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“London Bridges” No More!

San Mateo Residents Hope to one day Eliminate those Unsightly Walkways

San Mateo residents’ dream of having proper roads that will lead to having proper water, electricity, and sewage systems is slowly becoming a reality. In March of this year a ground breaking ceremony was held for the commencement of a one and a half mile road thanks to the efforts of the San Mateo Empowerment Project Committee. Now things seem a bit brighter thanks to the efforts of the SMEPC and to Heather and Cathy of Direct Abundance who have been working together for the betterment of the San Mateo Subdivision.

The Holy Cross Anglican School recently adapted to having a waste water garden and is now using a state of the art composting flush toilets. Heather Zwicker of Direct Abundance (a Canadian non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of young people in struggling developing world communities through education, and poverty reduction) has come up with the idea to implement phase one of basic composting toilets for all residents in the San Mateo Subdivision.

This is an invaluable project for the area to clean up from the ground on up. Representatives of the Holy Cross Anglican School and Direct Abundance appeared on Reef Radio’s Morning Show on Thursday, August 26 where they talked about the eco-friendly waste management system plans for San Mateo and about the new roads that are being built.

On Sunday, September 5, a group of volunteers along with residents of the San Mateo Subdivision joined forces to work on the new road for the area and they worked in full force placing rocks and sand along the way, as well as cleaning up the area. Members of the community show up to work on the road every week and they are averaging 25 ft a week. The effort of the community members and all those who volunteer their time and services to help San Mateo Subdivision should be applauded since their efforts of working hand in hand for the betterment of the area has come a long way.

The San Mateo Empowerment Project is a fundraising campaign created by students in the University Of Mississippi Dept. of Social Work to support a community-led effort in San Mateo, Belize, to replace miles of dangerous plank bridges with gravel and sand roads. The construction of roads will remove a serious safety hazard for children and lead to wider access to water, electricity, and sewage systems for thousands of San Mateo’s residents.

The first phase of the project will cost $285,000. The students need to raise $10,000 a month for two years. If you want to donate – the cost is $1 per cubic foot, $36 for a linear foot of road and $108 dollars for a linear yard of road. You can help by pledging a donation of any amount and spreading the word! Please contact one of the group’s administrators if you’d like to get involved. Please join the San Mateo Empowerment Project facebook to keep updated on progress

-photos provided by Tacogirl

Makeshift pathways in San Mateo areaMakeshift pathways in San Mateo areaChilren make their way out of their homes in water-filled lotsResidents and volunteers work on the streetNew street in area looking goodWater System at Holy Cross

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