Thursday, June 24, 2010

There has been a lot going on the past couple weeks down here in Belize. Our volunteers are working hard daily on a number of different projects to ensure success for the upcoming months. Some of the projects we are dealing with as of late are

The hospital construction project: The past couple weeks we have been working hard to complete our task of tearing tiles off of cardboard for the floor reconstruction. Also, we helped out with painting the walls, cleaning, drilling, and one day we spent helping to set up a tent in a local field for an upcoming Hospital-event. Since Dominique has left, Mary has taken over as team lead and all most all of our volunteers have had a chance to participate in this project. All in all, the hospital’s tasks are given to us on a daily basis.

Octavia weight: Jake has set up a new project where we have had the opportunity to send approx. 2 volunteers daily to an old folks home here in San Ignacio, called Octavia Weight. There, we do anything from coordinate games with the elderly ( like bingo, cards, or board games) as well as feed them lunch and assist wherever is needed. The plans for the upcoming week are to put together more structured activities each day.

Health Fair: 2 weekends ago, a few of our team members including Chris, Melissa, Jake, Cydnee, and Dominique had the opportunity to drive down to Punta Gorda to assist Collette (our heath fair contact) with a heath fair that consisted of going door to door in small villages and taking vitals for the people living there. After taking vitals (blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate etc) our volunteers offered insights on how to improve their heath. This upcoming weekend, Chris, Shawney and Sarah will be helping with another heath fair in Orange Walk, where similar things will be taking place.

Orphanage: Yesterday, Kristen, Sarah, Shawney, Lisa and Chris traveled to Belmopan to meet with Kings Children Orphanage, where we will be spending a lot of time in the upcoming month of July. The meeting we had there was simply to review plans with the Orphanage supervisor related to activities we are going to be doing with the children, as well as the days in which we should come. The children there range from ages 4 months to 18, with a ratio of about 3 girls to every boy. Some of the activities we have proposed are sports (namely, football, soccer, and basketball) Arts and crafts, street games ( sidewalk chalk, hopscotch, 4 square) story time, small games such as freeze tag, look down look up, do you love your neighbor? Etc. and also a few dance classes. We are all anxious to see where this project goes and are excited to have this opportunity to work with children.

Tutoring: Every night at 5pm Kristen and Stephanie tutor math for an hour to a young girl here in San Ignacio. Soon, they will be taking on a larger group of children once school gets out. The lesson plans right now entail order of operations, decimals, fractions and early algebra.

Computer Class: On Tuesday and Thursday Shawney has been teaching a computer class to a young girl. Lately, they have been working on learning how to navigate power point as well as typing skills. Shawney is focusing on these tasks in particular because she feels that they will be the most useful for future schooling and careers as well as useful skills to teach others. Currently, she is creating a power point about hip hop dancing.

Dunford Summer School: This past week Shawney has been teaming up with Kristen and Lisa in brainstorming ideas for an upcoming summer pre -school program. Help volunteers will only be actually attending the school for a couple days out of the month, however when we do go, Shawney will be teaching a lesson on the planets and space, while Kristen and Lisa will be teaching bracelet making.

Square Foot Gardens- A new project that is currently being researched is Square Foot Gardening. Stephanie is the project lead and spent a couple days this week researching places to put them around San Ignacio, materials needed and different ways of making compost. The volunteers helping her on the project are Calvin, NaTaya and Lisa. This week the team made great head way by finding a location to make a ‘pilot’ garden. They were also given many contacts and possible locations to make more gardens. They learned that many families want and need fresh vegetables, such as cabbage, tomatoes, radish and sweet peppers, but don’t have the knowledge or supplies to do so. They hope to have one or more gardens underway in the next couple weeks.

Business/Computer classes- Cydnee Haws has been working for a few weeks with a local NPO called Cornerstone. She is in charge of teaching Computer classes on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to a few ladies in the community. Some of the women who come to the class expressed interest in learning how to make business cards and increase their accuracy in typing. Since the class has opened there has been a steady flow of students and their typing has greatly improved. During the week other volunteers help out when there is a need. Cydnee hopes the class will expand and the students will express interest in other areas.

Soilet: The Soilet is one of the first projects that the volunteers have started here in San Ignacio. Soilet is a eco-friendly waste management system. Wendy Lee, the project lead, and practically every volunteer has either worked construction or began negotiations with various partners. This week we finished overall construction of the Soilet and hope to begin use. We have a new site for a second Soilet at a site called Duck Run III. During negotiations with partners we are discussing a construction site at Bullet Tree. Overall this project has been time consuming and very beneficial.

English Teaching: English is a common language spoken in Belize. However, living in San Ignacio, practically at the border of Guatemala, there are many people who don’t speak English very well. Melissa Richardson and Sarah Foote have been offering an English class at Cornerstone from 2:30-5 daily. They teach English to 3 women Evelyn, Isabel and Patricia. This week they have been working on irregular verbs, telling stories in the past, vocabulary and prepositions. Each of the students are progressing well and now that there are more volunteers we are able to give more one-on-one attention to the students. It is always great to see the students progressing because we know it is a sacrifice for them to come to class. Some of the students have children at home and can only dedicate an hour or so to learning English, but they come because they say they’re learning a lot.

And on the Weekends...

River adventures

Snorkeling at Caye Caulker

Zip Lining in Guatemala

Climbing temples at Tikal

Monkeying around at Caye Caulker

And Calvin still at work...

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