Hello friends, family, and especially all you moms out there,
We are writing to you from where it all began: Belize City! After a busy week in beautiful Dangriga, we are just getting settled back into the Smokin Balam and preparing for an exciting two weeks in Belize’s largest city.
It has been a while since you have heard from the Secondary Project. We have been SO busy these past 10 days that we’ve barely had time to sit down! It all started with our first BFLA Open Day in San Ignacio. Alongside Nurse Dolly Witz and Ms. Burke, the director of the BFLA, we helped organize and run a day full of activities and games based on sexual health and responsibility. Over 150 students from three nearby schools attended! Though the day was sweltering, it was a success and fun was had by all. Shout-out to Dolly’s cooking team and their delightful nachos and cheese!
Next the team checked out the National Agriculture & Trade Show in Belmopan, as recommended by Jose Zuniga, Cayo HFLE District Coordinator, to get an authentic taste of Belize. Between rodeos, a bullet-speed ferris wheel, agricultural showcases and a two-ton bull, we got a little taste of Belize’s largest industry! It seemed all of Belize was there – we ran into Jose himself, several students, and the masterminds behind the above-mentioned cheese dip.
Next stop: Dangriga, cultural capital of Belize! Though we were sad to leave beautiful Cayo, we were full of excitement to once again be meeting up with the Primary Project and visiting a brand-new location for the Secondary Project. Upon arrival we were welcomed by Marshall Mejia, the HFLE district coordinator for Stann Creek, who gave us a wonderful tour of the town, his favourite sites, our schools, and a beach-side UNESCO World Heritage Site where Garifuna drums are made to this day.
Braden and Taylor spent the week at the Agriculture and Natural Resource Institute (ANRI), a secondary school that offers students hands-on experience in fields and with livestock. They were able to teach four leadership classes each day with students from forms 1 to 3. The students and staff were very accommodating and made them feel right at home (the fudge definitely helped). On special request from QHO, a games day was held on the Friday with over 20 events and full-school participation: unique events included the slow bicycle race and peanut butter sandwich eating competition, on top of bicycle races and a host of track and field events. The competition was fierce… Braden and Taylor did not place.
Sarah and Dave were teaching at Delille Academy in the mornings and volunteering their time at the BFLA in the afternoons. At Delille, they taught a leadership class to leaders and class presidents from forms 1 to 3. Though shy at first, the students really opened up, sparking discussions, asking thought-provoking questions and offering their insights into their school and issues they face in their community. Principal Ovado and Vice Principal Valentine were very welcoming and are hopeful that we will be able to return sometime in the future! Friday’s BFLA Open Day was also a success: students from 5 different schools attended and saw showcases from Power (an HIV/AIDS group), Pride (a drug abuse education group), the Rotary Club, and yours truly! The day would not have been possible without the help of Nurse Casimiro and Kenrick, her assistant.
Mr. Mejia was a fantastic contact to have in Dangriga. He seemed to know everyone in town and is involved all over the community. From his invite, we attended the Primary School Festival of Arts on 3 nights, the inauguration of a new primary school food program, and even a night of karaoke! He also helped us advertise our games day that took place on Saturday. We invited youth from all over town to come play basketball, soccer, frisbee and volleyball, as well as to make bracelets and hang out with the QHO team. The afternoon was a success – people left with hemp jewelry, sunburns and smiles!
Needless to say we were sad to leave Dangriga behind. However, we can’t wait to see what awaits us in Belize City.
Until next time,
Dave, Braden, Sarah and Taylor