Building a house in San Mateo Belize

Setting Strong Foundations

A wonderful group from United Methodist Church in Johnstown Colorado (UMC) took a volunteer summer vacation and came back to San Pedro. They have done group mission trips 3 times in Belize now. Hope Haven had a great project for them. A Lady named Daisy and her five kids greatly needed a new house.

It all started with this…..

Building a house in San Mateo Belize

The lot had less than ideal conditions for building a house. As soon as Maureen, her husband Tracy and I toured the site with Hilton (the site foreman), our minds sprang into action. We learned that because this job had originally been slated for a later date, there was going to be no fill at the initial stages of the construction. Thankfully it came sooner than later.

We reported the situation back to Lee who was coordinating the group that was yet to come, to add tallish rain boots to the list. I was upfront with Lee and said that I did not believe that water would test clean. They needed to know just what they were getting into when volunteering to set the foundation.

Lee is a strong woman and barely flinched. Everyone understood that this was beyond our control. They were sticking by their mission and giving us all a good example. Even though life sometimes hands you less than perfect circumstances, your original intent of wanting to get your hands dirty and do something really good will reach far and wide.

As you can see above and below, The Johnstown Co. United Methodist Church made sure to budget for many details. Not only did they sign up to be the starting crew on the new house, but they also thoughtfully fell in love the family they were helping and shopped for some practical, fun and educational materials for the kids. I took Maureen and youngest team member Briley to both Caye Supplies and the expanded A&R to choose some decent priced backpacks and learning materials. As you can see in the picture below, the kids were happy. The few times I visited the site, I saw them constantly smiling when the UMC group was there and working on the first stage of a brand new and very exciting chapter of their lives.

Bunkbeds will be going in and everyone is going to get a lot more personal space plus some much-needed quality common areas.

Maureen, her husband Tracy and daughter Briley and I made a thorough list during our site inspection with Hilton. Afterward, Maureen, Lee and I brainstormed it all out by phone. Hope Haven provided an official letter, which allowed Lee and the 15 remaining group members to bring many of the items needed after the house is built. They also contributed some locally purchased construction materials. Even though they could only pack so much, UMC did a great job of filling the needs list by providing the following: smoke detectors, CO2 detectors, faucets, mattresses, sheets, windows, some kitchen wares, bath towels, toiletries, and many other general household items.

Once the house is finished we may still be putting out a call for help to really turn this cute house into a home.

Meanwhile, if you are in Belize and want to go to either store mentioned above, and purchase some useful school supplies or any basic items for kids and drop them off at Hope Haven Shelter, you would be boosting the local economy and helping kids in need. Currently, there are nine children being housed there full time. Grocery donations are also welcome for the shelter kitchen which feeds between 130 – 170 people weekly. That’s a lot of mouths.

This volunteer project would not have been possible without the main sponsor Jamie Terry Phillips Realty Company, and Hilton Claasen, GoodWorld Trading Ltd.

Thanks also go to all Hope Haven volunteers and Brittney O’Daniel for helping the group proceed along the way. And providing everyone the opportunity to be a part of such a life-changing event.

They worked long and hard to get the foundation finished.

Thanks to UMC the foundation was set (posts in concrete), the ground has been filled and the walls got partly framed. That was a big start to a very important job.

Similar words came from many team members “We have not only built a foundation and started a house, but we’ve also built a foundation for a family to start a new life. These projects are not just about the physical work, it is about connecting with the family, loving new people and integrating ourselves into a different culture. It was also about working with the people in charge on the ground and understanding the needs of the family we were helping instead of trying to not impose what we thought they needed.” Maureen Shulz-Sowder on behalf of UMC Colorado group.

At the end of the last day on the Job, everyone stopped at Sandbar on the way home to celebrate.

This event was so special that two group pictures were warranted. One at the job site in front of their hard work, and one on the beach to celebrate. They were then free to enjoy Lobsterfest and the big Block Party.

Building a house in San Mateo Belize

Thanks to Hilton Klassen and Trevor Devalle for sharing progress pictures on the Hope Haven house building project in San Mateo. It is coming along nicely. Thankfully there has not been a lot of rain since the job started.

UMC Johnstown Colorado helped countrywide

While traveling in Belize, UMC also supported the Belize Cancer Center in Dangriga and Blue Water Grill community effort on Ambergris Caye which is currently helping subsidize Hope Haven Shelter’s monthly expenses. At no extra cost, you too can help this important cause by using tacogirl flight code – horizon (in promo code field) when booking online at Tropic Air.

Flight code update, thanks to my generous readers and 19 UMC volunteers for being a wonderful contributing factor. With your help, $172 Belize dollars go to both organizations for the month of June. Stay tuned for July’s donation update.

While dropping off the money to the Blue Water Grill Restaurant, I ran into Mukul part-owner, and he was very grateful for the monthly flight code addition to their fund. We both agree Hope Haven Shelter is a great cause. They really work with the community and try to help people from slipping through the cracks and give people a hand up versus just a handout.

Your free flight code use currently helps Hope Have Shelter by helping to manage ongoing monthly expenses of housing nine full-time children and feeding between 130 – 170 people weekly. In helping feed hungry people healthy meals, you are also feeding their souls.

As for the countrywide group being helped… The Dangriga Cancer Center is invaluable.

The center opens it’s doors to patients across Belize. Currently, 54 people a month need subsidized cancer treatment. Additional extra monthly expenses required by financially disadvantaged patients. Pricing below is in Belize dollars, (half it for USD.)

An average of three patients per month require Herceptin, which is a medically preferred hormone replacement therapy for patients with hormone-positive breast cancer. Generally, this is a medication prescribed in a cycle of 6 doses at a total cost of $3000.

An average of five patients per month requires financial support to pay for diagnostic laboratory and imaging studies. This includes CT scans, other radiology studies, and other lab tests. Almost all of these patients are financially disadvantaged and have little to no resources. Your flight code use goes a long way to helping those who need it most.

This is exactly what your tacogirl flight code use is helping.

The cost of a CT scan which is accessible only in Belmopan and Belize City and is approximately $580.00 BZD. An average set of lab work which includes CBC, Chemistry, and Tumor Marker Test cost approximately $150.00 BZD.

All of the above places a big financial challenge monthly for the Cancer Center and they are extremely grateful tacogirl readers have stepped up to help through a monthly flight code use donation.

The main reason this cause is so near to my heart (RIP Cheryl Morley). She fought a strong battle and now she has gone to the big party in the sky. She reached out to me to help the struggling center and it has been a life-changing experience ever since I took her for treatment one day and learned about Dangriga’s Vital Role in Belize’s Health Care System.

Your flight code horizon use, when you book online at Tropic Air at no extra cost to you, directly helps cancer patients and their families who need a hand, at a most critical time.

Use tacogirl flight code horizon when flying in Belize

Your flight code use also helps me keep providing you with dreamy tropical shots as you can see from my flight to San Pedro above and interesting urban views, below with the Municipal Airport runway in Belize City. You can easily fly to Belize City for the day do a self-guided tour of the Museum and a few other landmarks and be back on the last plane to Ambergris Caye. Teddybear is a great cab driver and he uses WhatsApp: +1 501 600-5002

Ask him to sing for you, he has a great voice. I have sent a few readers on tour with him and they loved it. So did my cousin and her husband.

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