School in the Swamp

I’m friends with some really cool people. And one of those friends, is my friend D, who, along with her family, came with us to Belize. And without saying anything to me, she googled around until she found a small school near our condo which was in need of… well, a lot. D emailed back and forth with the woman in charge there, and arranged to bring some school supplies down for them. So she and her husband hauled a bag of pens, notebooks, bulletin board decorations, etc. with them. So one day during our week, we were able to go give them to the school administration.

Here’s the school:

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It was built on swamp land, near the one of the worst neighborhoods on Ambergris Caye. The government in Belize will pay for teachers, but not facilities. So many of the schools partner with other organizations to help fund them. This particular school was under a Catholic diocese, I believe, and most of their funding comes through donations and volunteers. This year, a volunteer team had just come down and installed a roof water system that would help the school provide its own water, instead of buying city water.

The volunteer coordinator there told us many children on the island don’t attend school, simply because there aren’t enough. And kids who don’t have official paperwork or who miss the registration day can’t attend until they get their paperwork (a huge feat for poor people who can’t afford to go to the mainland) or until the following year, when registration happens again.

She also told us they were always in need of things, and have a “wish list” posted on their website. I’m writing about it here, because I’d like to help them, but also as a reminder that helping can be so simple. All it takes is an extra suitcase and a little research before you go on vacation. If you are heading to Belize and/or would like to help the school, let me know and I’ll get you the contact information.

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