Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunday

Waking up to a sunny day at the beach in Placencia. Yesterday was overcast and a little cool, but considering the weather at home, we won't complain!

After a bus ride and a water taxi ride, we had a relaxing afternoon on the beach followed by a beautiful Mass. We shared thoughts about what brought each of us to Belize as we broke bread (a tortilla, how perfect!).

Today's plan is some kayaking, a lot of relaxing, dinner together and a sense of gratefulness to be sharing this experience with each other.

Friday

Friday is always a tough day as we say goodbye to our friends in the villages.

This was the first time we have worked in the village of Dolores. It is a beautiful village, VERY remote, literally at the end of the road. In the dry season there are times when the village has no water as the spring from the hillside dries up. Our construction project was the building of four spring boxes. A spring box is a ten foot by ten foot concrete block square (four feet tall). The spring water is piped into this box so there is a supply of water on hand for the dry season, kind of like a cistern. All the materials, concrete blocks, sand, etc, must be carried up the steep hillside by hand. Each day 50 or so men showed up to help with the project.

The people of Dolores are very grateful for our assistance and the funding of this project. On Friday, the entire village hosted a celebration as their way to say thank you. Kristen, Ann, Michelle, Ellen and Vernon were treated to singing, native dancing and a delicious meal. Gifts were presented for every team member (all 20 of us!) who had worked in the village during the week. Because every family wanted to participate, there were many extra gifts presented.

The rest of us, who weren't partying in Dolores, taught all day in San Lucas, Blue Creek and Otoxha.

We drove the principal from Otoxha, and her two children, back with us to the junction at the paved road (about a 90 minute trip). Of course we have to stop along the way to visit and shop. She needed to catch the bus at the junction. As we approached the cross road, she noticed that her bus had just passed by. So we took off after the bus! With Ann's fine driving skills, we caught up with the bus, waved it down and sent the principal on her way!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Wednesday

Today, in addition to the teaching and construction projects, a group went to the Hope Center in Punta Gorda. Shelly, Rose, Angie and Don entertained 13 senior citizens. They played bingo (with prizes!), had snacks, and did the Hokey Pokey.
The highlight of the day was hitting balloons with flyswatters! The seniors loved it and one of them said, "This is really good exercise!"
Flyswatters will be added to our packing list 🙂

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Earthquake!

You probably heard that there was a strong earthquake off the coast of Honduras last night. We did not feel it!

There was a tsunami warning for this area, but no tsunami evolved.

We are high and dry, happy, safe and ready for another day!

Tuesday

Highlights of the day!

Derlene: learning about local plants as she walked through a garden with the principal on the way back from lunch. Being a part of a blessing over an elderly woman in Otoxha.
Cynthia: EVERYTHING!!!!
Angie: singing Christmas songs.
Don: watching students write letters to seminarians from Belize who are studying at Kenrick.
Kristen: going to lunch at Santiago's house, escorted by his daughter, Maria.
Shannon: recess time, children grabbing her hand and playing duck, duck, goose.
Rose: while singing "He's got the Whole World in his Hands", noticing a little girl just doing gymnastics in her seat, in a totally carefree way.
Ellen: women asking questions at the health talks.
Shelly: talking to a teacher about culture and what empowers women.
Colleen: the excitement about the shelter building project.
Jill: the heart anatomy lesson with Standard 5&6.
Michelle: giving out soccer and volleyballs, noticing how the kids only used them on the concrete so the balls would stay clean! Watching the kids wash the balls in the creek if they rolled into the mud.
Anita: seeing the big kids, and teachers, so excited about the solar robotics.

I've missed a few people, but as you can see, it's been a great day!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Monday

It was a great first day in the schools.

In Otoxha Shannon and Jill presented lessons on the human body. They made edible heart diagrams, Q-tip skeletons, and listened to their heartbeats with stethoscopes.
Phil and Shilah had great fun making air balloon rockets.

The first spring box slab and first row of blocks are in place on one of the spring boxes. About 50 men from Dolores showed up to help with the project, so Vernon and Mike did a lot of "supervising."
Don and Rose read the children a book with letters children have written to Pope Frances. The children then made Pope Frances puppets. Another group made Miraculous Medals, which a few students promptly turned into Miraculous Frisbees! Cynthia and Angie did music activities and lots of active games with the students. It's a huge school, by Belize standards (169 kids), so fitting in all the activities is a challenge.

In Blue Creek Derlene and Shelly worked on Language activities. The preschoolers and Infant I/II classes loved using bingo dabbers to highlight letters. The older kids did great writing projects. Colleen and Anita had the STEM lessons. Stacking plastic apples, building shelters and constructing solar robots. The best part of the day in Blue Creek is enjoying lunch sitting on a rock with your feet in the cool clear water.

Crazy day in Corazon Creek. A brand new teacher was starting, and we found out the day before that the students had only a half day of school, so Ann, Kristen and Michelle had to squeeze the art lessons into the morning. They made butterflies and sock puppets. Anne and Ellen presented the women's health talks in the afternoon, while face painting was going on outside the community center.

Quite of the day: We stopped to gas up the van and a few of us ran into the store to pick up sodas and snacks. As we were paying with U.S. money, Derlene said, "I have Belize money, can you take that?"