The Cabb homestead is tucked into the jungle just off the only paved road between Punta Gorda (PG) and Guatemala in the the heart of San Antonio, Belize. It is there, in an outdoor wood shop where a self taught craftsman produces amazing doors, cabinets, cribs, tables, chairs, and just about anything else his creative mind can come up with.
As we got to know Mr Cabb, we knew there would be a connection and a friendship, but we didn’t realize the potential for a partnership in both Sowing Seeds in Belize (our ministry) and Maya Mountain Coffee and Spice Company (Our business as ministry). Today, the partnership has taken shape and we now have a path and a direction to follow. We have joined with The Christian Sewing Partners of Belize and No More Hunger Belize to begin to develop a training program for the young men of San Antonio.
Each Saturday morning for the next 7 weeks we will join with a group of young men and begin to work through a study of Grace, More Than We Deserve Greater Than We Imagine a book by Max Lucado. Then Mr Cabb will begin the wood shop training. Consider just how appropriate this is–we know that Joseph, Jesus’ father was a carpenter, and we know that in those days the son normally followed in dad’s footsteps. It is a good possibility that, before He began His ministry, Jesus was employed as a carpenter.
The group will learn the basic skills of using a table saw, scroll saw, shaper, and of course hand sanding and food safe finishing. We will purchase the finished products from the boys and ship them back home where we hope to sell them though our online markets and partnerships. This will help us to provide funding in the form of scholarships, equipment, or further training for the community.
Once they master these skills they will move on to the lathe—this is the most exciting and most dangerous part of the training! Imagine having the ability to go into the rain forest and harvest fallen mahogany trees, or rosewood stumps, then bring them back to your shop to produce valuable works of art! These too will find their way north to the US. Everything that is being produced in this shop will be sustainably, ethically, and legally sourced
As affirmation of this being the right partnership, Jim Hopkins—a member of the SSIB Board of Directors was with us during the fall trip, and Jim, being a woodworker had an immediate affinity for Mr Cabb and his work in training the youth of his community. Jim went home to his State College Wood Turners club and shared with them what Mr Cabb is doing and they jumped on board! They sent down a great assortment of turning knives and gouges as well as goggles and training manuals.
As we continue to move forward with our 2018 container project, we will be looking for quality shop equipment–preferably commercial grade so that these young men can equip their own shop and hopefully pass on the skill and the trade to their children and others in their community! As we work to connect with 10,000 Villages, and the Fair Trade Federation, we are hopeful that this small project will provide income and opportunities for generations to come.