Punta Gorda – All That and a Bag of Plaintain Chips

First group picture in Punta Gorda, Belize.

‘U n’alrite?’

As you can tell, Belize Secondary is already picking up some Creole here in Punta Gorda, Belize. It seems as though the dry season is coming to an end and the rainy season has begun. The latter half of this past week was marked by some rainstorms.

Our experience in the town has been amazing so far. We have especially enjoyed the slow, laid back attitude and the energy of the locals. We were even told several times to “slow down” our walking pace when we were roaming through the town streets. We are currently staying in a guest house right in town, conveniently located right beside a bakery. Cinnamon buns be got one gud gud tim (that means “good” for all of you English speaking folk! :))

Jesse and Mario have been teaching at Toledo Community College (TCC), a high school located about 15 minutes from our guest house. They are collaborating with the life skills teaching program to deliver interactive and engaging lessons to students ranging from 1st to 4th form (Grades 9-12). Topics from the past week included Healthy Sexual Relationships, Effective Communication, Peer Pressure and Abuse, Conflict Resolution, and Bullying. A number of students were chosen by the life skills department to comprise the inaugural QHO Peer Leadership Class. In addition, we had the opportunity to work with a group of female students belonging to a women’s empowerment group at TCC, dedicated to advocating women’s rights and leadership in their community. It was very inspiring to have the opportunity to meet and work with a group of such promising and intelligent young individuals. We’re confident that they will have a sustainable, beneficial impact on the physical and mental health of their peers and members of the community. We are thrilled to see students beginning to recognize us around town and we even had the opportunity to participate in some after school volleyball with a number of our new friends. We are excited to get back into our classes for another exciting week of peer-based health education.

Kathleen and James spent the week at Corazon Creek Technical High School. We get up at 5AM each morning and watch the sunrise on our 2 hour bus ride to the school. There are around 250 students who attend the school and come from 14 different villages around Corazon. The school is relatively new and is located right in the middle of the mountains. There are horses, pigs, and chickens running around! We have loved getting to know all of the students and they become more and more outgoing each day. We work with students from all forms, teaching them Communication Skills, Goal Setting, and Substance Abuse. The students are so welcoming and always invite us to join in on their Physical Education classes. Throughout the week, we have collaborated with the school’s counselor and the local Peace Corp worker, Miss Molly, to tailor the lessons to the needs of the community and the culture. We are looking forward to heading back to Corazon next week, and may even run team building activities with the teaching staff at CCTHS. It has been a fantastic week of teaching so far.

Some classroom action (ft. James and Kathleen)

Bonus:

Our 5 Favorite things of Punta Gorda, Belize so far:

1) The laid back atmosphere

2) Tambran Juice

3) Greetings from everyone on the streets (the Ritualistic Good Morning, Good Afternoon, and Good Night)

4) Rice and Beans (yum)

5) Beans and Rice (YUM)

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