Sunday, February 26, 2012

Feb 2012 Fly In & Help Out Event

I actually slept pretty well in the bunk and luckily did not awake to find myself strung up from a palm tree. I only heard one guy snore a little, but it wasn't bad. I was up, showered, and dressed by sunrise. Breakfast is at 7:00 am every morning and the bus loads up at 8:00 am to head to the work sites. We had a wonderful breakfast of regular and banana pancakes, bacon, fruit, and orange juice.

For Friday's workday, there were 4 or 5 homes in the James Cistern area that needed roof repair and a new-construction home in Governor's Harbor that needed some electrical work, windows framed, trim work done, and roof work as well. All the roof repairs are still left over damage caused by Hurricane Irene six months ago. As you drive around the island, and as we could see from our work site, a lot of roofs in the area are in dire need of repair and blue tarps now provide a lot of homes' primary protection.

When we got to the Burrow's House, our work site for the day, most folks immediately set forth to start work on the electrical, trim work, and windows. Pete and I looked at each other and said," I guess we'll take care of the roof!" So we grabbed some hammers, box knives, a bag of nails, and some shingles and headed for the top. As some of you know I'm not a fan of heights. It was a little interesting coming and going through the 2nd story gable window openings, but once up on the roof it wasn't too bad. There was a lot of work to be done and it kept Pete and I busy all day fixing sections of missing and broken shingles as well as re-doing some sections of the important ridge cap.

The work in the morning went pretty smooth. It wasn't too hot, the views were nice, and there was a little breeze. After lunch was another story. It got hot, the breeze went away, and every time we turned around we found another section of roof that needed attention. I learned a lot that tiring day. Pete was a great friend to work with and I think we did a quality job for the family in need. There was no restroom on site to use so you had to walk through the primary school yard next door and down a few blocks to use one at the service station. That turned out to be a great thing since I discovered they also sold ice cream! So......yeah, I made more than one trip that day. Wouldn't you?

Around 4:30 we went back to camp and changed into our swimsuits to go cool off in the Caribbean Sea. We loaded up the bus again and headed for Rainbow Bay. The water was a little cool, but not as cold as I thought it would be. It felt great and I spent about 45 minutes snorkeling around finding some neat fish and creatures around the bay's rocks. You can see some pictures of Rainbow Bay in the slide show of Pete's Pics. After eating another wonderful camp dinner, taking some needed ibuprofen, and checking out the amazing night sky for a bit, I went to bed and slept like a baby!

Saturday was originally billed to be fun "off" day or a day of work at the Children's Home, your choice. Pete and I had wanted to work at the home, but unfortunately the next round of building supplies had not shown up in time to support this. So we ended up with a little bit of both! Governor's Harbor (MYEM) was unfortunately out of AVGAS so they bused us back to the airport so we could fly up to North Eleuthera (MYEH) for fuel for our return flights.  The plan was to leave the planes in North Eleuthera while we went to visit the children's home then after the visit we would do some island hopping to find lunch and return to Governor's Harbor by 4:30 pm.

We departed Governor's Harbor and headed south along the west side of Eleuthera for a few miles before turning and crossing over the island to head towards North Eleuthera. We cruised along at about 800 feet and enjoyed the views. I allowed Pete to fly most of the time during this hop. We flew by Governor's Harbor, Pineapple Fields, Camp Symonette, Harbor Island, and Spanish Wells.

We also found and circled the children's home on Current Island before landing at North Eleuthera.

After landing, we secured the plane, submitted our fuel request, and headed for the ferry to Current Island. It took about 4 runs between the two available boats to get everyone across. About a mile or so from the dock on Current Island we finally arrived at the Zion's Children's Home. We got to meet and play with a few kids as well as meet the two sisters that started it all. They told us how the whole idea began and kindly gave us a little tour of the almost completed first building. The facilities looked wonderful and the kids will definitely be cared for a lot better than what they are enduring know throughout the Bahamian Islands. Each building will house 8 children and one house parent. They will have separate buildings for boys and for girls. The first girls building will be the first new home opened. There are currently over 200 kids on the waiting list for this place!  If I hadn't said it before and if you haven't read about it, these homes are for the abused, abandoned, and neglected kids of the Islands. A lot of them currently just live in the hospital wards on Nassau. The sisters prayed for their own children's home when they got frustrated with the governmental red tape trying to become foster parents and decided they would build their own place and take as many kids as they could and love them! They didn't know how it would happen, but they prayed and prayed until those prayers were answered by the Bahamas Methodist Habitat and Bahamas Habitat. So yes, prayer works!

After our visit, we were bused back to North Eleuthera Airport (MYEH) to go island hopping and find some lunch. The ramp at MYEH was jammed with a huge amount of planes and some pretty fancy, big jets. It must be one "the" places to be! It was decided we'd all head for Staniel Cay (MYES) to got to the yacht club for lunch. Pete and I took off and headed for the north end of the Exuma chain of islands to enjoy the amazing views. We picked up the Exumas just north of Norman's Cay and followed the chain south until we landed at Staniel Cay. It has been almost two years since I made the trip to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club with by dad (click here for my posts and scroll down). I have been dying to get back there for a vacation, but this would be a short visit for lunch.

We all made the short walk from the airstrip and enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the yacht club. First order for me was conch fritters and they did not disappoint! I took a look around the docks and watched the nurse sharks and rays that still hang out there. I marveled at the pile of lobster and fish that were displayed by some proud buddies after their fishing trip.  It was very hard not to be there with my dad enjoying some rum punch together!

After lunch we walked back to our planes and took off for Governor's Harbor. Pete and I picked up Eleuthera Island towards its south end and flew by Rock Sound and enjoyed some more views before landing back at MYEM. We all got back in time and loaded up the bus back for camp. Most conversations focused on the next day's flights home for everyone, but not us. Monday was Washington's Birthday, a day off for me, so we planned well in advance to stay an extra day. Some weather associated with a cold front was moving through the southeastern US so most folks were looking to get an early start Sunday morning for home. We enjoyed our last evening at the camp and got a pretty decent night's sleep.

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