Old Harbour Bay Gully Clean-Up Project Update

Dear Friends and Family,

You remember how I told you about the Old Harbour Bay Gully Clean-Up Project that was attempted for September 20th, and how it was such a disappointment from what I had hoped? Well I have news for you!!

The Blackwood Gardens Citizen’s Association has taken initiative and a pro-active stance on the projects to be done. Now, in Old Harbour Bay (a small town on the south side of the Island, in the center, west of Kingston) we have quite a few problems with flooding and drains. Running through Old Harbour Bay, we have two natural gullies and then we have some cemented drains, ranging from 2 to 6 feet deep. In the “housing scheme” where I live-Blackwood Gardens-we have some of these cemented drains. The problem, however, has been that these drains were FILLED with “standing water,” which of course can breed mosquitos.

Sometimes it seems like the process takes forever, and then sometimes, things can happen very quickly. Maybe I should say, every so often I get surprised.

In the Blackwood Gardens Citizen’s Association meetings, it was said that the drains need to be cleaned. It may seem normal to those of you in America, but it was quite a surprise to me to stumble upon some men one day actually working on and clearing the main drains in the scheme.

I later heard that the Association was planning a work day for the upcoming Jamaican holiday called Hero’s Day, October 20th (this past Monday). When it came to decide what time we would start work, the people actually had said… 5:00 AM! I couldn’t believe it! Others said, “As soon as the light comes, I will be there” basically so the work could start before the sun gets hot. (For a people that are routinely about an hour late, this was a thrill–for the mere fact that it showed great commitment.)

Let me tell you that the entire day was a hit. Workers came, food was served, and progress was made. I was on the road walking towards the site before six, but was the first and only person out. Shortly, I was joined by a few others, and work began shortly after that.

Do you remember about how I had applied to a company and they donated several boxes of boots and bags, and how we bought gloves for the Sept 20 gully clean up? I had total about 30 pairs of boots and 30 pairs of PVC gloves. For Sept 20th, we used about 8 pairs of gloves, no boots. On October 20th, we used about 25 pairs of gloves and boots. I was thrilled. Today, Thursday, October 23, the last pair of boots that was used on that day and long (to the elbow) PVC gloves were returned. We still have one pair of short (just past the wrist) PVC gloves that must be returned. The day was a success and work was cut short by the rain, which meant that I had time to sort out the boots and gloves while others helped and or watched.

Rain, here in Jamaica, stops, or tries to stop work and activity. It doesn’t stop me, because I love the rain, but Jamaicans have a thing about keeping as clean as possible, so often they won’t go out in the rain. Sadly though, walking in the rain without an umbrella is considered unprofessional. I think it is too bad, because as I said, I love the rain.

As I am writing this, I am trying to think of when I will be able to go back to the person’s house where the boots and gloves are being stored so that I can help air them out and finish cleaning them up. hmmmm….

anyway, I ended up working for about 12 hours that day, from 6 am to 6, including going out to collect stray pairs of boots and gloves.

Different topic: With the Old Harbour Development Committee, I have been working intensely last week and this week on trying to collect the agreement forms for advertisements for the magasine OHDAC is publishing, the $ for the ads, and sometimes even still distributing the letters and agreement forms and then also collecting them. I am also charged with sensitizing the citizens about the Community Expo that will be happening IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS! For something that would normally take a year in the States to plan, we are trying for 3 MONTHS! anyway, so far we have 27 confirmed ads, soon to be about 30, maybe even 35, and about 25 confirmed booths, maybe soon to be about 30. Our booths range from government agencies to bussiness and private sector, to CBOs, NGOs, food court, and who knows what else. these are busy times I tell you, busy times.

With that, I must go. I love you all, have a blessed day, and “tek care”!! :-)))

With much love, Rachel

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