Gaspar, one of the Holy Cross kids has been having back to back seizures. They think he may have water on the brain. He is going to Belize city for tests on Monday to see what is wrong and what needs to be done.
Nurse Glenda organized a bbq at the cut today to help raise money for an MRI and lodging for Gaspar and his mom in Belize city. It was nice to see a good turn out from local people to help a San Mateo family who really needs it. By the time we left Nurse Glenda said they had raised about half the money needed for the initial tests. Once they know what is the cause of Gaspar's seizures and how much it will cost to fix it they can cross that bridge.
Good turn out
Dear Friends, I just received this lovely letter from a seminary student who volunteered at Holy Cross from May through August. It made my heart smile and I wanted to share it with each of you!
I know I speak for every volunteer that spends time at Holy Cross when I say that the impact of the school is far wider than just your little corner of the world. You have changed a lot of lives for the better, including my own, and I pray every day that the school continues to flourish in spite of its financial difficulties.
I received your letter in the mail regarding the filing cabinet and it really was my pleasure to make that contribution to the school. I wish I could do more from here, but at this point my own finances are exceedingly tight. I am looking for a job, and once I find one I fully intend to send a chunk of my first pay check your way.
I haven't been able to stop talking about my summer. I think my roommates are getting sick and tired of hearing me "You Betta Belize It!!" every opportunity I get.
Thanks again for all of your work.
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,
Today was the Independence Day Parade for some of the schools. Holy Cross kids were very excited to participate. Some of the girls added some red white and blue to their hairdo's showing some Independence day spirit. Many parents came along to help chaperon the kids and enjoy the fun.
The kids all had a blast from waiting for the parade to start and having fun in central park after it was done to racing down the beach spotting dolphins then getting sidetracked by an octopus as the dolphins moved further away.
Waiting on the bleachers
Coral Beach Realty cart sticked with water and extra flags
Miss Sharon handing out extra flags
Holy Cross Banner
Getting lined up for the parade
Holy Cross kids take over middle street
View from our veranda
Holy Cross tapestry
Belize Flag holders - a very important job
Hitching a ride with the Dj
Kids having fun
Marching in the parade
Red white and blue braids
Strike a pose
Girls all dolled up for the parade
Playing in the park
After party in the park
Watching Dolphins heading towards Ramon's
Checking out an octopus
Recently a local friend dropped off a bag of change that he had been collecting as a donation for the school. I put it on my chore list yesterday to count it up and see how much was there so I could let him know and have a total for Miss Linda at the office.
I sifted through the bag and separated out a few quarters and 50-cent pieces but the bulk of the money was in nickels and pennies. I had pen and paper beside me marking a line every time I counted out one dollar worth of coins. The total came to $82.54, for some that may not seem like a lot but to the Holy Cross kids it is a great contribution.
This just goes to show how something so simple as putting change that we often take for granted aside can add up and make a difference.
Holy Cross would like to send thanks to all those who continue make a difference, be it collecting loose change, sending a check, doing a fundraiser, picking up a paint brush sending things down for the kids and so much more.
It was Standing room only at the services at Holy Cross school this afternoon. The kids looked smart in their uniforms, many parents were there setting a new record with about 280 in attendance. Richard and Cindy led the services and parents had the opportunity to meet Miss Grace the new school Principal.
Students to the front - parents to the back
Richard and Cindy giving the Church service
Miss Grace our new school principal
Miss Sharon handing out snacks
Many Parents came to church
Kids enjoying their snacks
Juice and a snack was served after services
First day of school and what a busy day it was, Vernon said that one parent had told him their child was so excited they were woken up at 5 am. Miss Linda was so busy in the office that she did not even have time to make a pot of coffee.
The new classrooms are full and students are still trying to register and being put on a waiting list. As it stands there are 480 kids right now.
All students need to be tested to make sure they are in the right classes then the school can get a better idea if how many kids for each class and grade and address the waiting list.
Miss Sharom ringing school bell - back to class