Primary is Halfway There!

Hard to believe we’re already halfway done! We have loved every minute of our time in Belize, and it’s sad to think that we only have three weeks left of teaching.

Even though last week was short, we still had two great experiences at San Lazaro and San Pablo. Emily and Kathleen spent the week with the students at San Pablo Community School, and although the school had other activities planned for the week so Kathleen and Emily didn’t teach as much as they’re used to, they still taught Puberty, Sexual Responsibility, and Mental Health to standards 3-6. We also got to teach a hygiene with the super cute infant 1-2s as well! Pictures bellow! The students were much more reserved than they expected, and they had to experiment with other teaching styles than their usual discussion based lessons. A new and exciting challenge was having a standard 4-5 split class. There was a larger age range than they were familiar with, which made teaching lessons like puberty a challenge. However, they could tell the lesson material was absorbed and processed because of the great questions Emily and Kathleen received in the Anonymous Question Box. As part of the week’s organized activities at San Pablo, the faculty planned a kite making and flying contest on Thursday. Emily and Kathleen were lucky enough to see the students participate in something they were really passionate about. All the kites were made by the students from materials they found around the village like palm leaves and plastic bags. They were thoroughly impressed by the students creativity! Here are some pictures of the

Erica and Alex finished up their week at San Lazaro Methodist Protestant School by teaching our substance abuse lesson to the standard 3, 4 and 5 classes. They also taught a stress/mental health lesson to the standard 6 class and although it was a new topic for the kids it served as a good introduction to the importance of it. The older students kids had a ‘football’ tournament at a nearby school, Santa Cruz, on Thursday so Alex and Erica spent the day teaching nutrition and bullying lessons to the younger standard and infant classes (ages 5-8). The younger students had some difficulty with our English at moments but during the Banana Song nothing was lost in translation. We were also treated to a delicious homemade shrimp ceviche on Wednesday at lunch made by Ms. Murrillos, an infant 2 teacher with a couple of of her own kids in the older standard classes we visited throughout the week. We were again spoiled on Thursday for lunch at a local American missionary’s home. Bradley and Bridget have 2 kids in the school and were a big help to us during our week there. On Friday, we were invited by the principal of San Lazaro Primary School to celebrate National Teacher’s Day with the teachers of her union. It was a relaxing day filled with friendly competitions and a great way to interact with local teachers in another capacity.

Also this weekend, we were invited to the home of the Orange Walk Health and Family Life Education (H.F.L.E) district coordinator, Mr. Joaquin Dominguez for dinner. His wife cooked a full vegetarian Belizean meal for us, and it was absolutely delicious – a nice change from the restaurants we’ve been going to! It was also nice to experience the family atmosphere down here because we’re all missing home a little bit! Mrs. Dominguez even offered to cook us lunch on Friday and deliver it to us at school. They made us feel right at home here in Orange Walk. It’s nice to know that we have someone looking out for us!

This week Emily and Kathleen have the unique opportunity to teach at two secondary schools. They are getting to know the Secondary Projects’s manual and are loving the change of pace. Teaching in secondary school is very different from teaching in primary schools. In primary schools, the time is not as strictly scheduled so we can teach all day, but in secondary schools, the schedule is not usually flexible, especially during exam time, so we can only teach during the the life skills period. Emily and Kathleen are traveling back and forth between Bishop Martin Roman Catholic High School and Orange Walk Technical High School. At Bishop Martin, they are teaching in the life skills period about various topics like conflict resolution, teamwork, healthy habits, and substance abuse. Today, they taught a lesson to a junior class about conflict resolution. They set up two debates to demonstrate the different types of conflict and how to resolve them in a productive way. It was a very fun and exciting lesson to teach! At Orange Walk Tech later in the week, Emily and Kathleen will teach a small group of students after school hours to foster a peer leadership group. QHO was at Orange Walk Tech two years ago and taught a leadership group then, so it will be nice to check-in and see how the program is running. To fill time outside of the classroom, they met with the Belize Family Life Association (BFLA) Youth Coordinator, Mr. Luigi Gomez. He had nothing planned for the week, so he introduced them to Mr. Harrison Williams, an officer at the Youth for the Future Organization, a partner organization of the BFLA. YFO targets at-risk youth ages 14-29 in three main areas, micro-enterprise, violence reduction, and sexual and reproductive health. They create youth groups in villages around Orange Walk District and the town itself for educational purposes and camaraderie, since most of the youths they work with are not in school. They also help youth get funding to start their own businesses. Emily and Kathleen will help them run their booth at the Public Services Open Day this Friday. They will run educational games focusing on sexual and reproductive health, and also be there as an educational resource for participants at the Open Day because the BFLA cannot attend. The girls are embracing the change this week and really enjoying all the new opportunities that keep coming their way!

Erica and Alex are teaching at Trial Farm Government School this week, only a 5 minute drive from the hotel in Orange Walk. The school is the largest they have seen with nearly 1000 students and multiple classes of each standard. They began their week by teaching puberty to the standard 4 and 6 classes and they are very excited to have their lessons reach so many young minds this coming week! Although they won’t be teaching in the younger classes, a few of the more curious young ones became their shadows today at lunch.
We’re excited for the upcoming week in Orange Walk! Talk to you again when we reach Belize City next week! We’re off right now to devour the heaping plates of leftovers from the Dominguez family dinner last night.

Adios amigos,

Turkey, Hot Tamale, Banana “Lover”, and Ruin Runner

Some pictures from San Pablo!

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Brushing teeth!

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More pro tooth brushers!

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Here is a link to a video of Emily teaching Infant 1-2 (Kindergarten to Grade 1) about hand washing:

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