That’s the mood I’m in recently. I actually found that particular term in the thesaurus because I didn’t want to use the word “depressed”…it seemed a little too clinical and serious. So I think “blue funk” hits it about right.

I know everyone thinks Belize is a dream destination, and that people spend lots of money to come here on vacation. But most of them go to the cays, which I have yet to even visit. Believe it or not, it actually is somewhat difficult to live here. The bottom line is, it’s dangerous. We live on a gated compound for a reason.

When we first arrived, a lot of the crime seemed to be an hour away in Belize City, and it was mostly local gang violence…not something that would really affect us unless we were hanging out in the wrong part of that town. But in the three short months that we’ve been here, a lot of it has shifted to our area and is specifically targeting foreigners living in country.

Most of the grocery stores and restaurants in Belize are run by the Chinese or Taiwanese. At the end of October the owner of one of the restaurants in Belmopan was robbed and shot. Thankfully he lived. The owner of the Asian grocery store down the road near San Ignacio wasn’t so lucky. He was shot and killed, and three employees were injured when their store was robbed.

The Venezuelan embassy a block away from us was robbed in September, and so was one of their residences, as well as the Salvadoran embassy a few weeks earlier. One of the two pizza places in town (owned by an American) no longer delivers because their driver was robbed shortly after we arrived. Even the Belize Defense Force headquarters over in Ladyville had 42 high-powered weapons stolen, including M-16s, M-14s and Berettas…granted they’re all local, but it still doesn’t make me feel any safer.

The most recent headline, from Wednesday night, concerned the death of a local American businessman. He was 68 years old, owned the local Iguana Creek Resort (which we’ve passed on the road several times), and was brutally beaten and murdered in his home. Police believe he was robbed for the money he’d recently pulled out of the bank to pay his employees.

The community is mourning his loss because he was actually trying to make a difference in their lives. He’d been coming to Belize for 20 years, investing in the local economy, employing the workers, and had also planned on setting up a diabetic treatment clinic. He had a wife and 10 children…happily, they were all back in the States at the time. But that’s still a total downer.

I’m also Duty Officer this week. Pretty much every embassy has a duty officer to take emergency calls from American Citizens after hours. But the responsibility doesn’t usually trickle down to my level. But we have a tiny embassy, so if any other Americans get shot, robbed or murdered, and they (or their next of kin) need to call the embassy, they will be calling me directly. And, I must say, the very idea of it is emotionally daunting.

And to top it all off, I’m turning 40 in less than two months. I thought of maybe trying to get a bunch of people to go to the cays or go diving, but it’ll be high season for tourists and looks like most things are sold out already. So maybe I’ll just sit around and pop black “Congrats Grad” balloons left over from A’s first birthday party.

Oh, and I won’t even start in on the fact that all my girlfriends from training in DC are gearing up for the Marine Balls at their various embassies…and we don’t even HAVE one because we’re so small…because then I’d really start to sound like I was feeling sorry for myself. But I still prefer the term “blue funk.”

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