I went to the school today to take my friend Carole, her mother-in-law Janet and the kids to drop off donations that Janet had collected for Holy Cross. She brought so many wonderful things including big crayons that are easy for small hands to hold, tooth paste & brushes, puzzles, stickers, hand made knit toys by a woman at her church and much needed bowls and cups in bright Caribbean colors.
It is Easter holidays for the kids right now, but many of them were hanging out at the school as a group from the states arrived Sunday and came to volunteer with carpentry, painting and bible study. It is not often you see kids excited to go to school during holidays, but the kids were so happy to have these folks spend time with them. It is important that they have the option come to school over Easter break because the area where many of the students live is not really a place where they can run around play and just be kids.
San Mateo is an area of San Pedro that many never get to see when they visit the beautiful island paradise of Ambergris Caye. It is right across the bridge to the north and behind Holy Cross School. Many of the students that attend Holy cross live in this area. Most of the houses are made from found materials and are not in the best of shape. While there is some running water in this area they get it for maybe a couple of hours a day and there is no sewage system.
My walk to pick up Carole Janet and the gang, the school, San Mateo and back was 2.04 miles which = 7186 steps. That works out to 41 minutes of aerobic activity and 4165 aerobic steps. No wonder I was ready for a sandwich and fresh pineapple juice when I got home.
Carole, Janet and the kids getting the tour
Snack time a cup of Cheerios a banana and a nature valley bar
Kids hanging out in the classroom
Enjoying juice and fruit
Kids singing and having a ball
Back area of the school
The bridge that takes the kids from San Mateo to the school every day
Homes are often made using found materials
Plank walkways are common to this neighborhood as it is very swampy and the land surrounding the houses is rarely dry
Many of the houses are quite small when you consider a family is living there. Some people have bigger bathrooms and walk in closets
Not much yard space for the kids to play
Next time you are going home consider how lucky you are not to have to walk a plank to get to your house
More found materials for building
This house has a bit of a deck beside it
Imagine carrying a load of groceries home
The houses on low ground
2 thoughts on “Another Side of Paradise”
Having just returned from Ambergris Caye, I can tell you that the pictures on this website barely give you a feeling for what living conditions in San Mateo are like. The prior comment regarding electricity is correct: no electricity, no running water, and no sewers. The ares outside the “houses” serve as instant dumps, because there is no other option for residents. The work Holy Cross is doing is unbelievably needed and incredibly wonderful! If you have the chance, GO see this place and participate in its growth and service. You will be changed by the experience.
Wow what do they use for cooking? Most places do not seem to have electricity or chimneys. This is the side of Paradise that most vacationers never get to see. Thanks for the insight.