Richmond Vale

My personal Project in Ecuador by Ammon

My personal Project in Ecuador by Ammon
Building Water Recycling filters in Ecuador   By Ammon  During the past six months working in a rural farming community in southern Ecuador I worked with many projects and working closely with many families. In the first three months I looked to see what projects that could really make a big difference in the community. Looking for what problems caused the biggest trouble and in what ways I could apply my own skills to work with the people here. Many of the rural communities where I was working consistently struggled with water shortages. The government has fairly reliable systems for distributing water but even when systems work perfectly stores of water can fall very low during the dry season. Many families pay for an extra service that is a couple dollars a month for the firefighters to deliver water by truck to overcome the water shortages. The main project that I worked on in this community was building small organic gardens with the families and teaching how to maintain them. One of the obvious parts of maintaining a garden is watering it. Many people where hesitant to seed and maintain their home gardens because they are worried that they will not have enough water for other household tasks such as washing dishes, and clothes, and even drinking water. Because transporting more water is already difficult one...
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Whaling in Bequia by Lilith

Whaling in Bequia by Lilith
By Lilith Bequia is one of the few places in the world where limited whaling is still allowed by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Whaling started to become a part of the peoples lifes in Bequia when William Wallace, a Bequian with Scottish roots who had worked on North American whaling boats, returned to the island. He started training workers to hunt and kill whales and opened the first commercial whaling station in Bequia in 1875. Until today the fishers on the island are still allowed to take four whales per year, a very controversial topic. The IWC only allows whaling in very few countries who practice Aboriginal Substistence Whaling. Those countries have to fulfill specific requirements to be granted whaling. During the research on the island we did not only visit the Bequia Whaling & Maritime Museum where we learnt about the history of whaling, but also found ourselves at the fisherie in Paget Farm, where we talked to fishermen, whalers, and the first and second harpooneers. We were able to take a look at their boat and their harpoones to have a better understanding of how a hunt would look like. The harpoones and the boat looked so small next to the massive skull of a whale from one of the previous hunts. It's huge, almost as big as a standing person. We asked...
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Richmond Vale

Shape the garden – Shape the Future

Shape the garden – Shape the Future
Mandala Garden Project at Chateu Primary School by the Climate Team “Performance team”: that is how they call us. No matter what we take, eventually we will get the best out of it. After going through so much together, having so many discussions and inside jokes, we are unstoppable. Let me introduce you with our latest project in Saint Vincent. There is a school, up in the mountains called “Chateu primary school”. They decided that it would be nice to have a vegetable/fruits garden nearby. Thus, we are there to help to realize their idea. I would like to emphasize one more time that we are there as contributors rather than leaders. It feels good to be part of this project since children can benefit from it: the headmaster mentioned that gardening can be included into curriculum. Also, we are glad that after we leave the Richmond Vale Academy a living garden stays behind. The first step was to make a plan for the garden. Jorge and I came up with design for it. And after measuring the land, Vanessa made a precise scheme of it. The second step : decide on plants, trees and herbs we want to have there. As some humans, some plants go along better, flourish nearby others. For this reason, we have met with Luke, the master of organic gardening and...
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Richmond Vale

Working with the Communities Part 2 by Sara

Working with the Communities Part 2 by Sara
Welcome back! This is part 2 of a short blog series about my team’s tree planting project with several communities in Saint Vincent. In part 1 I described our focus on working with community groups rather than individuals or institutions. This time, I will delve a little deeper into this process. I will first describe how we came into contact with each community. Then I will outline our team goals for how we planned to work with them. Reaching out to the communities Reaching out to these community groups was in some cases very easy and in others more difficult. We wanted to first just have a meet and greet with each group. This was so that we could introduce ourselves and the project and learn about each group’s purpose. Once we’d made contact with each group we set up a meeting. In each meeting we had the opportunity to present our ideas about the tree planting project and to get feedback. This was a crucial part of each meeting because it was their first impression of us and our project. In order to do this successfully we needed to be organized and we needed to be enthusiastic. The other objective of the initial meeting was to learn about the groups. We wanted to know why they formed, what they did, and what their objectives were. ...
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Richmond Vale

