Saturday, January 15, 2011


We are already at the beach in Placencia! The computer in Punta Gorda
were so slow last night that I could only update for Thursday before
they kicked me out of the Internet Cafe!

On Friday in Blue Creek the teaching group made monkeys and lizards
with the kids. While Mike D was there he noticed a pipe cleaner person
hiding up un the rafters from when he made them with the kids two
years ago! The kids got their rosaries and enjoyed a lesson about the
five senses! Peter read stories to the Infant class which they all

In Corazon, Rose had practiced two Reader's Theatre type plays which
the older students performed for the younger ones. All the village
leaders, including the Alcalde (basically the mayor), and many of thee
parents showed up for the festivities. The children performed
traditional Mayan dances and brought samples of their local favorite
dishes and explained how they were prepared. School was dismissed
early so the teachers and construction crew could enjoy a delicious
home cooked meal. They were served cal do and chicken.
The library is almost finished, half of the roof is complete and
supplies were left so the men in the village will be able to complete

Ann and Shannon visited the high school to present backpacks full of
school supplies to the four students who receive scholarships from All
Saints. The students were thankful for the visit.

In Otoxha the students had a presentation for the teaching team. They
started by singing the national anthem and then did some Mayan
dancing. They wanted Jerry, Anita and Kathy K to dance with them and
then show everyone their dancing skills! At the end of the
presentation they were given small gifts as a thank you for the week.
The students were dismissed early so the team could enjoy lunch in the
home of one of the teachers. They were served rice and beans and
chicken, and a delicious cacao drink.

The rest of the construction crew visited San Marcos so they could see
the finished library, they were glad to get to visit with the
principal and students.

The whole group took a field trip on Friday afternoon to Mr. Eladio
Pop's cacao farm. We all walked through a rainforest and were shown a
variety of interesting. Plants and herbs including ginger, lemon
grass, sugar cane, cilantro, fresh coconut, bananas, helaconia (wild
bananas)and limes. We also saw a gibnut (looks like a giant guinea
pig) in the the forest. After that we went to Mr. Pop's home and saw
the processing of cacao from the roasting of the beans to the mixing
of a delicious chocolately drink! The perfect end to a perfect week!

We got to Placencia this morning and spent the day on the beach. It
was a little cloudy, but very relaxing. We celebrated mass together
and are headed out to dinner. Some folks are sailing and snorkeling
tomorrow. And some of us are just planning to hang out on the beach.
We geared Atlanta is snowed inn, so we may never come home!

Friday, January 14, 2011


On Thursday part of the construction crew went back to San Benito Poite.  They bult a sand sifter then sifted sand, and made grout for between the rows of conrete blocks.  There are two rows of blocks in place.
The rest of the construction crew went to Corazon Creek to work on a wooden library building.  They made and installed roof trusses and put up batten boards to cover the gaps in the siding. They also framed out the window openings.  They needed a trip to the local hardware store for supplies to finish the project.
In Blue Creek the teachers had lunch with the family of one of our scholarship students.  Octavia leaves the house at 4:30 am to catch the bus to the high school and does not return home until 4:30 pm.  She is ranked first in her class of 26 students.  This family has two girls in high school, which shows their committment to education.
The teachers played frisbee with the students and  made cookie color wheels (a big hit!), the students were wearing more icing than was on the cookies, but everyone loved the activity.  Bridget got bit twice, first by a student and then by fire ants!
In Corazon Creek,Ann, Shannon and Rose had fun teaching the children about volcanoes by helping them build a volcano out of mud from the garden and then using vinegar and baking soda to make it erupt!  They also made pipe cleaner monkeys and played math games with the students.  There was a village meeting at the end of the day where the village leaders and principal presented a wish list for the school, at the top of the list was the completion of the library!
In Otoxha the teachers got one computer running-who would have suspected that the missing password on the donated computer was "password?"  The principal fired up the generator and we tried to get the other computers running, but they must have different passwords!  Where is a computer hacker when we need one.  The teachers were lucky enough to particpate in a school mass with the students.  The prayers and songs were in Ketchi.  Father Murray celebrated the mass with the students.  After mass they were treated to lunch in the home of the principal-delicious Caldo (chicken stew) and hand made tortillas.  Jerry had some fun teaching a geometry lesson to the oldest students in the afternoon.
On Thursday night we were treated to a little party at Dorla's house (she runs the Socio-Economic Outreach program) and then had a delicious dinner  in Punta Gorda in a restaurant overlooking the water.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


It is hard to believe it is Wednesday already!
The construction crew split up today and some of them went back to San Benito Poite to help pour the foundation.  When they arrived, about 10 men from the village had started mixing and pouring the concrete. Hard work indeed! The other construction guys went to Corazon Creek. They helped the men of the village work on a library that has been under construction for two years!  The were able to put up some trusses and add a front porch area to the library. On the way home, they had to stop at the hardware store for hinges and other supplies, they are wishing they had a Home Depot close by!
Rose and Mary went to the health clinic in San Antonio.  It is a beautitul, fairly new facility.  They were prepared to use their nursing skills to assist the doctor,  but it was a very slow day and they used their amazing bandage rolling skills all day! They are looking forward to a more exciting day tomorrow!
Mike D, Peter and Bridget spent another day in Blue Creek. Peter was excited to be subsitute teaching and had been promised lesson plans for the day. When the plans only said to work on page 27 in the math book, he knew he was in trouble! He has developed a new appreciation for elementary school teachers.  In addition to the absent teacher, the principal was also absent today-so it was just a bit crazy! They worked with the students to read the letters from students in St Louis and helped them write letters back to their new friends. They also made pipe cleaner monkeys with the students, which always seems to be a big hit!
In Otoxha, Jerry, Kathy K and Anita had a great day! When we drove up, Anita realized that she had worked with the principal three years ago at another school.  They brushed teeth and washed hands with the Infant 1 & 2 classes-Jerry was a good sport and brushed his teeth for the full two minutes as a demonstration. Then they took pictures of each student, distributed flip-flops and school supplies and read/wrote penpal letters-quite a lot in one day! Mr Manuel, the principal wanted them to set up the six computers that had been donated to the school, the problem was that he had not been given the passwords for the computers! Oh, there is also NO electricity in the village. He plans to have a generator brought in tomorrow so the computers can be fired up, should be an interesting day!
Ann, Shannon and Father Don worked in the village of Corazon Creek. They did the health and hygiene lessons, worked on penpal letters, made cookie color wheels and pipe cleaner monkeys. One of the teachers remembered Ann from when she visited another school several years ago-it is amazing how many people we run into that we recognize from previous trips.  The teachers in Corazon are excited that the library finally looks like it will be finished.
We are all tired from a busy week-and a little sad that it is going so fast.  We know you are praying for all of us despite the fact that we are here in paradise and you are snowbound!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


The construction team worked all day to put the horizontal rebar in the foundation and then put rocks back into the hole to support the rebar. They plan to pour the concrete tomorrow and will be assisted by about 10 men from the  village.  They had fun with the kids at lunchtime and recess.
Mary, Shannon and Rose spent the day working at the hospital in Punta Gorda, they worked with Fran in the ER.  They were impressed with the new computer system  in the hospital that makes charting the patients easier.  They had a slow day and only saw three patients all day, including a four month old baby with pneumonia.  They all have a renewed appreciation for the medical care that we all have in the USA.
Cathy, Father Don, Jerry and Anita all went to San Marcos. The children and teachers were so welcoming and remembered us from last year.  In a school of over 220 children, it is a challenge to get all of the pictures of the children taken in one day, but Cathy did a great job and finished them all. Right now she is back at the retreat center getting the pictures printed so we can deliver them later in the week.  Last year the kids loved the pipe cleaner people/monkeys that we made so this year we made pipe cleaner lizards with several classes.The library in San Marcos is complete (we put the walls up last year) and Father Don got to spend the day in  it working with small groups of students.  The library looks great, will post some pictures after we get back.  Jerry worked with the oldest students all day (Standard 6-our 8th grade), teaching a lesson on the continents and mapping out the planets by pacing across the soccer field.
At Blue Creek, Bridget, Peter, Mike D and Anne got the pictures taken and taught the health and hygiene lessons.  We will be in Blue Creek for the rest of the week, and the principal asked Peter to take over for a missing teacher and teach the Standard 3 class (about our 5th grade level). We have given him lots of fun suggestions to try, including musical chairs!! We will be waiting for pictures of that!
Kathy and Ann spent the day working with Dorla. They took pictures  of  the basket making process from harvesting the jipi-japa  palms to the weaving of baskets  for the SocioEconomic Outreach program.
While you were all snowed in today, we enjoyed beautiful 85 degree weather, although it was a bit cloudy.  Some of us got a little bit of rain around lunchtime, and then the sky cleared and it was perfectly clear after that.  A few people are even a bit sunburned!

Monday, January 10, 2011


It is Monday evening and we are all tired from a hot and busy first
day at our work sites. The construction crew was in the beautiful
village of San Benito Poite, an amost two hour drive from where we
stay, truly at the END of the road! If we walked another three miles
we would have been in Guatemala.The team will be building a library,
this morning when we walked up to the school, the site for the library
was an empty field. By the time we left there was a hole dug for the
foundation. The dimensions of the hole are 20 feet by 24 feet, about
18 inches deep and 20 inches wide. That doesn't sound too impressive
until you realize that this was dug through clay and MANY large rocks
with only shovels and picks. Tough work indeed. Tomorrow the team
plans to get the bricks laid for the foundation and the concrete
poured. There were many highlights of the day, but when a group
(gaggle?) of turkeys came up-three males and a female-I tried out my
turkey calling skills and every time I did the males called back!
Perhaps I have missed my calling as a turkey-whisperer.
One of the teaching groups went to the village of San Lucas. Ann,
Shannon and Father Don felt like they were going home-they taught in
this village two years ago-and report that the best part of the day
was visiting old friends. Many of the children remembered them and
they had a great day. They made edible cookie color wheels using
frosting and Vanilla wafers. They handed out flip flops to all of the
students, made pipe-cleaner monkeys with the children, and "walked"
the planets with the older children. Wow, that was all in one day!
Another group of teachers went to San Lucas. They had fun playing
soccer with the kids and Peter served as the toothbrushing
demonstrator, and after brushing his teeth eight times, we can truly
say that he has the cleanest mouth on the trip! One of the highlights
was when a pig ate an entire bar of soap!
Anne and Rose used their nursing skills to assist in the Health Clinic
in Santa Teresa. There is a doctor in the clinic during the week and
they were able to triage the patients and prepare them for a visit
with the doctor. They were impressed with the set-up and efficiency of
the clinic.

On Sunday we went to Mass in SundayWood. This was a special treat for
the returning team members as many of us worked on the foundation
several years ago. There was a visiting Jesuit priest saying Mass who
actually grew up in St Louis. We spent the rest of the day visiting
old friends in a number of villages and ended it at Muchaca lodge
where we actually could hear howler monkeys in the distance. Perfect
end to a perfect day !

For many of you who made donations, Father Don asked me to pass along
a special thanks from the children. The joy on their faces when they
receive new crayons or flip flops is something we wish you all could
experience first hand.

More tomorrow! By the way, it was about 85 and sunny here today!

Mass at Sunday Wood

We had a surprise at the airport when a bus pulled up and it was not our usual blue school bus we expected, but a true charter bus with comfy seats and AC and a bathroom! The new team members now think we have been stretching the truth about how we rough it in Belize. Spent Sunday morning, our first day in Belize, by attending Mass in the village of Sunday Wood. This is a village where past team members have spent time working. Here are a few pictures to enjoy!

-Posted by Anita Dutrow

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Arrived in Punta Gorda

Just got word that the Belize team finally made it to the convent in Punta Gorda, Belize. They will for sure sleep well tonight. The convent is a lovely place to stay, very simple rooms, a community bathroom (one for men and one for women) and very good food, and the sisters are very hospitable. Here is a picture of the convent.

-Posted by Jaime Powers Ludwig

Safe & Sound

Just got a message that they have landed in Belize and all is well. Stay tuned for more on their amazing adventure!

And, they are off...

We have our first update from the Belize team. They made it to Lambert and through security, after a slight delay for de-icing of the plane (have to love St. Louis in January!), they boarded the plane to Atlanta. Now, they are waiting for a new gate assignment, since thier original gate ramp was broke. They have an hour before their flight leaves for Belize. Keep them in your prayers, this is a long travel day for them. After arriving in Belize, they have a 5 hour bus ride to the convent where they stay. And the roads are nothing like Highway 70, but gravel and very bumpy! Good luck team!

-Posted by Jaime Powers Ludwig

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011-The Mission Continues!

On behalf of the 2011 All Saints Belize Mission Team, I would like to thank everyone whose prayers, encouragement and donations will travel with us to Belize in a few days. Since 2005, our annual mission trips continue to build life-changing connections between volunteers from throughout the United States and friends in Belize.

We are looking forward to attending Mass in a church we helped to build in 2008 at Sunday Wood village. Because men spend the rest of the week farming and hunting, Sundays provide a rare opportunity to visit with families.

As trust and friendship with the people of Toledo District grow, so do their requests for assistance. Our construction crew will help to build a concrete-block school library in the village of San Benito Poite and complete a wooden library in the village of Corazon. We also hope to find time and equipment needed to address repairs needed in six elementary schools!

Three nurses traveling with us this year will assist in the hospital in Punta Gorda Town, a clinic in San Antonio, and a few elementary schools. They will also see home-bound patients as needed.

Those working with Socio-Economic Outreach will visit small business owners who have received loans through the micro-loan program at All Saints Parish. Others will document the process of jipijapa basket-making for Socio-Economic Outreach presentations. We will deliver backpacks filled with school supplies to ten high school students sponsored by the All Saints Scholarship Fund.

Our education curriculum continues to grow and serve more students every year. This year we will visit nearly 600 elementary school students in San Marcos, Blue Creek, Santa Teresa, San Lucas, Corazon and Otoxha! Our curriculum includes lessons in math, science, religion, language arts, health and hygiene, art, P.E., and music. We will deliver health and school supplies, plus items requested by principals. Imagine a classroom of children jumping and cheering when you walk in carrying a box of crayons for each one of them!

Our mission team realizes that we are the lucky ones because we get to experience hugs and smiles firsthand, wishing that by some miracle, everyone we know back home could do the same. We feel blessed to represent hundreds of generous friends who reach so many needy people in Southern Belize. As always, we will return having received much more than we delivered. Thanks again for all of your support and prayers!

Ann Lacker

All Saints Belize Mission Team Leader

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Map of Villages in Belize

Please enjoy this map of southern Belize's Toledo District. This year the team will visit the following villages:

Sunday Wood
San Benito Poite
Punta Gorda Town
San Antonio
San Marcos
Blue Creek
Santa Teresa
San Lucas

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Thanks To Our Many Donors

Each member of our mission team brings two suitcases full of supplies when we travel to Belize...that is 40 suitcases full of hygiene items, arts, crafts, school supplies, flip flops, teaching materials, sporting equipment...just to name a few items! We have so many generous donors who contribute to our work in Belize throughout the year. We appreciate all that each and everyone of you do to help us gather supplies. A special thanks to the following who have helped support our 2011 trip:

All Saints School
All Saints Parish "Shopping As Jesus Would" Program
All Saints Rosary Club
Friends and Family of All Saints Belize Mission Team
Marsh USA
St. Joseph School, Cottleville
St. Katharine Drexel School