Saturday, August 21, 2010

Taya, Kory and Steph no more :(

Last week we lost some more of our team to America and the luxuries thereof. Kory left on Sunday with Stefanie and NaTaya following the next day. We will miss them dearly, but there is still much to do. The best part of leaving is the delicious breakfast Sister Kay makes for you the morning of.

A handful of days left in Belize but more than a handful of workers to complete the job.

Adobe Stoves

Adobe Stoves this week was really an eye opener. Our first stove designed by Taya and Amanda was dry and ready for testing it with a fire. Well with much enthusiasm, we had little success. The fires were being smothered due to the lack of oxygen. So through trial and error, Krysta, Amanda, Bryant, and President Lemus worked hard to solve the problem. We had to redesign, tear down and build up the stove several times. On the bright side, this mud dries amazingly fast. With this to our benefit we were able to work and wait only an hour or so to continue. Finally, we came to a solution that worked. We decided to build another chimney for the larger stove to help prevent smoke back up. We also enlarged the openings to where more oxygen could funnel through. A few more adjustments need to be made but the good news is that it will be fully functional before we leave! This project would not have been possible without the help of many minds finding solutions and not just giving up! As for the stoves in Arenal, they are still drying and some of the team will be heading out there to check on it later this week.

The team also went back to Arenal and installed the chimneys on some houses. The stoves are not in use quite yet, but they are fully constructed.

Music class

Music class this week was a little smaller in size but great in the fact that the children got more one on one time. This week we introduced them to the piano keyboard and how the notes on the staff correlate. They now have all the knowledge on how to read and write music, all they need to do is practice. Each week before starting class we quiz them on what they remember from the previous week. It is so cool to see the kids shouting over one another to try to say what they learned. We have one more week to wrap up music basics and guaranteed it will be!

Computer Class

This week in computer class we taught about microsoft excel and created a variety of excel spreadsheets. Although the student was at points overwhelmed at the amount of things excel allows you to do, we assured him that remembering the basics is the most important part. We also worked on proper typing and how to use special tools, such as flow charting, in Microsoft word.


This week we had a lot of successful nutrition moments. A lot of home visits were made by Alyssa, Amanda, Nicki, Calvin, and Bryant. Amanda also gave a fabulous class in Spanish to the members of the Spanish Branch.


This week we wrapped things up at the Hospital. Although the Dialysis Center is not entirely complete, it is only about two weeks from opening. This week we finished the insulation, tiling the ceiling, filling a sewer hole with rocks, and digging trenches for water pipes. It was a lot of work, but all for a good cause. For our last day, the fellows we have been working with, invited us to a lunch at their favorite restaurant, Benny’s Kitchen. It was delicious and it's where Amanda and Krysta got to try Cow Hoof Soup. They admitted to it not being that bad! This was the perfect reward for all of our hard work on this amazing project. We appreciate La Loma Luz for allowing us to be a part of their team.

Octavia Waight

Octavia waight has continued to be a place of comfort and learning. Each time we visit the residents feel more comfortable in talking, joking, and visiting with us. We have completely learned the tricks to getting residents to cooperate in exercising. Usually all it takes is a little bribing with a banana. Although some days are not good days for all the residents, most of them have shown improvement and endurance in their exercise routines. Checking blood pressure on the residents is always fun because we get to joke with them about eating too many sweets! Not only have our relations with the residents grown stronger, but with the staff as well. They are so appreciative of the work we do and they often offer us some of their delicious meals!


This week in the leadership seminar volunteers taught about resumes, interviewing, and how to hold effective and efficient meetings. The last class we had a class discussion on the topic “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” In this discussion participants brought up problems that they see in their schools, community, country, and in the world as a whole. We talked about each problem that was brought up and then we talked about things that can be done to fight the problem. We then taught about the idea of “the power of one.” In this discussion we also talked about influential leaders who were able to create positive change in the world and common characteristics these leaders held to help these changes come about. It was an inspiring last class to end the leadership seminar. Volunteers and participants alike felt a stronger resolve to help fight the problems they see in the world.

Succotz summer school

This week was our second and final week at the Succotz summer school. In addition to working on Math, Literacy, and Art, we also worked on special presentations to present to the children’s parents on Thursday. The presentations went well and it was very fulfilling to see the children show their parents what they had been working on. After all of the children left, the village leaders had a huge lunch prepared for all of the volunteers and we were able to spend time talking to the leaders. It was the perfect end to a wonderful project!