Working with the Communities Part 1 by Sara

Working with the Communities Part 1 by Sara
For this blog series I am going to describe my team’s experience working on our team project with several different communities in Saint Vincent. Throughout the series I will describe 9 different aspects of how we have worked with these communities: Working with established community groups. Reaching out. Goals for working with the groups. Public outreach. Forging friendships. Challenges. Working together: evaluating our success. Plans for the future. What we have learned so far. [caption id="attachment_10706" align="aligncenter" width="400"] “Our second planting action in Petit Bordel: It doesn’t matter if we’re teaching a workshop, picking up trash, or planting trees. The kids love to come out and help us!” Working with established community groups For our major project here in Saint Vincent, my team has been planting trees. So far we have planted over 1500 trees and vetiver grass units throughout the North Leeward region of the island. Our focus for planting has been in 5 communities: Chateaubelair, Fitz Hughes, Petit Bordel, Rose Bank, and Rose Hall. While the main objective of our project has been to plant trees, the most important part of our project is the people. The point of the project has been not just to plant trees in these communities, but to plant trees with them. To do this, we planned to work with an already established community group from each village. Why...
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12 Community Service Ideas Infographic

12 Community Service Ideas Infographic
The world we live in is a beautiful place, full of marvels and opportunities for all of us to live and thrive in peace. And yet, for some, it is a daunting space, plagued by horrors. The vast majority of these horrors are caused by man and all of them can either be eradicated or alleviated by us. So, never before has mankind had such a big opportunity to exercise solidarity and compassion like it has now. And never before has mankind been so willfully blind. [caption id="attachment_5434" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Looking for ways to give back? Here are 12 great community service ideas - Photo Credit: Flickr Selfishness is in our nature and the nature of other animals, and it needs not be a disease. Every act of cooperation, unity and interdependence we find among us or other species is an act of selfishness, as it is primarily moved by self-preservation. But in men, selfishness can be poisonous, and this is evident in our society. The only way we can break free from selfishness is to become aware of the reality of those around us. We should move towards a common vision of peace, prosperity and harmony. Only by acting as one —one species, one kind, one people— we will transcend selfishness and fulfill our need for sustainable progress. Of course, there are many ways of...
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Richmond Vale

Experiencing a thoughtful life at RVA by Vanessa

Experiencing a thoughtful life at RVA by Vanessa
Since the very first moment I got to RVA I could breathe coherence and peace. I use to live in a society (and still do) where talking about how things should become is a pleasurable hobby that does not have anything to do with results, but with critiques. Ultimately critiques to myself. I use to live in a society that kills my hopes of dreaming a better world possible. I use to live in a society where consumerism and toxic hobbies keep me paralyzed from doing things and thus faraway from my principles and true-self. I don't know if this is something you can relate with, but that was definitely the way I felt. I still do sometimes, so let’s do something about it. I often find myself submerged in a bench of excuses that prevent me from going where I truly want to be. “I have no money, no knowledge, I'm not capable, nothing will change”. Thus a thousand of related ones that talk about nothing but lack of will. Sometimes I even question myself. Is it the way I think, really theway I believe in, or just a beautiful utopia in which I have no hopes about? And if so… why not to be eager to break free from my chains? Whatever they are… So… what could be wrong in keeping the mind open...
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Richmond Vale

How To: Tree Planting Actions by Malte

How To: Tree Planting Actions by Malte
A brief introduction to how to organize a tree planting action The tree planting actions are events of our program where we go out and plant trees at specific locations. We do this with the help of local groups and people. But before such a planting action can happen, there is a lot of preparation to be done. First, you have to choose the villages you want to plant in and look for local groups which might be interested in working alongside with you. After you found one, try to establish a relationship with them and inform them of our future plans. If they are interested in it, you start doing surveys in the village. This entails asking the people what trees they want/need at which locations and if they would be interested in helping out. Additionally, if they are interessted, you should ask for their contact information so you can inform them about coming planting actions. Now that you finished your survey, you have to look at the suggested areas yourself to determine how many trees of which kind. This includes the one's that were suggested/requested that you should plant there. Then you have to get the trees, either by raising or by buying them. But because raising trees takes a lot of time, it is recommended to have a list of trees beforehand. Choose...
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Richmond Vale

Fight Poverty: 4 Ways for Make a Difference (INFOGRAPHIC)

