We now have less than 4 weeks left here in Marcala and I think it is hitting home that soon we will all be on a flight back to England and our time here will be over. With this in mind we have decided that whatever we do before we leave, we must leave our mark here; a good impression, shared knowledge, shared culture and no matter how small we want to have helped in some way. So our plans for the next 3 weeks are big ones, and our involvement with the community, the youth and the enterprises in Marcala is going to reach its peak before we leave. This blog entry is really to let you know about a major project of ours so far and our up and coming events so you can keep posted on our progress and support our last efforts to ‘leave our mark’.
One of our projects whilst we have been here in Marcala involved us leaving a literal ‘mark’ in the community. On behalf of one of our partner organisations, COMULP, we were given the privilege to design and assemble a mural depicting the effects of climate change. The idea was to paint a picture of our environment before climate change, and the contrasting image that will result if we do not look after our environment. Climate change is a growing issue in Honduras and the aim of this mural was to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the environment. To echo the message we were trying to send, the mural consisted of an array of recycled materials - bottle caps, glass, ceramic tiles, coins and coke cans - which were put together in the style of a mosaic. Aside from this project being a really positive message to send to the people of Marcala, it was also fun to be a part of and I feel it was pivotal in really integrating us into the community. Whilst we were in the process of putting it all together, members of the community passing would stop and ask about it, ask about us, and thank us for our contribution. For me, it was a symbol of our intentions here and it is something which will remain on that wall for a very long time (or with a bit of luck forever).
In the last couple of weeks, our minds seem to have evolved into some "super idea producing machines", and our action within the community has rocketed under the influence of the realisation that we only have 3 weeks left. In the next couple of weeks we have put together a series of events that will involve the entire community of Marcala; youth, adults, children, politicians, chefs, teachers…everyone. Our aim is to integrate with the community, offer a cultural exchange and raise awareness about issues that are specific to Marcala and its people.
So…the first date for our diaries is 24th November. On this day, the team have been invited by the mayor to take part in a community event dedicated to the local youth. Our role involves participating in a forum in which we will bring to the table a perspective, from the UK, on human rights and in particular the rights of young people. On top of this, we will be featured in a radio show talking about our volunteer project here and to round off the day the evening consists of a festival in which we will join in the fun; and maybe even hit the dance floor to give them a taste of British culture. The following day we are set to pair up with our other partner organisation, COMUCAP, to take part in a similar event that involves a forum and various activities which are centred on women and the struggles they may face. We hope to document this experience and maybe get some of the women’s voices heard through interviews and publications on the internet, so that is also something to look forward to.
The final event, which will be one of the last of our projects before we leave for Tegucigalpa, is a community event which our team are in the process of organising. It started with a small idea and within the space of a couple of weeks has escalated into an event in which the whole community is involved in. The plan is to throw a community fun day in which anybody is welcome and which involves games, dancing, Honduran music and again an effort to raise awareness about the issues and also the positive movements that are happening in Marcala. So far, everybody has been extremely helpful and COMULP have agreed to support the event, along with many other microenterprises that are either involved with COMULP or the community in general. This event is set to take place on 1st December and has already drawn the attention of schools, organisations and the local press.
Our time here has been limited and the more productive we are the more we have to share with people when we arrive home, and to me this is the whole point…to exchange our experiences, to meet new people and to work together to make a difference.
Progressio ICS volunteer Sharna Allen blogs about the exciting plans for the final weeks
Photos of mural