Belize Blog Post 10 - Surviving The Holidays

Day 74 - December 22nd - Saturday
Yay, I'm finally back on the internet. Think its been a couple weeks...

Gary and I drove into town, and here we are at the Yim Saan restaurant. Life is good!

More later!

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Ok I'm back again, this is a continuation of the previous post.

I'm back on the property, I took the bus, got back about 6pm or so. Meaning I was on the computer for about 6 hours or something like that. That's a problem, in that its hard to cram all the web stuff I need to do into one block. Much easier to do in shorter sessions. But that's how it goes sometimes.

One project I have been trying to do is get a "local" version of my blog to run on my laptop. That way I can create pages and entries any time, on my laptop, then when I get internet service I can just upload things in a batch. I think I have everything in place now, just need a little bit of code writing that I can now do "off line". I'm sure that means nothing to most people reading this :)

Assuming the weather is nice tomorrow, I'll probably spend the day welding. Assuming good weather, and I have fuel for the generator, and there are welding rods...

The group of kids are leaving in the morning, sure will be different with them gone.

Although we are getting a BIG group of people rolling in right behind them, so won't have much time to miss them I guess!

Anyway, its almost 10pm, so will close this for now.

Day 75 - December 23rd - Sunday
Got in a good day of welding today, used the big welder even. Was a pretty good day, nice weather, bit of clouds so not too hot.

The kids left this morning, the place will be different without them.

As I came off the roof this afternoon I realized we had a LOT of people milling around, looking kind of useless. This might be the next group. Kids, even. Good time to hide.

Kind of too bad I don't have my private room anymore. That would make hiding a lot easier. In a pinch, headphones almost make people disappear. Megadeth seems to work the best today.

Wonder why I hate the holidays so much??

Day 76 - December 24th - Monday
Another good day of welding today. Mike was on the big Miller welder, I used the MIG today. We finished up all the welds that were tacked on the second building, then in the afternoon some other metal came in that we'd been waiting for. Just another day to remind us how easy the job would be if we had everything when we needed it. Most of today would have been an easy weld last week. Quite often we are back tracking and over lapping as we go. Maybe a lot of jobs are like that.

I miss having control of my environment.

By afternoon, the crew was cleaning up the work site. Tonight the kids will be here, its a big party. Stupid holidays.

I'm sure this has happened before, but for me its a new issue. There are restrooms in each dorm room, but there are no "public" restrooms. Most of us here have tools, laptops, and cameras. The room that I'm in only has 3 guys, so we were told that our room would be left open so everyone could use the restroom.

That didn't happen.

I already gave up my room and moved once. Not happening again.

So here I am, enjoying my solitude, have headphones on, tunes cranked. Its going to be a good night.

Day 77 - December 25th - Tuesday
Bah Humbug.

Well, ok, it wasn't bad. Except for a lot of people. And some how there wasn't lunch, so then I had a carb crash and all that drama. Note to self, I need to go shopping for myself more. I miss Costco.

But other than that, the kids had a good day, so I think that's what we're here for. So everyone tells me anyway.

Thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers and donors, without the donations, we'd have no materials and tools to build with. The kids really appreciate it, and they do need us to finish this. So, thanks!

The trick is going to be to keep the donations and enthusiasm going for the other 11 months of the year. I think once people see the roof going up, its more believable. We're closer to finishing.

Day 78 - December 26th - Wednesday
Back to work.

Some of the group left today, going to miss them. Kind of bitter sweet I guess. They were great people, it was nice to meet them, but on the plus side, I got my private room back again :)

Gary and I worked together on the second building, we put the brackets on for the soffets, and then installed a few soffet panels as the sun was setting. We had a couple of the group, including some younger boys helping us. They had fun, but I think it might have been faster on our own. Still, they were proud of their accomplishments, and they did good work.

I got to kill another scorpion this evening, it was waiting for me near my steps to my old room. Seems like old times I guess! Bit smaller than the big one I got a picture of last time.

There was about a billion ants (ok, probably thousands) on my outside wall this evening, it looked like they were moving the colony, lots of eggs being carried. So I went in the pantry and grabbed a can of bug killer, and helped thin the herd. Not that I think that will slow them down much, but it couldn't hurt.

It was hot today. Really hot. Like someone said it was 98 degrees. We took a water melon and pineapple break in the morning, and an orange and juice break in the afternoon. Its kind of nice having a kitchen staff working with us here. I'll miss that when the group leaves.

Day 79 - December 27 - Thursday
So today was fun.

