Belize Blog Post 12 - People Come and Go

Day 88 - January 5, 2013 - Saturday
Went to church today. It was full, the big group was there.

Later I caught a ride into town with the Word at Work group, we took a quick Ice Cream and Knick Knack break at the Art Box, which has some truly amazing handmade stuff for sale. And the ice cream was very good as well. Then I jumped out at the Yim Saan for some internet, which is how you're reading this now :)

So there!


(The previous lines were posted in the last post, then I got home after and wrote the rest... some how that almost doesn't need to be explained...)

So, after feeling like I'd gotten all my internet stuff done, emails read and written, files uploaded and downloaded, blog post posted, and my Facebook peeps poked and messaged, I headed home. My normal method is to leave Yim Saan, walk a couple blocks, past the Caribbean Tire store, and stop for supplies at the Chinese owned grocery store. Sometimes I pick up some cookies, Snickers bars, or other snacks. I'm also trying to remember to come out of the store with enough change for taking the bus a couple trips, so that would be a dollar coin and a couple quarters per trip.

Most of the time, on the bus, they'll make change for you, something you can't expect on a city bus in the developed world.

Anyway, after stocking up on survival food, I walked another half mile or so, to the bus stop. There, I met Gregory, a local guy who was probably about 25 years old. We talked for quite a while, waiting for the bus. He had spent time in prison, had a young son, he was still living with the mother of his child. It was really good talking with him. Glimpse into the real life, I guess. He was pretty articulate, considering most of the locals speak a mix of Creole and English, I had no problem understanding him at all. We talked about all kinds of things. What was interesting, was how proud he was to be working, getting his life together, and being a good example for his son. He goes to work, catches a ride every day at 7:30 am, and works hard to keep his family fed. He's been going to church, and most of his English skills are from reading his Bible, which he had with him. It looked like he carried it with him often, on his bicycle. He even showed me his pocket full of money, he'd made about $100 at his job, in the last week. That would be $100 Belize, or $50 US, for a week. His job was tying steel rebar, for concrete. And he was pretty excited to be working, to be able to support his family.

Day 89 - January 6 - Sunday
Spent the day on the computer, writing some website code (although none of it worked, in the end, go figure!) There is this graphics plug in I've been trying to get working for a couple of weeks. Well, actually there were 2 or 3 features I would like to have. I want to be able to automatically upload pictures, into the database, and have some of the settings automatically inserted for me. It's pretty tedious to do it all manually. Then I'd like to be able to make thumb nails automatically, and also have the keywords and descriptions that I'm entering in LightRoom show up. Anyway, I see some of the code is working, but I need to download more stuff next time I'm online. That's been my experience so far, there are some of my personal projects that would take a week if I had constant internet access, that I may abandon out of frustration where I'm at now.

Have been doing some planning for the year. I often laugh, on my computer are folders of all the years past plans. None of them are ever executed. This might be the year?

I first started reading "Think and Grow Rich" back in 1994, the year I got out of the Navy. So after almost 20 years, some of it is starting to make sense. I guess I wasn't quite ready for it then. If my current theory works, the missing links were I need to work with people, and I need to learn to like people. Go figure.

Day 90 - January 7 - Monday
Sick Day
Took today off, have been running a bit of a fever for the last few days. I guess staying up talking with everyone, and hanging out in the rain, and being exposed to the kids is catching up to me.

But, since it rained most of today, it worked out ok anyway. The only thing I'm remotely useful for is welding, and welding in the rain is kind of a bad idea anyway.

So lots of fluids, trying to stay warm and dry, and we'll hope for better conditions tomorrow.

At least now that my Dad is here, there is someone who is good at going to town to get stuff we need. I have had a list of parts and supplies I need, for about a month. Cut off wheels for the metal cutting chop saw, tips for the welder, cord ends to fix a pile of broken extension cords, an extension cord for the new welder that's still in the box, simple stuff. Frustrating when there are things we could be doing, better, but we don't connect all the dots.

Day 91 - January 8 - Tuesday
Today I got back to work. Felt good to be moving again. Yesterday I was still running a fever, think it broke last night. One of those things you just know you'd be better off working, but it was raining so that's kind of counter productive!

I made some of the hurricane brackets that tie the porch to the building. This particular pair of brackets were kind of elaborate. I'd seen how Dan made the other pair, so I had a clue how to do it. Make a few flat pieces of metal, and literally hold them up and weld them in place. The angles were kind of weird, not sure if I'd have been able to actually measure and have a chance at getting them right. Probably not! Measuring is not really my friend, in the real world.

As for the hurricane, well, we'll see. I mean, the brackets should be just fine, but the porch is made from an inferior material... wood!

With any luck, I'll be back up on the roof tomorrow. Kind of missed being up there today. What's up with that?

Day 92 - January 9 - Wednesday
A Rainy Soggy Windy Welding Day!

Today was one of those days, get set up, then jump off the roof and wait for it to stop raining! I think the little welder spent more time in its bag, waiting for me to come back, then it actually was welding. Still, though, Mike and I got all the perlins welded on. Now both dorms have structure ready on half, each. Kind of hard to keep it all straight. Building D is nearly finished, still. There is one little piece not on the roof, not sure why even. Then the 2 dorms, 1 is half done structure, with the soffets going up. The other dorm doesn't have the soffet brackets up yet. So many little details to weld, its just mind boggling.

(Side note here, I have been spelling "perlin" wrong, so while I'm connected to the internet... according to Wikipedia - "historically purline, purloyne, purling, perling"... so no matter what I wrote, I'm still wrong!)

The porch for building A is nearly finished, the wood is all done, I think.

The group from Colorado is leaving in the morning. Going to be pretty quiet when they leave. Good bunch of college age kids. Lots of noise, enthusiasm, and silliness. But some good kids.

