The residential area of San Mateo on Ambergris Caye can most definitely be deemed the poorest subdivision of San Pedro Town as residents have a limited power supply to the area, no sewerage system, lack of proper city water and unsanitary grounds in which houses have been built on.
Many organizations, businesses and individuals have been lending a helping hand to residents of San Mateo so as improve their living conditions. One such person who has taken up a project to distribute water treatment filters to families in the area is local resident Ann Kuffner.
This past weekend was Kuffner’s third visit to San Mateo to distribute special water treatment filters that she obtained from the Rotary Club in Belize City to families who have had contaminated water issues. She is giving training sessions to the people who are willing to go through some health training.
“This has been my personal volunteer project focus this year,” Ann Juffner told Ambergris Today. “I am working with several groups, but I’ve spearheaded this project and convinced the Rotary Club of Belize City to commit from 100-200 filters to San Mateo. The critical thing was that we wanted to also teach the locals about water treatment and the need to wash their hands and sanitize and receiving containers before using them.”
Ann has also been working along with the island’s health inspector, Ms. Lisa Tillett, who spearheads health outreach at San Mateo. They have obtained the support of Mayor Guerrero and are working as a team for in the water purification project.
In January 2013, Ann will be working along with a group of college engineering students from both the University of Texas and the University of Mississippi. The student group form Texas is a member of the Engineers Without Borders group and will be assisting Ann with her work in San Mateo with the filter program. She has also asked them to focus on finding a simple wastewater treatment approach that could work for homes in the area.
Just recently the San Pedro Town Council, with help from outside donations, has started improving the street conditions that did not even exist in most of the neighborhood so that proper water and sewerage system can be put in place. Even a new city dump truck has been assigned to the area to improve sanitation conditions.