?

Log in

Aug. 16th, 2007

Hurricane

Hey folks,
I'm back in the States, and it seems just in time. If you've been following the weather at all, Hurricane Dean is headed straight for Belize, and is expected to make landfall on Tuesday.
One of the folks I worked with sent me the following email, and I wanted to share it with you all:
_______________________________________
Dear Family and Friends,

It is Thursday afternoon in San Pedro, and there is a growing sense of anxiety and dread. As of now, 'Dean' is expected to make land here Tuesday morning as a Category 4 Hurricane.

While the storm may shift direction and force, the community is beginning to prepare, as best it can.

Tomorrow afternoon, Mr Freddie, Miss Linda, and Nurse Glenda will decide the last details on how to proceed with securing the school and assisting families in San Mateo.

If the storm is still on course Friday afternoon -

Glenda and I will go into San Mateo with a list of the families known to be at greatest risk, and try to arrange passage to Belize City and then on to family inland or to shelters. We expect that we have enough cash available to move forty or fifty families.

Mr Freddie will have his crew move all computers, school records, and books to the second floor of the Wilsons' home. They will use all plywood and cementboard/drywall to cover windows at the house and school. The computers at the school and residences are being backed up and disks exchanged with folks going different directions in hopes of preserving records.

The windows of the internet cafe from which I am writing are being fitted at this moment with plywood covers. Similar activity goes on up and down the beach.

The sky is beautifully clear, and a strong wind has been blowing since yesterday morning - Jennifer says it sounds like the blizzard winds of her Canadian homeland. We have been able to see large waves crashing over the top of the reef since before dawn Thursday.

Jennifer and Courtney will leave the island early Saturday, and plan to overnight in Belize City before departing early Sunday. I am scheduled to leave Saturday afternoon for BCity/Houston/LA.

Please pray for this community - especially the families of San Mateo, whose homes cannot survive winds of any great strength, and who will be most at risk from a storm surge and the after-effects of standing water, and who except that there may be several months of no power/no access to food/impending disease. Please pray fervently that the work God has begun here continue, regardless of this storm's path and the potential damage ahead.

I am so grateful for your concern for San Mateo and Holy Cross, and pray God's blessings upon you and all those you love.

________________________________________________

Please, please please keep Belize in your thoughts and prayers. I am safe and sound, but Belize will always be very much a part of me, and the place that I have come to love is in grave danger of being wiped off the map.

Aug. 4th, 2007

Almost Done!

Well hey folks! (Sorry, I've been conversing with so many people from Southern US as of late that I am starting to talk like them. So ya'll will just have to be patient)
Lots has happened since my last post. I guess the biggest thing to mention here is the crazyness of last week. We had 44 volunteers at the school, teacher workshops all week, and no water.
The one well that feeds both the house I have been staying in and the school went dry on Tuesday, so for two days there was no water to be found except for bottled water. Thanks to a gracious group of volunteers, I was able to shower at one of the local hotels, but it really hits home the things that we take for granted in the States.
We finally got water back by ordering 4 truckloads of water to be pumped into the well. So now I am a bit more careful with the water I use, and the water I allow the children to use at the school.
I have a group of 18 volunteers arriving Monday, so hopefully we can get a bunch done. The major thing is getting 65 student desks put together and painted, which is a major project.
Then the following week i just teacher workshops, and things I don't need to be at the school for, so I am taking my first "vacation" in three months and relaxing for Monday and Tuesday, then I leave Wednesday morning for the states.
Like I've said before, I am really going to miss it here, but I am happy to be on the home stretch. I've been telling the kids that I am leaving in a few weeks, and they've all been sad to see me go. One of them asked if I could take him home in my suitcase (sooo adorable!!).
Anyways, I'll see ya'll soon. I'm off to go shopping for my last week of groceries.

Jul. 29th, 2007

Alive and Well

OK, so I know I said I'd try and update this as much as possible, and I've been completely remiss in doing that so I apologize. Things at the school since my last entry have been insanely crazy and this is the first time in a long time when I've had some down time (although not a lot) and internet connection.
The last two weeks was summer school for the kids, so I did some tutoring work for that and helped coordinate a group of 15 volunteers. In addition, last week was Vacation Bible School, the second we've had since I've been here, so I did a lot of work to help coordinate that as well.
My host here is gone to the States until after I leave, so I am officially in charge of things right now. I have 44 volunteers coming in today (some a few hours from now) that I need to orient to Belize and give a tour of the school to, then tomorrow I have a guy coming in to train them on how to build 400 desks using lumber that is supposedly arriving today. In addition, we have another Vacation Bible School this week starting tomorrow, so I spent a good deal of time yesterday putting flyers up around town for that. On top of that, tomorrow evening a woman from the States is arriving to train our new teachers, so I have to coordinate teacher training activities with her, make sure the kitchen staff has enough food, etc., etc., etc,....
This week is going to be insane, then next week I have another group coming in, more teacher training, and another Vacation Bible School.
Phew.
BUT the upside is that I'm meeting tons of new people. The kids have been amazing. Over the last two weeks I have gotten to know a group of them from San Mateo (most don't go to the school so I haven't met them til now), so now I can't go anywhere without hearing "Mr. Chris!!" (literally) shouted from the rooftops.
It's going to be tough to leave here on the 15th.
Again, I apologize to all of you for not updating this as much as I should. I will try and update again before I leave, but as you can see, life has gotten insane here as of late.
I miss all of you very much, and as much as I love it here, I am looking forward to being back home.
Peace be with you all.

