They say that time goes by fast when you are having fun. I have to both agree and disagree. I have enjoyed my time at the Fighting Shoulder to Shoulder with the Poor program of course, and I can't even remember all the happy moments I have shared with my teammate and other students and teachers from our little school community. But it's not all about that. These past 18 months have made me experience different things every day.
The first six months taught me to be open minded. I have realised that there is a history I have not been told, which steers the way the world turns today. It was an intensive online study period, which among all the information about worlds economics, globalisation, climate change or health and nutrition taught me to be patient, mainly with myself. The theoretical studies combined together with practical permaculture gardening activities and food preservation actions have prepared me for my time in the field.
Next six months, which I spent working on projects in a Maya community in Belize were a mixture of everything, you name it. I don't think I have ever laughed as much as with our Belize youth group, I have also never felt so exhausted, frustrated, motivated, helpless, optimistic,.... all at the same time. Learning that everyone behaves according to their context, the way they have been brought up and the conditions they live in, was a big lesson for me.
The last six months seemed slow and relaxed compared to the busy time in Belize but yet, they've made everything come together. I have finished studies about the reasons of poverty, passing the last exam was so exciting, but it wasn't the end. I have learned many things but there is still more. Whether it is from interesting conversations, from working in a community garden or through teaching new teams, I have realised that knowledge is a crucial tool which needs to be shared and passed on over and over.
Fun is important, but I believe that it was the feelings of being useful and being able to make a change, however big or small in our complicated world that made my 18 months program fly by. There is still so much more to do but we all have a new paths to go. I have no doubt that Richmond Vale Academy together with Humana People to People Belize had prepared me for a journey which is worth the travel.