at the end of a Peace Corps Volunteer’s service, the PCV is required to write a Description of service, which will become the official record of what he or she accomplished while in country. Here is mine:
DESCRIPTION OF PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER SERVICE
Alanna Randall SS# xxx-xx-xxxx – Belize
After a competitive application process, stressing applicant’s skills, adaptability, and cross-cultural sensitivity, Alanna Randall was invited into Peace Corps service. She entered Peace Corps pre-service training on June 18, 2001 at Cahal Pech, Cayo District, Belize and completed an intensive eight-week training program that included the following:
• Belizean history and politics
• Belizean ethnic and cultural groups
• Creole language introduction and continued Spanish training
• Belizean law, society, and art
• Village/cultural immersion
• Cultural events, activities and celebrations
• General Guidelines of job description
• Hands-on job orientation
• Belizean environmental history and policies
• Community assessment/small project design
• Supervisor/Counterpart conference
• Proposal Writing
• Site visit
• Cross-cultural training
• Volunteer in development
• Volunteer personal support
• Peace Corps country orientation
• Work placement orientation
• First aid
• HIV/AIDS awareness training
• Preventative and tropical medicine
• Personal safety
As a trainee living in San Narciso Village, Corozal district, Alanna Randall with fellow PCTs coordinated a small project with local primary students. The project encouraged students to enhance a small garden in the school yard that featured native plants. A second component of the project trained students to work on computers to prepare a plant guide for their garden. Students illustrated their book with hand drawn pictures of their plant.
Ms. Randall swore in as a Peace Corps Volunteer on August 18, 2001 and began her service in Placencia, Stann Creek district, Belize, Central America, as the Environmental Education coordinator for Friends of Laughing Bird Caye National Park. She began to settle into the small Creole community, with an economy based on fishing and tourism.
Friends of Laughing Bird Caye Placencia, Stann Creek September-October 2001
The Friends of Laughing Bird Caye (FOLBC), located in Placencia Village, Stann Creek district, is dedicated to the sustainability of Laughing Bird Caye National Park, a World Heritage Site. FOLBC is committed to educating five coastal communities (Placencia, Seine Bight, Hopkins, Independence and Monkey River) about local environmental concerns.
Ms. Randall’s accomplishments with this organization were:
• Became familiar with the organization
• Organized research materials and ran the office
• Began outreach in schools (Placencia, Independence, Hopkins)
• Began compiling materials for a resource manual for teachers
• Contributed too an article featured in Placencia Breeze
However, on October 8, 2001, Hurricane Iris swept through Placencia, leaving a trail of debris. Alanna’s house did not survive. After the hurricane, Ms. Randall worked with her APCD to re-establish herself in Belize. In November 2001, she was assigned to Cristo Rey village as environmental education coordinator for Chaa Creek Natural History Center, Belize Botanic Gardens and Elijio Panti National Park with her focus being conservation education. Ms. Randall was also fully involved with secondary projects that focused on community development and preschool education for young children. Ms. Randall lived in Cristo Rey Village from February 2002- March 2003. She then moved to San Ignacio Town to continue her work with Chaa Creek’s NHC, BBG and with Cornerstone Foundation.
Chaa Creek Natural History Centre San Ignacio, Cayo November 2001-December 2003
The Chaa Creek Natural History Centre and Butterfly Farm is a part of the Lodge at Chaa Creek, which has pioneered natural history travel to Belize. The 330-acre private nature reserve on the Macal River hosts the internationally recognized Natural History Centre, Butterfly farm, miles of trails for bird watching, mountain biking, or horseback riding, and access to Belize’s richest Maya archeological sites. Chaa Creek has a commitment to ongoing conservation programs such as the Bay Leaf Reforestation program, the Birds without Borders Project and the Howler Monkey Relocation Project.
Ms. Randall’s accomplishments with this organization included the following:
• Edited and Complete the Chaa Creek Natural History Centre and Butterfly Farm Teacher’s Guide for Culture, Natural History and Tourism of Western Belize, Central America.
• Wrote a Tourism/Ecotourism section for the Teacher’s Guide
• Coordinated a Summer Institute for Environmental Education for local primary teachers and American teachers with State University of New York College (SUNY), applying for credit hours with Teacher’s Unit in order for Belizean teachers to receive professional development credits
• Worked with the Ministry of Education’s Quality Assurance and Development Services (QADS) to integrate the Teacher’s Guide into the national curriculum
• Using Microsoft Publisher, prepared a brochure to promote the Summer Institute in Environmental Education
• Worked with Cristo Rey R.C. Primary school teachers on a pilot project to introduce the teacher’s guide
Belize Botanic Gardens San Ignacio, Cayo November 2001-December 2003
The Belize Botanic Gardens is currently the only botanic garden in the country. The garden, covering forty-five acres on the Macal River, is an attraction for local and foreign visitors and home to conservation and education programs. Providing environmental awareness, education and working demonstrations in sustainable agriculture, Belize Botanic Gardens can make a significant contribution as a resource for the country, an education tool and a place of beauty to inspire appreciation of the natural world. Their mission statement is to grow, study and promote tropical flora of Belize, with an emphasis on native species in an educational setting, to provide a focus for future botanical development in Belize through research, education, conservation and sustainable agriculture and collect and disseminate this information.
