Up the mountain, to the border, and over the swamp. The Samaritan’s Feet team in Belize traveled deep, far, and wide to villages and communities which don’t often receive visitors. And, everywhere they welcomed us.

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Monday started with a steep trek up a long, rocky mountain road. The dull beige color of the road stood out as it was nestled between the thick green jungle surrounding it on either side. Homes and buildings with grass and palm frond roofs could be seen sheltered within the greenery. It was a slow, bumpy ride to reach the shoe distribution site, a church in San Jose village.

San Jose is a Mopan Maya village with a population of around 700. With no industry or job opportunities nearby, it’s considered one of the poorest villages in the area. Most residents in San Jose walk everywhere (due to either rising gas prices or lack of transportation), making it practically impossible to reach the nearest town 15 miles away.

It began drizzling rain as the team pulled in beside the church. Families waited in anticipation with many mothers and grandmothers filling the wooden pews with children and grandchildren beside them and in their laps. The distribution began quietly, but ever-so-slowly, conversations and giggles began to fill the church room. 

Many parents mentioned their needs, such as food and school supplies, and how difficult it was to attain these items. A six-year-old girl named Adriana was one of the 200 or so who were served in San Jose that morning. She walked into the church barefoot, but she left proudly wearing a pair of new shoes that will protect her feet from the rocks and trash built into the road that she walks on every day.


Wednesday morning, the team began a journey that took them just a few miles from the Guatemalan border. There were mountains to one side of the dusty road and palm trees to the other. Palm fronds had been laid beside the road in an effort to dry them so they could be used to make a roof for a home.

Every few miles, the two team vans would pass through a small village. Eventually, power lines began to disappear. It was then just miles and miles of jungle and bumpy roads. So bumpy, in fact, that one of the vans got a flat tire just as it arrived at the host church in Conejo Creek!

Conejo Creek is Kekchi Maya village next to Sarstoon-Temash National Park, a tropical forest and wetland housing several threatened and vulnerable animal species. The village is full of hardworking people; they have to be in order to survive. They are proud and they are supportive of one another—even helping each other build those palm frond roofs on their homes. Most of these people aren’t able to walk the long road into town, so they rely on one another for their needs.

Sounds of several turkeys gobbling could be heard outside as the shoe distribution began. Again, conversations and smiles began to fill the small one-roomed church. The team wiped and cleaned the feet of Conejo Creek residents, then placed a new pair of shoes on them, all while asking them about their family, their life, their needs, and the things that mean the most to them.

Mrs. Clara, her husband, and six children were all among the 175 served in the village. Mrs. Clara mentioned that one of her daughters, Marlyn, has had her pair of brown shoes for a very long time, so she was excited for her to have a brand new pair. They hadbwalked for about 25 minutes from their home to the church, the same amount of time it takes for the children to walk to school each day.

And in order to get shoes or other essential items, they would have to walk or bike that same distance, plus all the way down the very same road that gave our van a flat tire.


On Thursday, the team traveled to south side of Belize City, the capital of Belize. Unfortunately, this area of Belize City sees a disheartening amount of gun violence, poverty, and school dropouts.

Here, there is an area known as “Jerusalem” or “London Bridges” which includes homes built upon the Krooman Lagoon. Houses in this area are connected by a network of old, shaky boardwalks, which also leads to solid ground nearby. If it rains heavily, this area can flood, restricting access to these boardwalks, homes, and solid ground.

The Samaritan’s Feet team grabbed all they could carry and carefully set out on the maze of boardwalks. The team separated, so as not to be too much at once on the boardwalk, and to give out shoes, hygienic items, and candy to those living there. A team member would approach a nearby house, the residents would come out to meet them on the boardwalk, and they would exchange a few words and smiles, and then give them this simple gift.

One man who was given new shoes early in the day, later came out again wearing his new shoes. He was smiling and proud, quick to show us that he was already wearing them. This area doesn’t usually see a lot of positive influence, so this modest treat was significant for him.

“You showed that you care enough to come. That you came all this way. A lot of these people think they’re forgotten, but you brought them hope that they’re not,” said Victor Hernandez, Pastor, Toledo Faith Outreach Center.

It made him feel seen—like he was somebody special.