Monday, July 30, 2012
Jobs for Belize
When we moved to Belize we were told that, as retired folks, we can't work or volunteer our services, but were to just live and of course, bring down US dollars. By US standards we're quite poor, but to Belizeans I know it appears we may not be rich, but we have more than most of them. We see that most of our neighbors don't have work, or if they do, it's only day work, usually building a little house or working with a machette. There is almost no industry here outside tourism. We hear about funds being donated to Belize by various countries, for varying reasons, but note that there's usually no noticeable sign of where the money went because it usually ends up being siphoned off into political pockets. How foolish is it to send money to a backwards country like Belize without demanding accounting and proof that it's being spent generally as specified? Twice in my working life I was responsible for US government grant reporting and would expect at least that same level of responsibility to accompany third world grants.
There are a few wealthy, generous, thinking folks in the world, such as Bill and Melinda Gates, who give so much to the poor of the world. My view tho' is that giving computers to people with nothing is worse than nothing. I see parents and children struggling here to pay for schooling beyond the primary grades. Some who pay for and complete "college", which is the US equivalent of high school, go on to Galen University or the University of Belize. They sacrifice so much, but just like in the US, there aren't many jobs waiting for any of them when they finish. The computers and cell phones give them a hint of what is out in the world, but has very little to do to with helping them survive right here.
What they really need (and I think this probably applies to the rest of the world too) are jobs. Belize needs industry. They've lived with promises, but the machette is still their best survival tool. They're definitely not lazy, just have little hope of a better tomorrow. In so many ways they're barely into the 20th century. I pray that the outside world will help Belize to develop and help her to survive as a beacon of hard work in an environmentally sane direction.