Sunday, March 20, 2005

Tumul K'in school

We went to visit an amazing school in the Toledo district of Belize on our road trip a few days ago. It is a boarding school for "disadvantaged" youths from the rural villages (especially the Maya villages). The school teaches these children about ancient Maya practices, not just in a class room, but by actually "living it". They harvest according to the Maya calendar, they do rituals and pay close attention to the moon and the energy of the seasons. Next to this, they teach the kids about modern life; computers, the eco-tourism industry, how to run Quickbooks, use of the Internet, etc. They try and blend the old with the new. And they teach these young people skills that can assist in the survival of their villages, whether it be through sustainable development, (organic) agricultural practices, building techniques, research methods, traditional medicine or eco-tourism. It is an incredibly inspiring place & I really want to try and help them reach their goals.

I'll write more about the school and the rest of our trip soon. For now, I've included part of the school's brochure to explain some more about the Tumul k'in school:

'Tumul K'in Centre of Learning is an innovative educational institution located in the heartland of Toledo on 500 acres of land neighboring Blue Creek Village. It was established in response to the high poverty rate among the Maya people of Toledo; high levels of unemployment among young people; lack of educational opportunities for rural youth and communities especially Maya; the lack of culturally relevant education and; the need for innovative education that will reach students who have been failed by the education system. Most importantly, it was established to harness the hope and potential offered by the wisdom and knowledge of the Maya and the synergy produced through the integration of this wisdom and knowledge with modern science and technology.

1. To provide alternative, empowering education that prepares caring, critical and reflective persons capable of making optimal and wise use of their cultural, natural and personal resources for a sustainable development
2. To research and develop practices in the areas of land and natural resource management, agriculture, sustainable technology and education based on the integration of Maya and modern knowledge and wisdom.
3. To become an autonomous, self-sustainable institution through the sale of services and products and other income generating activities.
4. To strengthen Maya cultural values"

To be continued....