Will have about a day or two between groups, I think. Then not sure what the next crew is. I think its a group of actual building people.

Pretty worn out tonight, between the sun, rain, wind, and welding, and then still recovering from last week. Think I'll get to sleep before midnight even! Guess that's nothing new :)

Day 93 - January 10 - Thursday
Wow, it actually didn't rain today. Well, it did in the evening, but I was able to work without getting wet. It was nice and hot, so the mud was almost dry in places.

The crew from Colorado left this morning, so the word for today is "QUIET" (of course, in internet culture, all caps is screaming, so I guess I should write "quiet"...) I can't knock them for their enthusiasm, but at times they were a bit much! Nice bunch of kids though.

Today was a rare occurance for me. I measured a piece of metal, put it into position, and then welded it on the roof, with minimal supervision. And I think it even turned out ok too! Usually its a team move, there would be someone cutting, someone clamping and measuring, then they'd point at it and I'd weld it. Usually there would be a grunt or a nod, and we'd move on to the next one. Some how today, I just decided that was all silly, so I did a bit on my own. Might do it again sometime. We'll see.

Now we close the evening, with the sound of 1,000 angry monkeys, with hammers, beating on the tin roof... otherwise known as normal jungle rain.

Day 94 - January 11 - Friday
Pay Day! Well, for the workers who are getting paid, at least. Did you know that volunteers don't get paid? At least I'm sleeping in a room, not sure if I'd want to tent in the jungle. I hear there are creepy crawlers out there... oh wait, they get in my room too.

Panic sets in. The previous group drank all the coffee. Guess I know what I'll need to buy when I get into town next! Or better yet, since my parents are here for a few more days, and they like shopping and driving around, I'll beg them to get me some.

In the mean time, I did find a good stash of tea, and discovered the water cooler has a hot water dispenser on it. Now there's one of the handy inventions that I've honestly never thought I'd use. I've heard people say something about experiencing life, or having different experiences, just to see what's out there. So, for the record, "push button" hot water is a good thing. Not sure how energy efficient that is, but I'll explore that later.

On a similar tangent, there was a magazine on one of the tables today, with lots of new house plans. I started to flip through, looking at the ads, the pictures, seeing which ideas appeal to me. Nope, still not there yet. I can't really see living in a house. At least, in ONE house. In ONE place. Maybe a sail boat or something.

There are some parts of life here in the jungle that make my head hurt. But I think they're mostly summed up in "work flow" and "logistics". So to be fair, the same things that frustrate me here would bother me somewhere else too.

So, I see John building his house here, and sometimes I wonder what it would be like to build or live here. Some things are good in Belize. I like the weather. Even the rain. But its tough to work here. No idea where I'm going with any of that, so will just drop it for.

I did like my earlier idea though, for "life style". I introduce myself lately as a professional drifter. So, for that to work, I need some kind of income. But it gives me hives to think of settling down in one place, "forever". Best I can see for myself, now, is to commit to working for 6 to 9 months, and then travel the rest. Or even work 6 months, then travel for 3 months, and volunteer for 3 months. Or split that up a bit differently, so the travel and volunteering is combined.

And since I'm not overly attached to stuff anymore, what am I really working for? I've found, at least in this place now, I don't need much for food money, and I'm living for free as long as I'm helping build the roof.

Reminds me of some RV blogs I read, they would find an RV park that hosted volunteers, they'd pay partial parking fees, then work off the rest. Not such a bad deal really.

Then for some retarded reason, I thought about cameras again a few nights ago. Sigh...

No idea if I'd want to go back to a "home base" between travels, or if that's even too much commitment right now.

Anyway, today was mostly sunny, warm, and only rained a few times on us. The guys are starting to put the "zinc", metal roofing up on the 2nd building. Its agony, really, to think about how slow parts of this roof are. I know. I've talked about this before. But the trusses go up really fast. Like all of the trusses could be stood up in a day. Then the next month is painfully slow. All little detail stuff. Then all of a sudden, you put the zinc, or the part of the roof you actually see, and that goes pretty fast again. So if you happened to see a metal roof going up, you might be fooled into thinking its a fast process. It can be!

In other news...

Apparently, the water well they have been digging for the last week, is dry. Maybe even more than a week. Time has lost all meaning here. Anyway, this morning, the well drilling truck left. I noticed, because the power line we had set up to the pole isn't high enough, so I've been trying to pay attention when the truck left! We already have a well on property, but there is a lot of sulfuric acid or something like that in the water. So they were hoping to drill deeper and get a better quality water. After 300 feet (I believe that's how deep they went), I guess that was the cut off point for them. After growing up in Oil Country (Alberta) and seeing lots of drilling, as well as all the sounding they did, I'm understanding there is a lot of magic in the science still.

I got to do some fun metal work today. So much of what I do lately is "production" (have you noticed today I'm using a lot of Quotes and Parentheses... no idea how to spell that either...)... so today I got to make a metal lock box for John. I'm not clear on the details of where its going to be used, but anyway, its big enough to put a key ring, maybe a wallet or cell phone into, that kind of thing. About 5" x 5" x 10" maybe. One end welded closed, the other has a opening with a lid that locks. All the hard stuff was done, in that the pieces were already cut and laid out, I just had to weld it together. But when it was all done, I took a bit of extra time to clean it all up, smooth the edges so they weren't rough, then I dug out a polishing wheel for the grinder, and got all the splatters off. Once it was done, it looked all nice and professional.

I hope that in some part of my future life, I get to do something that looks nice. There are so many jobs that you just have to rush through, it would be nice to get into a position where quality paid off.

Behold, the Box of Wonders...

By Carlin Comm posted on 2013-01-12