Playground restored in the name of murdered youth, Joshua Abraham
Over at North Front Street, children, Restore Belize and City Councilors were among those who turned up to restore a playground in the name of Joshua Abraham. Joshua is the young boy who was murdered last Independence Day. While she grieves the death of her young son, Marcia Argalles, is happy that the children in the area can finally have recreational space. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
The restoration of Victoria Alvarez Playground, a public space dedicated to the memory of nine year old Joshua Abraham, who was slain during gang crossfire a year ago, is a bittersweet moment for Marcia Argalles. It’s been her dream since Joshua’s demise to have this park renovated for the children of this neighborhood. Today, with the assistance of dozens of volunteers, her prayers are being answered.
Marcia Argalles, Mother of Shooting Victim
“It’s overwhelming, it’s amazing, it’s heart filling. Every now and again I have to stop and gasp for breath because I want to cry. Everybody is just, it’s so amazing everybody just come out. Yesterday when I got a call from Restore Belize and from Mr. Philip Singh from [Belize] City Council, Mr. Espejo, they were saying that they are sending in so many people to help me with the park because I’ve been trying so hard to get the park completed and my son will make one year Friday. I said okay, everything is going to get done but when I saw it this morning I had to cry. I cried and I said, “thank you Lord, I finally get what I wanted and I know my baby Josh, I know he is very, very, very happy right now.”
On September twenty-first, 2011, his life was cut short when a pair of gunmen opened fire on Victoria Street. Josh had only just witnessed the passage of the annual uniform parade when he was caught in a hail of bullets. In the wake of his murder Joshua’s grieving mother set out to make a difference in this crime-ridden community. Restore Belize has been crucial in realizing that dream.
Mary Vasquez, Executive Director, Restore Belize
“This is, in a sense, a sad moment because we have to remember when we are working on this park, we have to remember Joshua and we have to remember that an innocent child lost his life to gun violence. But Ms. Marcia is just the bravest, just the most courageous person because she has taken that grief and she has determined now that this neighborhood will be a safer place for Joshua’s friends, for the other children in this neighborhood.”
…and those children were present today, lending a hand in the rebuilding of the playground. Working hand in hand with them were volunteers from a number of Belize City businesses, as well as those from various government agencies, including the National Institute of Culture and History. In honor of National Day of Service, a day set aside to celebrate the selflessness of the late George Price, a team of employees from Atlantic Bank was on hand to lend its support.
Rina Ramos, Atlantic Bank Employee
“I believe that George Price was a man of action, not only of words, and I believe that many times we want to see better for Belize but we don’t really act. So I think this was a very good opportunity to come out and assist in restoring this park. The experience on a whole was really rewarding. It’s really nice to see the end results of our efforts and we are very excited to give back to the community because Atlantic Bank normally tries to give back to our community.”
While social responsibility is partly the reason why these employees are out here braving the heat, Dike Rostang, believes that the coordinated effort serves an extremely worthy cause.
Dike Rostang, Communications Coordinator, Restore Belize
“When you have a fantastic idea nothing should slow you down and that actually helped the cause because people wanted to give back to the community. People who Joshua affected, because he was a person who a lot of people knew, it’s not as though he was just a person [who died]. This was Joshua. So that was also instrumental in getting a lot of, of building a lot of the bridges and we are grateful to a lot of the people who put in time, talent and treasure.”
Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.