Happy Independence and World Peace Day
September 21, 2007
Dear Friends, Happy Independence Day from Belize!! This small country is celebrating 26 years of nationhood today - September 21st, with parades, fireworks and proud displays of patriotism. Meanwhile we at Holy Cross Anglican School are rejoicing in our ONE year anniversary!!!! On September 4, 2006 Holy Cross opened with 3 classrooms, 62 students, no furniture, swamp land and an incredible dream - to provide the highest quality education at the lowest cost to the economically disadvantaged children of San Pedro.
On September 11, 2007 - by the grace of God and the incredible support of our friends locally and throughout the world - Holy Cross opened (after dodging two category 5 hurricanes) with - take a deep breath...462 students(!), 15 classrooms, a Special Education Department, Chapel/cafeteria, School Office/Infirmary, Dental Outpost, 16 teachers, a principal and a vice-principal, school nurse/councilor and an office manager/bookkeeper. I have seen this all happen and still can't believe its true!!
The School continues to provide a protein rich breakfast with milk, mid-morning fresh fruit snack and a full nutritious lunch, at no cost, to all our students. In addition, our youngest children (Infant I, II and Standard I) receive a multi-vitamin daily. Students who cannot afford back packs, shoes, uniforms, socks and/or underware receive these needed items and all basic school supplies are available free of cost. Our school Nurse, Miss Glenda, provides basic health care, screenings, loving hugs and wise council. She promptly refers (and usually accompanies) our students with more serious problems to the local Health Clinic, arranges home visits with social workers and even meets with local officials - all in an effort to promote a healthy, safe environment for our children.
A few days ago I saw my local doctor. She shared wonderful stories of how Holy Cross was literally changing lives in this community. "You will never know", she said, "how many people come into my office and tell me what a blessing Holy Cross is - the mom with four children who can now afford to send all of them to school; a single mother who can finally get a job because lunch is provided at the school; the folks who thank God that other people (that's YOU!) care enough to make this school possible." There were tears in my eyes and an even stronger determination in my heart!
Holy Cross Anglican School is indeed a beacon of hope to many families in San Pedro and the Light of Christ is shining brightly. At Family Church Services just last week, over 280 students and their parents jammed our little Chapel to worship together and offer prayers of thanksgiving. In the midst of a troubled and chaotic world, this 'not so little any more' school is impacting lives and offering the opportunities for better tomorrows.
All of us are praying that you will continue your financial and spiritual support so that Holy Cross can continue to care for and educate the little ones on this Island. Remember, the Government of Belize only pays for teacher salaries* - everything else (construction costs, Feeding Program, transportation for our handicapped students, land fill, uniforms, school supplies, school nurse, water, gas, electricity, telephone, field trips, medical expenses, bookkeeper/office manager, resource materials, and the list goes on...) - depends in great measure on YOUR donations and prayers of support!!!!!
[* The Government of Belize has undertaken to provide free textbooks to all students this year. Although a worthy idea, the plan has been fraught with difficulties from the very beginning. The most critical problem is that most schools, including Holy Cross, are still awaiting delivery of the books. They are 'trickling' in but not one of our classes has all the textbooks they need - pray for delivery of ALL our textbooks - quickly!!]
I thank God that you have taken your time to read this Update and I also thank God for your willingness to share your many blessings with His less fortunate children in Belize!
So, just why does Holy Cross so desperately need your support right now?
1) Construction costs for building 9 new classrooms, expansion of the School kitchen and cafeteria area ran almost $100,000US. With the help of volunteer mission teams this past summer and their financial contributions, the current construction debt is right at $60,000US. PLEASE HELP!
2) The School had to purchase 300 new student desks, 12 teacher desks, 9 large bookshelves, 10 tables and so many chairs I lost count. Total costs of furniture was approximately $7,000US. And then there were brooms, trash cans, dust pans, water holders, cups, plates, spoons, fans, poster board....PLEASE HELP!!
3) Our wonderful Feeding Program is also incredibly expensive. Our current cost estimate, based on the first few weeks of school is $2US per child per day. Not bad for two nutritious snacks and a full lunch, but with over 450 students eating everyday that amounts to $1,000US+ PER WEEK - PLEASE HELP!!!
4) Land fill, our continuing nightmare, is costing $70US per truckload (7 cubic yards of sand). We lost some of the headway we had made through erosion during the recent hurricanes. We literally need tons of land fill - first to fill in under the new classrooms (Ministry of Education is NOT happy with classrooms in the water!), then to build the access road through San Mateo to the School and finally to build our desperately needed playground. Just imagine 450+ students spending break times on wooden decks - PLEASE HELP!!!!
5) Salaries for our School Nurse and our School bookkeeper/office manager are NOT paid by the Government. We consider these two ladies vital members of staff who contribute greatly to the health and well-being of our students - to say nothing about the sanity of our teachers! Their combined salaries are $375US per week - PLEASE HELP!!!!!
6) Utilities (water, electricity, gas for cooking and telephone are running around $1,500US per month. You just wouldn't believe how expensive water is!!! PLEASE HELP!!!!!!
7) The School incurred almost $7,000US in unplanned for debt in the process of preparing for and then un-preparing for two category #5 hurricanes, Dean and Felix - PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!
And then Holy Cross needs additional bathrooms (approximate cost $30,000US), a computer room AND computers (at least $25,000US), a playground, a high speed copy machine, furnishing for our Infirmary, and a life time supply of aspirin for ME!!!!!!
No gift is too small to be greatly appreciated and we'd love to be adopted by some incredibly wealthy philanthropist(s). Where are Oprah and Bill Gates when we need them?!? We just keep praying and reciting the little poem that has become our informal School mission statement:
"Little drops of water, tiny grains of sand make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land"
I invite you to become or continue to be the 'drops of water and grains of sand' that create a better today and brighter tomorrow for the students of Holy Cross Anglican School.
Please send checks made payable to "Holy Cross Anglican School"
Holy Cross Anglican School
San Pedro Town
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Many thanks and blessings,