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Jan 27, 2012

Elderly Belize City woman receives a new house

It’s almost a month into the New Year, but it’s not too late for a fresh start. That’s what an elderly Belize City resident received today when the Customs Department handed over a new move-in ready house. With the help of students from the Tubal Trade and Vocational Institute in Ladyville, the three bedroom wooden house was constructed in only one week. News Five’s Delahnie Bain was on hand when the grateful recipient opened the doors to her new home for the very first time.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

At the corner of Racecourse Street, where an old, dilapidated structure stood last week, the keys to a new home were handed over today by the staff of the Customs & Excise Department. The recipient is seventy-one year old Ann Elizabeth Nicholas, who says that after years of seeking help, she was on the verge of giving up.

Ann Elizabeth Nicholas, Recipient of New House

Ann Elizabeth Nicholas

“It’s a joy, it’s a joy and I praise and thanks to almighty God because all I can say it was him working; his unseen guiding hands working and using the people that came and got this to what it is today.”

Delahnie Bain

“Can you tell us a bit about the condition that your house was in before?”

Ann Elizabeth Nicholas

“It wasn’t in a nice condition but I tried to keep it livable. I was hoping and trying, my pastor came also and we talked about it and he helped me and told me where to go. I would keep going and going and going but they gave me words, words, words; that’s all. Then I said lord I will leave it into your almighty hands because only you can do the impossible. And he sure did because this is the first month of a new year. anyone had told me that I would have this, I wouldn’t—I had a church sister that said don’t worry you’re gonna get your house and I said thank you for being so believable but you know I was sort of giving up.”

The construction of the house was born out of an idea to assist an elderly person with home repairs as part of activities commemorating World Customs Day. The Department had much needed assistance from the Tubal Trade and Vocational Institute.

Collin Griffith

Collin Griffith, Deputy Comptroller of Customs

“It was an idea that we had when we had our inaugural meeting for the committee for World Customs Day. Our Committee suggested that we try to contribute to social up-liftment and we decided that we would identify homes that the elderly live in that need some repairs. And this was one of the first homes we visited and recognized that it was beyond repair and we decided that we wanted to build it in record time to present it on World Customs Day, which was yesterday so we missed our deadline by one day.”

Lyndon Bailey

Lyndon Bailey, Director, Tubal Trade & Vocational Institute

“It was easy for our boys because our boys are always willing to come out and do community work. And so when the Customs Department called us to team up with them, we decided this was a good way to show to the community and the country of Belize that these young men that were placed out on the wayside, Tubal take them in and we train them and put them back out in society as productive citizens.”

And since the project started out as a plan to do repairs, Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Collin Griffith says that taking on the task of building a new home was not easy.

Collin Griffith

“It is definitely a spirit of serious accomplishment in that there was a burden recognizing that we had struck some hope in the heart of Miss Betty and not being able to deliver would have definitely devastated me. So that was the burden and I must say that when we discussed at work, we always speak on spiritual things and that really was our guidance. But when we went to the first businessman, which is Mr. Ralph Feinstein and he looked at pictures of the home and recognized what we wanted to do and his offer was that whatever Benny’s sells, we can get. Then we recognized we were on our way and thereafter every business that we approached, assisted us with this project. We started to work with the business community and I must say within three days we had realized all the material and the funds to construct the home, therefore we demolished the home last week Wednesday. The same day that we did our tally that we could have done it, we demolished the home on Wednesday last week and started rebuilding last week Friday.”

Ann Elizabeth Nicholas

“They are wonderful people and may God bless them because look they gave up their beds, in the rain, day and night they were working. I have my brother too and when I hear he was here working I said thank you dear lord because he’s here for me because from I was—when I left when Mr. Griffith asked me if I have somewhere to stay, I left and I’m just back now.”

Nicholas’ house comes with new kitchen appliances while her old furniture was refurbished to complete the decor. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

Griffith says, they would like to continue the initiative in coming years, but it will take more planning and fundraising the next time around.

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2 Responses for “Elderly Belize City woman receives a new house”

  1. KING'S KID says:

    Awesome story! Great to see/read good news from my homeland for a change. I pray that there could be many more such displays of kindness, caring and generosity.

  2. wise up Belize says:

    I have tears in my eye’s.Thanks Tubal Trade and vocational training for making these young people over,and teaching them their true value.Thanks to the customs department for your part in making someone happy,and comfortable.Tubal Trade and vocational Training reminds me of 1 Chronicles 4:10—only one verse that was mentioned in the whole Bible about Jabez….O that you would bless me indeed,and enlarge my territory,That your hand would be with me,and that you would keep me from evil,that I would not cause pain! The owner of Tubal Trade is surely a Jabez in his own ways.May God continue to guide you in every step you make and give you strength to help mold Belizean youth.Thank you so much,and may God bless this Lady that she would enjoy her new home.Jabez prayer answered in a modern day family.

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