You may be thinking right now that only when we know how bad things are that we can fix them, this I agree with. However, stating all the problems will do nothing but just that, state them. Only when we actually start making moves towards implementing solutions will things start to change. This is not to be confused with just giving ideas for solutions, since giving the ideas but not helping to carry them out is on par with just stating the problems.
The main problem with moving towards change in Belize is that many of our citizens do not believe change can occur. This is an issue, because if we use that approach or mentality we will never get anywhere. The people who believe nothing can change are mainly the ones who also love to lament and complain about our current state but will do nothing more. It is like having a dirty laundry basket and waiting for the clothes to wash themselves, while you try to avoid the odor. If you do nothing more than complain about the smell, the clothes will never be cleaned and you will never be happy.
There are two types of people in the world and not just in Belize, there are those who talk about the issues, and those who actually do things about them. However, for us to move forward as a country we need to realize the invisible ties that bind us together and understand that they are very similar to actual ropes. For any lasting change to occur it requires for us all to first believe that it is a realistic possibility. If one person believes that change may occur and makes a step forward to accomplish it while another person believes nothing can happen we make zero in overall progress. Picture it like a three-legged race, our legs are all tied together, to reach the finish line requires us to coordinate and move together one leg at a time. If only one Belizean takes a step forward and the other remains stagnant we fall together, and not separately. We have been falling for a while now.
Now is the time for us to get up, brush ourselves off, and work together to finish this race. On a lighter view, things are not as gloomy as they seem. There are many organizations and individual Belizeans also, that are doing their part to build a better Belize, sometimes (most times) with limited help from others. They all have varying mission statements, from feeding the homeless, taking care of the elderly, and managing a club for impoverished children to getting help with homework to name a few. It might seem like these things are ordinary but in actuality they are quite the opposite. The people running these programs normally get very little pay for the amount of work they do, and sometimes get no pay at all. These organizations normally don’t have anywhere to turn to when they need assistance, because in Belize we don’t have volunteers readily available. Most people when approached and asked to volunteer, without giving them any information about what time the project will be or date, will respond by saying they do not have time to do so. I know this firsthand because I founded the Belize Volunteers’ Club, and it’s the number one response I’ve received since the inception of the club on July 16th, 2014. Most people are too busy in the day, between going to work, and dealing with the kids possibly or with the wife that no time is left in the day. I can understand this because some of us are indeed strapped for time, but you’d find it funny to know what all falls under volunteering. You can help someone without being in the room, just from knowing that you are there to help actually helps.
The volunteers of the club have already completed multiple projects assisting organizations in carrying out their missions geared for progress in Belize. The club itself is just a network of Belizeans who are ready to volunteer when they can in order to help the community and the society in general. The process happens in a relay fashion where the organizations let us know how many volunteers they need to complete a project or event. They give us the time, date and what we would be needed for. This information is then broadcasted to all members. In some instances these places could use assistance in just structuring the programs they already have in place. The information is also inputted on the group calendar dayviewer.com which all members have access to. Those who have the extra time, whether it is 10 minutes or 2 hours, sometimes even just donating their services, then respond and let us know how they can help. The mission is to help when we can. There are times that volunteers will be unable to assist but our focus is on the many other times that we CAN. We shouldn’t focus only on what’s wrong and why it can’t be fixed, we just need to do the work.
I believe the solution to a better Belize is pretty simple, and it’s a very short history lesson. Unlike the rhetorical question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, we know for sure that the society came together, because it was easier to work together than alone. We get so caught up in our own lives that we sometimes feel like we are living separate from others when in actuality we aren’t. In the news you see all the violence going on and may feel that it’s not your problem, since you are not the one doing the crime and it may not be in your area. Just because you cannot see the direct effect on you does not mean that you cannot help to fix it.
Most of our problems in Belize are caused by poverty. Poverty is actually the number one reason most crimes are committed anywhere. Money rules every aspect of the society so it is easy to see how not having any could be a problem. To get an education you need be able to afford it. You also need money to put food in your stomach so you can concentrate properly on the other bills you may have. The problem arises when we feel comfortable not helping the less fortunate simply because it’s not OUR problem. It may not be your problem, but wouldn’t it feel good to still be a part of the solution? If you help one person with his or her burden you make his/her burden infinitely easier, because if you were not there at all they would bear it alone.
There are many sectors in our society that need help, the first is our mentality that things will not change. We are all powerful individuals, all capable of bringing about change. I started this club because I saw the need for it in Belize, and I have met some very interesting Belizeans along the way. Ordinary people with no fancy job or big pay, but just concerned with the welfare of all citizens and putting their effort in to help out in the community. The second thing is to understand that we are one society, and not many little societies living separately. That is all there is to it really--simple solutions to move us forward immensely as a country. I say move forward, because it is still just the first step in us getting back up.
Henry Ford, the inventor of the automobile once said “whether you think you can or think you cannot, either way you are right”. It’s is one of my favorite quotes, because it speaks of the power of the mind and having a positive thought versus having a negative outlook. My favorite quote is actually “be the change you wish to see in the world” and I have followed it, now it is time for us all to do the same. A better Belize is possible, but for us to attain it we must individually be the change that we wish to see.
For information on joining the Belize Volunteers’ Club and becoming the change you wish to see in your community you can check out the club’s Facebook page: Belize Volunteers’ Club, or contact 634-2233 or also you can email