Sunday, February 10, 2013

Winter is Over!

Some interesting and unusual things have happened in the last week or so. Last Monday a former Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter was in country with his wife Nancy and two close friends. Our country staff people put on a luncheon and program about what we are doing in Belize.

Cathy and I were invited to meet with him for a half hour before the luncheon and tell about the  training manual for the community health workers that we are writing. Country Director Nina Hernandez followed up by explaining how it will fit into the direction of Peace Corps in Belize. As we have mentioned in earlier blog entries, the emphasis for next year’s volunteers will be on health education, partnering with the community health workers in the rural villages.

After a wonderful lunch (I got excited about the fresh salad), some of our fellow volunteers gave presentations about their work in all the programs (health, education, and business development).

He posed for a picture with us. Cathy is right behind his wife in the middle, and I am behind Cathy. 

I have had fun working with my good friend Charlie Holliday (a transplant from northern California) on a project for Pen and Ingrid Cayetano. They have a door with great sentimental significance and wanted it used on a display cabinet in their house. It turns out that Charlie is a master wood finisher - mostly for marine applications, and he shares my reverence for beautiful wood. We have sanded the door and cleaned it up, but Charlie is still struggling to find a can of finish that will do justice to this wood.

Pen introduced us to a cabinet builder, Maurice Martinez, who has a woodworking shop with production level tools. I designed a corner cabinet for the door and delivered the precise dimensions to Maurice for the front door frame with mortise and tenon joinery. I think the wood for the frame is from a mango tree. We picked up the frame on Friday, and I was very pleased with his level of perfection. He is truly a craftsman.

Next week I will mount the door on the hinges and get some photographs. I have also selected wood for the back panels, and it has all harvested from Pen and Ingrid’s farm and is well seasoned.  We delivered the boards to get them planed and edged. I can hardly wait to see the grain. 

Taken from the upstairs at Pen's house.
You can see me through the palm frond working on the door. That's Charlie in the background in the blue shirt.

The highlight of the week is the visit by my sisters Nancy and Carol. They brought us lots of toys and goodies. They stayed one night here and left the next day for Tobacco Caye. Carol has been keeping us entertained with her photos and emails.

Yesterday I was able to spend the day with them and had a blast. In spite of many reapplications of sunscreen, I still got a little reddened. It was certainly worth the minor discomfort. 

We spent almost the entire day in Cap'n Doggy's boat, and I learned how to catch baracuda. We went snorkeling on the reef for a while and marveled at the beauty of the sea life. I also met many new friends yesterday and enjoyed good food with them. It was a wonderful time. 

Carol, me and Nancy - with Doggy in the boat


Celeste Segrest said...

Steve and Cathy, My name is Celeste, and I received my invitation to come to Belize in June. The placement office made a perfect match for both of us.5 years ago, I took a class with WHO in San Pedro Sula, Honduras...spoke no Spanish at the time...but the coarse was very similar to parts of what the new program will be. After that class, I continued to return to Honduras, and then Guatemala several times a year working in a small clinic .In the last year, with the assistance of my Guate friend, I have developed a program to provide PAP smears to the indigenous women. With the help of a few locals from the area where I go,the women are able to get their exams, and a nurse in the area follows up with their results and necessary referrals. On to now, I would like to fast forward and be touching down in BZE in the morning. I am wondering if there is anything you can think of that I could bring down with me that might be useful with this new project. Please let me know. I have just read all your posts, and am ready to play and dance and, oh yeah, work. I do love the indigenous people and children..and I live in the armpit of Florida, so heat and humidity are my game, just need the fan with the battery back up for bedtime:)

Steve and Cathy Burnham said...

Celeste, I don't know your email so I can't respond. If you see this, please write me directly at Ava had already told me about you, so I was expecting your note - just don't know how to reach you.