LeGrand, Iowa Friends

by Dale Graves

Shortly after noon on Friday, November 3, Alan Mullikan, Gary Bryant, and Travis Vaughn arrived from LeGrand Friends in Iowa. I picked them up at the airport and we ate some lunch on the way into town. We took a little tour of the city and then got them settled into their room. They had flown out of Omaha to save money but that meant that they had been traveling by car and plane since about midnight so they took about an hour for some rest.

LeGrand team (9 of 23)On that first evening we removed a wall that had been added on the front bedroom. The two tiny bedrooms then became one nice sized room. Sorry about the fuzziness of this photo but it was taken after dark with my phone.

Our task for this team was to put down tile in the main room and in this bedroom. In order to do that we had to lay plycem (cement board that comes in 4×8 sheets) first.

 

 

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The adults visited during the Sunday School hour while the children had class.

The forecast was for decent weather on Saturday and Sunday with rain coming in on Monday so I decided that we needed to take our play time early in the visit. On Saturday afternoon we visited Caye Caulker and then on Sunday after Meeting for Worship and Sunday School we visited Alun Ha, a Mayan ruin that is only an hour’s drive from the city.

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This view is taken from the top of one of the temples at Altun Ha looking toward the temple of the Masonry Altars, sometimes called the temple of the Sun God.

On Monday we began in earnest. And on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we completed the laying of the plycem and the tile. There wasn’t much relaxation except that we did have time in the evening to visit some local restaurants.

LeGrand team (1 of 1)Gary mixed the mud, Travis spread it on the floor, Alan and I cut and laid tiles (Alan mostly). Gary also managed to do drywall repair and paint one small bedroom.

 

 

 

We completed that work late Wednesday, including cutting off the bottom of the exterior doors so they would fit over the new tile and re-installing them.LeGrand team (20 of 23)

Then we went ‘off script.’ I asked the guys for their ideas about creating a Christmas tree to put on the roof. The base of an old CB antenna remains on the roof and when Mike Cain removed the old broken CB antenna, we kept the parts.LeGrand team (21 of 23)

So we played. I hope that the Christmas tree will bring some more attention to the Center–and I just like Christmas and Christmas trees.

 

 

 

 

 

I completed the assembly of the tree, installed an outlet on the roof, ran a switch wire so the outlet can be turned on by a switch near the office on the ground floor and tested it out.

LeGrand team (23 of 23)

I’m headed to the states on Monday. Ms Candi will turn it back on when it reaches the appropriate date.

Thanks a ton to the ‘guys from LeGrand’. They were fun to work with and we got a good bit accomplished.

Meeting With the Police Commissioner

Meeting the Police Commissioner over Community Safety on the Southside

by Oscar Mmbali

As Quakers, we believe in conversations, everyone speaks. Now, we are not here to tell you what you should do but to talk about how we can work together…” (Dale Graves)

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Police Commissioner Whyle and Mr. Cowo, Head of Criminal Investigations Branch

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Colonel Lovell Speaks while Commissioner Whyle takes notes

A couple of weeks ago, the Community Safety Forum decided to reach out to the Police Commissioner to discuss how we can work together to improve community safety on the Southside of Belize City. This was a culmination of the first phase of Community Safety Forums that were held at Belize City Friends Center and at the Anglican Cathedral in Belize City.

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Dale Graves talks about Quakers and the goal of the meeting with the Police Commissioner

Last week, we received an invitation to meet Police Commissioner, Allan Whyle at the Police Department in Belize City. The meeting was to be held on Wednesday 1st of November 2017 but was cancelled at the eleventh hour and rescheduled on Thursday 2nd of November 2017. On Thursday afternoon, representatives of the Community Safety Forum gathered at Raccoon Police Department to discuss with the police commissioner, the issues raised in the letter that had been sent to him.

In the meeting were the Police Commissioner, Colonel George Lovell from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs and Head of Criminal Investigation Branch Mr. Cowo. Discussions held included sharing the background of the Community Safety Forums, discussing the details of the letter sent to the Police commissioner, hearing from the Police commissioner, and Colonel Lovell about their experiences working on security related issues in Belize City.

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Cynthia Pits and Miriam DeShield participate in the discussion.

 

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Assistant Commissioner of Police Dezerie Magdeleno talks about the concerns of the police towards people in detention.

Given time constrains and a long list of issues that had been raised, the meeting resolved to begin a collaboration between the Police Department and Community Organizations over community safety issues. The meeting identified, educating the public on interaction between the police and the community as the priority agenda. Collaboration on this issue marks the start of building partnerships between the Police Department, community organizations and the community around community safety initiatives.

The details of the priority agenda- to educate the public over interaction between the community and the police for example, the content, strategies, activities and mutual interests around these issues will be discussed soon. The Police Commissioner assigned Inspector Carcamo as the liaison between the Community Safety Forum and the Police Department. Inspector Carcamo will liaise with Candy Young, Principal of Belize Friends School regarding communications from the Police department. Candi and Inspector Carcamo will be coordinating communications between the Police department and Community Safety Forums. We are looking forward to host future Community Safety Forums that will focus on implementing this agenda and discussing other related matters.

While we were not able to discuss every detail to conclusion, there was a sense of mutual willingness to work together. This collaboration between the police and community organizations opens an opportunity to explore together issues related to community safety as well as other areas where we can work together towards community transformation. There is a genuine call to work together with other organizations, the Police and other government agencies to improve community safety and address issues that tear apart the social fabric of the society upon which community safety is built. Belize City Friends center has become that place in the community from which hope and transformation will spring forth.