I was in Belize December 6-10, after Engineers Without Borders/Rotary project work in Nicaragua. Again, now that I'm retired, I wasn't able to get into my former workplace during the annual charitable donations campaign to brief on Belize Open Source and Engineers Without Borders teams working in northern Belize. However, I shared the briefing online with former contributors and reminded them that their generous contributions and past matching have resulted in $17.5k flowing to EWB and EWB chapters working in northern Belize, two schools, and Full Basket Belize (NGO), in Belize. Donations to a new EWB chapter, Full Basket Belize, and the August Pine Ridge school have been made. Photos and videos are online.
10/23/15, Pat Coyle posted:
I'm pleased to report I am working with others on alearning camp initiative based at the site. This Google Drive folder contains a rough draft description document, and other information. Others are able to edit it and I think you can as well. I really would value your participation. The basic pitch is still in draft, not very crisp, so suggestions and revisions are welcome. If you have ideas about a better way to approach it, I welcome them.
12/11/14, Pat Coyle posted:
Now that I'm retired, I wasn't able to get into my former workplace during the annual charitable donations campaign to brief on Belize Open Source and the two Engineers Without Borders teams now working in northern Belize. However, I shared the briefing online with former contributors and reminded them that their generous contributions and past matching have resulted in $14.5k flowing to EWB and EWB chapters working in northern Belize and two schools in Belize. Donations to the two chapters have been made and the donation to the August Pine Ridge school is in process.
9/7/14 Pat Coyle posted: Just on my way home after a week here. Did some kite aerial photo mapping of the Belize Open Source property. Started visible and NDVI maps. Before was in Nicaragua for two weeks on an EWB trip building composing toilets. See Belize photos and videos.
3/29/14 Pat Coyle posted:Norbert Delatte, EWB CSU faculty advisor, emailed: Here are some photos from the site (and from their work in the community from Joshua Cmar and earlier), and from when the cows came in to graze. Overall it was quiet and comfortable. We put a solar panel on the roof of the school, which is working well, and also painted the bathroom. We took some more water tests, trying to refine the design.What we may do this summer, however, is focus on solar power at the well site to help with the consumption for the pump as well as for the future treatment systems.
3/19/14, Pat Coyle posted:
The Engineers Without Borders CSU (EWB-CSU) team completed their visit to Belize with four people to conduct work on water, school and energy projects. They stayed at the Belize Open Source site again.
1/8/14, Pat Coyle posted:
Blanca Torres indicated the August Pine Ridge RC school fundraising needs are for bicycle racks for their bicycle shed since a large population of the students travel to school on bikes and racks are needed so that bikes are organized under the shed. Our planned $500US donation for them will be allocated to this and Blanca can pick it up at David Dyck's offices in Blue Creek.
12/20/13, Pat Coyle posted:
The Engineers Without Borders CSU team is planning to visit Belize this March with five people to conduct work on the water, school and energy projects. I've advised them they are welcome to stay at the Belize Open Source site again.
I briefed on Belize Open Source and the three Engineers Without Borders teams now working in northern Belize at my former workplace during the annual charitable donations campaign. Since the talk, I've been in touch with the August Pine Ridge RC school about their needs for the planned $500 donation for them. I reminded the attendees that their generous contributions in the past have been matched and have resulted in $12.5k flowing to EWB and EWB chapters working in northern Belize and two schools in Belize.The talk is online.
2/13/13 Pat Coyle posted: Had productive visit February 1-9, 2013. Stayed in house on the property. Visited the August Pine Ridge School and met with Blanca Torres to tour the new classroom building completed by CSU EWB and the community. Met with David Dyck and Natalio Soliz and identified work plan actions and tasks. Demonstrated simple kite aerial photo mapping with August Pine Ridge School fifth graders and staff and Muffles Junior College Environmental club and their faculty advisor. Flew three different sites including August Pine Ridge School, Muffles Junior College and the Belize Open Source property. Maps are in progress. Photos are online.
