Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 1at Holy Cross School

Woke up to clouds this morning, but it cleared up soon after. Had a delightful walk down the beach to Holy Cross. All was quiet when we arrived. We wandered around a little to see the changes and then met Lydia, the new volunteer Coordinator with her son Jonathan in tow. Francis came in soon after that and we presented the Feeding program money to her. She was delighted as they are in dire need. The breakfast program will run through this week and then will be cancelled due to lack of funds and they will be charging for snacks. The PTA has decided that the parents who can should pay $10 BZ ($5 US) for lunch. They began collecting that today and over 200 families paid today so maybe that will help keep that intact.

John, Francis, Jonathan, Lydia, and Jan

We had breakfast and then Mr. Freddie took us through the new state of the art composting bathrooms. Amazing! The bathrooms are beautiful and then we went downstairs to see the workings. The waste comes through the pipes to the round centrifugal separator where the liquid waste goes in one pipe and the solid waste drops to the black composter below. It is divided into four sections and it takes three months to fill one section and then it is rotated. At the end of the year the compost from the first section is ready to use in the garden.

They are trying to minimize the amount of water they use as it's very expensive. They have placed timers on the urinals so they flush every 4 hours instead of each use. When the system is complete they will actually reuse the gray water and totally eliminate town water at all. Mr. Freddy's tool room has been moved down here also with shelves all around the room. It's neat as a pin!

The building and the breezeway where the tools used to be stored is now becoming a sewing center as part of the Empowerment Project in San Mateo. Eight sewing machines had been donated by someone in the states. After months in customs they have finally arrived at the school. Once they get enough money to complete the room, there are ladies in San Mateo who will have a job making uniforms for Holy Cross and other schools in the community to purchase. The blessings keep on coming!
We then headed into San Mateo to go see the new road. There are actually two roads at the moment, the original Empowerment Project road coming from the Lagoon and the road from the bridge that is being built by the town. After the people began to build their own road, the powers that be were more or less shamed into helping in some way. We came to the town road first. It is being built on a foundation of trash. No food but lots of plastic bottles, leftover construction materials and seaweed etc that comes onto shore. Then they put some sand and gravel over the top. But, it is better than the "London Bridges" that are there now. The down side of this road is that with the trash have come the rats. They are looking at ways to address that issue early before they get out of control.
John on a "London Bridge".

As we were walking with Lydia we ran into Maggie, one of the ladies who will work in the Sewing Project. She has five children, two in high school, 2 at Holy Cross and a little one at home. One of those in high school is Lionel who used to sell us his jewelry.

This is Maggie's house. Fairly typical for a lot of San Mateo houses though we did see quite a lot of improvement in the housing. After a few more "London Bridges" we came to the Empowerment Project road. Now this is a real road. They are bringing huge rocks from the lagoon and using them as the foundation for the road and then filling with gravel and sand. A much better road that will last much longer.

We walked all the way down to the lagoon and then back across the "London Bridges" to school. We saw lots of new paint, building materials and a general air of confidence and hope as we would chat with folks along the way.
Time for job assignments! Due to a few physical limitations the heavy construction was out of the question, so the guys worked on prep for the water garden membrane. It has to be a totally smooth and level surface, no roots, small trees, rocks etc to break the membrane. It was HOT in the sun, but a great sea breeze that made it much more pleasant.
The ladies worked on putting the donations away (thank you very much!), distributing vitamins that were in 55 pound bags into canisters for each classroom and then began with the prep work for heights and weights and the medical work next week. We accomplished quite good work!
Just before we left Jan's friend Isolene came by after she finished her day in High School. Jan is providing the scholarship for her to go to High School and it's a wonderful relationship.

We headed home about 3:45 and cooled off a bit and had showers. There are two Scots here that we met over the weekend with whom we've had great conversations. They were in Cozamel for a wedding and went down to Tikal in Guatemala and worked their way back here, going through San Ignacio. Delightful guys.
For dinner we split as the guys wanted to watch the girls Duke basketball game. Guess they needed some hope after the Sunday guys game. John and his ladies went back to the Blue Water Grill and had a delightful dinner. The guys didn't fare so well...dinner was good, but the entertainment not what they hoped for.

Today was a great start to the week!

No comments: