Our week is PG was UNREAL. The kids, the teachers and the communities were so welcoming.
Chantel and Rachael caught the 6 am bus out of Punta Gorda early Monday morning, headed for a community called Medina Bank. On the bank of a cool, clear spring that supplied the community with water for drinking, cooking and bathing- Medina Bank Primary served the 75 students of this tiny Mayan village surviving off the grid. The Standards 1-3 were in one classroom, and the Standards 4-6 in another. The final, and 3rd classroom in the school was for the preschool and Infant 1-2 students. Run by 3 teachers (the standard 4-6 teacher was also the principle), Medina Bank Primary greeted us with open arms. We rode the bus to school with the prinicple and walked a short ways from the main road to his office. School did not start exceptionally early, but the village was about 2.5 hours away. Each day afterwards we taught at a school a little closer to PG. Indian Creek Primary on Tuesday, Golden Strem and Big Falls on Thursday, and Forest Home Roman Catholic on Friday. Each community a little different, but all so welcoming and kind!
In all of the schools we taught in we found the students to be much more reserved and respectful- a cultural difference that we noticed right away. It was a challenge to get students to participate in activities, but they all took notes furiously as we talked. The students always wanted to play with us, and asks us questions even though most of them spoke mostly Mopan or Q’eqchi’ (OR Kekchi, in English orthography) Mayan. The language barrier in these rural communities may have attributed to the lack of participation, but it could have also been the familiarity of the topics.
One thing that certainly took us by surprise though was the extent to which Puberty and Sexual Responsabiliy had been covered- which was not at all. We felt really excited that we were teaching them something that they hadn’t known before, especially something as important as Puberty. Overall- it was a challenging but incredibly rewarding week.
We taught a Standard 3 class at Forest Home on the Friday, it was a bit of a bigger school. The students tried really hard to teach us K’tchi’… to no avail.
We learned so much about the Mayan Culture this week- it was invaluable! The Caoca Festivle in Punta Gorda showcased alot of talent and cultural traditions. The Garifuna and Mennonite people of PG and the areas surrounding it also colour and attribute to the attractive diversity and spirit of the town. We have loved every minute.
Orange Walk until May 28th!