When I was a little girl, my mom took me to travel in the Caribbean. Among the beautiful palm trees and the pristine waters, I discovered profound poverty for the first time in my life. I didn’t know it existed. My mom made a point to go beyond the resorts and sparkling blue pools and open my eyes to the world. I remember the feeling: complete gratefulness… And that feeling never left me.
The founders of Reset Retreat have traveled to, what feels like, every corner of the world. When we started discussing what makes a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience – something that changes you- we agreed that a common theme was humility and thankfulness.
We learned of the Holy Cross Anglican Primary School in Belize, and we knew we we had to incorporate it into the Reset Retreat schedule. The school is located on the beautiful island of Ambergris Caye, Belize and draws many of its students from incredibly poor neighborhood of San Mateo. Holy Cross relies on visitors and volunteers to continue providing education and health. The nutritious lunches, computer lab, stocked library, dental care (in the “smile clinic”) and volunteer doctors improve hundreds of young lives every year.
Prior to the school’s creation, Francis and Vernon Wilson, two missionaries from Virginia were visiting Ambergris Caye and noticed little children wandering the streets alone during the day. Further digging uncovered a serious lack for space in school for about 100 local children. The Wilsons decided to gather volunteers and donations to create a school for these displaced children, which now educates and supports 440 students from preschool to Standard 6 (8th grade).
“Our family moved here to enjoy a slower pace of life so that we could spend more time together as family, and more time doing things that truly matter in life. By chance, we moved next door to Holy Cross, just as they were looking for someone to coordinate the volunteer program. It’s a job I love to do. It’s so wonderful hearing the stories of how volunteers were able to bring a smile to a student’s face, or be able to help them in some other way. But much more often I hear stories how grateful the volunteers are for the experience and how it has changed their own life and perspective.” -Lydia, Volunteer Coordinator
Since our visit, I haven’t been able to forget the children’s smiling faces. We heard stories that some children were sharing a one-room home with five siblings. Others would enjoy their only meal for the day at school… and some children didn’t have parents.
But those smiles reached across their precious faces, regardless of circumstance.
I bought a few bracelets the children made and each time I wear them I see those smiling faces and remember to be grateful for what I have.
That said, we are thrilled to announce the school has invited Reset Retreat guests to join the children for a fun art project!
If you would like to know more about the Holy Cross Anglican Primary School, visit the website here. To give back, visit the Urgent Need Wishlist for donation items you can bring during your Reset Retreat or other travels to Belize.