When I heard about an opportunity to go on a vision trip to Belize about 6 months ago, I jumped at the opportunity without thinking twice. I had always heard about the life changing stories that so many of my Stop Hunger Now coworkers had experienced on these trips, but I never thought my chance would come so quickly. Finally, I had an opportunity to directly serve the people that our organization works so hard to support and personally see the impact that we have made.
Here’s a round-up of all that we saw and accomplished on our 5 day trip:
On October 27th I departed from Raleigh with Rick Kearney and Billy Taylor of Stop Hunger Now, along with Barb Dean and Karen Foust, our GSK PULSE Executives on Loan. When we arrived about 8 hours later, I immediately realized how different my life was from those who lived in and around Dangriga, Belize. Many of the roads we traveled were made of dirt and littered with potholes. The houses were modest and in disrepair. The schools were outdated and underfunded.
Todd Stone, from our local in-country partner, Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus picked our group up from the airport. He took us to a small town called Pomona, about 20 minutes down the Hummingbird Highway from Dangriga. In Pomona, there was a group of dentists from North Carolina providing dental care to the community as a part of Kidz Konnect’s program. After a couple of hours of assisting the dental team, our group brought some Stop Hunger Now back with us to the church. It was exciting to see the boxes of meals that Stop Hunger Now volunteers worked so hard to put together being distributed to the community.
The next day we had the opportunity to serve our meals to some of the kids at Hope Creek Primary School. From this moment on, my trip was complete. I was finally able to serve these hungry children and see the impact these meals had on them. The smiles on their faces said it all. Not to mention the change the teachers have witnessed in these students. Now that they have a nutritious meal, the kids are able to focus on getting an education and end the poverty cycle that has gone on for so long.
Not only did our team get to see our meals in action, we were also able to have some fun with the students! Over our 5 day trip, we were able to education students through hand washing skits in 11 different classrooms at 3 different schools. This was a wonderful opportunity to teach the children the importance of hygiene in a fun and interactive way.
On the third day of our trip, a medical team arrived as a part of Kidz Konnect’s program. The team comes every 90 days to provide healthcare to the surrounding area. Many of the people they see now are healthy, unlike they were a couple of years ago when the program started. The fulfillment I had from seeing the people get proper health care was incredible, knowing that his had a lasting impact on their lives. After a long day of school visits and helping out the medical team, we packed up the clinic and called it a night.
On the last day of our trip, the teams split up. Rick and I traveled down Hummingbird Highway with the medical team to help the Red Cross in Dangriga. At about 9 o’clock the crowds of people started rolling into the clinic for their 90 day check-up. I was put to work filling prescriptions along with a couple of others from the team (and was a little out of my element).
About half way through the day I took a step back and soaked everything in for a moment. It was on this final day that I was really able to grasp the holistic, lasting impact that this organization was providing to this community, and how Stop Hunger Now was an important part of that impact. Before I knew it the last patients had left, and it was time to pack up to head home.
As we departed the one room airport in Dangriga, I had a much different perspective on my life than I did when I arrived. I always knew I was contributing to Stop Hunger Now to feed hungry people and save lives, but now I was able to put a first-hand experience with our mission. The people of Belize seemed so happy and were so grateful for the meals that we provide, which really made me reflect on my own life. I am so fortunate to have my health and happiness and to be able to contribute to theirs.
Want to join us in making a hands-on difference abroad?
Contact Chessney Barrick at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn
about upcoming travel opportunities with Stop Hunger Now!