It was a sight we’d prayed for but had not yet seen – the town council coming into San Mateo with trucks full or real road building materials, building good quality roads for the residents of San Mateo. So imagine the excitement when over the last month, truck after truck of good quality fill and hard core rolled into San Mateo, fixing many roads that were in bad state of repair.
Particularly exciting for the school – one of the main roads that leads from San Mateo to the school has now been dramatically improved from permanent puddles full of yucky stuff you didn’t even want to think about to a beautiful new road! For those of you who have taken a walking tour through San Mateo, this was once a street no wider than a path where you had to be careful to jump from rock to rock to keep your shoes dry. Now look at it!
But don’t stop supporting the road building through the University of Mississippi road building project just yet – only existing roads were improved. No new roads were started, meaning residents further back in San Mateo must still use the rickety, unsafe London bridges to access their homes.
Reactions from long time workers in San Mateo were very positive. On the school facebook page, Francis Wilson posted ” Thanks be to God!!! I never thought I’d live long enough to see a dump truck with real fill (not tons of trash) in San Mateo. Many thanks to The new mayor and all the folks who have worked tirelessly over the years to make the plight of San Mateo known…..all the volunteer groups at Holy Cross, Dr. Kim Shackelford’s and her volunteers from the University of Mississippi, Heather Zwicker and the group she started, Belize Community Conservation, and the residents of San Mateo.
Thanks be to God!!” Vernon Wilson added “This proves that a few people with a vision can make a big difference in the lives of others.. Thanks to all who saw the vision and held onto it with their hearts and fought so hard to bring about change.. Special thanks to the new Mayor and his staff for helping make one of my dreams come true.. But I have to give most of the credit to Kim Shackelford and the Students and residents of San Mateo for all their ground work and the foundation they laid for the main road into San Mateo.. Great job to all who have helped improve the lives of the people in San Mateo.”
Kim Shackelford was typically modest, adding “It was everyone. My thanks to Francis and Vernon, Ms. Grace and everyone at Holy Cross — board members and volunteers like St. Luke’s and hundreds more who all thought the families and children needed a school and allowed me the opportunity to work with them. Thanks to the folks in San Mateo for graciously allowing me into their lives. Direct Abundance, Heather Zwicker, Ann Kuffner….my goodness… the list! The students and faculty from Ole Miss, Defiance, Drury, Gainesville State, Belhaven, Christopher Newport, University of North Carolina – Wilmington, Texas A & M, San Pedro Junior College, University of Belize, and countless others who worked on the roads and believed.”
The funds used to fix these roads – as well as roads all over the island – came from the San Pedro Town Council under the new Mayor, who has been very proactive in addressing the needs of all the schools and communities on the island. The Mayor has also begun a regular garbage collection service in San Mateo, with a dump truck collecting garbage twice a week from those areas with good road access.
Read more in the San Pedro Sun.