|The new rainwater tank at Holy Cross Anglican School|
For all those who spoke with Francis and Vernon, founders of Holy Cross Anglican School, you will know that they have long wanted to collect the abundant rainwater that San Mateo receives and use it in place of the much more expensive town water supply we currently use. Yet for a vision that sounds so simple, this one remained elusive... until now.
|The full team - St Helena's, All Saints, Grace Church, Water Missions, Holy Cross.|
But the gift of water was only part of the gift Water Missions International gave the school and the community. Each day the team was here, they ran activities in San Mateo, either announcing the project, doing health and hygiene classes with the children, doing classes with the women and also celebrating the installation of the system. Throughout these activities they shared a simple yet powerful gospel message - just as water is life, Jesus is the living water that gives us life. Just as water needs to be filtered to removed contamination, so too Jesus died on the cross to remove the contamination of sin from our lives. They prayed with the community, shared stories, encouraged and celebrated.
|Health and hygiene training in the school cafeteria|
One of the things that made this project special was the way many groups came together to make the project possible. The project was made possible by Grace Church, Yorktown, Virginia who had visited the school a year ago with a team and were moved the the water situation in San Mateo and the school. They began exploring options and discovered Water Missions Belize, who were able to provide the expert staff and design for this project. Also partnering with the project was St Helena’s, Beaufort, South Carolina who also had a partner relationship with All Saints in Belize City. It may sound confusing but bringing this diverse group together was incredible, especially seeing the Belizean youth partnering with the American youth and realizing they were capable of making change in their own country.
|Community celebration - fun songs with the local children|
A huge thank you to all who made this possible for Holy Cross School. We are truly thankful and humbled by your generosity.
Once again Holy Cross were blessed by the presence of teams of
volunteers over the summer. Some were new teams, here for the first
time, while others were those who had partnered with us for many years.
It was a wonderful time as old friendships were renewed, new friendships
made and people from all over the USA came together with a common
purpose of helping the children of Belize.
|New railing gets a coat of paint|
If you are interested in sending a volunteer team over the coming year - such a spring break or summer or even mid year, please contact us at email@example.com to find out more information. There is always something for you to do.
Holy Cross Anglican School, and the Rotary Clubs of San Ignacio and Belize City and are very excited to report an exciting first step for safe drinking water in San Mateo! This is a huge step forward for the local residents, many of whom have running water that is at risk of contamination from the dirty groundwater that surrounds the water pipes entering the community.
|Ann Kuffner leading training with first members of the community to receiving the Rotary Filters|
So far 7 units have been given to the San Mateo community, with the hope of more to follow.
Like many good achievements, this has come as a result of many, many individuals working together for the common good.These include:
- The Rotary Clubs of San Ignacio and Belize, for all their hard work securing these filters for the families and children of Belize
- Kim Shackelford from the San Mateo Community Empowerment Project, for connecting us to the community.
- Lisa Tillett, from the Ministry of Health, for all your input and experience and wonderful co-operation.
- Ann Kuffner, for all your work coordinating between the different groups, leading training and being the person on the ground doing all this hard work.
- Heather Zwicker, from Belize Community Conservation, for introducing the school to Ann, so that we could be a small part of this wonderful project
- The many other;s whose names I don't know but your work was important in seeing this happen.
A huge thank you for everyone involved in this project. Your dedication to the families of San Mateo is truly appreciated.
|Local residents learn how to use the filters properly|
|The proud owner of a new filtration system.|
|Getting ready to march to the stage|
|Singing a song|
|Receiving certificates from Vice Principal Mrs Tasher|
|Just too cute|
You wouldn't have thought it as our softball team headed for the district playoffs, but this was the first year that many of them had played softball. But here they were, two confident teams with wins already under their belt.
|Coach Mr Brandon Bood, Manager Mr Carlos|
Coba with the Holy Cross Boy's Softball Team
This is the first year Holy Cross has had a softball team and we owe our successful start to St Thomas Episcopal Church in Massachusetts, who generously donated us several large bags of uniforms, bats, balls and catchers gear last summer when they came as a volunteer team to the school. Also this year one of our new teachers - Mr Brandon Bood - is a very experienced softball coach and had previously coached a team who won the national finals.
