BELIZE MINISTRY UPDATES
In 2005, members of our parish and community established a relationship with remote villages in Southern Belize. As more volunteers traveled to Belize and resolved to make a difference, All Saints Belize Mission became Barefoot Children Ministries, a nonprofit corporation. With each trip to Belize our impact is obvious as we celebrate life and share clean water with a new generation of healthier families inside schools and churches that we built alongside community members.
During the covid-19 pandemic, Barefoot Children Ministries provided medical assistance, sanitation supplies, educational materials, fruit trees, food staples, and high school scholarships, as well as assistance for widows and orphans.
In March of this year, four long-time missionaries flew to Belize to evaluate current needs and to determine best practices and projects for future travels. We visited eleven communities in which Barefoot Children Ministries has volunteered. We delivered over 650 tree seedlings to families in Corazon Creek, Otoxha, Dolores, and Machakil Ha, and we provided sports equipment, sanitation supplies, hand soap, and masks for the eight schools we visit annually. We met with eighteen widows assisted through the Binny Fund. We repaired the school water pump in Blue Creek, checked the condition of several past construction projects, and began planning future projects. Although, due to covid, we had not planned to meet with high school students sponsored by our scholarship fund, we were pleased to cross paths with a few current students and several graduates. Best of all, we were reunited with many long-time friends and found all of them to be healthy! Community leaders, principals, and students were anxious to hear about our plans for future visits.
In June, we returned to Belize with a team of eleven volunteers. During that week, we replaced parts on San Lucas’ solar-powered water purification system, which we built in 2019, and helped the community build a new school playground. Our teaching volunteers provided phonics, comprehension, and math activities to bring students in San Lucas and Corazon Creek up to speed following two years of distance learning. We delivered school supplies, rosaries, hygiene care bags and flip flops to the two primary schools and brought supplies for seventeen students sponsored by our high school scholarship fund. Fr. Joe said Mass in Dolores, Corazon Creek, and San Lucas, and through our partnership with Ya’axche Conservation Trust we distributed 236 fruit tree seedlings to families in Blue Creek and San Lucas. At the end of the week, we attended Machakil Ha Solar Partnership’s inauguration of solar power in the village. BCM provided piping and storage materials to ensure that the community has water even during the dry season. The highlight of the day was meeting three Indigenous women, trained as solar engineers, who install and maintain solar power in rural communities! It turned out to be quite a celebration with government officials and news reporters traveling the new road to the village. (We’ll miss the horseback riding.) THANK YOU to our donors, volunteers who work with us in the US, those who set aside the comforts of home to join us in Belize, our partners in Belize, and our friends in Belize who welcome us into their communities, prepare delicious meals, and even let us hold their babies! We are so very blessed!