Hello to everyone!
Our second week in Cayo flew by! The week started off with us running a games day at Eden High School in Santa Elena which was a great success and turnout! We played football, basketball and volleyball and even got a bracelet making crew going under some nice shady tree (because it was hot!!). We also cooled off by having a refreshing water balloon toss with the kids, and the gym teacher treated us to some IDEALS (freezies) which were ideal! This was a lovely way to say goodbye to some really outstanding kids at Logan and Camila’s first school. They will be missed!
On Monday we headed off to the capital city, Belmopan, to meet with the principals at Belmopan Comprehensive (Compre!) and Belmopan Baptist to discuss the lessons for the week. Logan and Lauren felt very welcomed into the school by a very devoted principal at Compre and found the lessons and discussion that they led with the students very thoughtful and rewarding. We managed to get through the lessons even though Monday was a holiday and felt as though our lessons were very well received by the students. We hope to hold a games day with Belmopan Compre this Saturday so that we can see them again!
Not so nearby, somewhere along the western highway, somewhere secluded, Camila and Khalif ventured to Belmopan Baptist High School to meet the principal and to start off there teaching week. They managed to get a great turnout as the principal chose two student leaders from each class. Despite some time constraints, they managed to get through the lesson material and also had some great discussions and input from the students. Hopefully QHO can return back to the school, as they seemed to appreciate our presence.
Every morning before setting off to Belmopan, we returned to Santa Elena Primary School to teach and help out in the special needs class where the students never failed to put smiles on our faces. We taught lessons on hygiene, nutrition (where we got to learn about the Caribbean food groups!) and got to touch on puberty with some of the older students. After every lesson we got to enjoy some traditional Belizean dances as the students were more than happy to show us their moves. Despite our best efforts we could never master their enthusiastic performances. It was a truly amazing experience working with the students because they all had such unique and wonderful personalities and made us feel extremely welcome into the classroom, the teachers included! They will all be missed very much!
For the remainder of our days we prepared for the Open House at the Belize Family Life Association which was held on Friday. Four schools were invited to play a number of games including trivia toss, jeopardy, FIFA world cups and condom relay which were designed to test their knowledge and educate them on topics such as HIV/ AIDS, STIs and puberty. All of us had a BLAST playing with the kids and enjoying some of the great Belizean music that was played by DJ Cutie. Nurse Dolly who runs the B.F.L.A. in San Ignacio was absolutely wonderful in helping us organize the day and even went out of her way to make a delicious cheese dip and chips for everyone to enjoy (maybe a little too much…). It was really fun to watch the students open up to these topics which can be uncomfortable for kids of this age. By the end of the day there definitely were some eruptions of laughter amongst everyone present- teachers and students! As we were wrapping up the day, Rachael our Project Director for the Primary Project arrived in San Ignacio and we had a great time catching up with her and we showed her our nightly routine the Sweat Circuit (a Secondary Project exercise routine where we are very resourceful to come up with new and interesting exercises to keep those copious meals of rice and beans off of our waistlines!!).
On Saturday our training wheels were off. We sadly had to say bye to both of our project directors. For the past two weeks Alex has been a god-send leader, introducing us to the ways of Belize and overall, being there for us every step of the way. She managed to take on a lot of the responsibilities while we were still transitioning into the niche of life in Belize and our first teaching experiences. We were amazed at her leadership abilities and we are so excited for her to be one of QHO’s co-directors next year. We already miss you DONKAY!! That morning we headed back to Alvin L. Young Nazarene High School where Lauren and Khalif taught their first week to do another games day! We worked up a sweat playing 5 aside basketball while a few of the other students enjoyed making bracelets in the shade.
After an amazing day of sports we returned home to begin packing for Belize City and were surprised when the Primary Project showed up in our rooms! WE WERE SO EXCITED! That afternoon we showed them around our home for the last two weeks, which has become their home, and ended the night with a scrumptious, quesadilla dinner where we were able to exchange stories and had lots of laughs!
Sunday we said our goodbyes and headed to Belize City where we will be spending our next two weeks and prepared for our lessons and meetings on Monday. Today, Monday, we had a very productive day meeting with the Ministry of Education and District Coordinator and making contact with the Y.W.C.A. where we will be teaching in the life skills classroom for the next two weeks. We also met with the youth workers at the B.F.L.A. where we discussed our plans to create pamphlets and posters outlining how non-communicable diseases affect sexual and reproductive health. Lauren and Khalif also taught their first lesson at the Nazarene High School which went very well and afterwards, we all celebrated Logan’s 22nd Birthday by treating ourselves to some iced coffees. Even though we only spent a day here we feel as though the next two weeks are going to be extremely productive and rewarding.
Until next time!
The Professor (Logan), SWAG (Khalif), Sweat-Stache (Lauren) and Camila (nickname pending)