1/20/13 Pat Coyle posted: I'm set to vist February 1-9. Got the donation of $500US made to the August Pine Ridge School. Blanca Torres wrote, "Thanks a lot for the donation. I have picked the money from Natalio. We will buy metal windows for the school building. As I mentioned, it is urgent since the termites will end up destroying the partitions inside the buildings. Once more a great thank you on behalf of our community. Richard and other students are indeed in our village. Richard visited the school and mentioned they are working with the water board in evaluating the water system. Best wishes to you and your loved ones for this new year. Regards, Blanca"
12/19/12, Pat Coyle posted: I briefed on Belize Open Source and the four Engineers Without Borders teams working in northern Belize at my workplace during the annual charitable donations campaign. The talk is online.
11/25/12, Pat Coyle posted: I'm due to brief on Belize Open Source and the four Engineers Without Borders teams working in northern Belize at my workplace during the annual charitable donations campaign. All four of the chapters have provided updates about their work in Belize.
8/18/12, Pat Coyle posted: Rich Obratil, the CSU EWB construction manager, has been in August Pine Ridge to finish the septic system hookup and complete the CSU EWB project for new classrooms at the school. They will continue to work in the community and are evaluating renewables. Photo shows CSU Project Manager/ Site Engineer Rich Obratil and APR School Project Committee Chairman Julio Magaña at the completion of the project.
5/30/12, Pat Coyle posted: Rich Obratil, the CSU EWB construction manager, and the CSU EWB team are in August Pine Ridge to finish the new classrooms and participate in a dedication celebration for the new classrooms at the school.
11/28/11, Pat Coyle posted: Rich Obratil, the CSU EWB construction manager, wrote, " I just wanted to update you on what was happening in August Pine Ridge. It looks as if the Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust (BNEC Trust) will be providing funds to finish some of the school. I am currently discussing the specifics with them. I will be traveling back to Belize and will stay in the country from December 20 to January 16. The plan is to finalize the funding from the BNEC Trust and work with the goal of completing the interior of the building so all of the rooms can be put into operation. As for a final inauguration date, it looks as if March 17 will be the day. This is Spring Break for CSU and allows everyone enough time to complete all the loose ends and plan travel arrangements."
9/27/11, Pat Coyle posted: Rich Obratil, the CSU EWB construction manager, wrote, "I just wanted to let you know where the project is at. I spoke with Julio this afternoon and he says the windows are installed and they were on their way to pick up the doors in Shipyard and they will start to install them on Wednesday. I am headed back down October 13th and returning on the 18th. I met with BASF and we worked out the roof cover situation so there will be no more leaking of the roof. I'll be able to let you know more once I get down there."
7/27/11, Pat Coyle posted: Rich Obratil, the CSU EWB construction manager, sent photos of the school construction site in August Pine Ridge. They are forming for the roof slab, plan to place reinforcing steel on Monday and pour the slab on August 9th. He is checking funds closely to see about the final steps to completion. While the building structure, plastered and painted is doable, it is likely some items will require additional donations such as: restroom fixtures, electrical and lighting and furnishings for the library and computer lab.
Another team from Cleveland State University (CSU) Engineers Without Borders (EWB) stayed at the visitor's accommodations in July and continue to be pleased with them. See visitor accommodations photos.
The IndieGoGo.com fundraising project concluded and we are thrilled at the contributions and support, totaling almost $2,400 through the site and another $300 separately.
5/30/11, Pat Coyle posted: James Teigrob flew over and sent photos of the site and the school construction site in August Pine Ridge.
Several teams from Cleveland State University (CSU) Engineers Without Borders (EWB) have stayed at the visitor's accommodations and continue to be pleased with them. See visitor accommodations photos.
The CSU EWB team reports construction is proceeding well.
The IndieGoGo.com fundraising project has made good progress and is in the final days.
