Visiting Stop Hunger Now’s partner in Belize, Kids Konnect 4 Jesus, in October was the first time I had been out of the country. While traveling with a small team of Stop Hunger Now staff, I discovered one of the most difficult things about leaving the U.S. is letting yourself take in your surroundings without comparing them to what’s familiar.
In the U.S., I worked on a few farms prior to my role at Stop Hunger Now, I worked on a few farms, exclusively for female farmers. And while I didn’t set out to only work on farms run by women, I don’t think it was an accident that this pattern has appeared in my life. I am incredibly grateful for the influence of these women farmers.
While in Belize, we started gardens at four of the five schools we visited. As I’ve experienced in the U.S., it is often difficult to gain the attention of an audience who views agriculture as a traditionally male sphere. However, running a tiller can be a pretty convincing indicator that you know what you’re doing – regardless of any preconceived notions.
There are some spectacular women connected to KK4J. We met principals and teachers who are dedicated to educating and enriching the lives of children in a country with little governmental support to do so. I was incredibly encouraged by the interaction between these women and Karen, one of the co-founders of KK4J. Karen is in her own right a spectacular woman, and she is made more so by her support and interaction with equally impressive Belizean women.
In the short time I spent with those kids, I did far less for them with my American view of gender equality than what Karen and the Belizean women are able to instill. They talk to and listen to these kids, demonstrate strength and resilience, the power of education and most importantly the power of caring for someone other than yourself.