Today’s post comes as a follow up to yesterday. After seeing Heather’s letter – Maureen sent me the speech she gave at her church and a picture pf the pink toilet they have been using for fundraising motivation. While reading her words it all came flooding back to me – that first hook up between the Sowders and the Direct Abundance girls. All of us excitedly talking over big @ss burritos at Waruguma. I was also there a couple of times to document the excitement at Holy Cross from the magic red suitcase and all the treasure inside.
Once again I ask you all to please put your thinking caps on and help us to make contact with people who can help turn the rough concept drawings Heather has into a reality. She needs to find someone who has experience with building wastewater gardens to help do the building plans for the first system – volunteers to help hands on with the builds (Maureen’s group is coming in June and I know they feel the more the merrier to help get this job done.)
I am really happy to stand here before you today and say “I am blessed”. When Pastor Peter asked me to join the mission committee and advocate for those in Belize, I of course accepted without hesitation but I didn’t realize it would grow to actually bringing my church family directly from Johnstown to my home away from home or more than bringing our “Magic Red Suitcase” as Miss Francis from Holy Cross School calls it.
That’s the suitcase we have taken the past several years with your generous donations in it. I am so happy and proud to see how much you all as a church family are embracing this mission (Including you Nicole Hill)! When Tracy and I originally booked this trip, I had an idea there was talk about a church mission trip but I didn’t know it would happen this year GOD IS GOOD!
As you have seen in videos and presentations before, the families of San Mateo are in vast need of help. I was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to meet the right people. My friends, Joanne O’Brien and Heather Zwicker together founded Direct Abundance and started the San Mateo Sanitation Project. Our mutual friend Laurie Norton who lives on the island said to us “I am so glad you are here at the same time to meet each other, I think you can help each other”. Since then we have worked in different ways trying to help the people of San Mateo and the island of Ambergris Caye.
Most of the children of San Mateo do not go past an 8th grade education and the cycle of life isn’t ever broken because of this.
The turning point for me in knowing I was doing something right was a few years ago when we were there I was working in the library and saw another volunteer was helping a little boy read, I could tell she was getting frustrated and I gently suggested she take a break and I would sit with him. I could also see the little boy didn’t recognize his letters, he was trying to remember them. I had him help me make him an alphabet book out of scrap paper and I kept reciting the letters and sounds of the alphabet with him. When I saw the light in that little boys eyes light up and he kept saying “can I have this I want to show my mom how to say the letters” I knew then – I was in the right place at the right time. I found out that day, that little boy is also a child resident of San Mateo. Why was I there that moment the other volunteer didn’t want to be there? I know why…. GOD IS GOOD!
These are the children that live in little shacks on stilts that have no fresh water or toilet facilities and have to walk on the little narrow boards across contaminated water to get where they need to go. I know the pink toilet we have here may be hideous but we are SO LUCKY to even have that as a reminder, others don’t even have one to use.