Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hurricanery (again). (Or not)

In an attempt to make up for the boring time that passed last week, the past seven days were extra busy. So, lets not waste any time with small talk/type. Onward!

After posting last Sunday, we began to closely monitor the hurricane Richard bearing down on us. Now, in the infinite wisdom that I possess, I decided to make the Hurricane Richard Journal, as to make the bloggery easier and fully and accurately describe the utter fear and terror the storm brought when it made landfall. Thus, here it is:

October 24, 2010
6:30am: checked the weather online. Richard is still a tropical storm. Upload blog.

Calm morning to start the day. Omnious, I know.

7:30am: Went to mass, where there were a number of prayers to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of the Americas and the one who protects us from hurricanes. I support these prayers.

9am: Storm upgraded to Category 1 hurricane. It looks quite mean on the radar.

11am: Matt and I board up the downstairs windows.

Nicely boarded up windows of my bedroom.

12pm: Move bags with important items over to the guest house, where we decided to hole up for the storm. The guest house was just finished and is quite nice/sturdy. Visiting service groups, like Fairfield in January, will be staying there.

1pm: The wind starts to pick up. Radar shows the storm tracking right into Belize City. I think we’ll avoid the worst of it, but it’ll still be gnarly. I’m hungry. Food time.

2pm: Went for a bike ride to get rid of energy before being cooped up. Lots of people out and about. Peter Claver School is being used as an emergency shelter. The nice homes along the water are bordered up. Camera batteries just died.

4:30pm: The internet tells me sustained winds are at 90mph, with gusts of 120mph. No rain yet, but the northern skies are looking quite dark. I feel the rain will start soon. All my stuff I want is now here in the new house. Matt and I are sitting on the lovely veranda.

5:20pm: Everyone has made it here, plus one Brit, Lee.

5:30pm: The electricity is out. It all comes from Mexico via Belize City, which is a highly inefficient system. So, that means Belize City is probably getting some weather right now. First r+c drinks. I hope the darkness doesn’t hurt the handwriting.

6:48pm: a slight drizzle has begun.

6:59pm: the rain has stopped

6:06pm: Candles flickered in the faint breeze. Not enough to blow them out, mind you, just enough to make them dance.

7:05pm: Nothing new, only a little breeze.

7:16pm: Can see the lights of Barrios and Livingston (in Guatemala). No rain yet, nor wind. Landfall is supposed to be in 45 minutes.

7:30pm: Guest Entry from a British: Some rain, could this be the beginning? Or just another big, fat, anti-climax. I don’t know, none of us know. The electricity is still absent.

We decided Lee had a botfly behind his ear. Botflies are gross/awesome as it is essentially born under your skin and you can see it moving around. The only way to get it out is to suffocate it so it comes up for air. Matt decided to put candle wax on Lee's head. It didn't work.

8:17pm: Still no rain. Newest news from Matt via John Lee ( the Jesuit novice in PG) is that the storm has made landfall. Matt claims more wind. I disagree. It is very dark, thus it feels much later than it really is.

8:25pm: The moon has come out. Getting brighter. We’ve given up hope for any storm. The power is still out.

10:30pm: Final journal entry of the day. This storm was a bust. Sorry to those who were in fact wrecked by this storm. Just watched a fascinating documentary on Burma. Prompted some lively discussion. Bedtime imminent. Morning awaits closing eyes.

October 25

5:15am: Beautiful sunrise, red skies in morning?

The morning after the storm(less) night. And to those coming in January, this is the view from the guest house. Pretty nice, eh?

6am: Very loud church bells ring next to the house.

That was the end of the storm (or lack there of) journal. On Monday we had a day off from school because the power was out. Matt and I took off the boards from our windows, which took about 10 minutes, versus the hour it took to board them up. It was a beautiful day though. I went swimming off the fisherman’s pier infront of my house with the British fellows for a while. Since we still had no water, that served as my bath for the day. It was announced on the radio that the government cancelled school until Wednesday since some parts of the country were hit harder than we were. Four day weekend!!!! I woke up to check my email on Tuesday and in the midst of that I heard shouting of children. Again, for the second time this year, school was uncancelled.

This week I had a lot of fun with the reading program. I worked with letters and short words, like sit and hat. The kids wrote them out on papers, then I gave them clay so they had to make the letters out of that. I think they very much enjoyed it.

PG sunrise. I hope these pictures don't get old for you.

To further help the children learn, school was cancelled on Thursday for teachers’ workshops.

For any of you from Sandwich, Alyssa DeConto has been planning on coming to Belize to work on an organic farm for the past few months. She was scheduled to come in on Wednesday night, but due to unforeseen plane problems, she did not roll into PG until Thursday night, thus leaving me waiting for every bus for two days. She did come in Thursday night, and it was quite awesome to get to hang out with her for a while. She left Friday morning to meet up with the farm folk, but I missed much of the goodbye because of the festivities.

So today is Halloween. We celebrated this spectacular holiday on Friday at school. Every year the Spooky house is held in the library. Awesome. I love haunted houses. I’ll be glad to hold it in my little building and take the money to buy paint so we can decorate the outside. Oh. Wait. The standard three teachers “called” the spooky house, thus claiming all the money that it generates. Well, I suppose that’s cool, as they’ll help set up and clean up. False. I did the all the work, while I arranged to get high school students to staff it.

On Friday, the library was officially the Spooky House. On Friday afternoon, the library was officially the most trashed location in PG. Books were strewn across the floor. Shelves were knocked over. Grass and flower covered the floors. Paint streaked the walls and floors. As much as I enjoy small, hot, enclosed spaces, with no windows or doors open, filled with screaming children for five hours, this was not my ideal Friday. The library is currently a mess. I won’t work on it until tomorrow. Oh well. At least we made some children cry.

Me looking extra spooky for the spooky house, the bane of my existence.

Saturday was lovely as I hanged out with Frankie, the maintenance guy at the parish. We rigged up a contraption to pump out the septic tank. Sounds gross but we had a good time and quite enjoy doing handy things.

Giant lizard that visited me in the basement.

I had to run him out.

This has been a lot of stories.

I hope you’ve had a nice day. Now enjoy the rest of it, whether it be five minutes or sixteen hours. Next week might be up Monday or Tuesday, as we have our JVC fall retreat. Huzzah heading up north to the mountains of Cayo!!!

I’m going to find an adventure.

Thank you come again.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Jer! They had just started building the guest house when we were there last year. I'm glad it's finished and holding your important things! The pictures of the sunrises are beautiful. They never get old. That dock is good for jumping off, too. You looked frightening on Halloween. I have a picture of you with a bald head, beard, and Bay State Games tank hanging above my desk. I'm really glad we got to chat for a second today. Hopefully it'll happen again soon. Stay safe. I'll say some prayers for you. Tell Matt I say hello! LOVE YOU!

  3. I wonder what Emily said on her first comment and why it was removed, and I think you should keep writing these to use as material for a book some day.