Richmond Vale

This is our Backyard: The Spectacular La Soufrière Volcano

Can you imagine getting up from your bed, going to the patio and having a view of a volcano? We present to you our backyard in Richmond Vale Academy : La Soufrière volcano. [caption id="attachment_7270" align="aligncenter" width="500"] La Soufrière Volcano - Our Backyard One of St. Vincent's most dramatic vistas is a volcanic mountain situated in the rugged north. La Soufrière, often shrouded in cloud, waits for the hearty and energetic to climb its 4,000 feet to be stunned by its immensity. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is part of an island chain in the southeastern Caribbean called the Lesser Antilles, or Windward Islands. Referred to as the “Gem of the Antilles,”. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is comprised of St. Vincent.  Bequia , Canouan , Mayreau , Mustique , Union Island  a nd many smaller Islands and Cays. Mainland St. Vincent is relatively young, about 3 million years old. La Soufrière volcano occupies a central place in Vincentian history and psyche. Then, reflected in numerous times it is mentioned in the Bequia Mysteries . So, La Soufrière eruptions, and the volcanic nature of the soil, shaped St. Vincent’s history, population and culture. It created the black sand beaches along the northern coasts of St. Vincent. Then, the rich, fertile volcanic soil spawned a densely forested interior. Which provided refuge and strategic launching pads for the...
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Tree of the Week: Mango (Mangifera indica)

  [caption id="attachment_7144" align="alignleft" width="300"] Juicy, sweet and yummy Mango! Juicy, sweet, yummy! Mango is a treat to people all over the world and Vincentians are no different. One good friend to Richmond Vale Academy (RVA) told us about how, when he was a boy, he and his friends would get out of school and race down to the nearest mango tree to collect the good fruit before it was gone. When it is in season here in Saint Vincent (SVG), one is hard-pressed to find a fruit that is more popular than the mango. The mango tree is a member of the Evergreen family. Then, it can grow to be up to 90 feet tall. Its leaves are about 12-16 inches in length when they are mature and are leathery, glossy and dark green in color. The fruit has a smooth, tough outside layer and fleshy, juicy inside layer that is very sweet. It can vary in size, shape and flavor depending on the variety and weighs anywhere between ¼ of a pound and 3 pounds. The fruit tree was introduced to the Caribbean in the late 1600s from the India-Burma region of the world. In the earlier days of mango cultivation in Saint Vincent. Much of the land near the sea was occupied by British estates and plantations. It was common for people to go...
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The Fair of Flair in Chateaubelair and "Ecotourism"

Traveling has been vastly popular for centuries now. No doubt about it. However now with climate change and global warming as a hot topic. People are becoming more and more aware of the impact their travel habits can have on the place people visit. And now is the start of the term Ecotourism . It is responsible travel to a natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people. As a traveler this means to minimize physical, social, behavioural and psychological impacts. As travelers we should have the compassion and interest to support local people with their art, food and traditional ways of expressing themselves. Local products in some cases may be more expensive. However it is authentic and one of a kind. Not mass produced in sweatshops in China  or Bangladesh .  Ecotourism is built around the awareness and respect for the environment and culture. For many tourists when arriving at a new destination there is a tight schedule with all the pit stops that the tour guides have decided. Usually the guides make arrangements with the big brands, and then, there is no time for buy local products. As an example, last Saturday there was a special event happening in Chateaubelair called “The Fair of Flair in Chateaubelair”. And it was meant to bring awareness and interest to buy local...
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Richmond Vale

The Mayan food in Belize

by Manal When I was working as a development instructor in Belize , I was very lucky to get the chance to experience the Mayan cuisine .  In Belize we lived in a Mayan community. We lived very close to a family so we had many opportunities to eat different dishes from the Mayan cuisine. If I want to be talking about Maya food. Then I will be of course be talking about corn tortillas! Corn is something very important to the Mayan people. It is the crop they grow and cultivate and have been doing it for centuries and it is their main source of income, and main source of food as well.  But these people are really lucky as corn tortillas are very tasty especially when they are coming straight from the Kamal, there were many times when I ran excitedly to get myself some the first second I notice that mama wasbaking. Corn tortillas are amazing with everything! Jam, eggs, peanut butter! And of course beans! Which is another crop that is also grown by these farmers.  Because of this, the main and constant dish that Mayan people eat is the beans and corn tortillas. The beans are cook as a stew or grinded. And then the beans are eat with the corn tortillas. But this dish is delicious, and that is because...
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Preparing for Richmond Vale Academy