Fight Poverty: 4 Ways for Make a Difference (INFOGRAPHIC)
Fighting Poverty may sound something governments should be doing; we may think is their responsibility. But the truth is that we all should start doing something to help, either we understand or not what causes global poverty, it is a crucial part of the process implementing effective solutions to help eradicate the problem. [caption id="attachment_6648" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: American Center Mumbai . Fight Poverty The principal causes of Poverty are simple to name. Discrimination and social inequality, war and political instability, national debt, history and vulnerability to natural disasters have made this huge problem affect 80 percent of the World, and all the  terrible statistics shows worst results. But, here’s tips everybody can do to start marking a difference. (Click the infographic to enlarge ) Share this Image On Your Site </p><br /> <p><strong>Please include attribution to http://richmondvale.org with this graphic.</strong></p><br /> <p><a href='http://richmondvale.org/fight-poverty-make-difference/'><img src='http://richmondvale.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Combating-poverty.jpg' alt='Combating Poverty: 4 ways to make a difference Infographic ' width='540px' border='0' /></a></p><br /> <p> Let’s fight poverty! #1 Donate [caption id="attachment_6649" align="alignleft" width="500"] Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan employees donating coats to the St. Vincent de Paul coat drive. Photo Credit: A Healthier Michigan . Other than the money, you can donate food, clothing, toilette items, old furniture, toys and books to local shelters and programs. Is incredible the kind of thing in a good state we throw...
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Richmond Vale

Embracing the New by Juliana

Embracing the New by Juliana
By Juliana, new student, CCC Team #15 “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life and in change there is power.” - Alan Cohen This quote very much resonates with a decision I made a little over a year ago. Movement and change have been two constants in my life since, no pun intended. Just recently, I’ve learnt that the word courage is a derivative of the Latin coraticum, which could be translated as “action from the heart”. And this has made a whole difference on how I see my decision as being a courageous one. Because the decision to leave what was no longer meaningful had no rationale involved, it could only have come from my heart! And boy, this is freedom!! This is how I have come to be involved in projects based on a lot of courage and meet people who have also been acting from their hearts. This same movement has brought me to Richmond Vale Academy, located in one of the poorest islands of the Caribbean, to be a part of the Climate Compliance team for the next six months. Eleven of us, coming from...
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Richmond Vale

Experiments in the Organic Garden

Experiments in the Organic Garden
The organic garden at RVA is based on Permaculture principles, which view the garden as an ecosystem, and applies a holistic systems approach to fertilization and pest control. Plants are positioned on a garden bed according to their respective plant families. In this way, by mixing plant families, the fertilizer requirements of the diverse plant families are more easily met by the soil than when growing a mono crop. The soil at RVA organic garden is sandy and in order to grow organic vegetables, fruits and herbs it is necessary that the topsoil have a structure that enables retention of water and nutrients as well as providing a cool and protected home for our all important microbes. To this end we have experimented with the burying of coarse organic material under garden beds as well as the mixing of soft rotted wood with horse manure and bio-char. This mixture is then applied to the tops of the garden beds and mulched. [caption id="attachment_10537" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Preparing the banana fertilizer The mulch, itself in time becomes fertilizer, as it is transformed by the soil microbes into rich humus. Mulch and composting materials are grown in and around the garden in the form of support species. These include trees and vining beans that are capable of fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere, the organic matter deriving from such species...
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Richmond Vale

St. Vincent bans the killing of sea turtles

St. Vincent bans the killing of sea turtles
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has implemented a total ban on the killing of sea turtles or the harvesting of their eggs. The ban came into effect on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. The decision to impose a total ban on the killing of all sea turtlescame in late 2016 in response to the increased global threat to sea turtles and to their status as vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered. The Ministry of Fisheries initiative to protect all sea turtles comes under the theme “No Extinction In My Generation.” [caption id="attachment_10462" align="aligncenter" width="323"] Green Sea Turtle in Tobago Cays, St. Vincent and the Grenadines A report from the ministry outlined that this year SVG will seeincreased vigilance in the effort to ensure that all persons abide by the law and end the killing of sea turtles, the harvesting of their eggs, and the sale of their shells in the jewelry industry. The Ministry of Fisheries said it will continue to work with and support fisherfolk to assist former turtle fishers as they move away from turtle harvesting. “The ministry, together with National Parks Rivers and Beaches Authority, will pursue a national Sea Turtle Conservation Programme, which is working to make turtle watching a viable eco-tourism opportunity in rural coastal communities. The Windward communities of Colonarie, Byera and Sandy Bay, Big Sand have been identified for two turtle...
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Richmond Vale

