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Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 915
ckocian Offline OP
OP Offline
For those who want to do a hands-on, here's your chance by proxy. Three villages around PG need 172 of these 16x24 zinc roofed wooden houses to be partially pre-fabbed offsite (somewhere there's electricity) and taken to sites prepared by the new owners and put on posts provided by them. I'm in for three.

US $400 each, cash donated to Marty's fund. Marty's gone to play soccer to vent some emotions for awhile and he has more info from Frank Redmond, who is up to his eyeballs in Belize directing and orchestrating efforts.

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,398
back from futbol.

here's the scoop on where we are using the donated funds:
The Mennonite group have returned from Punta Gorda and as a
result of discussions with the people in PG we have set ourselves a

To build 200 houses as quickly as possible.

Today, three were built.........197 to go.

The houses will be 16 X 24, zinc roof, wooden beams and struts, on
posts supplied by the new owner, who will also case in the sides of
the house.
Cost...Bze $800 per house. (assuming we can buy all the lumber in

cost will increase by Bze $200 if we cant, and have to buy in Cayo.

The location of the houses will be decided by the Mayan village
leaders. The three built today were built in San marcos, Maphrodite,
San Miguel.

We will keep records of the names of families helped and location of
each house built.

Forgive me all if I am unable to get pictures yet, but I will as soon as
I get chance to go there again. I feel it better at the moment to get
busy with fund-raising.

The mennonites will set up a central location, prefabricate the roof
beams where there is electricity, haul to site and bingo...... one
more happy family.
So, 172 to go.

My thanks to all who are helping.

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,398
> >ONE QUESTION: The cost if those houses is unbelievably low. How can they
> >do it so cheap? I assume that the reason for not building more
> >hurricane-proof concrete houses is that the need is so great and the cost
> >would be prohibitive? Its better to build everybody a house quick than to
> >have some people with no shelter while a few get hurricane proof houses,
> >right?

The people were asked what they wanted. They wish to continue to
live in their villages. Many have already constructed solid wooden
houses rather than the traditional thatched houses, though most are
of this type. The palmeto leaves are in short supply. Zinc roofing
gives the added advantage of being able to collect water.

Ideally, we wish we could offer each family a concrete house with a
flat concrete roof..but funds......

NEMO are looking at offering each village a secure concrete
community center. Problematic are the many hurricane shelters
built after the last hurricane in many parts of the country, as well as
schools used as shelters, which were poorly constructed.

Being practical. our aim is to provide adequate shelter as soon as
possible. Families with more modern houses (excuse the term) who
have jobs and can afford $30,000 houses are being offered cheap
mortages. If they were insured, they will be okay. With many of the
Maya villagers, they live a subsistence type of lifestyle, thatches
houses etc. When thay are ready to change, so be it if they want.

We see a need. Basic housing. We would like to do more. It
becomes a balance of helping the most number of people with
whatever resources we can get. And most importantly, maximizing
every dollar donated so generously.



Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 21
LV Offline
Marty or Frank:

Bless and thank you for what you are doing, sorry to be a bother and ask questions, I trust you are making best decisions you can. Just wonder if the Mennonite wood construction makes use of any kind of hurricane clips or steel strapping to connect the wood parts together rather than just nailing directly through wood? It makes a vast improvement in the strength of a wood structure, and the price is the connectors and maybe bolts instead of nails, somewhat more labor. Might be worth the investment...was used on my small wood house
in Maya beach and it stood up as well as concrete..just don't know if Mennonites have heard of it or maybe already are using them...they are made by a company called Simpson...possibly can be put on after construction if parts can't be obtained quickly now.


Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,398
I will put this into the discussions...

Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 713
Thank you for raising this construction issue. I found the Simpson web site on a google search and I passed it on to Frank Redmond.
For anyone else who may be assisting with building wood houses for villagers rendered homeless by Iris, the link to the Simpson web site is:

I intend to call them to see about donations and pricing and pass the info on to Frank.

When you built your house, did you get the ties in Belize or did they have to be purchased in the US? How much did you spend for how many connectors? (If you know...)

