Hospital gets facelift, healing garden

Volunteers on Grand Cayman have
been sparked to do something.

Evidence can be seen at the George
Town Hospital where there is now a healing garden, a welcoming mural and an
increase sense of pride.

It’s all part of Do Something World.

“They started something we needed,”
said Heather Bodden. “They came at the right time and gave us a boost.”

Since February, Do Something Cayman
has been organising projects that will make a difference in people’s lives. Miles
McPherson of Miles Ahead Ministries in the USA started the international movement
and members of the Cayman Ministers Association have taken up the challenge.

Health Services Authority Medical
Director Dr. Greg Hoeksema said Pastor Al Ebanks, former chairman of the Health
Services board of directors, had met Mr. McPherson and recommended his group.

“We needed the hospital ground
beautified,” Mr. Hoeksema said. “With the present economic conditions, we have
to make difficult financial decisions.” Plants and outdoor benches are not
budget priorities, he indicated.

One thing he especially wanted to
see was a Healing Garden – an attractive,
peaceful outdoor space where patients and their visitors can enjoy peace and

There are several courtyard areas
that have grass and shrubbery. On Saturday, Do Something volunteers cleaned
them up, added soil, planted small trees or bushes, laid gravel and painted a
colourful mural.

Ms Bodden’s role included
marshalling supplies, from borrowed wheelbarrows to donated plants.  She also gathered talent.

“I called Gordon Solomon Monday
night and asked him to help with a mural for the healing garden,” she said.
“When I talked to him, I could feel him smiling on the phone. He went the very
next morning to get paint, then spent Thursday and Friday outlining the design
for others to fill in on Saturday.”

Sandy Urquart was put in charge of
the Healing Garden. Known in Cayman as the designer of the district parks sponsored
by Dart Corporation,  Mr. Urquart said
the hospital garden project was more exciting because he didn’t have the luxury
of months to plan and he had no way of knowing until 7am that day how many
people would show up.  Deciding what a
hundred people should do was an intense experience.

Mr. Urquart was one of five team
leaders, Ms Bodden said. As volunteers arrived at the hospital they checked in
with Debbie Ebanks, who served as registrar. They were then assigned to the
team painting kerbs and the parking lot lines, or the mural or one of three
gardening sites.

By noon, she had entered 149 people
onto a computerised spreadsheet. Ms Ebanks said people came from all parts of Grand Cayman, representing all age groups and numerous
church affiliations or none at all. Keeping track of the number of workers and
number of hours worked will enable organisers to assign a value to each project,
she said.

Some of the value might not be so
tangible. Ms Bodden said she was involved in the project because of the staff
members who had spent time with her father, the late Jay Bodden, during the two
years he was in and out of the hospital.

“When I think of the extra mile
they went, holding his hand at night when family members couldn’t be there, I couldn’t
not want to help,” she said.

“I want the hospital to be attractive for them when they come to work. And somehow
or another, everybody has a connection
to the hospital, either by using it themselves or visiting friends or family,”
she pointed out. “That’s my reason for wanting the hospital to shine.”

Another group was the unheralded
but not unappreciated people who provided refreshments for workers.

The commitment to community service
is meant to be a sustained campaign. Mr. Urquart hopes that is so. Although his
garden plans call for drought-resistant plants needing little water, he hopes a
few people will come by every three or four months to maintain what has been

Mr. Hoeksema also hopes that Do
Something will lead to a little something more. He would like to see a fountain
or water feature in the Healing
Garden, along with waste
bins that blend into the new landscape and a few comfortable chairs and tables.

To that list, Mr. Urquart would add
signage. People inside the hospital building need to know where the gardens
are, he pointed out.


Do Something Cayman projects

1 May – Frances Bodden Girls Home

22 May – John A. Cumber Primary School

29 May – George Town Primary School


Bamboo has been growing in the hospital courtyard for several years, but on Saturday workers added new trees, fresh soil and a gravel cover.
Photo: Carol Winker

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