Punta Gorda, Belize

Welcome to the Punta Gorda group page!

This coming February, our group of nine students and three faculty and staff will travel to Punta, Gorda, Belize to work with St. Peter Claver Jesuit Parish. This parish serves the small town of Punta Gorda and the surrounding nineteen rural villages throughout the Toledo district in Belize. The Toledo district is the southernmost and least developed area of Belize. The Jesuits have served there since 1895. This trip is unique in that our groups participate in projects based on the needs of the parish, which vary year to year. In the past, we have worked on the construction of a school library and chapels in the villages. Our group traveling to St. Peter Claver this year will continue to serve the parish based on its current needs. During our week in Punta Gorda, we will learn about the current issues that are affecting the Mayan culture. We will also learn about the challenges that threaten the identity of the Mayan, Creole, Garifuna, and other groups due to improvements in technology and transportation, especially a new highway connecting Belize and Guatemala. Our group will have the opportunity to visit in a Mayan village.  Here, we will be able to meet the people of that village, engage in conversation, and learn about their lifestyle and culture.  We will see the intertwining of the Mayan Culture and the Catholic faith.  In addition, our group will meet with the Jesuit Volunteers who are currently giving two years of postgraduate service in the area.  Our group will be totally immersed in the life and activities of the parish.

Our fundraising money will be specifically designated towards building and construction supplies for the service we will undertake and to aid St. Peter Claver parish in their other ministries.  This could mean new sidewalks for the elementary school, painting materials for the classroom, or supplies for a new library or chapel in a Mayan village.  The work of the Jesuits and their companions in ministry have been so prolific in preserving and honoring the Mayan culture and we hope to bring that same spirit to our work in Punta Gorda.

As I begin my third year as a member of the ISIP community, I am eager to deepen my understanding of the service and community pillars of ISIP.  I have heard many ISIP participants speak of the beauty of Punta Gorda, Belize, but more importantly they have spoken of the unique community in the Toledo District that we will be serving.  I am excited to travel with my group and grow in spirituality and service as we meet and serve with the Jesuit community at St. Peter Claver.

-Paige Guillory ‘16

 

 
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