Bati Bleki Buzz Weekly Recap March 18th, 2018

Aruba Doet 2018, 207 projects accomplished

According to the director of CEDE Aruba, Daniel Tecklenborg, at the head of this very humble and super-efficient organization working in collaboration with the Dutch Kingdom on community projects, there were 207 projects planned and almost 4,000 volunteers mobilized, over last weekend.

I was attached to Nannelle, a physical therapist and a mother of three, we had thirteen projects to photograph, document and assess; I photographed, she did the heavy-lifting. In my book, all project we visited were amazing, well defined and nicely executed, as a bonus, I enjoyed Nannelle’s intelligent company and learned about rehab options on the island. I filed the info away. It’s good fodder for a future column.

On day one we met a group on elderly who were bussed from St. Nicholas to mingle with a group of elderly from Santa Cruz. Both groups made pumpkin soup together, shared the delicious recipe, along with yogurt and cookies, but best of all expanded their circle of acquaintances.  Genius project, with MOBIS, check them out @BarioBibo, and Rudy Lesner from Movemiento Ta Bida.

Next, Aruba Doet paired the Anti Drug Foundation, with Artesano Aruba a group under the direction of artist Claudia Ruiz Vasquez who provides free art education to drug addicts in recovery, together they sprayed 4 walls with the #AmigoDidi graffiti, reminding locals NOT to drink and drive.

At Colegio EPI, students and volunteer carpenters hammered, nailed and stained six picnic tables together for the use of the students, under the trees, in the shade, during breaks.

A group of cancer survivors from the Mary Joan Foundation enjoyed a driftwood art class at COSECHA, in St. Nicholas, under the direction of an accomplished driftwood artist, with charming results. They had lunch in community at O’Neil’s Caribbean Kitchen afterwards.

The foundation for abused women, FHMDD, signed up for a facelift including fresh paint and murals. While making the paint purchase, the foundation was greatly helped by an anonymous man in line at the hardware store, who volunteered to charge his Maestro for the amount, when the cashier refused to accept an FHMDD check.

(Kooyman mega store: You should apologize for that, you could have release the goods, and received payment the following Monday)

We also visited Colegio Conrad Coronel on the second day, where team members of the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino put together a stage to be used in schoolyard shows and performances. The resort brought in the power tools and the know-how, delivering a first class finished product.

A group of volunteer teachers painted decorative motivational messages on the whitewashed school walls: We Treat Each Other With Respect and We Are Creative, among many others, plus the Gymnasium received a good scrub by a volunteer industrial cleaning company.

I had tears in my eyes at FAVI when a group of Island Finance volunteers took a group of visually impaired foundation clients on an adventurous island tour in a wild safari vehicle, by MAW Tours. You should have see the joy on their faces, as they went up the ladder to occupy their seats in the open air, high above the road truck.

According to Daniel, 2018 was special. He did not have to do it all alone as in previous years, he had some volunteer coordinators to think about every detail. And they did. Compliment to Thixianne and Marieke, who pulled the strings with the help of 18 coordinators. The promotion of Aruba Doet was also exceptional. By participating in Carnival with a group of people with limitations, in costumes, with music. Daniel says the community got behind that project and supported it wholeheartedly! Of course, it helps when the Island’s Governor, personally shows up for the opening, and supports every stage of planning.

#HaciBonPasaBon #ArubaDoet2018

Aruba Doet is the largest volunteer event on the island. People sign up to help social organizations or a good cause together with friends or colleagues, school or companies. Whether you help painting, repairing playgrounds or spoil a group of elderly, you are guaranteed to have fun!

ARUBA DOET, is part of a larger organization with NL DOET, ARUBA DOET, BON DOET, CURA DOET, STATIA DOET and SMX DOET, unfolding at the same time. The Dutch fund makes large investments in social causes on the islands and strengthens the ties between the islands and the kingdom.

Curious press members want to know: On the subject of RefugeeGate Aruba

Rainbow Warriors sent me a clip of page 4 of the local BonDia newspaper, which informed us on Wednesday February 21st, that a 6.8-million-florin monthly budget was earmarked for 500 “refugees.”

The article went on to explain it was a done deal between the Dutch and the Aruban Governments, the Red Cross local and international and the United Nations High Commissionaire on Refugees.