Susan Guberman-Garcia, Attorney at Law. Phone: 510-792-2639
Fax/Voicemail:: 510-405-2016 Email: [email protected]
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 21
LV Offline

Thank you for taking it a step house was built by a Placencia builder who uses them as a matter of course, so I don't know what they cost. Most of his recent wood construction seems to be in tact up and down the peninsula. He is Steve Christensen (Frank or Marty may know him) owns the lumber yard/harware store near the Placencia airstrip called Proffesional Building Supplies...gets the ties for his own projects and sells them in the store. I don't think they are hard to obtain from the US, just doubt that there are large quantities located currently in Belize...I think it is something that came out of hurricane Andrew disaster in Florida years ago...required by Florida code now...I would think the Mennonite who builds in Placencia, Aron Loewen would know about them as well, if Frank knows him he may be able to help them in Belize... I plan to try to get everyone using them now. Will find out tomorrow from someone in contact with PBS what they are doing for rebuilding in the Placencia villages, heard Friday that Steve had people donating and sending building materials down in a common container. I definitely will buy a bunch of the clips to donate myself, and was going to ask Simpson about donations tomorrow..... another person inquiring is all the better! But it will be November before any materials get down there and I think Frank is trying to get people housed now..but no reason not to get them on as many permanent replacement housing as possible later.

Also should mention that a hipped roof is the most resistant to becoming airborn. That is the one that is pyramid shaped with the point
in the middle and all sides sloping up...
Mennonite houses I have seen are gabled roofs (like a tent). I don't presume to redesign the whole works at this point, Frank and Marty, just want to mention what I know works. Did a lot of research before I built my house and talked about cat. 4 or 5 storm effects for a long time, never thought it would be tested so up close and personally of course....
Susan, e-mail directly about it tomorrow (monday) if you pursue it:
[email protected].

Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 713
Thanks, Laura:

Turns out the Simpson Co. is right in my back yard -- about 20 miles away, in Dublin (I'm in Fremont). I'm going to call the company president (or as far up as the secretarial gauntlet allows me to get) and try to get in to see him about a donation of a decent quantity of these things. I figure there's no harm in asking, the worst thing that will happen will be they will say "NO" and having done a lot of fund raising, I'm kind of used to hearing that word! I'll let you know the response!
Obviously you know a lot about construction. I know zilch but I did see that some of the hurricane watch sites advised that these things be used and since we can't afford to build concrete houses, it makes sense to make the wood ones as secure as possible.
If your wood house survived, that's a strong recommendation! Doesn't look like too many did.

Susan Guberman-Garcia, Attorney at Law. Phone: 510-792-2639
Fax/Voicemail:: 510-405-2016 Email: [email protected]
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 6
LV: Wondering if you have more information about the container of building materials that may be coming with donated items. I picked up about 2300 hurricane ties and would like to get them to Mennonites to help with making the new shelters a bit more wind resistant. We use them here in the Colorado Mountains where we are required to build for 100mph wind loading and they really do help.

Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 21
LV Offline
Thanks Susan! I e-mailed PBS in Bel. City today to ask what kind of ties and the supplier and didn't get an answer....I know a lot about hurricane construction in theory, but feel a bit ignorant now that I need to know exactly which ties would likely to be useful on this project...will let you know if I hear tomorrow. I was drafting an e-mail to Simpson when I got work pressures and had to get back to my stateside go for it...I will bug them too, can't hurt.... hopefully someone will answer by tomorrow........

mtntrader: That is fantastic!!! I also e-mailed Bob Grimes about the shipping and haven't heard back...I think there is someone
in Dallas that has posted on this board about shipping things down...look for ric/cheri I think it is...they were going quickly so don't know if there is time for you to get them down to Dallas in time....I may know more about the other container tomorrow.... don't think that ship sails until the 27th however...maybe I can find another quicker way to send a package (how big is it?) ...e-mail me so I can contact you directly and we can go from there(I am in Denver area):

tonight: [email protected]
[email protected]

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