Jun. 23rd, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

Well folks, It's been a crazy week, to say the very least. Francis and Vernon, my hosts here, left on Monday, leaving me here as acting volunteer coordinator for the school and assistant office manager. I had 25 volunteers here starting last Saturday, and 11 more showed up Thursday. Overall, things went really well.
One of the volunteers fell over the week and got pretty hurt, so I had to figure out how to get him to the medical clinic here so he could get the care he needed. That went fine, they ruled out any internal injuries and said he just bruised a few ribs, so they gave him pain medication and sent him on his way.
That was the only real crisis over the week, aside from the kids being crazy as usual and the office keeping my busy. Between this week and last, we registered over 200 new students in addition to the ones we already have. All of the infant classes are booked so we've had to turn kids away, which is really unfortunate.
On Thursday morning I was invited to preach at the all-school chapel, which was a bit never racking. I did well, except on a few parts of the service that I forgot, but it was fine.
Last night one of the volunteer groups invited all of the teachers and me to dinner at the house they are staying at, so I spent most of the night there. I like the fact that I have somewhat of a social life here, in addition to the crazyness at the school.
The dogs I am taking care of are all not eating their food, which has me a bit worried. But God does work in interesting ways. Two of the construction crew guys (who I know really well) came over a while ago to fix something at the house, and I told them about the dogs and they said they would talk to someone who has taken care of the dogs before and has dogs of his own, so he may stop by sometime today to give me some suggestions. Other then not eating they seem OK, so we'll see how things go.

Last night I had an interesting experience. I was walking back to the house from the dinner with the volunteers and teachers and I ran into a Christian revival meeting at the park. A guy was preaching about Jesus (in english, with a translator) and as I watched, like 15 or 20 people started coming up to the stage, some in tears, and giving their hearts to God. It was one of the most powerful experiences I've had since I've been here. I couldn't stay for the whole thing, unfortunately, but it really hit me to see how God is working here, on this Island.

Anyways, I need to make myself some lunch so I'm off. I'll keep ya'll updated on things as usual. Thank you to those of you who have sent kind words via email. I'll see (most of) you in August!!

Jun. 12th, 2007

Pictures

Hey folks.
San Pedro is insane but good. I've been to a few meetings with teachers and with a child psychologist about John, the child I've been mentoring, and it was suggested to try putting him in 2nd grade classroom with one of the teachers (in other words, not taking him out of the classroom and working one-on-one with him but rather keeping him in the same room as his peers). In addition, yesterday he was told by a police officer that if he keeps acting up in class then he will be put in a juvenile detention facility, since his father doesn't want him around and this is the second school he's been in (the RC school kicked him out).
Today he did all of his work in a normal classroom, so it seems to have worked. Which means that I'm down to mentoring one student every day instead of two, so today I went with my other mentee to his classroom and sat with him while he reviewed for exams next week.

Anyways, I thought I'd post some photos taken by some of the volunteers here.

The white building is the school I am working at. It is built on a swamp, which is gradually being filled in with truckloads of sand.


This is the school office, where I do most of my tutoring work.


The new 5 classroom pod being built, which includes a larger Chapel.


This is the San Mateo community just behind the school. This is pretty typical of the conditions they live in. About 40 percent of the students at the school come from this community.

I'll update again soon!

Jun. 7th, 2007

San Pedro

So I know I said I'd be updating this on a regular basis, but Belize internet is incredibly unreliable, and it's been down off and on for the last threeish weeks.
I'm in San Pedro now, where I will be for the remainder of my time. I'm working at the Holy Cross Anglican School near San Mateo, a small village just north of San Pedro Town. I've been working with troubled and abused children, mostly one particular child who is quite behaviorally challenged. Getting anything done with him is like pulling teeth, but I think that I am slowly making progress. I have a few things I'd like to try with him to see if I can make a difference in his classroom behavior (my CSC training put to the test, I suppose).
Otherwise things are decent. I've met a lot of cool people, lots of volunteer groups from all over the US so that's been good. In a few weeks my host here is going on vacation, so I am going to be taking over her job as volunteer coordinator while she's gone, and living in her house (where I am now). It has AC, which is rare here, and cable TV so I can catch up with what's going on in the world, so Im pretty stoked. I also get to take care of her three really annoying dogs.
Anyways folks, I am indeed still alive, just really busy. I don't know when I'll update again, so hang in there. If you desperately need to know what's going on with me on a regular basis, call my parents.
Also, I got a cell phone here. If I knew the number I would post it, but I don't. So I can't. But I'll post it soon so folks can cell me if you wish.