Rainbow Warriors also added that according to a recent BBC report, the cost of accommodating 700,000 refugees from Myanmar in Bangladesh for the next six (6) months is 1 billion USD. Which means, per refugee per month: 1,000,000,000÷ (6 × 700,000) = $238

The UN is budgeting and fundraising $238 a month per refugee in Bangladesh. They must be feeding them dirt. Because in Aruba the cost per refugee, according to the newspaper Is $7,556 a month. At that budgets they can be served caviar and Champagne.

You do the math: 500 refugees, for a budget of 6.8 million per month.

Per refugee per month: 6,800,000 ÷ (1.8 × 500) = $7,556.

Just asking: Is this a second Green Corridor? Who is making money on the deal?? The amount mentioned is extremely exorbitant and members of parliament must ask clarification on those numbers.

THE TAX PAYER wants to know, as presented, this sounds like way too much money.

As a foot note, the day before yesterday: The United Nations has just released a report asking the countries in the region to consider treating Venezuelans as refugees.  Please note the wording, this is a suggestion.

From the Miami Herald March 12 2018.

Amid the growing exodus of Venezuelans, the United Nations for the first time is asking the region to treat the population as “refugees” who are unable to go home — rather than mere economic migrants.

In a three-page report the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, also recommends that countries that have received Venezuelans not deport, expel or forcibly return them “in view of the current situation in Venezuela.”

In the document, titled “Guidance Note on the Outflow of Venezuelans,” the agency asks countries to guarantee Venezuelans residency and the right to work, even if they entered the country illegally or don’t have the proper identification papers, meaning that the outflow of Venezuelans should be issued official documents, irrespective of how they got here, have all basic rights and access to services including 1) access to health care; 2) access to education; 3) family unity; 4) freedom of movement; 5) access to shelter, and 6) the right to work. The paper is asking that these rights would be guaranteed on an equal and nondiscriminatory basis. Last but not least, the outflow should be guaranteed a non-return to Venezuela, no deportation, no expulsion.

So now you know what lies ahead. I think some public dialogue is in order.

What I learned from a helpful therapist

For reasons of sitting at my desk ten hours a day, I went to see a physical therapist to help ease the related stress on my hamstrings. Yes, the area behind my hip and my knees was complaining and since I do not speak the language of discomfort I went to see Joke Schmid, Physical Therapist, Medical Massage, Licensed Acupuncturist and Yoga Therapist, as my bone/muscle interpreter.

I learned so much from her, I can’t begin to tell.

It’s the way we sit at the blasted desk, she said. Slouching.

We have an S curved spine, not a C curved spine.

And that’s where the trouble begins.

To fix is: Sit with your legs slightly extended forward, so you can see our toes. Don’t tuck, curl or cross your legs. When feet are extended and apart, the knee gets a chance to rest.

Sit on your sitting bones. Lift up your butt cheeks a bit, locate the bones, and sit on them. That is why god gave them to you.

Make sure your pelvic bone, the highest point of your pelvis is hovering right above the sitting bone, straight up.

Pull your shoulder blades down, then tuck in your chin, to better support your head.

Your TEN POUND noggin should be supported by your neck AND spine, by tucking in the chin you ease the stress on your chicken neck.

If you maintain all five points of reference you will maintain you S-curved spine, no stress, no pain.

S is for super

C is for catastrophic

Best of all throw the chair away, stand at the desk, and don’t just hang the weight on your lower back, stand with your legs apart, knees soft, pelvis tucked in, shoulder blades pointing down, and that way you work your thigh muscles, to extra loveliness, protecting your lower back from stress injury.

One more thing. Get rid of your flip flops, all except one pair to go to the beach with; flip flops force the tootsies to curl, work hard to keep the shoe on, the toes should relax and rest, not curl and grab. Strappy sandals are ok, barefoot best.

One more thing: Keep texting to minimum!!

Can you??

The morning after: Doom & Gloom

Last night, at the end of 130 days in government, the MinFec addressed the nation demanding Courage and Financial Maturity, as she was preparing for her trip to the Netherlands in order to borrow 743 million florins, the amount required to float out boat in 2018.