So for many reasons we were very confident. Mr Bood and our sports teacher Mr Carlos Coba together did a great job of coaching the teams. It wasn't long before the local competitions started.
Both our teams did well.
Our girl's team played San Pedro Roman Catholic School, winning the match.
|Girls team, ready for that fast ball|
The boys had two teams to complete against. First up was Isla Bonita, winning 14-6. Next they faced San Pedro Roman Catholic School, winning 8-4.
|Boy's team, waiting their turn|
As often is the case, beating one obstacle just brings the next. Our team was eligible to play at the district level, facing all the other schools from the various areas in the Belize district. But if, and only if, we could raise $300 US in 5 days. Well, trusting in miracles and the generosity of the many who support us, I put out the appeal. And God had gone before us. I had asked St Thomas church, who had donated the equipment, and not only did they get my email which was sent to and address they almost never check anymore, but the Senior Youth Group at the church had already arranged a fundraiser for that weekend and were happy to support the team as part of it - WOW!
Our teams were thrilled to head off to the district level playoffs. For some, this was the first time they'd been of the island. For many, it was the first time they'd even seen a real softball field. But they didn't let the big city overwhelm them.
The boys started strong- winning against St Martin De Porres R.C. School 4-2. The next game was tougher as they faced the previous district champions from Crooked Tree Government School. They started well and were leading 4-1 until a couple of simple mistakes lost our team the lead and their confidence. The game finished in a loss, but everyone agreed out team had done well.
The boys team took home two trophies - 2nd place in the Belize District Rural, and 2nd place in the Belize District.
The Girls had a tougher time, playing Buttonwood Bay Nazarene School, loosing 5-0 but still picking up the 2nd place trophy for the Belize District Rural Schools. Well done!
We'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who made this day possible - coaches, teachers, parents, volunteers, donors and staff. We now hold our heads up high thanks to your hard work.
We'd also like to ask for future support for our teams - especially for donations to help our teams go to the mainland for games. Either send us a check, or email firstname.lastname@example.org indicating you're available to ask when sporting needs come up. We also need donations of trophies to host inter-school tournaments at our school, as well as sporting equipment - especially shoes.
|Holy Cross Girl's Softball Team|
|Holy Cross Boys Softball Team|
Labels: Special events
|8th grade students studying hard|
Right now we're looking for individuals, groups, clubs and churches to get together, raise funds and donate a full or partial scholarship for one or more of our thirty-five 8th graders (Standard VI) who will graduate in June.
- Form 1 (First year high school) $750
- Form 2: $850
- Form 3: $1,000
- Form 4: $1,200
|Preparing for exams|
|Thank you to all who made our school possible and our futures bright|
|Nurse Jamilyn - what a cutie!|
Our preschool children are learning many of the same things as their counterparts from around the world - simple numbers, letters, learning through play, how to get along with others and the rules of being in a classroom.
In Belize, few children attend preschool. Often this is because the local preschools are very expensive - one local preschool is charging $25 Belize ($12.50 US) a week per child at preschool - a huge burden when you consider the average wage is $40 BZ per day and families commonly have 5 children. Also, particularly at our school where we focus on providing education for the most disadvantaged children, few have had parents who have had the skill, resources or time to teach their children any of the basic skills and knowledge many western schools take for granted.
Mrs Jamira, the preschool teacher, who previously taught our Infant 1 class (equivalent to K in the US system), had a lot to say about the advantages our preschool is giving our children. In previous years she says it's been common to have many children who arrive at school very unprepared. Many don't have the simple skills you might expect - how to hold a pencil, count to 5, spell their name or know their age, write any letters or even know the names of shapes. With 1 teacher to 25 or more children, it's really tough to fill these gaps in learning while also keeping up with the curriculum. But now, with our preschool, we have a whole class of children who are already learning these skills, who can be role models and helpers to their peers.
Now for the cute pictures! March was child stimulation month and all the preschools had a chance to break out and learn beyond the classroom. Our kids had a ball. Here's a few highlights:
|Culture Day, where all the children came dressed as one of the cultures found in Belize.|
|Community day: All the kids came dressed as a community worker, then spent the day meeting real community workers and learning about their jobs.|
|Three legged races in the park|
|Family Craft day was a hit|