Receive discounts on GVI programs for life!

We are very excited to announce the launch of the GVI Membership! It will give you unprecedented access to discounted spots on a range of GVI programs, updated every single month, at up to 40% off! Sign in and know more about here!

GVI Marine Training kit

Please click here to access the online GVI Marine training kit

If you are coming for four weeks click
here to find the training tool that will help you learning your juvenile fish!

Study on the go! Click here for a Caribbean fish id guide application for iphones, ipads and ipods!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Earth day 2012 in Punta Allen!!

At 7am on Friday morning, 10 volunteers piled into a minibus with Maura and Valeria, armed with cameras, tetra packs and old sweet wrappers. All sporting identical t-shirts with GVI´s logo, we were off to Punta Allen to celebrate ‘Dia de la Tierra’. To honour the two-year anniversary of the local recycling centre, built by GVI, we were hosting ‘Earth Day’ to promote recycling and the importance of conservation.

Well-breakfasted on apple crumble, cooked at 5.15am by Julia and Jemima, we had plenty of energy ready for a day with the local primary school children. GVI has recently started teaching English for two hours every week to these 30 ten-year olds, and so they were excited to see us again. The first activity of the day was a beach clean, in which the whole town was invited to participate. We headed out to the nearby stretch of sand with our sacks and returned two hours later with full rubbish bags. All of these were weighed and recorded to monitor the trash washing up on Punta Allen’s beach, and where it may have come from.
Valeria had organized two lectures for both the secondary and primary schools, to explain the thinking behind Dia de la Tierra. She spoke about the ecosystem around us, in particular the mangroves, their importance to the community and how destroying them damages the reef, the creatures living there, the oceans and even inland.

For lunch we were treated to 5 of Lucy’s empanadas, the best in town. For most, the challenge of eating all 5 proved to be too great, but, shocked by the idea of wasting food, Mat, Joma and Manuel heroically agreed to come to the rescue of those struggling to finish. Replenished, we began the arts and crafts part of the day. We had brought with us used tetra packs, old cookie wrappers and ripped up old paper, intending to recycle them into purses, handbags and new paper. The children were soon sewing on buttons and folding the cookie wrappers into colourful decorations, and fairly quickly we had a pile of homemade accessories. Most of us had never tried to recycle used paper or make something useful out of an old milk carton, so it was a learning experience for us too. Particularly fascinating was the method of re-making paper: if ripped into tiny pieces and soaked in water, old paper can be reformed into new paper. Very handy for all those discarded sheets lying in waste paper bins…

Next on the agenda was sign-making. Eager to get stuck into the painting, the children divided into groups to create posters for the beach and town, deterring littering and encouraging recycling. Bright blue posters with lurid yellow writing appeared all over the tables, and some of us even gave into temptation to produce some posters of our own. Of course, once everyone had paint on their hands, the urge to decorate each other’s faces with green paint proved too strong. Soon Julia was engaged in a full-on war, being chased around by children brandishing paint brushes. Eventually cornered, her face, hair and green GVI t-shirt was plastered with red paint and the children declared victory.

The day wasn’t over yet though – we were assembled along with the children in a secluded, shady spot under a large tree. As curious as they were to know what was about to happen, we watched Valeria and Maura emerge in acrobatic clothes and hang a climbing rope from the treetops. With Joma strumming along on the guitar, they launched into a skillful routine of aerobic trapeze. Half an hour of airborne twists and turns, balancing and dancing was a thrilling finale for the children and volunteers alike. We all left in awe of Valeria and Maura’s skills, secretly wanting to try it out ourselves later, but perhaps a little closer to the ground. Mat and Manuel even had a go on the rope, but after managing to hang upside-down they realized they’d need a lot more practice to do anything else…While we packed up to go the children left to return to school, all grinning after a really fun day and excited by the surprise show, Valeria’s own ‘circus dancing on fabric in the sky’.