We got off to a bit of a late start. I Hate to complain, see, there are people who are cooking us breakfast. Its good. But some of us are trying to start work by 7am, and the breakfast isn't usually ready until later. The crew of local guys hits the roof at 7am. Although really, they don't need me up there, I think I kind of slow them down. Still, its nice of them to work with me, and I try to honor them by showing up on time!

In a day of firsts, I walked a section of wall today that was about 12 feet long, that didn't have any trusses or perlons. Ok, I was pretty scared, but I managed to do it ok. That was shortly to be followed by me walking the same wall, backwards, carrying one end of a short truss. Then I walked down a sloped board onto the top of the scaffolding. Ok I'm still a bit freaked out about that. Considering I sometimes trip over lines in the sand, I don't know what business I have on roofs, but I guess with time its getting better.

People keep leaving, a few at a time. Its kind of interesting, for me, as kind of an outsider, to be hanging out with this group, they all know each other, through their events. Irony is that I was at one of the events, and even recognized some of them. Funny how things go. Some people would say fate or what ever. Me, I say what ever :)

Tonight at supper (Dinner for the rest of you) I noticed one of the ladies with a camera taking pictures of the moon. So eventually I wandered over to say Hi and ask about her settings. Or rather the settings of her camera. That would be less personal. Anyway, some how that lead into me giving a short camera lesson to a table full of people. Then to be funny, I told her she had to teach what I taught to someone else. So she launched right into the lesson, right there, to someone who had just sat down. I was very impressed. Usually by the third sentence of me explaining fractions and light physics, people fake a stroke. So that was fun.

Before I could get up and hide in my room, some more people sat down, and some how I ended up talking to somewhat normal seeming people for a few hours. There was even laughter. I don't think they were laughing at me, most of the time. Apparently some of them may have had a fever or something. The lack of wifi may have also been a factor.

So I could be famous. It could be fleeting though.

With that, I'll close. Like, now.

That's it, stop reading now, k?

Day 80 - December 28 - Friday
Payday for some. Half day for some.

Or just another day.

Today was a great day to be working. It started off not too hot, nice comfortable morning. I got a quick start on my project for today,then came back in when breakfast was ready. Just as well that I stopped then, because I realized I'd cut two pieces backwards. Ooops. That would have been a waste, but later I ended up using them anyway, so it worked out ok. Breakfast was pancakes, so a worthy diversion.

I was finishing up some brackets I started yesterday. Start with some angle iron, cut it, weld it together to form a shape. Then drill some holes in it, weld it into its final shape, and clean it all up on the grinder. Have someone else prime it, and its ready to put on the building. These will hold the beams in place for the porch. So some day when I come back to visit, these will be something I can actually see that I made. Most of my work, the welding on the roof, is hidden by the actual red roofing. So essentially nothing I do is visible. Except these brackets. I found myself spending extra time cleaning them up on the grinder. We all want to make a mark on the universe. I hope I can make a good mark :)

After lunch, when my crew of local workers took the afternoon off, I helped the other volunteers who are building the big porch on the front building. This is a bigger version of the one that Dan and I built earlier. We had quite an assembly line going there. One person called out the measurement of a piece, someone else cut the board to length, then I ran the board through a table saw to give it a slanted cut, then someone else caught the piece as it came out of the saw, they passed it to a runner, who then carried the finished board to be nailed in place. Then the next piece was measured and called out, and we repeated it all. It worked well enough, but it did seem we were sitting and waiting a bit more. Still, it worked well, and it was a Friday afternoon, so nice to slow down a bit.

For supper today we drove down to the Orange Gallery, which has some fantastic art work that is created locally. Paintings, carvings, knifes, sculptures, etc. Of course the Gallery part was closed, but we were there for food. They have an amazing menu. so I had a steak. After all the work we've been doing, I thought it was time.

I got to practice my back seat driving skills on the way to the Orange Gallery, as well as the drive back home. Since I knew where all the speed bumps were, I was giving the driver some coaching. Plus it was dark both ways, and the roads are kind of scary in the dark here in Belize. So we all kept an eye out for speed bumps, drunks on bicycles, stray dogs, and other assorted pedestrians. It seemed to work well enough, and we got back home safely.

I'm going to miss these people. Just my luck, by the time I get used to someone, they leave. Who knows, I might have to look them up later, I'm sure some of our paths will cross again.

Day 81 - December 29 - Saturday
Internet Time!

By Carlin Comm posted on 2012-12-29