Eleven Countries, One Goal… Make a Difference; it’s the theme that is the driving force behind an ambitious project by British resident Marc Noonan. Using a quad bike, Noonan is moving through the region to raise awareness and funds for orphanages or related charities. His journey started in Mexico and he has reached the Liberty Home in Ladyville where he hopes the children can get a further shot at educational opportunities in a safe environment. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.
Delahnie Bain, Reporting
“The Long Time Coming” is a project founded by UK resident Marc Noonan who has set out to assist eleven charities in eleven countries. The thirty-one year old left his home in England on January fifteenth and is making his way across Central and South America; stopping in each country to do volunteer work.
Marc Noonan, Founder, The Long Time Coming
“The trip’s all about travelling—I’m travelling over land from Mexico to Peru and stopping off in each country and volunteering at different children’s charities and different projects. So sometimes I’ll be helping with building, teaching, and just being around and supporting as much as I can really.”
“How did you come up with this idea?”
“To be honest, I’ve always wanted to travel here; I’ve been looking at Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and this part of the world so then about two years ago I just decided it was about time to do it. The reason for wanting to raise money for children’s charities is I grew up in care for the first few years of my life. I was adopted at age five after spending a bit of time in children’s homes and foster care. So it’s a chance for me to try and give something back and hopefully make a positive impact.”
The long road ahead of him will no doubt be a once in a lifetime experience; especially since he is making the journey on a quad bike.
“The reason for that is that I wanted to get off the beaten track; I didn’t want to do the usual tourist track and I want to get to communities that nobody would normally get to really. So some of the places I’m volunteering, a quad is pretty much the easiest way to get there. It’s stronger than a car and plus it’s a bit more of an adventure so it’s been great fun. A bit of camping on the side of the roads and a few hairy nights, but yeah it’s been great fun and a good challenge so.”
“So what kind of supplies or so do you pack for a trip like this?”
“I’ve gone pretty minimal. To be honest, it’s my first ever trip and I’m learning every day. So every time I reach a new place, id get rid of things and get new things and it’s a lot of maintenance so I carry enough to fix the bike and just depending on my route, I’ll just carry enough fuel for a few days. I can carry enough fuel for up to three days and I just kinda juggle it as I go.”
Marc’s first stop was in Mexico at the Centro De Esperanza Infantil and on Thursday he arrived in Belize where he is assisting the Liberty Foundation in Ladyville.
“It was the fact that it’s one of the few that’s an actual orphanage. A lot of it is children’s care homes and getting people in. so it’s something that’s making a big, big difference in these children’s lives and giving them a step up and a brighter future. So to be allowed to be a part of that is pretty humbling.”
“What will you be doing while you’re here at Liberty?”
“As much as I can do to help. Whether it’s helping with building pens for the pigs, I’ll be helping with that, gardening, or help in the kitchen; just anything I can do to help. The first one in Mexico, I was helping with spelling and maths and stuff like that so just wherever I can be helpful really.”
But aside from voluntary labor, Marc’s voyage is also a campaign to raise awareness and funds for the neglected and disadvantaged children assisted by the charity organizations.
“So far I’ve raised about seven thousand dollars and then everything that’s raised get evenly split between the charities. I’ve set a really high target so hopefully I can get close to it but if I can make a good difference then it’s done what it set out to so.”
“Alright and can you tell us what that target is?”
“The target is a hundred and ten thousand pounds so about two hundred thousand US. Um yeah, I thought if I set it something that was achievable then you just achieve it, but if you set it stupidly high, then you’ll try and push it.”
He will also have to push himself physically as he travels for days at a time, going a mere fifty kilometers per hour, from one country to the next with a map and compass as his guide.
“To get to here I’ve covered just over three thousand kilometers. So there were a few stretches which was kind of like four days in between big towns so it was a few. By the time I was pulling into these towns I was looking like a wild man so people were keeping their distance a little but then I’d shower and change again and—so this is why it’s nice to stay here and have an actual bed to sleep in for the first time in a long time. I just have a hammock that I would just hang up and sleep in that.”
Marc will be at the Liberty Foundation for two weeks and then plans to spend another week on the road in Belize before crossing the border to his next stop… Guatemala. Delahnie Bain for News Five.
The trip was initially estimated to be seven thousand kilometers in six months; but mechanical problems and other delays have already set him behind a week and a half. And as Noonan plans his routes, he now expects to travel at least ten thousand kilometers by the time he arrives in Peru.
MORE STORIES ABOUT LIBERTY:
UK Children's Advocate visits Liberty Children's Home
Mark arrived at Liberty just as the kids were coming in from School. He is very impressed with the campus and related how many people were waving and honking at him as he came into town.
This is what we did Wednesday when the children had half day from school. Harvest cassava!
Cassava is used in boil up, a popular Belizean dish; its used to make cassava bread, cassava cake, and even cassava chips!
Today we killed 25 of our broilers chicken we bought in January. Six weeks and they are ready! Jesse our volunteer helped with killing them. Fi we pickni deh da fi we fucha! Our children are our future!