Square Foot Gardening

No current updates

George Price Literacy and Conflict Resolution

We wrapped up the Literacy program and the Conflict Resolution camp last Friday. It was a good end to the programs as the parents came for presentations at the end of each. At conflict resolution, the parents watched a “news cast” that the students created. They each wrote a script for a piece of a news cast: sports, local news, world news and entertainment, involving a conflict. The HELP team edited the video and it turned out great. The literacy kids read poems, stories and sang songs for their parents. Raymon and Whitney were also interviewed for a local Belize news station concerning the literacy camp.

Weekend adventures!!


Raymon, Whitney, and Kayci had an adventure of their own at ATM. In this ancient cave used by Mayans for sacred ceremonies, they swam, hiked, and viewed skeletal remains. It was exciting!

Caye Caulker!!

This weekend Amanda, Steph, NaTaya, Alyssa, Krysta, Nicki, Shayna, and Bryant made the trek to the beautiful Caye Caulker! We spent two marvelous days in the sun and crystal clear water. We spent our time relaxing, snorkeling, and fishing! Krysta Nicki and Shayna even saw dolphins! Bry and Amanda got to go fly fishing while the rest of the group just soaked up the sun! Great friends and a Great time!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Two Weeks Left!! and here's what we're doing about it...

Teresa, a.k.a. T-Pain, Left this week (well last week now) and left us all in tears. It will be a quiet, lonley, less funny and abbreviated house without her. However, we will all be following her shortly. Peace out T-Pain.

Leadership Seminars

This week of leadership was very beneficial for the students. On Monday, Whitney and Raymon taught about communication skills and incorporated some conflict resolution into the lesson. They did a few activities where the students had to close their eyes, they couldn’t talk, and they had to create a square with string. They also had to line up in a certain order with no verbal communication. It was very beneficial and brought a lot of discussion the class. On Wednesday, Cydnee had NaTaya team teach with her. NaTaya taught an awesome lesson about resumes. The students were able to write up a draft of a resume and learn the purpose and benefits. Cydnee took over the last part of class and went into detail about the interview process. They did mock interviews with each student to give them some real life experience. It was a lot of fun and they all did excellent.

Octavia Waight

This week we had quite the experience at Octavia Waight. Of course we love all the residents, but here we just have a few updates from our favorites. Camilla, who is 102, surprises us each day with her willingness and determination to do her exercises. Every time when riding the stationary bike she tells us she is riding all the way to Guatemala! Another resident, Nicolas, also has quite the determination to walk every time we come to help him. We have shared some pretty interesting, ‘only at an old folks home’ situations together and sometimes all you can do is laugh it off. To end the week we visited with all the residents and checked the blood pressure. Its always fun to meet a new resident and rally everyone up to play BINGO!

Computer Class

The computer class is a project that a couple second waivers passed on to our current team. Calvin and Krysta are the leads and go every Thursday to Cornerstone to teach a couple students typing skills and programs like Excell and Microsoft Word. Calvin surprised us all with his overwhelming knowledge of Excel and made sure the children were well versed in the program. The children love learning from us and we enjoy teaching them more and more each time. It’s a good thing we are a computer savvy generation in America and it is also good to know we can use our skills and talents for more than Facebook or mundane schoolwork. Long live computer classes!!

George Price Center Literacy & Conflict Resolution

This week was the second and final week of the Literacy and Conflict Resolution camps. At the conflict resolution camp, the kids have been writing their own newscast on a conflict situation to be filmed and viewed at the end of the week. We discussed how to diffuse anger and introduced the process of mediation.

At literacy, the children have been working hard on spelling and reading. The smaller ones are pro at sounding out words and recognizing letters, and the older kids are cranking through the chapter books. They have also been practicing for their presentations on Friday for their parents. Some are drawing, some are singing, and some are reading from a book. For arts and crafts, we’ve drawn pictures, learned how to do origami, and played letter bingo. Today we did a picture scavenger hunt, and they loved that.

Rural Health

This week we only did the rural health campaign one day. We spent the day in San Antonio and were able to test blood pressure and glucose for quite a few people. The population is mostly Mayan and they seem to be pretty healthy. There were a few individuals with very high blood pressure or diabetes that we talked to about medication and ways to control it. We also learned a few Mayan phrases so it was really fun to get to know the people there. It was an incredibly hot day and we were more than happy to eat a few ideals while we were out.

Music Class

This week for music class was really exciting. The kids learn so fast and are so excited about everything we taught them. We focused on applying the ability to reading notes off a page to finding them on an actual keyboard. We were very surprised at how well they picked it up. For learning material we printed out a picture of a blank keyboard from the internet and had them learn each of the notes’ names and write them in. Their homework for this week is to memorize the 7 different musical notes and where they can be found on a keyboard.

