This was our first week in Belize! On Sunday, April 28th we headed to Pearson Toronto Airport bright and early to catch our first flight! We had a little mishap and thought our PE Jessee lost her phone while boarding the plane, but it was just in the crack of the seat – phew! It was smooth travelling afterwards through our layover at Houston Airport, and then to our final destination in Belize City! There we were met by Domingo Jr and Domingo Sr, where Cassie was delegated as our leader! Domingo Sr had a heavy foot and sped ahead, while Domingo Jr made the most of the car ride and took us on a scenic route! They took us to the Belcove hotel, where the other group is staying for the first 3 weeks and where we will be returning to! We arrived on a Sunday which means most things are closed, so we dove straight into Belizean culture by enjoying some street food; the classic dish of rice and beans!
The following day we enjoyed some delicious fresh fruit from a fruit stand down the street from our hotel, and then worked on some lesson plans! We headed to Sols with the group staying in Belize City for a farewell lunch, enjoying some salbutes and boritos over conversations about their groups first morning in the classroom! Then we embarked on a hot and sweaty walk to the bus station. The bus was very full, so we snagged the last 5 seats up at the front (but we weren’t complaining because we had a lovely view)! The bus went through Belmopan, along the hummingbird highway, and delivered us to our final destination of Dangriga!
We were welcomed by Chad and Eleanor, alongside their grandson Brandon, at the lovely Chaleanor Hotel. We walked down the Main Street and stopped at this lovely street food vendor for dinner! These two friendly Belizean ladies made us some delicious papusas (some filled with chicken, some filled with beans) topped with cabbage and tomato sauce – yum! We went back to the hotel, finished lesson planning and did a tabatta workout before showers and bed!
We woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed for our first day of teaching Tuesday morning! We ate fresh bananas from Chad and Eleanor’s farm for breakfast, and then walked a brief walk to Stann Creek Ecumenical High School. What a beautiful school it is, with yellow buildings and a garden in the Center! We taught introductory lessons to ourselves, QHO and started facilitating discussions about effective communication, and other health topics we will be covering. The students were outgoing, filled with question, and incredibly fun. We couldn’t wait to be back in the school with the students after the labour day break!
Wednesday was labour day so we had the day off school, which we used to explore the nearby Bocawina National Park. We hiked through the jungle, saw waterfalls, and went cliff jumping into a swimming hole with some locals we met on the way up! It was a refreshing, adventurous and epic day off!
The following day we headed back to Ecumenical, ready to meet some new classes and see some familiar faces! We started off the day with our new topic of bullying and cyber bullying! We got yummy boritos for lunch, and then we’re proposed with a wild afternoon task! They needed someone to fill in for their afternoon Form 1 and Form 2 assembly, and we accepted challenge. We planned the assembly for 260 students to cover information on healthy sexual relationships, consent, and peer pressure. We were all fairly nervous, but it was a successful and rewarding afternoon!
Overall, it was a successful first week here, and we have loved every minute! We can’t wait to be back Monday and hear how their Friday night dance went!