Silver Creek is a rural Q'eqchi Mayan village located in the southern part of Belize, and it is where I lived as a Peace Corps Health Resource Volunteer for over a year. Part of my job was to promote exercise to combat non-communicable diseases such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. Volleyball is the most common form of exercise for women in the community and is also enjoyed by the men and children.
In my time in Silver Creek, I organized a volleyball workshop with the Belizean National Volleyball Team. Many of the community members and I would gather each night to practice volleyball until the sun went down. On the weekends, members of other villages came to Silver Creek to play. Silver Creek quickly became known for its love of volleyball in the Toledo District, and it is now a hub for players to congregate and play.
One of the players from the Belize National Volleyball team coaching some of our women.
Some of us leaving a volleyball tournament in the village of San Vicente!
Silver Creek currently has a 25 year old community-built court. Due to a lack of funding during its construction in 1992, it was left unfinished, and it is now crumbling and cracking in places. It remains bordered by uneven terrain and boulders. Many children and adults use this court with their bare feet, and it is easy to cut themselves, twist their ankle, or fall with the courts current conditions. I saw many accidents when I played, and I also took a bad tumble trying to get a ball back onto the court.
Many of us do not think about how lucky we are to have access to safe courts at parks, schools, and community centers in the U.S. Despite its hazardous conditions, not only do the villagers use this court almost everyday to play volleyball, but the local kids play other games on it as well. The primary school even uses the court for P.E. classes. This court would also expose the community to the sport of basketball, which most have never played!
Two of Silver Creek's future volleyball stars!
When I was living in Silver Creek, we were working towards rebuilding this court as one of my projects through Peace Corps. The community and I wrote a grant to an organization called Courts for Kids in July of 2017. Our proposal was accepted, and plans to rebuild the court were established for May 2018! The new court would be a basketball and volleyball court. However, even with the grant, we still needed to fundraise an additional $2,500 to make the new court possible.
Then in October 2017, I was medically evacuated back to the United States from my village. I was given a day to pack up all my things and say goodbye to my host family and community. After over 20 blood tests and two months in Seattle, I was told I had a thyroid disease that would prevent me from returning to Silver Creek with the Peace Corps. Though I cannot return to Silver Creek through the Peace Corps, I would like to return on my own to see this court project through this coming May.
Silver Creek Village is attempting to fundraise on their own by selling tamales and hosting volleyball and football marathons, but we still will need more to make this court possible. The community will be helping with the construction of the court. Over 30 Americans from the Courts for Kids Organization will also be coming down to help! I will be acting as the liaison between the community and Courts for Kids Organization to help make sure this project happens as smoothly as possible.
The women making delicious chicken tamales.
Your donations will go towards court building materials such as concrete, lumber, sand, wheelbarrows, and other tools that the grant cannot cover.
We need all funds by March 2018 in order to begin buying materials for the court in preparation for construction by May.
The community of Silver Creek would be so grateful to have access to a safe court! Courts for Kids would also appreciate the chance to make this happen, because they have been planning this project for several months now. I would also be so thankful to have the opportunity to help them with this project and help finish what we started. This would be the best way to go back and thank them for all that they did for me while I was part of their community.
Help me help the amazing community of Silver Creek! Any donation large or small makes a difference, and we would all be incredibly grateful!
Thank you! Banyox! Tojokre!
- LYNN LIVESLEY
- Jake Mahoney
- Steve Streck
- Leslie Hoge
- Heidi Dascher
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