Former science teacher Peter Mazereeuw donates family train set to Benjamin foster home

Representatives of the New Start Foundation Children’s Home Sally Benjamin (left) and Edward Benjamin (right) with Peter Mazereeuw (2nd left) and son Matthijs - the kind donors of a fully-working model train set to the St. Maarten-based home.

~ Last community gesture before returning to Netherlands~

PHILIPSBURG – Former St. Dominic High School, and Milton Peters College (MPC) Physics and General Science teacher Peter Mazereeuw, and his two children left the island recently to return to the Netherlands, but not before delivering a surprise gift to some deserving children of the New Start Foundation Children’s Home.

The gift was a valuable train set, complete with 200 meters of track, five locomotives, numerous wagons and many accessories such as buildings, trees and props to build life-like scenes to amuse, entertain and help educate the children about a means of transportation they probably have not seen in real life.

The train set was lovingly packed into five boxes, and, according to Mazereeuw, while it has given many hours of pleasure to his family over the years and holds a lot of sentimental value,

both he and his son Matthijs are equally pleased that it can also bring a lot of happiness to the children of the children’s home under the charge of home director Sally Benjamin.

The train set was delivered to the home on Friday, August 19, with some rapid instructions on how everything fits together.

“We would have loved to set everything up before leaving, but we just ran out of time,” Peter and Matthijs explained.

“We are sure they will enjoy the train set and will have a lot of fun working with their imaginations about their own train journeys around the track said,” said Peter.

Matthijs said although he and his father discussed making the donation, it was still a tough decision to make. However, he knew they had made the right call when they visited the children’s home and met the children themselves.

Father and son were thanked by New Start Foundation representative Benjamin, who said the gesture was a very kind one indeed.

“To think they have had this in their family for so many years and that they would donate their collection to our children is very generous and we want to thank Peter and his family on behalf of the children,” said Benjamin.

Also included in the delivery was a box of model racing cars for some the older foster children who may wish to start racing them with Reggie Corum’s St. Maarten Model Racing Association.

Peter, son Matthijs, sister Janneke, and the two family dogs were set to return to Rotterdam Sunday, August 21, where Peter will be taking up a new teaching post at Rotterdam University.

He says he will miss St. Maarten and the many, many friends he has made over the years as a teacher, but also as a program manager for government, a businessman dealing with automation systems, a Head Judge for the St. Maarten Spelling Bee, a tireless worker with Foresee Foundation (DigiKidz and DigiWorkz) and a member of the Rotary Mid-Isle club.

“Mathias and I did a lot of work with the Heineken Regatta and also with the Spelling Bee working behind the scene with the scoring and setting up the computer systems, and I have also worked along with many organizations and different people on the island,” said Peter.

He says he is leaving the island with his family for the second time, having left once before in 2000 after experiencing a number of hurricanes, only to return after ten years to help build up the new Country St. Maarten.

“This time around I will be taking on new and exciting challenges back in the Netherlands and the children will also be taking up higher levels of study,” said the proud father.

He says he has spent the best part of the past month saying goodbye to everyone, and apologized to anyone he has missed out.

“All I can say is that this is not a really goodbye, because I am affected with the St. Maarten virus,” assured the former teacher, community worker and now train set hero to some very grateful foster children of St. Maarten.