4/14/11, Pat Coyle posted: Our first visitors’ accommodations are complete. The first and second teams to visit from Cleveland State University (CSU) Engineers Without Borders (EWB) have stayed there and are pleased with them. We are addressing minor issues. See visitor accommodations photos.
The CSU EWB team reported the groundbreaking for the classroom building in August Pine Ridge was well attended and enthusiastic. People from the village are very supportive and are working on the construction. Construction is proceeding well with excavation for foundations and placement of reinforcing steel for the floor slab and wall columns.
The IndieGoGo.com fundraising project is making good progress.
3/18/11, Pat Coyle posted: Our first visitors’ accommodations are under construction. David Dyck sent construction photos.
We launched the IndieGoGo.com fundraising project.
3/5/11, Pat Coyle posted: We are preparing to use the crowd source funding site, IndieGoGo.com, to fund raise to build our first visitors’ accommodations. The first use of the accommodations will be to house the Cleveland State University (CSU) Engineers Without Borders (EWB) team during their series of visits to oversee construction of new classrooms in the nearby village of August Pine Ridge from mid-March through mid-July, 2011. The accommodations will then be available for additional visitors in the future. David Dyck provided the estimate and is due to start construction next week.
1/14/11, Pat Coyle posted: David Dyck had Marian send photos of the first ewes and new lambs, pens, water ponds, grass, orchard, forage bank, palms at entry and other site conditions.
12/21/10, Pat Coyle posted: David Dyck reported they brought ten young bred female sheep from near Indian Church to the place. He said the next day there was a new lamb. Natalio Soliz had already prepared the areas and planted the forage bank grasses and other plants we'd had in the nursery.
In November I gave a talk at LLNL about Belize Open Source and three Engineers Without Borders chapters working in northern Belize. Later, I donated to the chapters and Google and other EWB-USA partners matched the donations. I posted a web based version of the talk. I have been in touch with the Livermore Rotary club about serving as the US contact for the August Pine Ridge project.
10/20/10, Pat Coyle posted: David Dyck reported they bush-hogged the orchard area, installed the water distribution piping and the sheep fencing and spread the BSI black dirt we had on site around the orchard trees. Need to put the shut-off valves on the piping, install the electrical and the pump and pressure tank. Took measurements for the entry gate. Provided Mannie Cowa's contact information to David in order to source sheep and goats from Cayo.
10/20/10, Pat Coyle posted: From: Osmany Salas <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Donation from Belize Open Source
To: Maria Johnston <email@example.com>
Cc: Muffles College <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Patrick Coyle <email@example.com>
Dear Mrs. Johnston,
A good friend of mine from California, Patrick Coyle, has committed himself to donate US$500 to go toward the construction of a new septic tank for Muffles College or other necessary project at the high school. Patrick (or Pat, as he is known) is the Director of Belize Open Source (http://belizeopensource.org/), a member of Engineers Without Borders, and has collaborated on projects with the people of August Pine Ridge. His donation to Muffles College comes from contributions received by Belize Open Source. Pat will make arrangements to send the donation to us. Feel free to communicate with him, at his email address above. Please copy me on your correspondence with him.
9/16/10, Pat Coyle posted: James Teigrob flew over and sent photos. They show cleared areas toward the back, planted with a mixture of Humidicola and Mombaso improved pasture grass, two new ponds, cashew and other tree orchard and the existing improvements.
8/11/10, Pat Coyle posted: Sad news. Eric Coleman passed away on August 5, 2010 in Arizona after a short illness. His daughter, Camille Bradley, planned a memorial service in Los Angeles for him. Eric was very helpful to me and I enjoyed his friendship very much.
Eric with first photos of the property in November '04
Memorial services were held on: Saturday August 14, 2010, Christ the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Los Angeles, CA.
