We finished up with a busy last week in Orange Walk. Even though this week was a little different for primary, as Emily and Kathleen taught in a high school, everyone had a great time and was sad to say goodbye.
Emily and Kathleen taught at Bishop Martin Roman Catholic High School for the week, and although it brought new challenges, they embraced the experience. They focused their lessons on leadership, conflict resolution, teamwork, and healthy relationships, which the students seemed to enjoy. They also had the opportunity to teach their substance abuse lesson to a hand-picked group of students who the counselor, Ms. Perla DeLeon, thought were more at-risk than other students. Although Bishop Martin started out as a challenge for the girls, they made really strong connections with the students, so much so that some classes even asked for more class time with them! Leaving Bishop Martin on Friday was definitely one of the sadder moments of the trip for Emily and Kathleen so far.
On top of teaching at Bishop Martin, they taught a leadership group at Orange Walk Technical for three days. They had a blast and bonded with some of the same students that QHO taught two years ago. On Friday, the girls helped out at the Public Services Open Day with the Department of Youth Services, formally called Youth for the Future. They taught about HIV/ AIDS awareness and prevention along with the dos and don’ts of condom use. See some pictures below! Throughout the week Emily and Kathleen made so many great connections with the students and people of Orange Walk. From our favorite cab driver, Brian, our bus conductor, Wilbert Tzul, counselors at both Bishop Martin and Orange Walk Technical, the staff at the Department of Youth Services, everyone that they met made them feel welcome and made it hard to leave! We made some great contacts that QHO can use in the future. They even got a cooking lesson from Ms. Licia Castillo, the counselor at Orange Walk Technical, which was a great way to end a fabulous two weeks.
Alex and Erica had an exhausting and rewarding week teaching at Trial Farm Government School in Orangewalk. They reached nearly 12 different classes about 2 or 3 times each during the week. The two tried some new teaching techniques and activities throughout the week. These included a skit on the female reproductive system, wherein students were able to act out the movement of female eggs and menstruation through the uterus. It was quite humorous but really got a point across! They also borrowed an idea from Emily and Kathleen and held an “Abstinence Debate” in several of the older classes. In this debate, the students discussed reasons for why teenagers choose to remain abstinent from sex and reasons why they may choose to not remain abstinent. Although the debates became quite heated at times, the activity was an excellent way for students to reflect on issues they may come across throughout their adolescence. The school was very hospitable, as they provided a cultural lunch for us every day. Cynthia, the school’s cook, even made pig’s tail one day for Alex and Erica to try! Pig’s tail is a common Belizean delicacy and it was very cool to try this unique dish. During our visit at Trial Farm, the US Military was also there building several classrooms, as the school was becoming somewhat crowded! On Thursday of last week, Alex had the opportunity to go watch some Standard V and VI students play volleyball against another local school. The Trial Farm girls team won the match in 3 sets while the boys came close losing 3-2. It was definitely hard for Alex and Erica to say goodbye to Trial Farm on Friday, as they built some really close relationships with students and loved the experience teaching at such a large and diverse school.
On Saturday of last week, the Primary Project hosted a games day in the Trial Farm village. The day consisted of fun in the sun with football, basketball, jump rope and face painting (which really just turned into body painting). The kids got a real kick out of giving us “tattoos” (made of paint) and turning Emily and Kathleen into native hunter warriors. We played a football match- Canada versus Belize, where Canada was unfortunately humiliated. Although Alex and Erica thought their soccer skills could match up, they were again terribly mistaken. Emily was particularly embarrassed by her lack of skills. We were not expecting such a great turnout to the games day, and we are so pleased to see that the children were having such a good time.
On Sunday, Primary travelled the 1 and a half hour bus ride to Belize City, and were greeted by our Belizean mom Anna at the Smokin’ Balam. Belize City is quite different from any place we have experienced thus far. So much hustle and bustle, it’s weird to experience traffic and pedestrian/ vehicle business again. As Monday was the Memorial Day holiday, we did not get into our schools until Tuesday this week.
Erica and Kathleen are teaching at Central Christian School in the heart of Belize City this week. They were greeted by a friendly staff and student body. They are thrilled to be able to teach their lessons all day, every day, as well as hold a games afternoon on Wednesday and a “girls after school hangout” on Friday. The students at Central Christian are vibrant and actively participated in the Puberty lessons that the two taught on Tuesday. The kids are also requiring that Erica and Kathleen harness their inner musical talents and teach some Canadian sing-a-long songs.
Alex and Emily will be teaching the afternoons at Bethel Primary School, and the mornings at two other primary schools nearby. Although they were unable to teach many lessons on the first day, they are looking forward to a very busy schedule for the rest of the week.
We have finally hit the beginning of the rainy season in Belize, as it has rained all day every day for the past 3 days. No complaints here though, as the rainy season is accompanied by a drop in temperature, making sleeping a lot more comfortable!
Stay tuned for our next post about how our first week in Belize City turns out! Until then, primary out.
Our Portuguese Princess, Hermie, Watah Jugz and Sweaty Rolls