Square Foot Gardening

No Updates

Adobe stoves

Teresa, Shayna, Katy, Cayci and Krysta had the pleasure to go to Arenal this past week where they were able to finish building the four-adobe stoves bult in that village. The mud used to make the stoves dries slowly, so we will not be here to see the finished product. However, in the upcoming week we will return to Arenal to check on the stoves and also to put in the most important part, the chimneys. It is always am amazing time in Arenal because the people share so much with us. They show their gratitude many ways but the most common form is in food, and we have no complaints there.

Amanda and NaTaya have taken up a new location for Adobe Stoves this week. While they were ordering their usual weekly tortillas they noticed that the hut the women cook in is continually filled with smoke. Due to the fact that they couldn’t even breathe while ordering they inquired to see if the women were interested in the Idea of an Adobe Stove. After translating and explaining everything to them, the women were eager to have one. Amanda and NaTaya set off that day to find materials to use such as grass, dirt, cinder blocks and tools. After much discussion, research, and many sketches we decided that this adobe stove would be different. Instead of using the traditional red dirt and cinderblock route, they decided to construct the stove out of new dirt that dries over night and to build onto an existing stove structure. Some doubt this method but they have already successfully laid the first two burners and inclines. Monday we will be going back to the site and seeing if the mud dried well enough, make a few adjustments and place a chimney on it. Monday will be a defining day for the stove and we will learn whether or not their efforts will be in vain.

Ballers for Life

Last week was the concluding chapter of Ballers for Life. Bryant and NaTaya were invited to attend the tournament for Ballers for Life in Belize City. The best 10 players were chosen from each age group to compete in the tournament. They rode on the bus with the team to Belize City and participated in the event with the team. Each district wore a different color to distinguish them. The first two, younger, teams lost in the last seconds, however the older team won and moved on to the second round. We were grateful to participate in an event that promotes children-teens physical activities and giving them something constructive to do with their time. Although camp has ended, we still see all the kids on the courts at night and they still bring their ‘game’.

Nutrition Education

In preparation for more home visits, Nicki and Alyssa created a more efficient lesson plan. Amanda and Alyssa had a successful day of home visits, changing peoples’ lives one vegetable at a time. They were also able to create visuals for said visits. Nicki joined the duo the next day for more home visits and a class that Amanda taught in Spanish to the Relief Society ladies.

Succotz School

Katie and Kayci started work at a new project in Succotz. No, it is not to late to start new projects especially with these project leads. A group of volunteers started on Monday and went into it with an open mind. The classes are every day from 9 am -11am and 1pm -2pm with two different age groups attending each session. The camp is running for two weeks and each day they teach a new subject. They are focusing on Math, Music, Reading, Crafts and Sports. We were amazed at how many children showed up, because the advertising for it was merely a piece of paper filled with information on the corner store's wall. The first day was kind of ruff with some confusion on age groups and placing the kids in their level of learning, but as the week went on the children settled and they came to grow to love the volunteers and the subjects we taught. We will finish up next week and we hope to memorize all 160 names of the children. Keep your fingers crossed.

Cerebral Palsy

While checking blood pressure and glucose levels in Georgeville, we ran into a boy who had Cerebral Palsy and a mother who did not know how to get him help. So one of our volunteers had his family send us some books on it so we could help them out. Below are some pictures of Bryant and Krysta taking the family the information on his condition. The mother was very grateful to have them come back and give her some information on how to help her child that she otherwise would have struggled to obtain.

Random Fun Times in our house are as follows:

sometimes you have to make due.I can't even explain this one..What we crave every night!! She found her best friend in Belize

NaTaya's Mother and sister came to visit for the weekend. They enjoyed the shops, hitch-hiking (Safely) and some Mayan ruins. It was a pleasant occasion.

Katie may have fallen in the gutter. We try to get her help , but you know what they say. You have to want to help yourself before others can help you. We are all here for you Katie, whenever you are ready.Raymons usual pass time: TacklingPlease ladies, keep the braids in. Raymon may or may not have cut his head open on barbed wire while going about his daily routine of walking. This picture is so strange, he is bleeding out of his head and he is still smiling.Our little man prince with his band-aid bow

Kory had to break into our house the other week, because we forgot the key. Turns out it was very easy... almost too easy...

Weekend get away at Hopkins beach. OH the joy of relaxation.