Our first week in Dangriga was packed as we juggled teaching in four schools, Education Week, Teacher’s Day, and an organized community sports day!
It’s been nice to experience a different district of Belize while continuing to enjoy the ubiquitous, friendly and lively culture that the country has offered us since we arrived.
Ali and Jenna spent the week at Holy Ghost Roman Catholic school overlooking the beautiful blue ocean. Since it was Education Week, the students and teachers had many special events planned throughout the week from the Math Olympics to a school-wide general knowledge test. The girls adapted to this busy schedule by teaching their lessons in a variety of classes; specifically, Ali and Jenna taught nutrition, puberty, goal-setting, and stress-management to Standard’s 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6 over the course of the week. The girls loved getting to know students all throughout the school!
Ali and Jenna also had a unique opportunity to teach in a Special Education class at a separate school next to Holy Ghost throughout the week. The students in the class were so enthusiastic to take part in the girl’s lessons, particularly answering questions about personal hygiene to make “Bob the Germ-Man” germ-free! As for the girls, a highlight of the week was incorporating a self-esteem lesson, where Ali and Jenna took the students personal self-esteem cards home and decorated them before giving them back to the kids the next day. It was a really fun and meaningful experience for the girls!
Hilary and Jeff started off the week at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Primary school where they were able to teach 3 classes of standard 4’s, 5’s and 6’s. The lessons they taught included HIV and aids, puberty, stress management and mental health. The duo particularly enjoyed working with the students to brainstorm sources of stress experienced from their school life, family and social groups. It gave the PE’s greater insight into the lives of their students and encouraged the students to devise their own strategies for mitigating their everyday stressors.
After three days of teaching in Sacred Heart, the pair was asked by Marshall to help out at the local Education fair, where the two had the opportunity to talk to groups of students from various schools about HFLE and QHO. This opportunity allowed the pair to network with a variety of schools, both primary and secondary. Following a morning of doing talks to the rotating classes, the two were invited to teach a lesson at Gulisi Primary School, Dangriga’s local Garifuna school. This special opportunity allowed the two PEs to immerse themselves in Garifuna culture at the school’s museum and were able to teach the Standard 5 class about STIs and HIV/AIDS. Having the chance to teach at this school was a definite highlight for the two who thoroughly enjoyed the experience and unique culture of the school. Special shout-out to Marshall for setting up this awesome opportunity.
An integral part of Education Week in Belize is a holiday known as ‘Teacher’s Day,’ an event looked forward to by teachers across the country. Teacher’s Day fell this this past Friday and Primary was invited to participate in the day’s festivities by Marshall (Stann Creek’s wonderful HFLE Coordinator). Primary was privileged to attend an inspiring morning church ceremony, in which many teacher’s spoke of the difficulties and rewards facing Belizean teachers. Afterwards, the crew headed over to the celebration area where food, music and games kept the spirits high, despite less-than-cooperative weather. It was a wonderful experience to see how Belizean teachers were thanked by their unions and the government for their hard work throughout the school year.
Although Teacher’s Day prevented the PEs from being in school on Friday, Ali and Jenna did a great job organizing and advertising another community games day at Holy Ghost R.C for Saturday. The two-hour event brought students and QHO PEs together in a fun-filled environment where each PE had their own unique moment with the kids. For Ali, this meant taking one for the team in a football game against some local boys, where she fell and injured her knee. In the meantime, Hilary rallied the kids for a less-injury-prone activity of Yoga and Tai Bo. Jeff took on the challenge of tattooing kids (in marker) with his own specially-designed butterflies. During this time, the three PEs realized Jenna had literally rode off into the sunset on one of her student’s horses, only to shortly return as a huge relief to the other PEs. Overall the Dangriga Games Day was a huge success with the children and PEs having a time and a half being active and having fun.
With all our love as we sign off with the sea to our left and Mayan mountains to our right,
Mermaid Hil, Gimpy Ali, Lincoln Jeff, & Horse-Whisperer Jen