November 29, 2004: Headlines: COS- Belize: The Marion Star: Katy Redd left on her mission with the Peace Corps and is living in Belize in Central America

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Belize: Peace Corps Belize : The Peace Corps in Belize: November 29, 2004: Headlines: COS- Belize: The Marion Star: Katy Redd left on her mission with the Peace Corps and is living in Belize in Central America

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 1:12 pm: Edit Post

Katy Redd left on her mission with the Peace Corps and is living in Belize in Central America

Katy Redd left on her mission with the Peace Corps and is living in Belize in Central America

Katy Redd left on her mission with the Peace Corps and is living in Belize in Central America

Harding grad moves to 7 Miles El Progresso

Katy Redd works to build strength and health in Belize

For The Marion Star
Courtesy of Katy Redd

Editor's Note: This weeks edition of The Marion Star's Your Story takes a slightly different form as Marion native Katy Redd shares her story. Redd left earlier this year on her mission with the Peace Corps and is living in Belize in Central America.

People often ask me why I joined the Peace Corps. I've resigned myself to the truth, "I just couldn't think of anything else to do." And it's true, after college I wasn't sure if I wanted to immediately enter "the real world" and settle into a 9-5 job. Working and living in a foreign country seemed like a natural transition.

The United States Peace Corps, a governmental volunteer organization sends its volunteers to more than 70 different countries to work in various fields in order to empower the community for positive social change. The goal is not to make rural villages into little Americas; on the contrary, volunteers work as catalysts for changes within the cultural context of the particular community.

After a lengthy application process I found myself in mid-April of this year with an invitation to serve in Belize. I greeted this opportunity with excitement and of course nerves - Peace Corps is a two-year commitment and I wasn't sure how being so far from home would agree with me.

As it turns out, with the help of a three-month training and encouragement from family and friends, the transition from multi-tasking college woman to enjoying my jungle home was not too difficult.

My village, called 7 Miles El Progresso, is located in the heart of the Cayo District in Belize. It is nestled into the mountains and surrounded by lush tropical jungle. The 500 residents are from Guatemala and El Salvador so even though English is the official language of Belize, I speak Spanish in my village. There is no electricity or indoor running water in 7 Miles. I have gotten used to hauling my water in buckets, using my outhouse, and reading by lanterns at night.

My job title is rural community development officer with an agricultural focus. It is necessarily ambiguous. I will be living in 7 Miles for the next two years and during this time will figure out what my community needs and how I can address those needs. Peace Corps should not be confused with mission work. It is a governmental organization completely non-affiliated with religious activities. I am not here to build churches or pass along religious words; I'm here to build a stronger, healthier community.

I began my transition by helping in the school. One of the teachers has 46 students, all 4-6 year olds, and was a bit overwhelmed. I was first struck by the lack of things in the school, no matching textbooks (they take what they can get leftover from U.S. schools), certainly no computers, no reading books in the classrooms. The Belize government dropped by the yearly supplies of teaching equipment: a ream of paper, a roll of masking tape, and two markers for each teacher. But the teachers work with what they do have and end up spending a lot of their own money.

My next project was to begin teaching English to the adults. I held meetings, interviews, and finally decided on five different classes during the week. It is a challenge because many of the villagers are illiterate and learning a new language for them proves difficult.

My most recent project is a school organic garden. The men in 7 Miles are mostly all farmers and are using pesticides and fertilizers that are harmful for the earth. By working with the schoolchildren to teach them about the advantages of organic, perhaps when they are farmers they'll think twice about the pricey fertilizers they're using. I have more projects in line for the future but for the two months I've been at my site, I've gotten a start.

Because there are no televisions or even light during the night, entertainment usually comes in the form of whatever the Gringita (their pet name for me) happens to be doing. I usually always have children and adults alike just sitting in my house watching me cook or clean or read. They cannot understand why a 22-year-old woman would want to live alone or for that matter why a 22-year-old woman is not married. Most villagers start their families when they are between 14 and 20 and end with about 10 children, so I am practically a spinster by their standards.

