And just like a bag of Plaintain chips, here we are at the end of our initiative, both satisfied (of what we have been able to accomplish) and sad (that it is over). The 6 weeks sure felt as quick as a bag of chips. It seems just yesterday that we were all geared up to head to Belize from Pearson International Airport. Well, hold on to your seats for our one last blast of a blog post!
This week Kathleen and Mario finished up their last week at Excelsior High School, teaching sexual relationships, substance abuse and pregnancy. The students were so full of questions about our topics that one class turned entirely into a sex and pregnancy Q&A! The degree of interest that the students displayed was encouraging. It was clear to us that they were learning a great deal, and we were overjoyed to have the opportunity to answer so many creative questions. We’d like to thank the lifeskills teacher and all the students at Excelsior for being so welcoming and receptive to QHO.
James and Jesse continued to teach at Sadie Vernon high school, covering important topics such as healthy sexual relationships, STIs and pregnancy. As usual, the students were excited to learn and had lots of questions!! We capped off our final week with a riveting game of jeopardy, with categories including HIV Fact vs Myth, Pregnancy, STIs, and substances. The first form students competed for delicious and healthy mango. Needless to say there was fierce competition, and in the end team “unstoppable” took home the grand prize! It was so awesome to see the students participate in friendly competition and show how much they had learned over the past two weeks. The students truly were amazing and we will miss them so much!!
The team also continued their work at the YWCA. James and Mario continued with Math and English medials with the girls. Having spent already spent a week reinforcing some math concepts, it was very rewarding to see and track the progress of the girls within the short time frame given. Emphasis was put on keeping the lessons engaging and interactive with different math puzzles and using fun props such as mints and coins in the classroom.
Jesse and Kathleen also had an amazing week at the YWCA. As we spent more time with the girls they really opened up and showed us their fun and outgoing personalities. We spent time this week having discussions about substances, pregnancy and self esteem. On our final day we made warm & fuzzies with first and second year girls & then celebrated with some ice cream sundaes. We have absolutely loved our time with the girls and are really sad to be leaving. We will never forget our friends at the YWCA they are truly inspiring and promising young ladies!
On Friday morning, both the Primary and Secondary groups of QHO Belize were reunited in Belize City for our culminating meeting. Having representation from each district’s HFLE coordinators and the Ministry of Education, the group debriefed the initiative and as well set goals for the future years to come. As an organization and as an initiative, we continue to strive to make improvements to our approach and ways of working so that we could make the most sustainable impact possible. There were some great discussions that were had, with lots of insights and ideas that we are excited to work with and possibly implement for the years ahead!
The last six weeks have been a truly amazing experience. From the classrooms, to youth groups, and other community outreach events, the learning was paramount. Not only were we able to help young boys and girls of Belize be more empowered with knowledge to be more healthy, but it has also been a learning experience for ourselves as well. We learned about the culture, the people, the way of life, the similarities and the differences, and even a little more about ourselves. It was an opportunity that would not have been made possible without the support of some people. First, the schools, the counsellors, the students, the communities, and the country of Belize for inviting us into their home. It is your kind, open invite and blessings that make this possible in the first place. Second, our Project Directors Georgia and Meg, along with the entire QHO executive team for working their butts off to plan and execute this as smoothly as possible. Last, our supporters – whether you’re our friends, family, or a corporate sponsor, thank you and thank you a million times more. None of this would’ve been possible without your help and blessings.
Thank you for staying tuned the past six weeks, and it is ‘si yoo lata’ for one last time!