If we submit to inspection and behave the interest charged on that jaw-dropping ka-ching-ka-ching will be bearable.

The MinFec did not mess around, she is a good speaker, her cadence was steady and she did not fidget too much under the camera’s lens. Hair, jewelry, dress, she gets a 10 for that. The content of her speech was straight forward, not flowery, and she did not repeat herself excessively. Most politicians think they are talking to idiots, and phrase and rephrase everything five time in one sentence, in an effort to make themselves clear. The MinFec is a moderate repeater, not an offensive one, so I listened for about 20 minutes then ran to the bar for a stiff drink during the home stretch.

She was brutal from the start: In 2009 before the disastrous AVP government our debt to GDP was 49% and having gained momentum under irresponsible spending it now stands at 93%.

Congratulation Magic Mike, as a result of your fearless leadership we now owe 93 cents on every florin we make.

Which amount to 4.3 BILLION florins.

To add insult to injury, there are 50 million floating around in uncollected taxes. The refinery delusion is finally flushed down the toilet.

The offenses are many, and while NO ONE GOT PAID, except government employees, the 2017 budget concluded with 130-million-florin extra deficit, for a total of 216 million in the red, for just one year.

I can go on. But it’s pointless.

We are in poop up to our eyeballs. Our financial credibility is shot and we might not have access to capital if we continue drinking and dancing.

Sad speech. It had a fatal glitch towards the end where the editor fell asleep and repeated the sound bites excessively.

Overall, let’s look at last night’s performance as the greasing before shafting.

Next week we’ll get the list of concrete steps taken to correct our situation, basically digging deeper and deeper into our pockets.


Alone on the Island

Last week we went on a mini island tour and found an impossible number of people everywhere, Alto Vista, Eagle Beach, and Arashi were heaving. So, we made an executive decision to veer south and check if we could possibly find a vacant spot, for just us girls and a cooler of new and improved Chill.

First stop Mauchi Smoothies in Savaneta. I heard about this place before but never experienced it. Apparently, this pioneer farmer girl, Maureen Laaf Ras, opened her shack roadside, and has been offering amazing smoothies made with fruits, vegetables and herbs, she grows herself. Organically. Wow. Who would’ve thunk?!

We had a very green drink with Kale, Cilantro, Moringa, Spinach, Cucumber, a touch of Ginger and fruit juice. It was incredibly yummy and then the friendly barista offered and Immune Booster to-go, made with Noni, Sorsaca, and Moringa. We fell for her pitch and invested Awg 15 in a lime-green magic potion. Another concoction available at Mauchi promises to replace Viagra, made with watermelon rind, and lemon. Call with questions, tel. #584-7115 Savaneta 87, open until 8 pm, including weekend.

From Mauchi’s we headed south into Parke Arikok. There were people everywhere, especially those pesky ATVs and UTV’s buzzing around, blowing sand, like they owned the land, with total disrespect for the patient, tolerant, and mostly old landscape.

So, we headed north-west to Dos Playa, and there on a low stone fence, we cracked open our first Chill with absolutely NO ONE around. The beach below had a fresh blanket of seaweed, and a shattered criollo boat. The ocean has been active recently, disgorging algae, churning, obviously endangering any desperate soul on a match-stick wooden skiff, attempting to reach the safety of Aruba.

We enjoyed the second cold beer on a stone bench, mid-climb to Miralamar, up the hilly trail leading to the abandoned gold mine. The terrain at that elevation is strewn with quartz nuggets and chips, explaining why the ancestral local prospectors, looked for hard rock gold deposits, on top of that hill. Gold is certainly found in quartz, but the extraction process is toxic, involving cyanide. We drank our golden chilled liquid in reflection of the fatal gold found in quartz veins.

We did stop for an amazing bite at Mundi Health Cafe, at the Nicolaas Store in San Nicholas – don’t panic, it’s organic. Their Turkey Pesto panini is amazing, so is Grandma’s vegetable soup. This little café is charming, owner Tristan Nedd really serves grandma recipes, in a 1940 setting. Promise me you will swing by. @mundihealthcafe. This is worth the trip down from Oranjestad. Park behind the Police Station, go visit the murals, and then stop for lunch on the plaza!


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March 18, 2018
Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster