You’ve heard about Rowan Garel – the courageous blind 14 year old who’s climbed the Victoria Peak and walked from Cayo to Belize City in 5 days.
And now on July 14th, he will be trying something new – and this time out at sea. The first former will dive the Blue Hole and will be the first blind Belizean to ever do so. Rowan’s efforts are a part of a campaign to raise awareness and funds for the Belize Center for the Visually Impaired summer camp that caters for children who are blind from all corners of the country. We caught up with the teen today who told us what preparations are taking place for his latest big adventure.
Rowan Garel - Will Dive Blue Hole
"So I'm going to be scuba diving - I’m going to dive the blue hole not down to the bottom but just to the surface before it slopes down. We try to figure out stuff that are going to 1. raise awareness and 2. be challenging in a way. We were just speaking - the family, my dad and I thought about this idea why don't I scuba dive. It is something he's always wanted me to do and I would want to do it as well. I have to do a course online and it just consists of several chapters of a book that you have to read and they have some knowledge reviews and quizzes and a final exam that will be from all the chapters from the begin to the end. Once I'm finished that I'll do a series of open water dives - just dives - to let me practice my skills that I've learnt and that is what I have to do. It will be a challenge but in a different way. The others were challenging physically, it was very grueling, very strenuous but this is a challenge to try to figure out what I will do such as how will we communicate, how will I meet the standards for instance I have to monitor my ear gauge and that's how it's going to be a challenge. Our goal is to raise awareness as well as funds and that's really what this is about."
Carla Musa - Communications Officer
"This year Rowan figured that since he had already gone up to Victoria peak and walked across the country of Belize, that he wanted to do something completely different so he and his family have decided that they are going to get Rowan certified and trained so he can dive in Belize's Blue Hole. So it's going to be the first time a Belizean who is blind has actually attempted this and we're very honored that Rowan is taking this on for BCVI and that's the way the other children of BCVI feel as well and we're excited too. Last year we were very lucky we had so much support from Belizeans, people abroad - we couldn't have asked for more and this was in terms of kind donations, monetary donations. This year we're hoping for the same. We started stressing last year and we'll continue with that theme this year that everyone knows and because it's the highlight of our year about BCVI's summer camp but we actually work year round to support more than 60 students that we have who are registered in school and who are getting ready to go to school. This year, this fund raiser is going to help us to provide physical support in school, at home and as well as equipment and devices for the children in the program. This year we're hoping to meet a $100,000, it sounds like a lot but it takes about $100,000 to run this portion of our rehab program so we're just trying to cover our cost because we don't charge for the service to the families or the children that we're providing it to so BCVI needs to try to find other ways to try to cover the cost of that."
To contribute to Rowan’s effort you can deposit to Belize Bank account number 7-1-0-9-6 or drop donations off at BCVI. Also you can send payments to PO Box 5-2-5. BCVI plans to raise one hundred thousand dollars with this year's dive.