The Development Instructor Concept

Humana People to People is an international volunteer system. For over 30 years  it has been a significant, practical and ideological expression of the “From People to People” philosophy of the volunteer movement. The basic idea of the Development Instructor program is to open the possibility for everyone to contribute to development on the  grounds  of Solidary Humanism,   regardless  of  nationality, colour, background, race, etc. Solidary Humanism is a concept that binds together solidarity and humanism. During their time at the Humana People to People development projects, the Development Instructors (DIs) work in groups of three called a TRIO.  They work closely with the people at the project and with the leadership of the project. The DI's bring new ideas and international spirit to the project. Often the DIs are the ones spearheading new initiatives in the projects. DIs are trained at , for example , One World Center in USA and right here at Richmond Vale Academy. The DIs are part of the Fighting Shoulder to Shoulder with the P oor program. They must complete the first two periods of their program as a condition for signing a contract with Humana People to People. The DIs are employed by Humana People to People in Belize or Ecuador . Their task is to work towards achieving the goals of the project within three main areas: routine...
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12 Ways to Save Our Planet (INFOGRAPHIC)

12 Ways to Save Our Planet (INFOGRAPHIC)
When we heard about Environmental Activism there's a bunch of difficult things that comes to our mind, but actually, it's not hard to be part of the move, and here are 12 easy ways to save our planet and it would make you feel great. Global Warming There's bad news about global warming everywhere, dying oceans , and endangered animals flooding us every day. And even if we don't want to know about it, this topic is gaining more attention because is already happening. [caption id="attachment_6517" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Jesslef . Also, it may seem like the actions of one person won't make a difference, but there are many ways you can help and it does mark a huge change. Save our planet There is a surprising amount of people, businesses, and communities that would like to do more to conserve and protect our natural resources. But, the complicated part is that they don't know where to begin with becoming more environmentally friendly. So, here's 12 easy ways to help save our planet and we ordered this by category. (Click infographic to enlarge .) Share this Image On Your Site </p><br /><br /> <p><strong>Please include attribution to http://richmondvale.org with this graphic.</strong></p><br /><br /> <p><a href='http://richmondvale.org/help-save-our-planet/'><img src='http://richmondvale.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/info-esay-ways.jpg' alt='12 Ways to save our planet Infographic' width='540px' border='0' /></a></p><br /><br /> <p> Public Actions We know that sometimes, our...
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One Day out of My Life as a Working Student by Michelle

One Day out of My Life as a Working Student by Michelle
With this blog I want to share one of my days with you. This way you get a look inside. Tuesday 14 February 2017: I woke up at 6 o'clock in the morning. Today is laundry day, which I started early because I need to dry my sheets before evening. There is a schedule and everybody has one day a week to do laundry. I planned to bring Jack and Spirit to the field below, near the beach. But when I got outside I saw a small yellow airplane flying very low. Today they're opening the new airport so I assumed it was because of that. Because I wasn't sure how the horses would react I decided to wait. In the meantime I went to "the fruit forest" to cut some Moringa. I brought it to all four horses and hung with them until they were finished eating. [caption id="attachment_10456" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Star fruit trees Meanwhile the airplane was gone so I took the halters and went to Jack and Spirit. I called them and they came to the gate. They were very polite and focusing on me so I put the halter on and walked them outside. When I started walking I noticed that I had just started walking instead of first asking the horse to come. So that was already a good lesson to start with...
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Richmond Vale

Why should you feed your horse with moringa?

Why should you feed your horse with moringa?
[caption id="attachment_10058" align="alignleft" width="320"] Moringa forest My daily task in taking care of the horses is to feed them moringa. Moringa, also called The Miracle Tree, really is a miracle. It's a very healthy plant that can be eaten by humans and animals and it's very easy to plant. Almost all of the parts of the tree are edible, raw or cooked. It contains an incredibly high dose of vitamins, minerals and proteins. At the academy we eat moringa leaves in our salad and drink it in tea. The horses and the pigs eat the whole branches. Raw it tastes a little bit like radish and cooked it has a mild neutral taste. At Richmond vale is a forest where they plant the moringa. There is enough and it grows very fast. For the horses I cut the whole branches. New leaves will appear in several days. If you love horses it's a great joy to spoil them with moringa. They're really fond of it. They know exactly when I'm going to the forest and waiting for me to come back. They're looking with the prettiest faces ever and calling for me. They immediately start eating and won't stop before they are finished. To get the moringa, it is also good exercise and keeps me fit. I cut as many as I can carry. The branches...
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Communication with horses

