Thursday, March 10, 2011


Apparently, there is a theme this week for State Department bloggers to talk about their housing.  Several of the posts have been about the downsides of Post housing.  One post actually spends time talking about how bad her couches were - the exact same couches sitting next to me right now.  And, sure, they may not be the best looking couches ever, but I lived in an apartment for a year that had no couch.  I never had visitors because they wouldn't have anywhere to sit.  So, let's be honest, I can handle a couple of ugly couches.

The housing in Belmopan is actually pretty damn nice.  I have a two bedroom house with a den.  Throw in a huge kitchen, dining room, living room, about 17 closets, two storage rooms, a laundry room, and a screened in back porch that runs the length of the house and I have more space than I can use.  The floors are all tile (I would much prefer carpet) and the walls are all white, which annoys some people.  But I have ceiling fans in most rooms and great recessed overhead lighting.  In terms of housing, I don't mind saying it is probably the nicest place I've ever lived.

Most of the Americans at Post live in the housing compound (as I do).  Four houses are the same as mine - twelve houses are two-story, three-bedroom houses.  The DCM's house is a bit bigger than the two-story houses and the CMR (Ambassador's house) is huge.  There are about a half-dozen off-campus houses as well.  The compound has a pool, tennis court, basketball court, walking path, and a large field.  It can be a bit of a fish bowl and everyone knowing everyone's business.

The biggest issue with housing is how much the government pays for it.  When the Embassy moved to Belmopan five years ago, there was not adequate housing.  So they entered a "build to lease" contract.  I don't have the actual numbers, but the government pays somewhere more than $10,000 per unit.  That is U.S. dollars per month.  This, in a country, where most people make less than that in a year.  AND the government pays the owner a monthly maintenance amount.  Hopefully, when the contract ends in a few years, it is renegotiated lower.  But, if my experience in contracting is any indication, it won't ever get lower.

Dining room with soccer scarves
Awesome back porch
Awesome kitchen (this is less than half my total cabinet space)
Party in my dining room


  1. That is one awesome kitchen, and the rest of the rooms look pretty great too. I gotta get me to Belmopan.

  2. I agree with you; beautiful house! I love the screened in back porch. I think I would spend most of my time in that room. Thanks for sharing the bright side on the housing theme.

  3. Looks like a great house! I agree, thanks for sharing the good stuff.

  4. It is time for the Weekly State Department Blog Round Up and you are on it!

    It is found here:

    If you would like the links to your site removed (or corrections are needed) please contact me. Thanks!

  5. You have a really nice looking house. In fact it looks better than any representational house we have in country…though it might be a little smaller. Nice granite countertops and beautiful flooring. I like the color you painted the walls and the curtains fabric you chose is awesome.

  6. Love your house! Can't believe the cost, but... well, yes I can believe it. Talking with expats of many nationalities gives me the impression that real estate is always a pain in the wallet for transients. I had to laugh about your no couch situation, back when, because we were there too. We had a pile of cushions and blankets for a 'sofa'. FS furniture can be ugly, but there is a comfort to knowing what you're going to get. It helped in our last move, the 1st move our daughter was old enough to be affected by. She was concerned about leaving 'our' home and 'our' furniture. I was able to reassure her that she would likely have the same, or very similiar, furniture carpets and drapes at our new place. I think it helped her adjust. And one more thing... 17 closets?!?! ... siiiiigh...

  7. Love the house and LOVE Belize - first place I ever went after leaving the USA. I, too, live in the best house I've ever had and the biggest too so I try to remember that so I don't fall into the complaining mode.