San Mateo Road Building Continues

Anyone who has visited San Mateo in the last two years knows the absolutely transformational effect the roads have had on this community. Previously, all residents had to walk in and out on precarious "london bidges" - thin walkways made of old planks build over the dark and suspicious lagoon waters. But now - thanks to the roads - access in and out of the community is much, much easier and daily life improves as locals can now have building materials and drinking water delivered much closer to home.

The road building began with the University of Mississippi, who together with members of the local community who were sick of waiting for local authorities to act, formed the San Mateo Community Empowerment Project. It has now transformed the local community by providing access.

Here's the story of the latest road building told in the excellent words of the San Perdo Sun, our local newspaper here in San Pedro. (View this article with aditional images are read other great articles from the San Pedro Sun  here.)

"The members of the San Mateo Empowerment Project continued with their main goal over the past weekend; to expand the San Mateo road. In the past two weeks, some 24 volunteer students from the University of Mississippi, USA paid a visit to San Pedro Town where they participated in many volunteer projects; one of which was to helping with the road expansion in San Mateo.
Over the last two weekends, beginning in the early morning, the volunteer students along with San Mateo residents and community members were off to work, caps in hand, to expand the road into new areas. Equipped with wheelbarrows, buckets and shovels, the group was able to make significant progress.

According to coordinator Kim Shackelford, to date over 850 linear feet of road has been constructed. The road is 12 feet wide and three feet deep and has a solid concrete base of limestone. Another section of the road, leading to the next section of the lagoon was completed.

Shackelford said that the success of the project is widely attributed to the excellent cooperation from the San Mateo community. “We have a strong commitment from the community which is good for the success of the project so far,” explained Shackelford.

While there has been some help from the larger community of San Pedro, Shackelford explained that there are still some misconceptions. “Some people outside of San Mateo feel that there are not as many people living in the San Mateo area,” said Shackelford.

Slowly but surely the road is moving along replacing the London Bridges in the San Mateo area. The road project has been materializing mainly through the efforts of the “Ole Miss” students who continue to raise funds at their University to purchase materials. Along with the San Mateo residents, the volunteer students push forward, giving of their time when visiting Belize with the final goal to complete the roads."

Thanks everyone for your hard work.


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