In 2000 - after Dekker found, in a poverty-stricken Indian village, the granite cobblestones now paving Kura Hulanda's streets ("200 containers - now it's an export product so these people have a way to sustain themselves!"), but before the Kura Hulanda project was finished - cancer struck again, this time melanoma. Padget and other associates supervised the resort's opening. Confined to bed and unable to work or even read, Dekker took up portrait painting. The work is, naturally, professional quality, though Dekker pooh-poohs his achievement. "Everyone knows how to paint."

Dekker's now back on his feet, and when asked whether he feels he's definitively won his fight with melanoma, he shrugs impatiently. "We'll see what happens. When they come back, I just get them cut out again. That's how I deal with it."

Meanwhile, in addition to work on the U.S. Slavery Museum and the eco-lodge, Dekker has a few other new projects.

Because Curaçao has the world's highest incidence of diabetes-related kidney failure, he is building a dialysis clinic.

Because education is a personal priority, he's planning to open a culinary institute to train chefs for all those new hotels and restaurants.

Because ecology is a concern, he's working with Conservation International to develop the reef off the Netherlands Antilles. Also in association with CI, he is collaborating with "my good friend Ermias" - exiled Crown Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie - to establish, in Ethiopia, a nature park/conservation project that also promises economic sustainability for the needy developing nation.

Oh, and he writes weekly newspaper columns, and is turning one of his six book manuscripts into a screenplay.