7/15/10, Pat Coyle posted: David Dyck reported they had a crew pick up sticks with a tractor and trailer and then planted a mixture of Humidicola and Mombaso improved pasture grass a week or more ago. He said it should be starting to germinate. The two new ponds have already collected quite a a bit of water. He added a new section of fence at the back, where the existing neighbor's fence was and will soon put in the remaining gates.
6/27/10, Pat Coyle posted: Yesterday, David Dyck reported Tropical Storm Alex (see storm track image and satellite image) is heading to Belize. It was already pouring rain at his place and they were expecting up to eight inches overnight. David said he is planning to plant the mixture of Humidicola and Mombaso improved pasture grass in the next week. David said the two new ponds should collect a lot of water in this storm. We discussed fencing the area around the barn/shed with woven wire, suitable for sheep and goats, with barbed wire on top. I advised Natalio of this by email.
6/4/10, Pat Coyle posted: David Dyck reported they cleared the back portion of the property (leaving the central area with trees untouched) and are preparing it to plant a mixture of Humidicola and Mombaso improved pasture grass when the rains start. David said he was pleased to see there was more black soil than he expected. They also completed two ponds, one near the existing barn/shed and a second larger one on the north side towards the back. I don't have photos yet. (got photos, 9/16/10)
4/8/10, Pat Coyle posted this from Wendy Soliz email: These are new pictures from the place. the pool is getting a bit dry these days as you can see in the picture the bottom is visible. (Coyle added: Note image showing change in nursery plants from February to April. Note photo at corner showing David Dyck has bushogged the Humidicola grass along the north fence line of the property as a fire mitigation measure.)
2/8/10, Pat Coyle posted: Had a very productive week in Belize from 1/30/10 through 2/6/10. Updated photos are in the image galleries and I have posted a trip report and near-term work plan draft.
1/18/10, Pat Coyle posted this from Wendy Soliz email: I went to your place today and took the pictures. The place looks great, on the front left side cashew trees have been planted in rows. the fencing is done and the pool looks pretty good too. The water looks clear and fresh.
12/31/09, Pat Coyle posted report from Trees for The Future, based on their site visit in mid-November
12/21/09, Pat Coyle posted videos of briefing he gave at at LLNL, where he works, on Belize Open Source and Engineeers Without Borders in northern Belize.
9/5/09, Pat Coyle posted that James Teigrob flew over and sent photos.
8/9/09, Pat Coyle posted: David Dyck reported the grass we planted in the cleared front portion of the property is greening up and coming along nicely with all the showers we've had. We got the cashews planted (roughly as shown on the site plan). David also planted out 10-12 small trees: mangoes, oranges and tangerines he got from a man who brings around ready-to-plant seedlings. We are ready to start putting the wire on the fence posts and get a well drilled for ag uses.
6/22/09, Pat Coyle posted: David Dyck reported they set perimeter fence posts and planted the recently cleared front portion of the property to improved pasture grass. We are hoping to get the cashews planted out in next week or two.
4/16/09, Pat Coyle posted that David Dyck reported completed pond and other entry road improvements. James Teigrob flew over and sent photos.
Since then, Pat Coyle has been in touch with the chapter president, Tony Janicek and Dr. Mark Tumeo, one of the technical mentors and the EWB Student Chapter Advisor at CSU. They are very excited about the project.
