

-drawing using washable markers

-painting with Tempera paints

-jewelry making

-abstract art using craft sticks

-decorating and painting bags

-painting sun catchers

-painting/decorating their own plastic “school supply” box

-using glitter and stickers

-face painting (me painting their faces and them painting my face)

The children were particularly fond of having their faces painted. Aside from the four hour and a half hour art classes, Zan spent a couple afternoons painting faces at the playground.  Each class consisted of twelve students. Some students attended more than one class. All together,  Zan had about 30 students. Around 50 children got their faces painted throughout the week she was here.

Zan commented “I had a wonderful time!! The children in Hopkins are very polite, sweet enthusiastic and creative!”

She surely added big smiles to all the children from Hopkins that assisted her classes!  A huge THANKS to Zan for taking time out from her vacation to contribute to the Hopkins Community.

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“Lopez Donation To Mrs. Bertie Hopkins Community Library”

Miss Bertie’s Hopkins Community Library was established in 2008 by U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Bertie Lee Murphy. She became a Peace Corps Volunteer in June 2007, following a distinguished career in both the corporate world and in public service. Bertie was a vivacious and dedicated member of the Peace Corps family and served with distinction as an Education Volunteer in Belize, where she was an elementary education teacher-trainer in the southern village of Hopkins. Universally loved and respected, Bertie had recently repurposed a local building into a library filled with personal and donated books.

Donald Lopez an American citizen from California has been diving with Hopkins Divers for the past seven years and calls Hopkins his second home.  Every year Lopez donates to the community and this year was no exception.  He brought with him a custom built single speed bicycle, this was his only mode of transport for the few months that he stayed in Hopkins – he generously auctioned it off and all proceeds went to Mrs. Bertie Library.  It was a good turnout and BZ$205  was the final offer by Pam owner of Windschief.

Thanks to everyone that enthusiastically and generously participated and congrats to Pam on her new bike!O


“Green Team Participates”


IMG_3150The Hamanasi Green Team participated at the Holy family School Fair March 2013. This energetic team had 1 goal in mind, to create as much awareness about our environment and the impact we have on it, and to achieve this they set out to impart their knowledge to the local Hopkins residents.

They had a fresh supply of Lion Fish Ceviche for sale – and gave out interesting facts of what damage this fish does to our reef system and how we can help by eliminating or at least decreasing the numbers. Less than 20% of residents did not know that lion fish is edible and so tasty!

Fresh produce like lettuce, bok choy, cabbage and herbs from Hamanasi’s organic garden were on display and the team encouraged the benefits of backyard gardening and composting.

They also talked about the goals of each department within Hamanasi Resort and all the eco-friendly products that are used at the Resort.IMG_3160

The team also had lots of fun giving out some Prizes; all you had to do was answer an easy question to win a Hamanasi t-shirt, water bottles or a lunch voucher for the restaurant. 100 coconuts plants were given away to be planted. The feedback from the public was very positive and refreshing. Overall is was a successfully event for everyone


“2013 Hopkins Kite Fest”

SAM_0219On March 16th, 2013 Hopkins village had it’s 9th Annual Kite Fest and over 100 children participated between the ages of 6 – 14.  The kids came out with different sizes, colors and design kites and all were very creative.   It was another successful year and all the participants were awarded a small gift for participating along with a snack.   Most donations were done by the local business and resorts in Hopkins.  The winner was Tyrell Roches and his prize was a new beach cruiser bicycle.

The day was full with fun, local food and music.

World Spay Day 2013 a success!

February was the month for World Spay Day.   For the third year in a row, HBHS hosted World Spay Day clinics to spread the message of spaying and neutering pets for the betterment of the world’s health.  HBHS has recently extended their coverage area to the south, servicing the smaller villages of Redbank and San Roman. Taking on these new villages in addition to the five we have currently been servicing has been a joy. The need is so great, and the desire for pet health care is huge.

With Dr. Orlando Baptist taking the lead, the HBHS team spayed and neutered 42 animals over the four day event, while also performing several tumor removals, eye surgery, beef worm removal, treating skin conditions, and many other things that present themselves during HBHS free clinics.  HBHS is so incredibly proud of out team of workers, volunteers and supporters.  Because of you, the animals AND people of Belize are healthier.


