This week was a very successful third and final week in Belize city. It was a bitter sweet ending saying goodbye to the students whom we connected with and learnt so much from. We feel encouraged knowing we left the students with health skills and knowledge to pass on to their communities.
Gabe and Abby taught lessons on STI’s, HIV, and condom use, and finished up the week with a final lesson providing exam study strategies and tips for coping with exam stress as students have final exams in the upcoming weeks. They are happy to have had more success bonding with the students this week, having much more interest and participation in their lessons. They also enjoyed getting the chance to speak more with Mr. Jacobs, the school counsellor, who provided in depth insight on the health challenges in the community and even offered to give them a ride on the school bus to see partner schools, local hospitals and other parts of the community.
Kara and Katelyn taught lessons on mental health and, their personal favourite, self esteem. Mental health proved to be a very rewarding topic to teach as it was evident that many of the students had never been informed on this aspect of their health. The second-year girls at the YWCA were confident in their knowledge from the lessons they had been taught last year by the previous peer educators from Queen’s. Kara and Katelyn were able to move further in their lessons with these girls, teaching them the skills they need to be a peer educator themselves in their communities. At Gwen Lizeraga, Kara and Katelyn really enjoyed their time both inside and outside the classroom, participating in many intense basketball games throughout the week.
Tyra and Holly taught lessons on puberty, substance abuse and peer pressure at St. Luke’s Primary School and a healthy sexual relationships lesson at Gateway Youth Center. They thoroughly enjoyed their last week with the students, continuing to bond with students, engaging in games of tag, and supporting their student bake sale. On their final day, they were happy to gift one of the soccer balls we brought with us and loved seeing all different ages of students playing together with it. At Gateway, they also had a successful final week. They were excited to have students being the most engaged they have been thus far and were also happy to speak to the principal and hear that he is eager to have QHO work with them again in the future.
In our afternoons and weekend off, we learned how to make homemade tortillas and classic Belizean BBQ from a local, continued to explore the city, and tried new local foods and juices. We also enjoyed a relaxing day on the island of Caye Caulker before saying goodbye to Belize City on Sunday to head to Belmopan where we will spend the next 3 weeks.