Old Cayo Hospital
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Sunday May 27, 2018

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Hector Silva
I have served my country in all elected capacities. Mayor, Legislator, Minister of government and Senator. I was born a villager of Carmelita, todays Santa Familia. My hobby all my life has been to research and research in order to find the truth.
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Old Cayo Hospital, San Ignacio


This is the Old CAYO HOSPITAL which served us for almost 100 years. BUT under this Hospital was the Second Burrial ground in this Municipality.

OF RECENT YEARS, the Dogs of War have been barking at it with the intention to dispose of it - TO SELL IT.

By popular request and the intervention of of Dr. Jaime Awe, this old San Ignacio historical Hospital was saved, from being DISMANTLED and the lands SOLD. It was already on the chopping block.

I was approached by at least two interested parties for my moral support, which I DENIED to support.

This old building is almost 100 years old. It was built on top of the second Cemmentery ( burial ground ) of this municipality.

Today this building has been baptized as the CAYO HOUSE of CULTURE and perhaps the Town HISTORY CENTER,- ( where much solid historical information can be stored and exhibited.) - All depending on NICH Plans.

The laws of Belize prohibit the sale of an Antiquity, a Cemetery, a Land Held in Common.. - BUT in Belize, of late, LAWS ARE VIOLATED when MONEY TALKS.

NOW, this Hospital IS CRYING TO ALL CAYOANS to please save it from destruction. - I inspected it myself and found it still strong for rehabilitation, just as the Belize Technical College was so beautifully rehabilitated.

Here I thank, Dr Jaime Awe, former Acheologist who STOOD STRONG with me and others, in objecting to the DISPOSAL of this BELOVED LANDMARK, that saw the BIRTH and DEATH of thousands of Cayoans.

There is a cemetery down there i use to see tombs stones i guess my great grand mother there so i heard.

I was but three years old but I remember the ride like it was yesterday. I had fallen from a two story verandah and broken my nose...my dad had a bakery and grocery shop on the other side of Central Farm in a land given to him by old Shopan....I remember distinctly climbing that hill and going to that hospital at the top...yes, I did fall and hit my head!!!

Many happy holidays there,, and scary days too as a child I had to walk that long veranda to get to the nurses quarters,, but I use to run,,my childhood imaginations were working overtime,,laugh,,and that was not bad,,my room was in front of d dead house,,under that huge tree,,,Don't Hector is would be nice to get a collection of all d nurses and doctors who worked there,,I remember matron Lou Burns,,, nurse Cathy Green,,, Cleopatra white...

In the 1960s, oh yes definitely that year, I remember walking up that hill to go to the hospital, my baby brother was born there

My brother Ambrose Martinez worked there in the vector control dept.

Sad to say we lost nurse Green a few months ago,, I know there was a man his nickname was Tate,,worked with the health Dept for many years,,his wife's name was Sylvia,, they r from Cayo, my memories r from d 1950's...

Had 4 of Mai 5 children at this children. Took many sick babies and Maiself there. Mai ex (Peaches)used to be the ambulance driver at one time for Cayo hospital.

I believe my Grandfather was a Doctor there in the 1930's and 40's. Dr. Thomas Patterson and his wife Muriel a nurse, he was a most loved Doctor in this Community.

John, my late Brother in law and Stuart Tuto lived just across from this hospital in a very cool and spacious doctor's quarters.

Among those burried under this hospital is the Hon. BERNARD MELHADO buried in 1908, - His tomb is still intact under the hospital.

Photograph and opening text courtesy of Hector Silva

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Addendum 5/11/2017
A rehabilitation project is currently underway by the Institute of Archaeology working on structural restoration of the old hospital building in San Ignacio. The aim is to transform this historic portion into the House of Culture for San Ignacio and Santa Elena.

Addendum 5/1/2020
The old hospital is 98 years old today. The San Ignacio & Santa Elena House of Culture -NICH has the perfect location, and they've really done well with the space. The Cayo old hospital historical building, now San Ignacio & Santa Elena House of Culture NICH, celebrates its 98th birthday, on May 1st 2020. Formerly Known as the Cayo old hospital, built on May 1st 1922, on top of the second cemetery in our Town, makes this old hospital now house of culture Building quite interesting for whoever visited or should visit us. Happy birthday Cayo old Hospital!

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