November 27, 2011

Saturday and Sunday

Kitchener HANDS Team:

The team is well oriented to what needs to be done by now. We get up on Saturday morning and our site leader,Harry Oudman orients us during breakfast. We've developed diversity of duties and can rotate around different tasks. So, Saturday morning the call is to make the cribbing above the doors and windows of the interior long wall and pour them full of concrete so that they can cure over the weekend. Pete H., Harry O., Leo V and Jon. O., are busy loading pails of gravel and sand and mixing the concrete on the floor, pouring the mix into pails that are hand-carried to Dick O, on the scaffolding and poured into the crib. Joyce D. and Samara D., and Janet B. are busy with making the rebar cages that are placed in the cribs to be buried in the concrete. These rebar cages strengthen the lintels over the doors and windows in the event of earthquake. So, we rotate around the tasks and we finish the task by noon! The local builders we work with are equally happy with our progress. The back wall will hopefully be finished by Wednesday next week.

We've had one team member come "under the weather", but by the evening, all is well. Having a team member stay back at our hostel allows for laundry to be done. We've developed an easy exchange of tasks and we check with each other about tiredness and over heating....it is very warm and today it is muggy. A brief rain shower allows us a break.
After lunch back at the hostel, we had a chance to wander around downtown and some of the tourist area where the water taxis bring in passengers from the cruise ships. The is a delightful mix of sights, colours and activities every where you look. Sounds of traffic, street vendors, taxi drivers offering rides, folks asking for handouts, and the smells of outdoor cooking, fish market, and garbage.

What is really ironic to see is the Christmas lights and decorations....and the carols broadcast over the PA systems of the large department stores. Santa looks like he's sweating in his suit of red, and the music greets the shopper..."let is snow, let it snow, let it snow."

One of the highlights of the day is our evening devotions time, a reflective study based on the book of James. We have engaging and thoughtful sharing lasting over an hour. We grow in grace this way and discover that God wants authentic faith - words and actions. Such a theme really connects with what we hope to accomplish here. We're in prayer for each other that we'll be safe and healthy, that our families back home are in good spirits and confident of our safety here.

We're usually in bed by 10:30 pm. Bunk beds for all except for one room for one married couple.

Sunday morning, Nov. 27...a day of worship and seeing the town on our own. Close by is a historic church (1776) of Anglican origin. The church has two morning services and the theme for the week is Safety for women against domestic violence. Worshippers are dressed in their best, school kids come in uniform and the singing is tremendous. All around the sanctuary are plaques of hsitorical moments in the church's life. We leave early because we are guests of Pastor Earnest and we will attend one of the churches that he pastoring - St. Andews Presbyterian in downtown Belize City. There are many youngsters in the congregation who come by bus from an orphanage and we connect well with them. Pastor Bernie is invited to bring the message. Belize City has many churches and it is good to see them well attended, althought the city workers don't seem to have a day off because there was street repair going on right in front of the church as we left. Some of out team members join the bus ride bringing the kids back to their orphanage and get a tour of the town along the way. Belize City sure is a city of contrasts of richness and poverty, of well-appointed lawns and homes and the squatters shacks near the school where we work.

Our afternoon is spent playing cards, reading, relaxing and walking about town. What we see creates many topics for serious conversation on the responsibilities of believers & the church in the face of poverty and the great needs that are so evident. We're thankful that we can contribute to the dreaming of church leaders here. They dream of great things for their people... the church as a place of refuge and hope....the Unity Presbyterian School (a public school) as a place where youngsters can prepare for greater challenges and education to become life-changersfor their families and others.

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