“Deirdre Drama Classes”


Deirdre Kelly Lavrakas, one of our repeat guests visited us for the second time in October 2012.  Deirdre volunteered time from her Hamanasi vacation to mentor the Grade V school children of The Holy Family Hopkins School with Drama classes. Deirdre is presently Production Operations Manager and a Teaching Artist with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Deirdre has directed over 75 plays, musicals and operas for both adults and young people.

The children were exited throughout the sessions along with their Language Arts teacher Mr. Troy Coleman.   The participation of the class was incredible, filled with lots questions and laughter.   At the end of the 3 days session, the children were given a certificate of participation and some yummy snacks for the Hamanasi kitchen.



“The Garifuna People of Hopkins”

During the 1600’s, several slave ships were wrecked off the coast of St. Vincent, an island in the southern Caribbean.  The Africans who had been aboard soon found the Island Carib Indians, who inhabited St. Vincent and several nearby islands.  In defense of their land and freedom, Africans joined with Indians and the Garinagu culture was born.

By the early 1700’s the Garinagu population began to predominate the islands.  For years, equipped with muskets and ammunitions, they successfully defended the island of St. Vincent from European encroachment. In a final eventful battle however, the Garinagu were defeated, rounded up, and deported on a hired ship called ‘Experiment’ to the island of Roatan, off the coast of Honduras. It is from this island location, under the leadership of the now legendary Alejo Beni, that they made their way up the coast to Belize, which was called British Honduras at the time.

Between the years 1832 – 1900, the Garinagu made several settlements along the coast of Belize. Today, the Garinagu are known to be people whose main livelihoods surround the natural abundance of the sea and diverse coastal ecosystems. The Garinagu communities of Belize are primarily located in the south, in the beautiful seaside villages of Barranco, Sein Bite, Georgetown and our very own Hopkins. Dangriga Town is the largest community, and is often referred to by locals as the ‘culture capital of Belize’.

In 1941 Thomas Vincent Ramos founded Garifuna Settlement Day and began the celebration in Dangriga. By 1943 it had spread to include the southernmost district of Toledo and was declared a public and bank holiday in the south.  It was not until 1977 that the Government declared Garifuna Settlement Day a public holiday throughout the country of Belize.  Today, November 19th is celebrated by hundreds of Belizeans, in Garinagu settlements countrywide, with cultural drumming, singing and sunrise re-enactments of the boats arriving on shore. Like many other cultures in Belize, the Garinagu has maintained the integrity of their native tongue by raising the younger generations to proudly speak their language. Their language is called ‘Garifuna’.

This idyllic little village of Hopkins is quickly becoming the cultural center of the Garinagu population. The vile was created in 1942 to replace the village of Newtown, which was devastated by a hurricane further up the coast.  Hopkins consists of approximately 1’000 villagers, and is separated into two parts; the Northside (Baila) and the Southside (False Sittee). It is surrounded to the west by the majestic Maya Mountains and the lush Cockscomb Range, and to its east, by the Caribbean Sea. The people have traditionally lived from farming and fishing, but more recently have found work in the growing tourism industry. The residents are known for their friendliness and genuine hospitality, and welcome visitors to their village. Hopkins was recently voted “The Friendliest Village in Belize” by Belize First Magazine, and Destination of the Year 2010 by the Belize Tourism Board. Hopkins has a selection of gift shops, restaurants and small bars.


“September Green Newsletter”

                                                     Hamanasi Organic Garden and Current Production

With the addition of Mr. Juan Tun, organic gardener and environmental conservation activist from the Cayo district, as a part of our Gardening and Green team, our organic garden will further develop and become officially certified by Belize Organic Alliance, organic control and certifier in Belize, as being a sustainable garden. Moreover, we are now partnering with BOA to encourage and promote sustainable crop and livestock production in Belize.





Outside the cover structure, the organic garden is landscaped with fruit trees that attract birds and other wildlife around the property; and inside the structure, basil, mint, green onion, oregano, and cilantros have been intercropped as repellant crops amongst cash crops such as tomato, habanero and sweet pepper, cabbage, lettuce and cucumber to control pests and diseases.  (Report done by Francis Flores)