Like any experience where we're forced to look at our overly-indulgent life and question what we actually need, my tour so far has given me insight into my own values. There are many more stories, many more things to share, but to write them all would require much more print space. If you have any questions, I certainly welcome them:

Katy Redd is 22 and a graduate of Valparaiso University in Indiana. She graduated from Marion Harding High School and is the daughter of Marion residents Gary and Sandra Redd.

Email this story

Originally published Monday, November 29, 2004

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Our debt to Bill Moyers Our debt to Bill Moyers
Former Peace Corps Deputy Director Bill Moyers leaves PBS next week to begin writing his memoir of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Read what Moyers says about journalism under fire, the value of a free press, and the yearning for democracy. "We have got to nurture the spirit of independent journalism in this country," he warns, "or we'll not save capitalism from its own excesses, and we'll not save democracy from its own inertia."

December 10, 2004: This Week's Top Stories December 10, 2004: This Week's Top Stories
Dodd says Rumsfeld's answer was unacceptable 9 Dec
RPCV Blake Willeford runs classic movie theatre 9 Dec
RPCV says education is key to curbing AIDS 9 Dec
RPCV Dannielle Tegeder opens exhibition 9 Dec
Shalala 1st Woman In Touchdown Club 9 Dec
"Today we have a new country" says Toledo 9 Dec
DDN wins Investigative Reporting Award 8 Dec
Celeste on Panel to study Colorado finances 8 Dec
RPCV leads Rotary Club medical team to Togo 6 Dec
Vasquez to speak at Hawaii, Wisconsin commencements 6 Dec
Tom Murphy warns Pittsburgh on budget abyss 2 Dec
Venezuela RPCV Martha Egan runs Pachamama imports 30 Nov
more top stories...

RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack
RPCV Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the U.S. consul general in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia survived Monday's attack on the consulate without injury. Five consular employees and four others were killed. Abercrombie-Winstanley, the first woman to hold the position, has been an outspoken advocate of rights for Arab women and has met with Saudi reformers despite efforts by Saudi leaders to block the discussions.
Is Gaddi Leaving? Is Gaddi Leaving?
Rumors are swirling that Peace Corps Director Vasquez may be leaving the administration. We think Director Vasquez has been doing a good job and if he decides to stay to the end of the administration, he could possibly have the same sort of impact as a Loret Ruppe Miller. If Vasquez has decided to leave, then Bob Taft, Peter McPherson, Chris Shays, or Jody Olsen would be good candidates to run the agency. Latest: For the record, Peace Corps has no comment on the rumors.
The Birth of the Peace Corps The Birth of the Peace Corps
UMBC's Shriver Center and the Maryland Returned Volunteers hosted Scott Stossel, biographer of Sargent Shriver, who spoke on the Birth of the Peace Corps. This is the second annual Peace Corps History series - last year's speaker was Peace Corps Director Jack Vaughn.
Vote "Yes" on NPCA's bylaw changes Vote "Yes" on NPCA's bylaw changes
Take our new poll. NPCA members begin voting this week on bylaw changes to streamline NPCA's Board of Directors. NPCA Chair Ken Hill, the President's Forum and other RPCVs endorse the changes. Mail in your ballot or vote online (after Dec 1), then see on how RPCVs are voting.
Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying
Congressman Norm Dicks has asked the U.S. attorney in Seattle to consider pursuing charges against Dennis Priven, the man accused of killing Peace Corps Volunteer Deborah Gardner on the South Pacific island of Tonga 28 years ago. Background on this story here and here.
Your vote makes a difference Your vote makes a difference
Make a difference on November 2 - Vote. Then take our RPCV exit poll. See how RPCV's are voting and take a look at the RPCV voter demographic. Finally leave a message on why you voted for John Kerry or for George Bush. Previous poll results here.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: The Marion Star

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS- Belize



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.