Rainy Open Day in Blue Creek

Despite the less than stellar weather, Humana People to People Belize has organised an Open Day in Blue Creek. Our activities included: (muddy) volleyball marathon, bicycle raffle, games for children, corn shelling for men and firewood splitting for women (we love to fight the oppressive stereotypes!), food and soft drinks on sale as well as a sale of second-hand clothes. And the best – Santa Claus!

There was sweat, laughter and tears (when accepting a bicycle), the neighboring Mafredi’s volleyball team has won the marathon, Peace Corps volunteers from St. Teresa and Aguacate have been a huge help, as well as the Blue Creek Primary School Principal, staff and PTA members. Numerous members of the community have helped to build palm-leaf booths and prepare the volleyball court.

All of the money raised that day will go towards fundraising for school projects, mostly for the library upgrade.



From seeds to the vegetable garden

Next stop – Honduras

After 16 hours of bus ride we finally got to San Pedro Sula in Northern Honduras. By the time we got there, we were dead tired and not a little bit freaked out. Up until Tegucigalpa, Honduras seemed like a bit exotic but nice country with green mountains dominating the landscape. Going out of Tegucigalpa we could see huge slums that seemed to be going on for kilometers out of the capital. Although the roads seemed to be better, the entrance to a modern motorway was guarded by a man with huge rifle. Later, we would see those men – members of private security it seemed – in every establishment, from gas station, to mall, to the drugstore. In the two days that we’d spend there, we would never get used to this.

Why two days? San Pedro Sula, with its high fences and bulletproof (or so it seemed) gates, with extremely bad reputation, where even the taxi has to be chosen with care didn’t sound inviting. However, after long journey we learned that the bus to our next location – Puerto Barrios in Guatemala – leaves at 5:30 in the morning. This, we couldn’t take and in the end we’d decided to take a day to do some last shopping, write on our blogs, regroup…

It is easy to understand the precautions when we learned that Honduras has the highest rate of intentional homicides in the world, with 82.1 per 100,000 people (2010), compared to El Salvador – which holds second place with 66 homicides per 100,000 people. The Northwest border with Guatemala (where SPS is) is considered one of the most dangerous regions in whole Central America.

Before the colonial times the majority of Honduras’ area was inhabited by the Maya civilization as proven by numerous ruins found all over the country. In early 16th century Christopher Columbus landed in Honduras as a first European in known history. By the middle of the century, the country was conquered by the Spanish who arrived from Mexico. Since then Honduras was part of the Spanish Empire for around 300 years as part of the Kingdom of Guatemala. Silver mining was a big business for the Spanish who brought thousands of slaves from Angola to work for them.

Honduras gained independence in the first half of 19th century. Soon, neoliberal politics reached the state, which favored the multinational companies. Those companies – mostly tropical fruit exporters – have been great influence in the recent history of Honduras – the country itself was an inspiration behind the term „banana republic” coined in 1904 to describe fictional nations whose economy is in majority based on natural resources’ export, with political and economical destabilization. The country’s economy is dependent on transnational companies and free market policies, with little input from other sources. This huge economical influence brings with it also a political influence, meaning that the companies are practically controlling the state. This is what’s been happening in Honduras since 1870’s, with different companies controlling the most valuable resources, which are in this case the tropical fruits and then mainly bananas.

In the 20th and 21st century political tensions (like the ones with El Salvador, leading to the „Football War” or „100 Hour War” in 1969 and others, resulting from unstable situation in the Central American region) and natural disasters – hurricanes, floodings – caused severe economical and social damages that no doubt contributed to today’s security issues. Other factors include drug trafficking, gangs, and low conviction rates.

Despite those things, we’ve managed to survive our stay in San Pedro Sula and actually bring some good memories with us of a nice little B&B that we’ve stayed in. On the third day we woke up at the crack of dawn again to continue our travel.


First, let us thank everyone who’ve helped us raise the money for our volunteering period. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without you!

Second, there have been some changes in our team. Our team leader, Gabor, has gone back home to Hungary to set up his own organic farm based on permaculture principles. We wish him all the best in his journey to self-sustainability.

Our teammate, Alex, has also left us, for personal reasons. We wish him good luck in his future endeavors.

Despite those set back and the fact that we will miss the guys, we are fully prepared to take on this new challenge!

We have finally chosen a project for our service period, and that’s Child Aid in Humana People to People Belize.

The project is called Child Aid, but it encompasses multiple activities that aren’t usually what comes to mind when people hear the name. Namely, our goal is to first and foremost ensure economical stability of the families in order to help keep the children well-nourished and healthy. We will work with whole communities to help make their lives more sustainable and ensure that the children have time and energy for learning – as the education is the main driving force for development.

We will live in Blue Creek village in the south of Toledo District. We have planned several activities and actions that we work on preparing. One example of those preparations is setting up a vegetable garden from scratch for one of the families living in nearby town of Chateaubelair. This has a double purpose of a) giving a family way to grow their own, cheap food, and b) helping us learn what we need to set up more of those gardens in Belize.

We are also preparing other practical and theoretical tasks, so that we are prepared for different situations. That’s because we can only anticipate some of the local community’s needs, while the others we will only learn after meeting the people.

We’re also in the process of arranging our travel, which will happen in about 2 weeks. Stay tuned for more information soon!

What we do

We are currently in the preparatory period, which takes part in a small Caribbean country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This period lasts for 6 months (April-September, 2014), after which we go to Latin America to live in a community and help the people fight poverty (October 2014-March 2015). Then comes the journal period, during which we will spread the information about poverty, living among the Poor, different projects that are constantly developed to help make people’s lives better. That period also lasts for 6 months, from April to September 2015.

During all this time we are distance learners of One World University in Mozambique, studying an innovative program called “Fighting Shoulder to Shoulder with the Poor”. We study different topics, such as contemporary world, health, environment…

We are here as volunteers, working to teach the people how they can help themselves.

Here, in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (St. Vincent, SVG), not only do we prepare to go to the project as volunteers in Latin America, but we also help the local community. Richmond Vale Academy is working to make St. Vincent the first fully climate compliant nation. The academy hosts international students who make actions in the communities, such as creating Kid’s Clubs after school, building playgrounds from recycled materials, organizing beach cleanups, recycling rallies, planting trees…

RVA is also happy to give scholarships to local students who take part in the program and learn about climate change. Those people become leaders in their communities, spreading the word about ecological issues, the importance of recycling, the ways to live healthy and cheaply. Furthermore, we all live together, sharing our daily chores and entertainments. We learn from each other about our cultures and customs and become more open towards different attitudes.

Help us help the Poor

In only 3 months we are leaving to go to Ecuador and help the small, poor communities create better lives for themselves. We are not getting paid, and that’s fine, but we need your support to raise the money for some essential costs: travel to the project site, materials, etc.

If you’d like to support us, please donate the money at this site:


In exchange, we will share our experiences with you on this blog. You are more than welcome to share this fascinating journey with us, meet the people we work with, and the ones we help. We are going to post videos and pictures and we’ll be happy to answer all your questions.

If you would like your company to sponsor us, we will be more than happy to negotiate the conditions – please, don’t hesitate to contact us at: fightpoverty@richmondvale.org

Thank you!

Alessia, Alex and Anna