This Is Home: A local church parish builds homes in Belize

Members of the parish at St. Ambrose Catholic Church recently returned from a trip to Belize where they helped build a house for a family.
Published: Mar. 5, 2023 at 10:22 PM EST
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LITTLE HOCKING, Ohio (WTAP) - Members of the parish at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Little Hocking, Ohio recently returned from a trip to Belize where they helped build a house for a family living there.

The parishioners have been making the trip to Belize for a number of years, helping build houses in different communities in the country.

Rita Rodgers, who helped start the trips to Belize for the St. Ambrose parish, spoke about how they got started.

“I was associated with the Sisters of Charity in Nazareth, and a sister asked about the possibility of St. Ambrose building a house. So I went on a trip to build a house down there, and came back and offered the opportunity to the parish to build a house down there.”

Since then, parishioners of St. Ambrose have gone on a total of 13 trips to build houses in Belize.

Rodgers said seeing the tangible impact their charitable efforts have on the people there is always emotional, both for the parishioners and the people they’re helping.

“We have a house blessing at the end of the house build, and the people always cry. They just are so grateful. They just have nothing. A lot of them just have a curtain and a little wooden area where they have a shower, and now they have a bathroom. In fact, the last house that was built down there, one of the guys had to go back and show the lady how to flush the toilet and turn the shower on, because she had never experienced that before.

Carl Perry, who went on the parish’s recent trip to Belize, shared his experience getting to know one of the people he was building a house for.

“I was working outside, and Peter, the young man that we was building the house for--I got to talk to him a lot, and interact with him him. This was probably the most I ever got to talk to the people, and he was just fantastic to talk with, and relate to. And at the end of the week, it was just unbelievable, the feeling. I’ll remember him forever now.”

Rita Rodgers said their work is far from done.

“There is so much need for housing down there. The people just live in little shack-type things that most of us probably wouldn’t even put our lawnmower in.”

Carl Perry said he has no intentions of slowing down.

“For me, I’m going to keep going back as long as my health will hold up. Because, I say ‘this is going to be my last year,’ but it’s in my blood now. It’s hard to not go because at the end of the week when you see the smile on their face and the tears running down their eyes and the joy in the voice, it’s just hard not want to go back and help another family.”