by Sara Averbeck [caption id="attachment_7065" align="alignleft" width="225"] "The November Climate Compliance Team taking a different kind of path together" The application had been submitted, the preliminary tasks toward enrollment had begun. Once I felt sure enough about my decision to attend Richmond Vale Academy  (RVA). I started to tell my friends and family about it. In one form or another they all had the same response: “ This experience will change you ”. I’ve only been at the academy for two weeks but I already have no doubt that they were right. What I never expected, however, was how much RVA would change me even before my arrival at the school. Post college graduation I spent two years feeling at a complete loss as to what to do next. A career track didn’t feel like the right path but slinging pizzas and pouring beers wasn’t exactly fulfilling. A friend of mine had recently returned from a solo journey across Europe . I found her photography and her stories to be beautiful and inspiring. More than anything else, I am inspire by her bravery. To go far away to strange places and immerse herself in strange cultures entirely on her own seemed to me unthinkable. I had never traveled outside of the U.S before.  For me, adventure had always been experienced well enough close to home. But,...
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Meet our Climate Activist Team # 14

The biggest threat facing humanity is Climate Change. The constant and disproportionate emissions of gases by industrialized countries, among other abuses of natural resources, are causing major changes in global climate. Then, its consequences affect mainly the developing countries and result in floods, drought, hurricanes and all kinds of natural disasters that leave the population helpless and without means to survive. That is why, international summits such as the Kyoto Protocol . And more recently the Paris Agreement promoted by the U.N , have begun to adopt some measures. The basic idea of it is to create viable sustainable development of mankind, ie, that supports economic growth and environmental preservation. To achieve this balance, various proposals have been made. Promoting sustainable agriculture, limiting methane emissions, reducing greenhouse gas emissions or setting up tax incentives to encourage the use of renewable energy. There are several organizations around the world that are encouraging education on the effects of climate change and how to prevent them. Richmond Vale Academy is a non profit institution in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Today, more than 500 students from St. Vincent and around the world have participated in shorter and longer programs to fight poverty and protect the environment since 2002. The Climate Change Activist Program , has the purpose that you learn and teach along with people from all over the...
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Making seedlings of our own organic seeds

By Sebastian Lopez Our organic garden at Richmond Vale Academy consists of four green houses. One of them is dedicated exclusively to producing our own seeds. Being able to produce your own seeds is challenging, but is a very critical point to be sustainable. It is not only providing the perfect conditions for the plants, but also dealing with unexpected outcomes. Some time ago, we decided to have chickens in the garden. The purpose was to collect eggs for the kitchen and to use the chicken manure in the compost, since it is rich in nitrogen. However, the chickens manage to give us a hard time escaping every time they wanted and causing serious damage. Especially to the plants we had designated for seeds. But we didn’t give up. After some disappointments and many tries, we were able to obtain our own eggplant seeds. It was very satisfying considering eggplants were also very vulnerable to pests. The knowledge we gained by dealing with the previous problems prepared us to be ready when the eggplant season arrived. After we waited for the eggplant to ripe. We took the seeds, dry them and save them. We kept them in the fridge waiting to be used, and the moment arrived. New students came to begin with their climate compliance program , the same program I started before them. Full...
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20 Inspirational Hiking Quotes to get you out there

[caption id="attachment_6931" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo Credit: Richmond Vale Diving and Hiking Center Few recreation activities offer as much benefit in return for as little as hiking does. Hiking is a basic mountaineering modality it does not need heavy backpacks with expensive equipment, nor climbing steep slopes nor knowing complicated techniques of knots or risky climbing maneuvers. Hiking allows us to enjoy something that we have done all our lives: walking. So, walking beyond going from the house to the car and from the parking lot to the office... Walking is healthy, we gain strength in the legs, the heart beats with more vigor, the lungs work more effectively, biceps, stomach muscles, chest and shoulders are benefit from the simple fact of walking. To motivate you to go out there and get in touch with nature, we present you these inspirational hiking quotes. We hope you like them! 20 Inspirational Hiking Quotes “In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous” –Aristotle “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity”. ― John Muir “Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory. – Ed Viesturs, No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World’s 14 Highest Peaks “I walked slowly to enjoy this freedom, and when I came out of the mountains,...
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Humanure: Using human waste as fertilizer