9/26/08, Pat Coyle wrote:
To: Dave Deppner <firstname.lastname@example.org> , Joshua Bogart <email@example.com> , firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Pat Coyle <email@example.com>
Subject: follow up on Belize collaboration
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, Ruth White <email@example.com>
Bcc: Pat Coyle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
X-Attachments: :FW External:193601:combined layers_site imprv.pdf:
Thanks for talking with me yesterday. I am excited to hear Trees for the Future http://www.treesftf.org/ is going to be working in Belize again this coming year and is interested in helping us with Belize Open Source - Sustainable Development http://belizeopensource.org/. I have copied Josh at your suggestion. His experience in Honduras, is directly applicable and we'd welcome his ideas. I am copying our Directors, Kathy Voth and Ruth White.I called to ask for Trees for the Future's suggestions on approaches to using nitrogen fixing trees on our 40-acre property. The property is typical pine ridge savanna. In "Revised classification of the soils of Belize, Bulletin 59", I.C. Baillie, A. C. S. Wright, M.A. Holder and E. A. FitzPatrick describe this soil as: ... white sandy clay subsoil and sandier topsoil. These soils are acid, have extremely low contents of plant nutrients, and low fertility. They impose extreme moisture regimes on their vegetation, with the sandy topsoils alternating between droughtiness in the dry season, and prolonged periods of saturation in the wet season, due to the low permeability of the underlying clay...
Dave, I appreciated your time and willingness to discuss your experience with sustainable agroforestry as a land-use system to integrate agriculture, trees, people, and animals in the same space, for improved soil quality, higher yields, and improved standards of living. I also appreciated hearing of your team's work on a handbook about forest gardens as a multi-layered agroforestry system with the land farmed vertically instead of horizontally. I'm including my address so you can mail a copy of the current draft.
If you can pass this email on to your friend Ken (I didn't catch his last name), in Lubbock, TX, who is interested in intensive mini-farming, we would also welcome his participation.
As you suggested, I am providing some details about Belize Open Source. Additional information is on the web site. There are several photos in the image galleries. You can also view georeferenced photos of the site at http://picasaweb.google.com/coyle.patrick/BelizeTrip809#
We are now moving to operational capability. The property is set-up with a caretaker and Natalio Soliz is our representative in nearby August Pine Ridge.
We have completed installation of electrical, water, and septic system, for the caretaker's residence. We are improving entry roads and cleaning the area near the initial facilities area. The sheep/goat shelter is under construction. Fencing has been started for the property perimeter. We have 100 improved selected cashew seedlings on site and are preparing to plant them out. We need to finish our initial fencing in order to begin livestock operations.
We are beginning to conduct daily operations and are ready to include visitors or participants. We expect this to be an important year for us in terms of moving into programs.
We welcome the opportunity to collaborate to see the best ways to apply your approaches and experience. Assistance with planning the next plantings and integrating them into educational and community outreach programs would be most welcome.
We look forward to hearing from you. If you would prefer to talk, please let me know and I will give you a call.
8/7/08, Pat Coyle wrote: We had good discussions and a tour of the property with Mary Ann Studer and her team from Defiance College. We identified a number of exciting collaboration opportunities.
Members of the August Pine Ridge Village Council, Natalio Soliz, and I met with Rotary Orange Walk to discuss Belize Open Source and the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Community Improvement Project for August Pine Ridge. They agreed, in principle, to support the project, which is key to raising funds with Rotary in the States.
I was also able to stop at Louie Sylvestre's nursery and pick up over 50 cashew seedlings and bring them to the property. The electrician was nearly finished, lights and water were on, and the ceiling was nearly complete. David Dyck's caretaker is staying at the place till it is ready for our caretaker to move in.
David Dyck has crews working to get the caretaker residence ready for occupancy.
I plan to follow up on the brainstorming meeting held February 2008, with members of the educational and agro-environmental sector to discuss and explore ideas for the development of the Belize Open Source property in collaboration with key stakeholders. Mary Ann Studer, from Defiance College, is planning meetings during this period for educational collaboration with Muffles and other educational institutions in Belize and has incorporated assessment of the August Pine Ridge community and the Belize Open Source property in her near-term work plans. We plan to discuss partnering with Defiance College and Muffles to use the Belize Open Source property to provide practical labs and in-service field training opportunities for students in the new Muffles program in environmental science which includes a focus on sustainable development and agriculture.
I also plan to talk with the Village Council to finalize the EWB proposal for August Pine Ridge Community Improvement Project and brief the Orange Walk Rotary on the project to request their support.
