Realize welcomes its first volunteers
Heather and I have been spending four weeks volunteering with Realize. During this time we have been privileged to help with the launch events, hosting a Christmas breakfast for families with disabled children, and delivering some teacher training at the local college. In addition, Sam and Richard have sought to make the best use of our available skills; in our case this means that they arranged a horse riding event. (Heather is a trained Hippotherapist.)
As volunteers, we have been well looked after. We were provided with a comprehensive orientation pack containing lots of helpful information (although Richard's taste in Belizean music leaves something to be desired...). Sam and Richard met us on arrival at Belize City and ensured we were comfortable in our accommodation. We have been given plenty of support, with time to explore the area and become familiar with the local culture. The tasks we have been given to do have been varied and well planned.
Volunteering with Realize has been very enjoyable and satisfying. We have had lots of opportunity to experience the best that Belize has to offer - snorkeling the barrier reef, climbing Mayan pyramids in the jungle, floating through spectacular cave formations on a rubber ring. At the same time, we have really got an insight into everyday life for Belizean families and met some lovely people. Everyone we have met had been excited to discover that Realize exists, and encouraging about the work that we are doing. There is clearly an unfulfilled need that is being met.
The thing that has struck us most about Belize is just how open, genuine and friendly the people are. It is a noisy and vibrant country, rich in wildlife. Traveller's tip: bring earplugs to help with sleeping!