From Peace Corps Wiki
Info about the Village Market
This project takes place in a traditional Mayan village in Southern Belize comprised of mostly sustenance farmers. Although their agrarian lifestyle ensures that families in this rural area do not know hunger, many are unable to send their children to high school, because the cultivation of crops does not generate sufficient income to cover school fees. If farmers could earn a living wage from their intensive labor, however, the quality of life for children, women and the entire community would vastly improve. A permanent physical structure to serve as a local marketplace is a relatively simple way to offer this community economic opportunities. It would provide a source of income for farmers whose crops already yield surpluses yet lack a market from which they can earn a profit, an income which families will be able to use to invest in the next generation.
Ten years ago, the village health team, along with the support of the village chairman, advocated for a marketplace. This group also recognized that creating a local market would give farmers the opportunity to earn an income while continuing to live their traditional lifestyle. They lobbied for funding from various government ministries, but were unable to obtain the materials necessary to begin construction. Funds from the Peace Corps Partnership, however, will ensure that the residents of this community have a permanent, weather resistant marketplace, complete with a zinc roof and concrete floor. Since the rainy season brings strong storms from June to November, a market made of thatched palm can only function during the dry season. Therefore, it is essential to invest in the sustainability of the market by constructing it from durable materials.
Community members interested in participating will form committees responsible for the construction and maintenance of the market. In addition to providing municipal development, this project will also educate farmers about organic agronomics. On the opening day of the market, for example, the community will host a festival not only to generate publicity about the newly constructed marketplace but also to connect individuals with organizations operating in the district that assist farmers in naturally increasing crop yields. This will include a showcase of sustainable farming methods such as crop rotation, companion planting and composting through a series of demonstrations conducted by Mayan farmers in the Mopan language.