A School for Others: The History of the Belize High School of Agriculture
“There was always something there, nagging me in the back of my mind, telling me there was more to life, that my existence had meaning. I knew that in order to be successful and make something out of life, I would have to change everything. The problem was that every time I thought about taking charge, I did what I always did—drank, did more drugs, and got laid. It didn’t help me find what I was looking for, but it helped me forget that there might be something better.” These are the words of a man in the fight for his life, a man in search. On his quest for a way out, he finds a jungle, a need and, perhaps the bravest act of all, he finds himself.
George Lebard joined the Peace Corps, volunteering in Belize in Central America in 1981. While sweating in the humidity and swatting flying pests from his sleep, he finds a need and fills it. He has documented his dedication and the time he spent turning an abandoned school, tucked deep in the thick of the jungle, into a refuge for students who would not otherwise have had a chance at an education. His memoir is raw and unapologetic, from the backdrop days of a biker-wannabe to a drug-induced lost boy to a man with a vision and a purpose. His story sings with the refrain of fresh air.
Each chapter is divided into small, bite-size segments and the writing flows much like one would hope: cohesively intriguing.
There is a finely attuned balance between LeBard’s personal accounts and the political views and globalization of Belize, each detail lending itself to its counterpart. The woven history and exploration of this distant neighbor come alive on the pages at most times. Every so often the writing falls into “pronoun over usage,” but not enough to cut into the meat of the story, or to take away from the fluidity. He keeps things moving along and the characters absorbing.
By stretching beyond himself, he comes to his own realities. Under the canopy of the jungle, LeBard manages to conquer both boundaries, the immediacy of the Belizean need and his quest for self.
|Page Count||280 pages|
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|Category||Biographies & Memoirs|