Sunday, October 23, 2011

USA ARMY donates construction training programs to Belize.

*** Prime Minister Dean Barrow on left and USA Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally on right.
**USA Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally to Belize in 2011.

US ARMY combines training programs and aid to Belize. Last year, in 2010. Belize was recipient of $350,000 USA worth of construction aid. This coming year, for 2012. The USA Army training sections are going to construct a variety of projects to help the tiny country of Belize. The amount involved is calculated at $500,000 USA. The first one of several small projects will be a FAMILY CARE building for the Dorothy Menzies Child CARE CENTER in the port town of Belize City. Other projects will be a library and an office for the Las Flores School in the Western Cayo District. Also listed as construction training projects are bathrooms for the Hattieville Government School and the Belize Rural school. The Julian Cho School in Toledo will also get a recreation facility and auditorium. This latter school is a remote jungle location.
I´m not sure what happened to C.A.R.E in the USA and also A.I.D. ? But 50 or more years ago, I used to get assistance through these organizations from the USA. CARE worked on a supposedly individual donor basis and a donor bought and sent us a small portable generator, which was the first electricity EVER in the village of Caye Caulker, on the island by the Great Barrier Reef. Agency for International Development, I vividly remember issued each primary school in the country of Belize, with a GOLDEN BOOK CHILDRENS ENCYLOPEDIA set. Marvelous gifts at the time. AID sent me steadily a stream of books, on how to smoke fish, to gutting deer and other basic knowledge type things. I filled two suitcases with the information. Nowadays you can get this from the internet, but back then it was a miraculous fountain of knowledge from the USA, AID program. I very much in my old age, look back with fondness to this government USA Embassy intervention at that time. I would like to see all the schools once again, get a new set of GOLDEN CHILDRENS BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA SET. They were popular and very informative and educational at a time, when Belize had little or no books. Books are still scarce as the cost of a book, is equivalent locally to the ordinary persons WEEKS SALARY and thus unaffordable. I still solicit and collect for donation, from foreign volunteers, to our local library, used books, which are simply beyond the ability of the government, or individuals to buy. I´m selfish, as I get to read them first, so there is self interest at work here. ( grin ) Back 50 or more years ago, A pair of tennis shoes cost me $1.50 USA at Bata Shoe Store in the port town. It used to take me a 3 day trip there and back by sailboat. Money was scarce and we lived subsistance, by fishing and eventually I started a small tourist business. Even so, I had to SAVE and think carefully BEFORE I could afford the price of a post office STAMP, to put on an envelope, to send a request to some USA government institution like CARE, or AID, though they had offices locally, which made it easier in some cases. That STAMP was a big expense to me at the time. A difficult decision in money management and family budgeting. The ones I remember also with fondness was NOAA, and the Pascagoula FISHERIES Research Station in Mississippi, who answered me and sent me appropriate marine and sea creature pamplets. There was nothing available, or like it in the National Library Service of the port town in those days. I taught a lot of that sea marine creature stuff to the Standard primary school 5 and 6 classes in the island village back then. Much to the chagrin of the bureacrats. However, today, Caye Caulker my home village is still the richest village in Latin America.
Nowadays now, our friend the USA is bankrupt, it seems like all FOREIGN AID is funneled through justifying logistics and practical construction training, through military excercises? Shame that! They do what they can though, and it IS APPRECIATED. I remember the director of AID, he married a Belizean girl, who retired on Ambergris Caye and eventually died there. The CARE DIRECTOR married a Belizean gal also and was posted to AFRICA someplace and never heard any more about them. They were extremely NICE people and did their best in those jobs.
This new USA Ambassador, Vinai Thummalapally comes across in the news and by his actions as very nice man, in the same theme and character of those olden AID and CARE Directors I knew 50 or more years ago from the USA. One day, I´d like to meet him. I think I would like him very much.

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