“The world is divided into two categories of people: those who shit in their drinking water supplies and those who don't.” – Joe Jenkins, Author of Humanure Handbook . As the war for resources wage on let's take a moment to discuss a resource that we throw away every single day: human manure. "Humanure (human manure) is the human fecal material and urine that is recycle for agricultural purposes via thermophilic composting. Humanure contains valuable soil nutrients that enhance plant growth.  Human manure could be a major source of soil fertility if properly recycled. When discarded into the environment as a waste material, it creates pollution and threatens public health. When you recycle using composting, the pollution and health threats are eliminate. "   Composting toilets don't smell bad at all. That is because each time someone does their business, they cover it up with carbon-rich sawdust which accomplishes three things. Soaks up moisture, create a covering that prevent odor from escaping. And create a cover that prevents flies from being attract to it. Additionally, each bucket has a wooden cover so insects cannot get into it. Many Ecovillages compost human waste in such a way that it is recycled, over a two year period, using methods that organically destroy all pathogens contained within it. The toilets at don't have any water in them. Instead, they have...
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Team Schedules November Climate Team

Climate change is the greatest environmental threat facing humanity. Constant and disproportionate emissions of gases by industrialized countries, among other abuses of natural resources, are causing major changes in global climate. Its consequences affect mainly the developing countries and result in floods, drought, hurricanes and all kinds of natural disasters that leave the population helpless and without means to survive. Climate change is one of the great threats of our time, not only for nature and the extinction of species, but also for man. Although the effects of climate change are noticeable across the globe, they do not affect all populations alike. In the Climate Change Activist Program of the Richmond Vale Academy, you will learn and teach along with people from all over the world and — what's the most important task nowadays for a Climate Activist — contributing to create awareness, spreading the knowledge about Climate Change and Global Warming in the communities, and specific in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Our team of Climate Activists are already carrying out their corresponding activities with the program. Here we present the activities that have been carried out the last couple of weeks: Week 3: Digging Deeper – 14 th to the 20 th of November Morning Afternoon Evening Monday Morning Class about: The USA election and democracy Basic climate science: Climate Change and the Oceans...
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Do you know about the damage caused by ExxonMobil?

ExxonMobil is the largest oil corporation in the world. It emerged as the Standard Oil Company in 1889. It is currently the result of the merger in 2000 of the Esso and Mobil corporations. Today operates in different regions under one of these names or as ExxonMobil. Its activities span more than 40 countries. Include the exploitation, processing and marketing of petroleum products and natural gas, as well as the manufacture of chemicals, plastics and fertilizers. Only oil, this company produces 2.6 million barrels of crude oil a day. Its founder was John D. Rockefeller .  But, what does this US Corporation actually hide? [caption id="attachment_6873" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Photo Credit: porttechnology.org Throughout history, ExxonMobil has carried out a series of actions that place it outside the law. And yet, in reality, they have remained unpunished. An example of this is the accusation that is made to this company to be linked to dictatorial regimes of countries.  Such was the case of ExxonMobil's alliance with the dictatorial regime of Mohammad Suharto in Indonesia. Different manifestations were made against this transnational, they ended with an endless number of dead, wounded and missing. Oil Spill Contamination The most acclaimed case of ExxonMobil's was in 1989. In that year,  Exxon Valdez oil tanker  caused an oil spill into the crystalline waters of Alaska. Although the company tried to hide the...
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This is all the scuba diving gear you need!

Scuba Diving is one of the most rewarding activities you can do. A relaxing hobby in which you will experience different experiences. In each dive you will observe and learn new things while having the opportunity to make new friends. So, the relaxing atmosph ere offered by the sea and the snorkeling activity itself are probably the main reasons for the existence of a camaraderie among divers. Then, you do not always find this in other activities.   [caption id="attachment_6834" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Photo credit: pixabay Sharing ex periences and even tips and tricks while navigating makes learning something new. So, this is an activity of coexistence in which if you travel alone. Then, you will always find a partner. And if you do it together. You will meet other people who share the passion for the exploration of the seabed. Learn to dive and scuba dive underwater to observe all the mysteries that locks can be a magical experience. So, to enjoy this experience, you need to have the proper scuba diving gear. Then, since it facilitates greatly the power to do this activity of its kind. Scuba Diving Gear Mask or visor It is the element that allows to see under the water avoiding the direct contact of salty or chlorinated water with the eyes. The mask interposes a layer of air between the eyes...
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After our Service Period in Belize - FWTP Team October 2015

