Despite a lack of business at the moment, we are managing to keep ourselves busy. Since working on the water line shortly after we arrived in Belize and bought this property, Tom has remained in touch and become friends with Julio, the chairman of the village of 7 Miles. After working on the water line with Tom, Julio knows that Tom has his “gringo tools,” which make some repair tasks a whole lot easier. It came to Julio’s attention that many of the chairs at the government school in the village had, to put it mildly, seen better days. The chairs are ten years old, they’re wooden which makes them very susceptible to the climate here, and they’ve been used by children – enough said. Julio asked Tom if he could bring his DeWalt tools and some screws to the school to fix “a few” chairs.
Tom loaded his DeWalt tools and some screws into the little blue truck last Tuesday morning, and we left for the school. When we got there, we spoke briefly to the principal, and he said the older boys would bring out the chairs in need of attention. So the boys started bringing out chairs. And more chairs. And more chairs from another building. By the time they were done, we had 23 chairs lined up, some just needed a screw or two to fix a wiggle, some in pieces, and some missing pieces. Tom quickly realized he needed more than just the tools and some screws, so we put together a list and I drove back to the farm for scrap wood, the little generator, the DeWalt battery charger, extension cords, and some of the more high powered corded tools.
Tom and Julio took inventory while I was gone, and when I got back with the supplies we backed the truck up to a little palapa behind the school and went to work in the makeshift shop.
Some of the boys wanted to help, but only so many people can work on a chair at once, and Tom couldn’t cut pieces fast enough to keep everybody going, so Tom and Julio ended up with an audience of the boys who had carried the chairs out of the school. We think many of the chairs were the only chairs those boys had to sit on, so since their chairs were outside, they sat outside too rather than in the classroom.
We fixed most of the big chairs and broke for lunch, and didn’t get back to the school until after the kids had left for the day. The boys had taken their chairs back into the building, but had left all the broken little-kid chairs in the palapa. By this time it was after 4PM, so we loaded the chairs into the back of the pickup and brought them home so Tom could use all the tools in his shop to fix them.
Tom said he really felt like King Moonracer on the Island of Misfit Toys, fixing all the little misfit chairs. In the end, they all got new backs and enough screws to keep them from wobbling for the time being, and they went back in the truck and back to the school, ready to be used.