Aftermath of Hurricane - November 1, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

 It is now November, and some of you may be experiencing snow, but we are still in hot weather day and night.  It is cooler than when we arrived 7 weeks ago, however.

You may have heard on the news about the American that was killed here in Belize by a jaguar during the hurricane.  This incident happened just 11 miles from us.  A mango tree fell down on a caged enclosure of a jaguar at a nature-type park.  Jaguars are nocturnal animals, and this happened at night.  The man lived close by, but didn't know the cat was on the loose.  The jaguar mauled and killed the man.  Not much later the man that took care of the jaguar went looking for the cat.  He found the man and his dog.  The dog was severly injured.  A night or two later, the jaguar was hunted down and killed.  Jaguars live wild in the forests from Mexico down to Argentina, but they don't usually bother people.

Jaguars like this live in the local forests.

This past week we drove the zone leaders and 2 young men that will be leaving on missions soon (Jon Rivas and Alwayne Cherrington) to Belmopan (1hour and 15 minutes, inland) to get necessary paperwork done.  Belmopan had more damage than we did in Belize City from Hurricane Richard.  Several years ago the capitol of Belize was moved to Belmopan.  It is more inland and doesn't get the surge from the ocean during storms.  Belize City is on a little finger of a peninsula that sticks right out in the ocean.  There is water on 3 sides.  The whole city could be gone if another storm like Hurricane Hattie should come along like it did in 1961. 

The elders in Belmopan said that they baptized a mother and her children the morning of the day Hurricane Richard hit.  Then in the evening the storm came and blew a large tree down on their house.  Fortunately they were not in the house, but the roof will have to be replaced and some other things.  The family may be wondering about the timing, but at least they will get help from the Church with repairs, which they may not have received otherwise. 
Small rainwater container outside our bedroom window.

Lots of people here collect the rainwater by having containers under downspouts to catch the water that comes off the roofs.  Our landlady, Sheila, has many of these containers.  Some of them are huge.   This is a good way to have water if the city water is off.  Also Sheila uses it for watering her many beautiful plants around the yard and for keeping things washed down. 

Yesterday afternoon (Sunday) we went to a baptism with two brothers and two sisters from the same family getting baptized.  But the mother is not ready yet.  It concerns us that the children may not be able to remain active without a member parent.  Also, a man from Ghana named Ambrose got baptized. 

Saturday Elder Pattee helped with the delivery of 44 mattresses and some pillows to members that had theirs ruined by flooding.  We were surprised to find out the mattress factory was located almost just across the street from us. 

 We started doing the PEF workshop with Kasheifa Gordon this week.  She has a 2 month old baby that needs attention whenever we work with her.  She is only 19 and is one of the many unwed motheres we see here.  She will need a good job, so we hope she can get the training she needs. 

On Friday we both got our first Belizean haircuts.  Elder Pattee got a good razer cut, but it is very short.  Sister Portello from our Cinderella Branch cut Sister Pattee's hair.   Even though some of Sister Portello's  beauty shop equipment was ruined in the 5 feet of surge water in her combination home and shop, she still had her scissors.  She did pretty well. 

New haircuts.  This photo was taken today, which is preparation day, so we have on casual clothes.  (You can see the mattress factory building out the window behind us.)

Harold Smith, the 13th person baptized in Belize, came to dinner Sunday, as did Brad Ruano from Guatemala.  Brother Smith gave us some valuable insights concerning the challenges of the Church in this country.

We had missionary prep class here again last night.  President Munoz (counselor in the district presidency) joined us.  The young men spent much of the class practicing their Spanish.  People just assume everyone can speak Spanish here, but this is not the case.  Even in some families with a parent speaking Spanish, the children don't learn it.  The young men always enjoy the refreshments we serve at the end.  This time we had cake and ice cream. 

Sadly, Elder Warren Card returned to us from the Guatemala MTC just one week after leaving for his mission. He said he wasn't ready, but is vowing he will go again in a few months.  His attitude is very good, and he came to last night's meeting.  He also performed 2 of the baptisms yesterday.

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