Last 6 months in our Service Period By Lillian Hallmark After returning to the Academy   after our service period we have several things to get in order. We are back to the communal living, common action and food production. However it's not all.  We are also in the process on making our own product. Which we will share with others who are interested in learning about Fighting shoulder to shoulder with the poor (stay tuned). We have many ideas on what we would like to  make for our journal product. I will write two articles about gender inequality and the environment. The articles will compare Belize to either St. Vincent or my home country Norway. My team mate Mariana will illustrate the articles. Manal will make videos on “How to live sustainably” that you will be find on Richmond’s Youtube channel . Baha will make short stories or poems describing the true story about the world. It will have music and will be beautiful. This is all up to us, what we would like to share with others. There is no limit to what we can do (unless it includes putting a flag on the moon, RVA does not have budget for that). Not all of people like to write essays, meaning they should not be forced to. Others are more artistic and like to create art...
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Starting an Organic Garden in Belize. Fighting Poverty Team March 2016

by Baha Alzain We arrived to the place that will be our home for the next five months, Silver Creek , a village in Toledo, the southern most district in Belize . As part of our duties as development instructors .  We were encouraging the families we were working with to have organic backyard gardens for economic and nutritional reasons. In order to be able to advocate such an idea. We had to prove that it is indeed possible to start an organic garden from scratch. And that was exactly what we did. We started by choosing a small area that would house our small garden. We made sure to find a flat ground that would get enough sunlight during the day. And that it would have enough space to contain two large beds as well. As providing enough space for possible future expansions. Then we decided to make a compost pile. This contain an organic decompose material that is add to the beds as fertilizer and soil enhancer. Next was the digging of the beds. In fact, we dug two large beds then decided to connect them together for aesthetic reasons. Then the first challenge arises. It rains really heavily in Belize. One particular night the sky wasn't holding back any rain, so the bed was washed away. Solution: add some wooden boards around the...
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Do you know about the United Nations Green Passport?

[caption id="attachment_6779" align="alignleft" width="233"] Photo credit: unep Most of the time, we are thinking of going on vacation. Also, we want to know new countries, learning about culture, gastronomy, and have fun. But have you ever thought about how your vacation can affect the planet? No, we're not telling you not to go on vacation.  But, you can help take care of the environment and enjoy your vacation while you do it. To do this you only need the United Nations Green Passport. The Green Passport  (http://www.unep.fr/greenpassport/) was developed in the International Working Group on Sustainable Tourism Development.  It was launched at the Berlin Tourism Fair 2008 by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). And by the Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Territorial Planning. Also, by the Ministries of Environment and Tourism of Brazil and other partners. By browsing the Green Passport website consumers will be able to find practical and ecological tips.  So, this tips help them reduce their environmental and social footprint. So, tourists will discover that traveling green is not as hard as they imagined. The Green Passport website is designed to look fun and user-friendly. And you can even submit your own green travel tips. So, A large part of the program is focused on traveling responsibly. In other words, educating yourself about your destination and culture before going on...
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Special project in Belize. Fighting Poverty Team March 2016

During the project in Belize and  Ecuador , the Development Instructors have the chance to leave their mark on the village and the people with a special project. The special project can be anything that is benefiting the village and not just each family. Among the three development instructors in Belize 2016 we had several good ideas, we were bouncing ideas back and forth between each other. Ideas such as trying to get a garbage collection system, bartering club, library and  welcome signs to the villages. We discussed with the Humana team what would be good options for the people in the two villages we were working with. In the end we came up with three really good projects with will make the villages and each of the families that we were working with remember us for a long time. Manal’s special project was to plant 55 fruit trees around the schools and at the families that we were working with. With the help from our project leader, Pantaleon Escobar, the project went smoothly. Manal collected ten different variety of fruit trees in Silk Grass in Stan Creek about 3 hours drive from our village. She was able to transport the trees to the villages where the families were waiting patiently. Together we went to San Miguel and had a planting action with our families. Several of...
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3000 New trees to be planted

