It’s hard to believe that another week has gone by here in Belize City! Between our days spent teaching, lesson-planning and a jam-packed weekend to culminate week two of initiative, the six of us have sure been kept busy!
As last week, the six of us are up-and-going early in the morning on weekdays; after a quick coffee and bowl of Cheerios for breakfast we set-off on foot for the impossibly humid (but enjoyable) walks to school.
At Gateway Youth Center, Tyra and Holly take pleasure in witnessing students that engage more and more with each lesson, the kids demonstrating increasing interest in the discussions being held. Once morning has passed, the pair are off to St. Luke’s Primary School where they are almost guaranteed to be greeted enthusiastically by students. In fact, one student showed their admiration for the PEs by graciously offering to stay after school and give Tyra and Holly a full head of cornrows (whether or not they suit this hairstyle is up for debate). This week’s topics covered by Tyra and Holly have included conflict resolution, self-esteem, mental health and puberty (the puberty lesson had to be taught in a church to accommodate the large class size, talk about awkward…).
Kara and Katelyn continue to have positive experiences in the classrooms at the YWCA. They are particularly happy to be working alongside the principal who demonstrates an admirable level of firmness, patience, and consistency when interacting with her students. She evidently wants the best for these girls; embodying a type of role model that both the girls at YWCA, and Kara and Katelyn themselves, respect and look up to. Abby and Gabe are making progress with the kids at Sadie Vernon, having even had the opportunity to test the students themselves on the topics they’ve discussed. After engaging in lessons on mental health and healthy sexual relationships, students and peer educators alike have had the opportunity to enjoy a few games of ‘football’ in the yard beside the school.
A highlight of this week has certainly been the great reward provided in educating students on the topic of mental health. This topic is foreign to many, if not most, of the students at the schools mentioned above. It is encouraging witnessing the intrigue of the kids. The sheer number of questions asked pertaining to the lesson assures us as PEs that we are providing relevant and needs-based information to the students.
Outside of the classroom, everyday we continue to uncover hidden gems in Belize City. The veggie market was a pleasant find, providing us with the ingredients needed to make our dinner Tuesday night. Wednesday, once again, we had the day off as there was a referendum being held in Belize. We spent the day at the Museum of Belize, learning about a variety of seemingly-random topics from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade to the insects native to the country. Saturday, we made the trek to Dangriga (about 3 hours outside of Belize City) where we met with the other four Belize PEs and spent a considerable amount of time catching up and sharing our experiences from the past two weeks. We also had the opportunity to watch the semi-final basketball game in Dangriga between the San Pedro Tiger Sharks and the Griga Dream Ballers.
This week we feel empowered by the students, we feel relaxed after a day spent on Dangriga’s beaches, and we feel especially motivated after witnessing the impact that our lessons have had on the students. We cannot wait to see what week 3 has in store!