Ms. Randall’s accomplishments with this organization were:
• Provided informational packs for on-site educative field trips
• Developed a Teacher’s Resource Manual
• Contacted primary schools in the Cayo district
• Prepared a dialogue for a BBG instructor to visit schools with
Elijio Panti National Park Cristo Rey Village, Cayo November 2001- June 2002
The Itzamna Society is a recently formed, community-based organization that aims to effectively co-manage the park, facilitate community development projects, and enhance environmental programs. The Itzamna Society consists of fourteen active members from the villages of San Antonio, Cristo Rey, and El Progreso Seven Miles, which surround the 13,006-acre Elijio Panti National Park (EPNP).
Her accomplishments with this organization were:
• Provided English translation for a Document of the Park’s accomplishments
• Wrote brief descriptions of San Antonio and Cristo Rey for EPNP’s web site, for tourism promotion.
• Created a Conservation education Activity booklet for students and visitors to the park.
• Developed educational exhibit ideas for a future Visitor’s Center to promote conservation and environmental education.
• Community development and outreach
• Attended community meetings
• Attended monthly Itzamna Society meetings
The Cornerstone Foundation San Ignacio, Cayo
The Cornerstone Foundation is a non-profit humanitarian organization developed to inspire respect for self, culture and the environment. The foundation helps people to help themselves, and assist organizations and social services in meeting their goals within the community.
Jumpstart English Program November 2001-August 2003
The Jumpstart Program’s purpose is to prepare Spanish-speaking children for learning and participating in an English-speaking classroom. The Jump Start Program enables children to develop skills in expressing themselves, following directions in English, as well as early English literacy. This program is intended for children from non-English speaking families who do not attend pre-school and who may be at a disadvantage when they begin Infant 1 primary school because they have not been exposed to the English language. This program also serves to teach basic school skills
• Worked with Jump Start program in Santa Elena, November 2001
• Helped establish a jumpstart program in Cristo Rey village, April-June 2002
• Presented the program to the Parent Teacher’s Association of Cristo Rey, in Spanish
• Prepared projects for the program’s arts and crafts
• Worked with Principal Canto, Chairman Tzib, Minister Dan Silva and local resident, Deogracia Heredia in preparing for a Summer Program and Preschool, June 2002
• Participated in training held by the Ministry of Education’s Preschool Unit, July 2002
• Attended and held community meetings discussing the summer program and preschool
• Announced the Summer program to the PTA, in Spanish
• Helped teach the Summer program’s curriculum (based on Infant 1 curriculum), August 2002
• Worked with Ms. Heredia, helping to train her in teaching methods
• Coordinated with Cornerstone Volunteer for help with Summer Program
• Created learning aids and visual materials. Performed puppet shows and songs. Taught the Belize National Anthem.
• Contributed to Cornerstone Foundation’s Jumpstart Program Manual
• Submitted descriptions of the program and photos to be featured on Cornerstone Foundation’s website
• Observed and Evaluated students’ progress. Graded class work
• Wrote reports on the achievements of the program, the set-up of the class, evaluations of students
• Began Jumpstart Program in San Ignacio, May-July 2003
Belize Magazine May 2003
The Belize Magazine is published by Cornerstone Foundation and serves to promote Belize as a tourist destination.
• Worked on layout and design of Magazine, using Adobe Pagemaker
• Collected information and prepared an advertisement
• Contributed articles and a poem
In Placencia Village, Ms Randall:
• Established contact with Clean & Green, a community organization in Placencia village
• Sacked supplies to contribute to the hurricane relief effort provided by the Ministry of Human Development following Hurricane Iris, October 2001.
While working and residing in Cristo Rey Village, Ms. Randall:
• Tutored two students: One in grammar, one in math.
• Encouraged local resident to start her restaurant and guest house, and offered services as a taste-tester
• Helped organize a group of youth to begin various classes
• Monitored the Cristo Rey preschool and reported to the Ministry of Education’s Preschool Unit
Peace Corps Related Activities
• Served as editor on a Peace Corps quarterly magazine, the Toucan Times, December 2002-September 2003. Duties included:
o Coordinating editorial staff meetings
o Soliciting submissions from PCVs and staff
o Editing volunteer literary contributions
o Preparing layout and paste-up of magazine in preparation for publication
o Liaising with Peace Corps administration on content and publishing issues
• Contributed articles, photos, poems, artwork to the Toucan Times
• With fellow PCVs, gave a presentation to PCTs about Peace Corps life in Cayo, June 2002 and June 2003
• Coordinated a Talent Bank Directory of PCVs
• Compiled resources for Environmental Education into a binder
• Served as a liaison between Cayo area Peace Corps Volunteers and Cornerstone Foundation Volunteers
• Independent study of Creole, Spanish, Cultural Anthropology and Tourism
General Working and Living Conditions
It should be noted that in many of her activities, Alanna Randall proved herself by completing tasks with minimal supervision, learning new skills through independent study, working in languages other than English, and operating without many of the creature comforts many North Americans take for granted.