Dear friends and colleagues,
Perhaps, many of you
either know me as a friend of Flavia, as the international student from
Belize, or the RA on the fourth floor in Dablon. To many of you I'm just
I am writing because I need your help. I am requesting assistance on behalf
of my people back home in Belize who have fallen victim to a catastrophic
For those of you
who do not know much about me, I am a direct descendant of the ancient
Mayas that you might have come across in the history books. I grew up
in southern Belize among my people. The Mayas in Belize are just one of
the many indigenous groups that occupy Central America.
However, the Mayas
in southern Belize like most other indigenous groups are victims of poverty,
oppression and often live on the periphery of the dominant culture. From
the fall of the Mayan civilization around 900 AD the Mayas of southern
Belize and Central America have been struggling to secure a legitimate
place in the contemporary world. However, they are at a great disadvantaged
when they try to participate in our capitalistic societies, because their
situation is a special situation, and therefore require special attention.
However, my purpose
is not to discuss their place in the modern world. I would like to draw
your attention to their current economic situation. On Monday October
8th, Belize fell victim to a category four hurricane.
Hurricane Iris pounded the shores of Belize with winds of up to 140 miles
per hour. This hurricane devastated anything that came in its way.
Unfortunately for my people, friends and relatives are now left homeless
(8,000 people). According to census statistics from Belize the Mayas are
already considered the poorest of the poor. With this unfortunate occurrence,
the Mayas in southern Belize have been swept back twenty years or more
If they are so poor, then how do they continue to thrive, you may ask?
They live communally in small villages and they plant corn, squash, beans,
and also cultivate rice that they sell. However, most Mayas dont
even make at least a $1000 BZ a year, much less a $1000US. Instead, their
subsistence farming practices sustain them from year to year. Moreover,
their strong reliance on the rainforest helps to maintain their beautiful
culturally rich livelihood. They build their homes from forest products
such as palms. Even the forest on which they strongly rely has been destroyed
by the vicious hurricane.
Perhaps, the fact that these people do not enjoy sophisticated brick homes
or have access to the latest technology, and the fact that they are already
used to having only the basics in life will help them adjust to their
predicament. However, intrinsic in being part of the human race, these
people, my people, deserve to be given the basics in their time
of need. Many literally lost everything, not that they had much, but they
are in need of basic food, clothing, and shelter.
Therefore, as young men and women privileged to be receiving a Jesuit
Education who care about the welfare of the human race, I ask you to join
me in promoting social justice in the world. I urge you to help in making
this possible by donating financially to the plight of my people, the
Dont think twice about giving, because you have much more than any
one of these unfortunate victims. Yesterday I woke up feeling very guilty,
I looked around me, and I saw everything that have - and yet I often complain
of being a poor college student. I now understand how much I have. We
are blessed people. Let us not hesitate in blessing others, especially
those in need.
Thank you so much
for taking your precious time out to read this letter.