Cancer walks and leadership talks 

The secondary crew had an eventful week in Belize City! One of the highlights was taking part in the Annual Cancer Walk! We woke up bright and early at 3 AM and hopped on a bus to Ladyville. Once we got there, there was a dance warm-up and then we started on our 12 km walk (with music blasting the entire time and chocolate milk ideals to keep us hydrated). The walk ended in Belize City with music, food and water. There was a great turnout and we had a blast!

At the YWCA, Siobhan, Samara, Peter and Nicole taught healthy relationships, contraceptives and STIs. We played jeopardy with the girls, which they absolutely loved! We also had the opportunity to help set up and attend their showcase on Thursday to primary schools! The girls and staff displayed and made presentations on each of the programs that the YWCA offers. As well, the section of personal development featured posters embracing the idea of youth empowerment. The girls did an amazing job and we are excited to work with them for the next week!

Week 5 at Maud Williams Peter and Nicole taught lessons on HIV/AIDS and Mental Health to all their students. The HIV/AIDS lessons went very well, the kids were listening attentively as they understood the information was very relevant to them and their lives. A highlight for Peter and Nicole as well as the students was jeopardy and the HIV/AIDS relay race game. The lessons on mental health were also successful, however, the topic of mental health is discussed very little in Belize so the kids had much less background knowledge on the information. Teaching a brand new subject allowed Peter and Nicole to introduce very important topics to the kids, but the majority of the information about mental health and mental illness remains taboo in Belize at large. 

Siobhan and Samara had a wonderful week at Sadie Vernon! We have gotten to know all our classes fairly well, and the students are much more inclined to ask what’s on their mind. This week, we taught peer pressure and abuse, drugs, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS. Some of our activities included self-reflections, a game where students resisted taking fake drugs from us in the form of chalk, a balloon balancing game to symbolize the effect of drugs and a HIV stigma activity. We continued our leadership sessions after school, where we worked with a small group on team building (see photo below), conflict resolution, and a person’s impact on others. One of the group’s favourite activities was a list of tasks to spread random acts of kindness. Siobhan and Samara had an incredible week of teaching and interacting with kids at Sadie Vernon, and we are sad that we only have one week to go! 

At the end of this week, we were walking through the city and stumbled upon a high school prom! The cultural practice of prom in Belize consists of friends and family coming to the outside of the venue and cheering while each prom duo walked down an aisle. We loved the energy and celebratory atmosphere of prom in Belize! This is our last week of teaching, which is giving us mixed feelings of excitement and sadness. 

Sending love from Belize, 

Peter, Nicole, Samara and Siobhan.

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