3/30/08, Pat Coyle wrote: I was at the Engineers Without Borders - USA 2008 International Conference, March 27-30, 2008; Sustainable Engineering and Global Health, on the campus of the University of Washington, Seattle. Great event, saw friends and met lots of people. Will be following up with them on collaborations.
- Draft summary and recommended next steps from from brainstorming meeting
- Draft EWB proposal for August Pine Ridge Community Improvement Project
- Next work items at the property
Pat Coyle and Natalio Solize have walked the property. David Dyck's team has gotten a new improved entry road into the caretaker's residence which is nearing completion (see image gallery for new photos).
Osmany Salas has set up the planning meeting as follows:
|Osmany Salas <email@example.com>
|Romero, Edilberto <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Leiva, Adrian <email@example.com>
Cayetano, Marion <firstname.lastname@example.org>
javier moreno <email@example.com>
|Adrian Leiva <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Programme For Belize <email@example.com>
Pat Coyle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
|Belize Open Source - Sustainable Development
| January 14, 2008
Edilberto Romero, Executive Director, Programme for Belize
Marion Cayetano, Vice President-Planning, Galen University
Adrian Leiva, Dean, Muffles Junior College
Belarmino Esquivel, Orange Walk District Agriculture Officer
Javier Moreno, President, Rotary Club-Orange Walk
Cecilio Pech, Principal, Belize High School of Agriculture
Natalio Soliz, August Pine Ridge
Belize Open Source - Sustainable Development is a novel initiative
that intends to enable people to collaborate to promote environmentally and
socially sustainable development. Belize Open Source has a fiscal agent and
broader partnering agreement with Engineers Without Borders-USA (EWB-USA).
A unique aspect of Belize Open Source includes development and operation of
a land-based learning and community outreach center and working farm
(sustainable development field station) on a 40 acre property in
northwestern Belize, near the village of August Pine Ridge in the Orange
Walk District. Belize Open Source intends to carry out its work in a way
that is beneficial to the people in the local community and to people who
participate at all stages of the life cycle of the project to establish it
and then operate it.
Pat Coyle, the founder and Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer of Belize Open
Source, will be in Belize from January 15th to March 2nd. Pat was in Belize
from '74 - '77 working with his family on the Carver property between August
Pine Ridge and San Felipe. He bought the 40 acre property and had the
semi-savannah property cleared, disked, and planted to about 2500 cashews to
fulfill the development concession terms. He had not been back until August
'05. After a site visit and discussions with people in the community he
decided to try to put it into operation in a way that is self sustaining and
beneficial to the surrounding community.
In short, Belize Open Source has the following objectives:
- To promote environmentally and socially sustainable development;
including, but not limited to, development and operation of a land-based
learning and community outreach center and working farm (sustainable
development field station) in Belize;
- To work collaboratively with communities and local organizations to
identify specific needs and to develop strategies to meet their basic
requirements of health, education, and economic opportunity by promoting
environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable solutions, with
environmental stewardship, women's rights, and humanitarian protection
integral to these sustainable solutions;
- To develop a novel/innovative sustainable agriculture demonstration
program, that could be used by students and locals; and
- To identify specific collaboration agreements and get them in place
and identify specific recommendations and actions to implement them.
The Belize Open Source website lays out the primary purposes and objectives
that were used in its incorporation documents at
While Pat is in Belize, he and I would like to meet with key members of the
educational and agro-environmental sector to discuss and explore ideas for
the development of his property in collaboration with key stakeholders. We
want to identify next steps to initiate programs and collaborations to
include others in sustainable education initiatives.
To this end, you are hereby cordially invited to a meeting on Friday,
February 22, 2008, in Orange Walk Town. The meeting will be held at the
Muffles Junior College (San Estevan Road, Orange Walk) from 1pm to 5pm.
