By Marion V. Ali
Two women of humble means, both employees of Cisco Construction, became first-time home owners on Wednesday, when they received the keys to their new homes in the Antelope Street Extension area of Belize City, just in time for the Christmas holidays.
Prior to receiving her home in October, Delfina Terry, popularly known as “Pinky”, lived in a structure in the same area, that was so dilapidated, its flooring had partially collapsed and she fell in the swamp beneath it. She told her heart-wrenching story of having to sleep in raincoats and having to cover her three small grandchildren, who live with her, with plastic tarps when it rained at night.
The other recipient, Beatrice Pratt, spoke of how her situation of not having a place to call “home” almost led to losing her five children to the Human Services Department.
A relative in Punta Gorda, reached out to her, she shared, and offered to care for the children until she could somehow find a decent place to stay. She took her plight to her employer, Francis Woods, who asked Rotary to intervene.
President of the Rotary Club of Belize, Tessa Usher, told the Reporter that each year, the organization hands over at least one home to a needy family. This Rotary year, which started in July, under her reign Rotary is handing over three homes – the third recipient being another mother in Hattieville.
District Governor of Rotary District 4250 2009/10 Conference, Dr. Rene Villanueva Sr., who was present to hand over the keys to the women, pointed out that the work of Rotarians worldwide is important because it is really a transformation of their love for humanity into improved lives for the needy.
“We should do the best for ourselves and the best for our fellow human beings; and as Rotarians, we are committed to service above self,” he said.
Villanueva also shared that Rotarians in Belize have engaged in environmental, health and sanitation projects, invested in education, and distributed food to the hungry.
The wooden buildings, fully equipped with bunk beds and mattresses, kitchen sinks, and bathroom facilities, are worth $30,000 each. They were donated through the efforts of the Rotary Club of Belize, from Rotary members in the US, Mr. and Mrs. Shane Miguez and Mr. and Mrs. Joe Schumacher, who all traveled to Belize and provided labour on the dwellings as well. The houses include two bedrooms and a loft that can be used as a third bedroom. With the handing over of these houses, the total number of homes that Rotary has donated to needy families in Belize iammounts to 10.