Pictured are young students from St. Matthew’s Anglican School in Belize, who provided the muscle to transport food delivered to the school last week by Andy and Maureen Harjula. In addition to the 400 pounds of food staples in the borrowed jeep were twelve fruit trees. Andy reports that this load will supply the school for four weeks while the fruit trees will produce for 50 years.
This is the final trip to Belize for this couple from Cavan. Andy has made at least one trip each year to the small, impoverished Caribbean country for the past ten years. Before his departure, Andy rallies local support, taking cash and volunteers with
him who provide labour for projects that often involve school building renovations. These volunteers come to provide items such as school supplies, books, refurbished laptops and sports equipment, as well as their time and expertize. Cash donations are spent locally on equipment for school kitchens, supplies for health clinics and scholarships for students.
One of the most significant problems facing Belize is their reliance on imported food- an issue where Andy’s expertise as a retired park planner been very useful. Each year local food sources are expanded as he helps to plant trees including mango, avocado, breadfruit and soursop trees primarily on school properties to provide an on-going food supply.
While his visits to Belize may be over, there’s no doubt his efforts to support this population will continue, and he will be looking for someone to make those trips in his place. Any volunteers? KG