Snacks and refreshments will be provided.
Please confirm your attendance at your earliest convenience. If you have any
questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
We look forward to seeing you next week Friday.
for Pat Coyle
Belize Open Source
19 Guadalupe Street
Orange Walk Town, Belize
David Dyck indicates the caretaker residence is nearly ready for occupancy. In terms of the near-term and longer time-frame initiatives and activities, Osmany Salas recommended a brainstorming session with a group in Belize to do some strategic planning and get it on paper.
I'd like to address the practical immediate things we want to start with when the caretaker is there in terms of on-site plantings, crops, livestock, and site improvements as well as identifying next steps to initiate programs and collaborations to include others in sustainable education initiatives. There should also be a longer range view as well. Our web site lays out the primary purposes and objectives we used in our incorporation documents.
For the session, Osmany has identified: Eddie Rodriguez, PFB; Marion Cayetano, Galen University; others from ad hoc technical group to provide advice for the development of the property, such as the District Agricultural Officer, etc. Natalio Soliz can provide an August Pine Ridge view.
Kathy Voth and Ruth White, we can collaborate by phone or email before and after. Please let me know what you think.
Mary Ann Studer, I just wanted to keep you posted.
I'll follow up on coordinating trip details later.
We still need to get the caretaker residence finished to get a person on the site, but we can be pursuing next steps.
Let's all think about how to move these ideas forward.
Osmany, I also want to follow up with you about your earlier suggestions and get you input on moving Ruth's ideas forward. I have not scheduled a trip yet - I'd still like to coordinate it with completion of the caretaker residence.
Kathy and Ruth, recall that Osmany had made contacts with Eddie Romero, of PFB, and folks at Galen University and University of Belize about potential collaborations for the property as part of a novel/innovative sustainable agriculture demonstration program, that could be used by students and locals.
He had also suggested the idea to convene a small ad hoc technical group to provide advice for the development of the property with Eddie Romero and him, plus a few others, such as the District Agricultural Officer.
I'd also like to think of ways for interested volunteers from the U.S. and other places outside Belize to participate.
Meanwhile, the the IRS has acknowledged receipt of our application for tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. I'm not sure how long that may take.
I was very pleased Ruth got to August Pine Ridge and had good ideas for ways to move forward.
On 6/27/07, Ruth White wrote: So..... I got out to August Pine Ridge -- a long way from Belize City. I stayed with Natalio and visited with Elda and Manuel. I think the building is really well constructed and will do the job. After speaking with everyone i suggested that we kill two birds with one stone:
1. develop a farm with several products. this would require a soil sample or several of them. Natalio knows how to get this done as he does all this stuff with the Mennonites, then we know what's best to grow. The natural cashew trees are too small for the commercial market but it seems the soil is suited for them so we could grow market size ones. Chickens are getting BZ$4/pound and they are easy to take care of so this seems like a great option as well. Pork is supposed to be at a premium right now. this farm could also in the future include processing so that the value added is right in the community and not outside of it.
2. make this farm a co-op which would hire young males ... from the community. to work there ... the boys would have to agree to take literacy classes, parenting classes, drug ed etc. It's kind of like a Father Boyle model (you can look him up online)
This brings the community development model with the income generation model. having a co-op means that the youth feel like they are a part of something and they are motivated to work hard. Agricultural labor is not something most Caribbean youth want to do but using this model will make it be a place that they want to work while teaching skills they can take beyond the farm.
Well let me know what you think.
On 6/8/07, Pat Coyle wrote: I spoke with David Dyck. He said the roof installation went fast. He has lined up people to do the doors, window, finish work; water, sewer, and power connections to make it ready for occupancy.
On 5/25/07, Pat Coyle wrote: Thanks Marian. It was nice to speak to your son this morning. After we talked, I reached David on his cell. He said the roofing is expected to start next week.
I sure appreciate all your help. Pat
My dad asked me to send these photos to you that were taken about 2 weeks ago.
