Mission 12 in Pictures Corozal District, Belize
The container finally made it. It journey from our warehouse in Fostoria, Ohio to Dee’s Superstore in Corozal Town, Belize challenges ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ as an adventure. After loading the container and shipping it off to Cincinnati (its first stop) we were notified that they sent the wrong container and they would return it to us to be reloaded onto another container.
Next they did not get it on the container ship to Belize. They said there was no room… so it went out on the next ship. The container arrived in port 3 days before the mission team. Our Belize broker did yeomen’s work in getting all the paperwork done in time to get it out on Monday. We originally scheduled pickup for the schools on Sunday so we already lost one day. Everything was cleared except the shipper did not release the container (yes the same one that sent the wrong container). Our stateside broker and the Belize broker worked all day on getting Seaboard Marine to release the container. Seaboard Marine in the States said it was released, while Seaboard Marine in Belize said they had not gotten the release.
Finally we get it late Tuesday afternoon: another day lost. We call the schools and that afternoon and into the night we get most of the product out. The following morning the rest of the schools pick up their allotment.
We ordered a forklift to help unload the trailer. When the forklift did not arrive we started unloading by hand and in two hours it is done. That’s when the forklift driver arrives and tells us he ran out of gas on the way over. Conducting missions are always an adventure… just keep smiling and get the job done.
We have now lost 2½ days but that did not dampen our enthusiasm. Here the preschoolers are playing with some of the toys and games we brought. Classroom size varied greatly from more than 30 to under 5 students in a session. Preschools have 2 sessions, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
Each missioner has a specific job… but we all share in the workload. Here Kent Iler (Rotary Club of Elyria) on his 6th mission is setting up computers that he previously loaded with educational software. All the work to set up the computers is done at his business location outside of Elyria.
Greg Fess (Rotary Club of Toledo) is on his first mission and quickly filled in where needed. Greg said he was nowhere near a computer whiz… but with some training for Kent he was right in there supporting the mission.
Whenever we set up the computers the older students, who have some computer savvy, were right there to check things out. What is rewarding to see is how they would help the younger more inexperienced students to navigate the software programs. The computers we bring are designed to be self contained and it is recommended that they not be used on the internet.
Non Rotarian Karen Marinoff (on the right), is our pre-school educator professional and worked with the preschool teachers and students. Here she is setting up the library and the sharing teaching techniques. Karen, now retired, has previously owned pre-schools and has taught in the pre-school education program at the local community college.
While Kent worked with the preschool teachers on using the software installed on the computer, Karen would take over the classroom… reading stories, singing and playing games. Kent’s wife and 2 of his daughters also came on the mission and worked with the teachers and students.
I watched as this young lady carefully examined each book. She would take one, leaf through it and then place it on the bookshelves we just built. She was still doing this when we left for another school. I asked her teacher about this young lady… and she said ‘she loves books and reading and is not surprised by her interest/dedication’.
Group picture taken at one of the schools: From left to right: Mel Honig (Rotary Club of Sylvania); Kent Iler and his wife Stacy; two teachers from the school; Kent’s daughters, Sarah and Sydney; Anirdy Cruz, Principal of a preschool who also was part of the mission team; Karen Marinoff and Gregg Fess… holding some of the books and soccer balls we have donated. In all we set up resource centers in 21 schools, working Saturday and well into evening on several occasions: Mission Accomplished.
At the end of the Newsletter is a listing of schools that received resource centers and donations made to other organizations.
Acknowledging Some of Our Donors
Often times we are asked where we obtain the items we bring to the preschools. Some are purchased but most are donated. Recently we had some major donations.
The University of Toledo, by law must sell all excess equipment at auction. Anything left over can be donated to charity. Here are just some of the unsold items given to RCI after their last auction. We got over 40 filing cabinets and metal bookshelves, as well as tables and chairs.
Some of the tables and chairs from the last University of Toledo donation
When an extended care facility closed everything in the building was donated to MESA. These are some of the flat screens we picked up… there are over 100 of them. Those with damaged screens we left behind.
Stacked on my trailer and ready to go to the warehouse…
These flat screens were removed from the walls of the extended care facility. We collected about 150 of them. MESA collected all the wheelchairs, ice machine and accessory equipment in the facility. There are still a few hundred electric beds left, so the job is far from over.
Many books are donated; especially from Perrysburg HS, Books-4-Buddies, Brookside HS Interact Club, or anonymously dropped off at the warehouse. Most however are purchased from the Friends of the Library (FOL) at a reduced rate. Here Greg Fess is selecting books for RCI at the FOL facility.
Gail Odneal at the FOL selecting VHS tapes… The tapes are $5.00 a box and books $10.00 a box. Many times the FOL also donates excess books.
We recently got a donation of tennis balls from the Sunrise Tennis Club. Twice a year we are the recipients of these slightly used balls. We also regularly receive donated soccer balls from the Sylvania Recreation Center
Books are constantly being dropped off at the warehouse…
This is an area in the warehouse where we sort out the donated books. In the right background are audio-visual carts we have received from the Owens Community College (OCC). When OCC updated their AV department we also received over 100 VCRs and over 200 computer towers along with flat screens and some computer accessories.
It is important that we receive financial support over time because we purchase many items that are not donated in sufficient quantity to meet RCI’s needs. We also purchase many items that are not donated. Over the past two donors have significantly helped financially: they are the Jim Heinrich Foundation and Balthazar Juarez.
Donations Received this Quarter
Educational Equipment and Materials
||Rotary Club of
|Games, toys, books
||Interact Club of Brookside HS
|Shelves, file cabinets,Tables, chairs
||Univ. of Toledo
|Games and toys
|Games and toys
|Games and toys
|Computers & flat screens
- Balthazar Juarez – $1,000.00
Rotory Clubs of…
If you would like a presentation at your club please contact: Mel Honig, 567 686 3406 (mobile), firstname.lastname@example.org (email).
Schools Receiving Resource Centers
||# of Students 3-8 years old
|San Pedro Government
|St Paul Anglican
|Progresso Rising Star
Other Donations made to organizations in Corozal District, Belize:
Books, Televisions and VCRs to the Ministry of Education, Corozal Office
Gowns and Bed Linens to the Corozal Community Hospital