The highlight of last week was not something I did. It was commemorating something many other people contributed to.
On Friday morning, there was a ribbon cutting ceremony at the school in Santa Clara, one of the villages. If you remember, this was the same building that the youth groups and I had helped to paint last month for the Youth Day of Service. The building had been constructed and renovated with the help of a volunteer group from the UK and funds from numerous sources, including the Viatorians, the government of Belize, the Social Investment Fund (which I think has some ties to the EU), and others. The PTA had repaired a roof and coordinated the painting of the school. They gave time, effort, and I am sure they contributed what they could financially. It was amazing to see just how many people contributed to the project! It really does take a village!
Most importantly, it included a beautiful new computer lab which had the same technology you would expect to find at an elementary school in the United States. Having easy and fast access to the internet is the ultimate equalizer. You can educate yourself. You can start a worldwide business. You have access to an unbelievable amount of information and social networks. Yes, it can be very dangerous, but it can also be one of the most powerful tools for good that we have! I read recently that the internet reached 2 billion users. It was being hailed as some kind of great accomplishment. As someone living in the developing world, my question was, "WHERE ARE THE 4+ BILLION PEOPLE WHO AREN'T USING THE INTERNET?!" Because it's a part of everyday life here. That is also the reason that this is one of the causes I will be supporting this holiday season.
This whole project was pushed by the parents in the community - a lesson we can apply to education in the United States. And here is the most amazing part: on Tuesday morning, 3 days after the celebration, the President of the Santa Clara R.C. School PTA was in the Assistant General Manager of School's office requesting that a letter be sent soliciting money for the construction of the second floor of the new building. That is the kind of tireless dedication we all need.