[caption id="attachment_6755" align="alignleft" width="300"] Part of the damage caused by Hurricane Tomas. Photo Credit: Wikipedia St. Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the world’s most disaster prone countries. During the past few years hurricanes and floods have affected St Vincent. Hundreds of people lost their homes, jobs and loved ones. Have been done major damages to bridges, roads and buildings. Thousands of trees and many acres of agricultural soil have been lost. Although St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other Caribbean nations have contributed little. To the release of the greenhouse gases driving climate change. We pay a heavy price for global inaction in reducing emissions. The new tree planting project. Aims at sensitizing and mobilize people to take action. To mitigate and adapt to the challenges of Climate Change in St. Vincent. To learn a bit more about this topic. The Richmond Vale Academy website gives us a brief introduction about what is climate change? With a 10 year perspective, Richmond Vale Academy launched the St. Vincent Climate Compliance Conference in 2012. Aiming to form the future of St. Vincent into that of being a more Climate Compliant Country. The Climate Compliance Conference works with a small group of people from Richmond Vale Academy. Together with the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines, various community organizations, schools and volunteers. Richmond Vale Academy has...
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Changing the world through renewable energy

At Richmond Vale Academy we run Another Kind of school where adults join to become inspired, gain knowledge which they will turn into action.  Through The St. Vincent Climate Compliance Conference Program we are doing our part to change the world by walking our talk. Burning of fossil fuels are polluting our atmosphere and creating Global Warming and we have taken concrete action to change our energy consumption to renewable energy with solar panels.A few months ago we set up 70 solar panels and a battery bank.  [caption id="attachment_6740" align="aligncenter" width="448"] Our New Solar Panels! [caption id="attachment_6739" align="aligncenter" width="448"] The batteries! Our monthly energy consumption is a bit over 2000 KwH which makes the monthly electricity bill around US$ 1000.  The payback time on the investment of $56.000 will be 5 years, which is less that our current electricity bill.After months of planning and finding out how, we finally set up the batteries and panels during the Building Week in July. It was very exciting because the time had come to turn off fossil fuels and turn on for solar. During the common meeting we planned the Building Weekend and decided that everyone should be part of setting up the panels.By producing our own energy we have become aware of the use of electricity that it is not something that is just there coming from somewhere...
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La Soufriere Leeward Trail Clearing Report

Background This report is a partial fulfilment of the GEF funded project to rehabilitate the La Soufriere Leeward Trail on St. Vincent .  No maintenance work was done on this trail for a number of years and in 2010 it was made worse with the passing of hurricane Thomas which totally devastated the trail. Huge trees were uprooted and blocked the trail, landslides took out sections of the trail which caused persons to use alternative route.  In 2013 further damage was done to the trail by the passing of a trough system that affected the whole island.  Despite these negative impacts the trail remained untouched, visitation was low because of the trail condition, shrubs and trees grew up on the trail way covered by vines thus making the trail impassable.  To get to the summit one had to bend down and go through dark vine tunnels amid obstacles of shrubs and dangerous vines for most of the way.  At the end of the tree line grass completely covered the trail past waist height with just a very narrow foot path which was barely visible almost to the top.     Trail Clearing At a meeting on 5 th September the stakeholders decided to implement work on 19 th of September, to clear the trail. A crew of 8 was decided on however one did not turn...
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Distance Learner at One World University

One World University/ ISTC is ADPP Mozambique’s university, training professionals within two areas: Pedagogy and Fighting with The Poor.The students are trained to become teachers at teacher training colleges as well as social activists, practicing intellectuals, fighting shoulder to shoulder with The Poor against all the effects of poverty, whilecreating economic development.One World University’s idea is to equip students with relevant theoretical knowledge, skills and practical experience so that they become able to act with others in the present reality, implementing practical actions to respond to challenges. One World University presents the students with a program that inspires while opening up to a whole new world filled with other ways of doing things and of being challenged. The program places its academic training right into our contemporary world and its human conditions. Faculty of Pedagogy The faculty started in 1998 and provides a Licentiate Degree in Pedagogy. The training aims to support graduates in professional careers within education and as instructors at teacher training colleges. In 2012, there were 94 Pedagogy students. Faculty of Fighting with The Poor The faculty started in 2008 and provides a Licentiate Degree. The training aims at creating social activists and community developers with a broad general understanding, specific knowledge of development theories and ability to put their knowledge to practical use in actions together with The Poor in their communities....
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