May. 20th, 2007

I've Arrived!!

Well folks, apologize for not updating sooner, but I am officially in Belize!
Right now, I'm in San Pedro, on a terrace overlooking the ocean :) I wish I had pictures to show, but I only brought disposable cameras with me so photos will have to wait til I get back.
Things are..different..here..as you can probably imagine. Belize City is a crazy city, and it's been a bit harrowing trying to figure things out and navigate my way around being the only white man in a city full of Creole people.
But most people have been gracious, which has been a blessing. I started teaching at St. John's Anglican school. The kids here a pretty bright, but some need some extra help to bring them up to grade level. That's where I come in. Most of the teachers don't have time to work one-on-one with students who are falling behind, so my intention is to continue working with those students who need the most help in reading and language arts skills.

Next week I am off to Flowers Bank, a small rural village further inland, to work with students there. I may possibly stay there during the remainder of my time here, depending on how things go, or I may come back to Belize City and stay there and continue my work at St. John's. Things are a bit up in the air right now.

Internet connection is shotty at best, so this might be my last update for a bit. Take care everyone, and I will update again soon.

May. 14th, 2007

I'm off

Well folks, two suitcases and a lot of sunscreen later, I am off. I just wanted to say a hearty THANK YOU to everyone who donated to my trip. All together I was able to raise close to $5,000, a bit over my goal of $4500!!
The response to donations and the outpour of support I have gotten over the past four or so months of planning for this have been absolutely amazing. I am really blessed to know some great people. So thank you, everyone, who helped to put this together, and those who supported me and continue to support me in my ministries.

My flight leaves tomorrow morning at 6:55AM, so I plan on leaving the house around 3:30ish to catch a 4:00 bus to Logan. I land in Houston, have a three hour layover, and then I arrive in Belize City around 3PM. It's not altogether a long day of traveling, but it'll be tiring.

Once I arrive in Belize city I will hopefully meet up with some of the staff of the Anglican Diocese of Belize. I'm hoping to meet the Bishop as well, possibly use him as my mentor while I am there.

I will post again when I can, probably sometime later this week after I get settled into where I am living and such. If you'd like to keep in touch with me directly, email is probably the best way to do so, as snail mail is a bit unreliable. My address is clloyd@gcts.edu. I will try and check that as often as I can, but don't be surprised if you don't receive a timely response.

Please be thinking of me tomorrow during my travels, and throughout the summer.
Adios everyone, and I'll see you from Belize!

Feb. 21st, 2007

Map

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I'll be spending a lot of time in Belize City, as well as in San Pedro (On Ambergris Cay).

Feb. 19th, 2007

Letter

Dear friends,
WOW. It is hard to believe that I am already well into my first year as a graduate student. It seems like only yesterday that I was a freshman in college, unsure of where my life would lead me, eager for new and exciting learning experiences. It has been a long road since then and I am grateful for all I have learned and experienced along the way. My education at Colby-Sawyer College showed me my strengths and weaknesses as a teacher, a scholar and as a person. My experiences thus far at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in beautiful South Hamilton, Massachusetts have further strengthened my resolve to put my gifts to use in a practical and meaningful way.
It is for this reason that I am writing to you now. I am proud to be part of a team of over 25 students from Gordon-Conwell being sent on summer mission trips to Chile, Turkey, Taiwan, and other countries around the world. On May 15th, 2007, I will be traveling to Belize City, Belize for 3 months. With the guidance of the Anglican Diocese in Belize City, I will be helping to teach remedial English and mathematics at an Anglican High School, organizing Morning Prayer Services and assisting in the building of a medical clinic and school in San Pedro.
As you can probably well imagine, I am quite excited about this trip. My hope and expectation is that it will be an unforgettable experience. As with any venture of this magnitude, however, it does not come without a cost. As a team, we are working to raise funds to cover the cost of plane tickets and any other expenses accrued during our time overseas. I am hoping to raise $4500 by Friday, March 30th. Any amount of financial support you can give would be immensely appreciated. Of course, your thoughts and prayers are also welcome.
Should you decide to offer financial support, all donations are tax-deductible and can be made payable to “Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary” with my name and student ID #168676 in the subject line. You lucky online people can mail checks directly to ME, at
GCTS Box 321B
South Hamilton, MA 01982

Thank you SO much for your support!!!!

Love,
Chris

August 2007

S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031 

Syndicate

RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com