I don’t know if you have spoken to him lately. I just overheard that he went to the site yesterday with the guy who will finish the roof. So I think that will happen soon now.
On 1/12/07, Pat Coyle wrote: Today I talked with David Dyck. He indicated the rain has continued, so he's not sure how much progress the builders had made. Marian Dyck sent his photos which show the caretakers residence poured slab.
- Osmany was able to discuss the initiative with Eddie Romero at Programme for Belize and suggested a small ad hoc technical group to provide advice for the development of the property. Could be about 4-5 persons. Eddie and Osmany plus 3 others, such as the District Agricultural Officer, and others.
- The feebdack was that the property is not ideal for a tourism venture, due to its location and vegetation type. However, it lends it self for a novel/innovative sustainable agriculture demonstration program, that could be used by students and locals.
- Eddie suggested that planting crops such as Annatto might be the way to go. The growing local spices industry pretty much guarantees a market for such crops. Depending on the soil type, papayas may also be a viable option. Eddie reiterated that it would be important to conduct some feasibility studies before any on-the-ground investment is made.
- Osmany indicated he would check with a friend who is a papaya expert for advice if the property is suitable for this crop. The papaya industry is quite lucrative, with alreday exisitng markets.
- Osmany also spoke to Marion Cayetano, Vice President, Planning, Galen U. and reported that, in principle, he is interested in the possibility of collaborating on the development and operation of a sustainable development field station on the 40 acre property and is willing to share this information with Nancy Adamson and other colleagues at Galen U.
Alfredo and Yvonne Villorias provided valuable feedback after reviewing the belizeopensource.org web site. They suggested Jatropha curcus and biofuel for the 40 acres. They also referred me to the OAS Agro-Forestry Project web site.
- Review of the site shows strong potential for collaborative efforts. I was able to speak briefly to Sylvia B. Laasner, the project leader, about this and we agreed to follow up after the Christmas holidays. (8/2/08 update: Sylvia and others have formed the Tropical Studies & Development Foundation (TSFD). The OAS Agro-Forestry Project web site is at the new site.)
- Kathy Voth is Chief Executive Officer/President.
- Ruth White is Secretary.
- Pat Coyle is the Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer.
- Ben Bobowski is key technical advisor
- The cleared property line buffer strip (~20' into the property) been has disked and planted to improved pasture grass suited to the Pine Ridge sandy soil (Brachiaria_humidicola).
- Recent photos are on the site in the image galleries; site August 06
- Eric Coleman and Natalio Soliz are still in touch with SpeedNet about getting broadband internet access.
- We still need to pickup and plant the next 100 cashews when rains have stopped enough so we can plant them out.
- Dennis Fukai, author of several unique books on 3D building, construction, and site modeling with Google's SketchUp software has offered to help get the site and improvements into a 3D mode, see: http://www.insitebuilders.com/
- This week, David Dyck reported the builders say it will still be awhile till they can start on the caretaker and visitor's places. He added that the Mennonite builders in Shipyard like to work in their yards and then move the little houses better than going to work on a remote building site further away. So we are looking into changing our approach and going with the wooden pre-fab houses (still retaining thatch roofs).
- On a sad note, my old friend Johan Bergen, of Shipyard and more recently New Hope, passed away this past week of a heart attack after kidney stone treatment. Also Elda Soliz has had intestinal surgery and is recovering. Her diabetes complicates things for her, and suggests opportunities for community based diabetes awareness programs.
- I plan to be at the Engineers Without Borders (EWB-USA) 2006 West Coast Region Workshop to be held Oct. 13th - 15th at UC Santa Barbara.
- David has continued to indicate we really need the caretaker presence to protect the fencing as well as other improvements.
I also want to reaffirm that I want this to transition to a vision that includes what all of you want - not just my ideas. Please feel free to weigh in. Thanks, Pat
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