I asked Chris Lloyd if he would like to share his experience in volunteering for the school by writing a short piece that I could post in the Holy Cross Blog. Included in the email he sent is his personal blog with more about his 3 months volunteering at Holy Cross.
Hey folks!! Many of you requested an email about my experiences upon my return from Belize, so here goes! I apologize this has taken me so long to send!!
First off, let me begin by saying that Hurricane Dean passed over Belize with very little damage and no loss of life. San Pedro, Holy Cross, and San Mateo all fared better than one would expect given the fact that they were directly in the path of what became a category 5 hurricane. A lot of prayers were answered, and I am very very thankful for the outcome.
On Wednesday, August 15th I took an early morning flight back to the US from what had become my home-away-from-home for the previous three months in Belize, Central America. It was an absolutely incredible experience, and one that I will not soon forget. I spent most of my time at Holy Cross Anglican School in San Pedro, which is on an Island just off the coast of Belize City.
The warm and welcoming environment of San Pedro was unbelievable. Belize is a nation of such rich diversity that anyone who spends any amount of time there is bound to feel welcome in a familiar, yet distinct cultural environment. San Pedro itself consists of "Gringo", Garifuna, Spanish, and Creole cultures all living in relative harmony. Yet Belize, and San Pedro in particular, also consists of another kind of diversity that we in the US don't often see. Walking down the beach in San Pedro Town, you are surrounded by quaint hotels, locals selling their wares to passing tourists, gift shops, ice cream stores, restuarants serving both local and international cuisine, and honeymooners swooning over eachother along the sandy shores.
Yet a short fifteen minute walk past all of this brings you to a vastly different world. San Mateo, the little village where the school is located, has no sewage systems, very little running water (most days none at all), and no sanitation system of any kind. I spent a lot of time walking through this area and each time was more humbling than the next. Seeing the conditions that many of Holy Cross's children come from makes me want to do something more than simply being there. Holy Cross Anglican School is providing such a needed service (part of the school is a medical clinic, there is a nurse on staff full time, and each child recieves two nutritious meals a day, for just a few dollars a year) that I was proud and honored to be a part of its efforts.
To those of you who are recieving this email that work at or with the school, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you. You gave me an opportunity to see firsthand how people with vision and determination can change their little parts of the world for the better. I miss you all already.
To everyone else, thank you for your kind support, financially, spiritually or otherwise, as I undertook this venture the last three months.
I will be posting photos on my blog as soon as they are developed. The link to it is as follows: http://chrisinbelize.livejournal.com/
I apologize for the long email, but there was much to say. I hope that this email finds you all well. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I continue my work towards a Masters in Educational Ministries at Gordon-Conwell.
Love and Blessings,