Cleanup Day

Last Thursday, at the parent meeting, Ms Candi invited all the students and parents of Friends School to help with cleanup day at the new facility. Brithany’s mom, who is a school board member, is also the sponsor of the Belize City 4H club. She asked if her club could also come and use this as a service project. In addition we expected the school staff and the attenders of the Friends meeting to help. If everyone came that would have made over 50 helpers. Whao, that was kind of scary. We planned for 50.

Fast forward to Saturday morning. The cleanup day was to start at 9:00 and last through lunch. I went down at 6:30 to do a little work on a water leak and the outside spigot and to, hopefully, put up the new sign before people got there. I got the water work done but my extension cord was too short for the work on the sign.

cleanup-day-1-of-7At about 8:00 Anthony and Antione showed up and we started picking up a large pile of old papers and other scrap that had been piled in the driveway and been rained on. I hoped to take the paper to recycle and we had ordered a 2 cubic yard dumpster for the other trash. It turns out that the recycle place will not take paper that has been wet it is still in the back of the truck and will need to be disposed of.

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The 4H-ers showed up a little after 8:30 and we began the driveway cleanup in earnest. Ms Candi came at about 9:15 and we began moving paper from the third floor of the rear building. There were many old financial records on shelves on the third floor and it was a lot of work. I would guess we spent better than an hour moving boxes of old records. During this time Miriam DeShield brought her pickup and we loaded the first load to go to the recycle center.

As soon as the paper was moved we began serious sweeping in the lower floor of the front building and all three floors of the back building. While that was going on we managed two more truckloads of paper to recycle. (We made a whopping $68 on recycle paper and a little scrap metal.)

We had completed the cleaning of the buildings and lunch was on the way so we took a photo on the balcony. Unfortunately one man who helped and several of the 4H kids had to leave before the photo was taken. I think, at peak, we had 31 people on site. There were the DeShield family and Mike and Cay Cain from the Friends Meeting, the group from 4H, our students and parents/grandparents, Ms Major and her husband and Ms Candi from the staff, and a few friends of our students. Here is a photo of those who were still there.



On Thursday Ms Candi had asked Roxanna, the lady next door who serves out of an old food truck in her front yard, if she would be interested in making a lunch for the workers. She replied that she was not open on Saturdays. So on Friday we decided that we would just find someone who was open Saturday and worry about it then. When we arrived to work, Ms Roxanna told us that she would make our lunches. We ordered 30 lunches of burgers and fries for $7 Bz ($3.50 US) each.




There were two large racks used to hold axles for sale that were very heavy. I had determined to cut them into smaller sections to take them to recycle when I heard Ms Candi call, “Mr Dale can you come here?” I had a visit with a young man (well, I don’t know how old he was–everyone looks young to me these days) who was interested in buying them and sold them on the spot. I think I got about what they were worth as scrap and I don’t have to move them because he will come get them on Monday. Sometimes in Belize I’m not sure that people will do what they promise, but I’m pretty sure that will actually happen since he already paid me.

After he left, Ms Candi told me that he had lived in the apartment in the back building while he was the manager of the facility and that he had actually help construct the back building. She said he would be glad to answer further questions if we have them. (Note to Eden–he cut the windows in the top floor and told us how he did that.)


The 2 cubic yard dumpster I ordered wasn’t even close. I think we have about 3 more cubic yards of trash piled by the overly full dumpster.

I commented to Ms Candi that we needed to call and ask them to bring a larger dumpster and pick up the full one. Ms Keisha said, “You don’t need to do that, they will bring the truck and pick up all of it.” Boy do I hope that is true.


Here are a few more photos with a little explanation for each one. As I was writing this I kept thinking about photos I wish I had taken but I got too busy participating in the work. Sorry.

Miriam DeShield taking the ‘nickel tour.’








The Supervisors (parents and grandparents) Ms Keisha, on the left worked for a bit but her pregnancy is quiet a ways along. She is Brithany’s mom and the director of the Belize City 4H club.


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Mike Cain tackled two jobs. I didn’t know how I was going to get the old communications antenna off the roof which had blown down in the hurricane. Mike didn’t even ask, he just climbed out on the roof and got it done.  The second photo shows the dismantling of the shelves that had held all that paper.

We felt good about the progress we made. There is a ton more to do and this Tuesday the oversight committee will be having an important conversation about the general design of the facility and how we proceed.  I will keep you up to date.


My Dad moved from this life to the next this morning about 3:00 Indiana time. Sylvia called last evening to say that the nurse who came in to give him his evening medications discovered him slumped in his chair, unresponsive, but still breathing. Sylvia arrived at the hospital at about the same time as the ambulance and stayed there for the duration.

Last weekend my sister, Francene, was in Indiana and brought dad out to the house. Recently he has been kind of anxious to get back to his room but on this occasion he seemed to be in no hurry and we had a good time. We ate turkey and mashed potatoes and moved into the family room by the fireplace where we watched folks come to the Christmas tree farm across the road.

As many of you know, my dad had earlier had a stroke that affected the language center of his brain. He could still understand everything we said, but when it came time to reply he would get part way through a sentence and then not be able to come up with the word that he wanted. He was worried that he was losing him memory. It was also frustrating to him that printed words no longer made any sense.

Dad took his first ever real vacation with us to Yellowstone National Park a few years back. On Saturday Sylvia gave him a book about Yellowstone to look at.  As he looked at the book he would find photos that he recognized and sometime he would say, “I don’t remember that.” But fairly often he would look a photo and recognize it. He showed me a photo of Old Faithful and asked me to name it. When I said Old Faithful, he said, “I remember that!” with a kind of pleasure and amazement in his voice. I reminded him that we ate in the lodge cafeteria while we were waiting for Old Faithful to erupt. He said again, with that same mixture of pleasure and amazement, “I remember that!”

Sylvia said that she visited him yesterday afternoon and they had a very good visit. I have already mentioned that she stayed with him in the hospital even though he did not know she was there. Have I ever mentioned that I married well?

I’m in the midst of a short trip to Belize to do clean-up and planning for the new property. The cleanup is to be Saturday.  Sylvia reminded me that there was nothing I could do by rushing home and so I will stay and complete this task, returning to the states next Thursday if I can change my flight plans. That will cut my trip 5 days shorter than I had originally planned but I should be able to complete most of the tasks I had assigned myself.

dec-8-3-of-3Just as I was sitting down to write this, Ms Athina walked into the office and said, “Here, Mr Dale, these are for you.” The students had written notes of condolence. I took a photo so you could see them and I could keep a memory.

Mr Tench also came in and shared his condolences and said that his father who was 90 had just recently passed. We smiled a bit about that fact that they died so close together, that they both reached 90 (dad was 99), that they both had had two wives, and that they both went quickly when the time came.

Finally, this morning when I needed a little alone time, I did what I do. I went to photograph the sunrise. This is what it looked like today.