Friday, January 27, 2017

Where exactly are we?

St. Luke's will again have two weeks of mission work at Holy Cross Anglican School in San Mateo in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye in Belize.  Because I flew Southwest Airlines and their flight arrives in the evening, I arrived a day before the rest of the team.  I have never been to Belize before, and was mightily confused about whether I was going to San Pedro or San Mateo!  When Jan arrived, she was able to help me figure out where in the world I was.
We are in Belize, the country south of Mexico and east of Guatemala:

We are on the island of Ambergris Caye, an island 28 miles long and 3 blocks (yes, blocks. Not miles.) wide, which provides 30% of the Belize GDP because of their tourism activity.  You can see Ambergris Caye on the above map in the water near the top right of Belize--a tiny portion of the country--especially when you know 1/3 of the country's income comes from this island.  

Near the bottom of the island, you can see the city of San Pedro.  It has about 16,000 residents, many restaurants, and hosts the airport for many resorts.  

San Mateo is something like a neighborhood or suburb of San Pedro.  The island was split in half many years ago when a hurricane ripped through and created a river between the north and the south.  San Mateo is in the north, and its 1,600 residents had not even basic roads, electricity, etc until just a few years ago.  Here is more information about San Mateo.  Holy Cross Anglican School is the center of community of activity in San Mateo.

Now I know where I am, and I hope you do, too.
                                       Helen Svoboda-Barber

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