Communication with horses
Most of the time when people communicate with horses it's just one-way. People do speak but mostly fail at listening. When you want to accomplish something with your horse without force it's important that you can understand each other. Communication is speaking and listening. Stina told me that it’s important to take time, wait and listen. Think about what's going on in his mind, where is his attention? To understand what the horse is saying you don’t need much knowledge of horses. Just some good sense and lots of interest will manage. Be curious, when you focus on details it becomes very interesting. It's like communication with people. How often aren't we just listening to confirm our own thoughts instead of being interested in what's going on in someone else's mind? Now I become more aware of how often I ask something while the horse is still processing or focused on something else. Stina taught me that it's not that the horse doesn’t want to listen. It’s just that he can't hear you. When the horse is distracted, wait wait wait. If necessary ask for his attention and then ask your question. Repeat this every time you ask something while the horse is distracted or isn't reacting directly. You also will notice that the horse tells a lot himself, mostly when you are not aware. He...
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Richmond Vale

Biodiversidad

La biodiversidad de San Vicente San Vicente tiene una gran variedad de recursos biológicos. De acuerdo a la “Estrategia y Plan de Acción de la Biodiversidad Nacional – 2006, las siguientes especies se encuentran en el país: Mamíferos : 17 especies, incluyendo 12 especies de murciélagos; Pájaros : 190 especies, incluyendo 2 endémicas – El loro de San Vicente y el “Whistling Warbler”, así como también unas 14 especies endémicas de la región caribeña; Reptiles : 21 especies, incluyendo 5 endémicas, 4 lagartijas y una serpiente, la serpiente negra. Hay 4 especies de tortuga: Hawksbill, Verde, Loggerhead and Leatherback. 2 de las 21 especies son aparentemente especies invasivas recientes; Anfibios : 4 especies incluyendo una endémica y 2 invasivas; Plantas : 1150 especies de plantas florecientes con 16 endémicas. Hay 163 especies de helechos, 4 endémicas, incluyendo el Árbol Helecho que se encuentra en las regiones más altas del país dentro de los bosques de nubes y lluviosos; Agua fresca:  25 especies de agua fresca y salobre; Marinas : más de 500 especies marinas incluyendo 450 especies de peces, 12 de ballenas y delfines, 4 de tortugas, 9 de gastropodos, 11 de algas marinas y 30 especies de corales. 25 especies de diplopodos (ciempiés y milpiés), 220 especies de arácnidos , 2000 de insectos y 35 crustaceos terrestres ; 875 especies de moluscos , 75 terrestres...
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Richmond Vale

Terraced gardens

Terraced gardens
One of our farmer friends, Pat, invited us to his farm so we could check out his terrace farming. It was interesting to see how all of the land available was being used to produce vegetables or some type of crops while also preventing soil erosion. Terracing is basically grading steep land, such as a hillside, into sections of levels. Terrace farming has been used for thousands of years and is a really effective farming method. For example, in Peru terrace farms are built to use the shallow soil efficiently and to enable irrigation of crops. The Incas used a system of canals and aqueducts to direct the water through the levels and increase the fertility. Many people prefer having a vegetable garden on a flat area and making most use of the land that way. However, for many people that is not always the case. An example is St. Vincent, where there are too many mountains to count and it can be very steep. For this reason, many people have to grow their vegetables on the hillside. Remember, there are different degrees of slopes. This will have an effect on the irrigation. It is always best to plant the vegetables across the slope using contour rows, terraces, or raised beds. To build up the terraces you can use old wood, bricks or stones, as well...
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Richmond Vale

Climate Change vs Health

Climate Change vs Health
Climate change does not only raise the temperatures and it won't bring us just warmer seasons. It will bring threats to our health. Extreme weather conditions will appear more often and more frequent, such as hurricanes, floodings, and heat waves. Older people, children, pregnant women, homeless people, and people with certain medical conditions will be affected the most. Especially in developing countries and coastline areas will this be an issue. Rising sea levels will destroy homes and affect the supply of fresh water. It will also heighten the risk of water-borne diseases and infections and other diseases spreading quickly over big areas. Also, the supply of medical and health services will be disrupted. People will have to wait to get food, water, and medical treatment. These are all essential and needed things in a functioning system. Exposure to extreme heat can cause dehydration, heat strokes, cardiovascular, respiratory, and cerebrovascular diseases. Breathing problems, heart attacks, and apoleptic insults are the consequences.Furthermore, the high temperatures raise the ozone level in the air which will increase the breathing problems and heart attacks. Another threat will be malaria and dengue fever. These diseases are influenced by the weather. Climate change will create perfect breeding conditions for mosquitos which then will spread the diseases. Malaria already kills almost 600,000 people every year and this number will increase. According to the World...
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