Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wednesday and Thursday: Holy Cross, Snorkeling, and more...

Abby: Wednesday I started out the day with waking up at 5 to the sunrise which was incredible and completely worth it. The rest of my day at the school was spent reading to a group of kids with Elizabeth and painting while singing songs like I Just Can't Wait To Be King and Hey Jude, loudly and way off key with Elizabeth and Sally:) Even though painting is always fun, the snorkeling was definitely the best part of my day. I will admit that swimming with stingrays and hugging a shark were completely terrifying experiences but at the same time it was so cool. Today has been spent singing songs to the children, stacking and picking up roof pieces, and being hug-attacked by multiple kids at once...which is the part of Holy Cross I think I am going to miss the most.

Sally: We started out Wednesday with our second delicious trip to "Casa Pan Dulce" on the way to school. My job for most of the morning was painting the outside wall of a building. After lunch, we headed off to snorkeling, which was just incredible. Our guides led us through an unbelievable journey through the coral reef, and let us get up close and personal with sharks, sting rays, and sea turtles! So far today, we have participated in the three chapel services for the different age groups. We taught the kids a few songs and learned some new ones from them as well. I've spent the rest of this morning working on a fencing project with Harris and Amy, with occasional breaks for never-ending high fives and hugs from the kids!

Jessica: I started out Wednesday in the best way possible: viewing a beautifal sunrise. It involved getting up a little earlier but I'm so glad that I did. When we got to the school, me and Naomi spent the morning preparing backpacks that will be given to the kids and decorating them, which we had a lot of fun with. Later we went snorkeling, which was absolutley amazing. I held a shark and touched a stingray, two things I never thought I would do. Today, we got to sing songs for the kids and later I got some adorable pictures with them. :)

Naomi: Wednesday morning I got up and watch the sun come up. Joe and Amy had the youth walk to school by ourselves, which was a challenge, but we did morning prayer and went to the bakery, and still got to the school a little early. At the school, I prepared backpack prizes with Jessica, which was fairly easy, but at the same time a bit tedious and time-consuming. Then I went outside to paint one of the front walls of the school. After lunch, which was amazing as usual, we went snorkeling. It was a great experience, and I got some amazing pictures of the beautiful sea-life. At the second snorkeling spot, I held a shark, which was terrifying and totally awesome. It had rough skin, which I was not expecting at all. The stingray was a bit velvety, almost slimy, and that was really cool, although we didn't actually get to hold it, just touch it. Overall, it was a great day, and I'm gonna miss Belize- the work AND the tourism- A LOT.

Joe: It has been a blessing to watch these young men and women embrace this opportunity. They work hard, they play hard, they even pray hard. On Wednesday, I watched them step outside their comfort zones: getting in the classrooms with children (actually they seemed quite comfortable doing that), getting into the ocean with nurse sharks and rays (which felt almost as chaotic at times as the classrooms...I guess a "school" of fish is crazy just like a school of children). On the way to the site, we remembered those who had asked for our prayers and those who helped us get here...thank you! It has also been a blessing to work with my co-leader, Amy, who has also jumped in with both feet and is really gifted. She led us in a wonderful exercise the night before snorkeling in which we opened our senses and hearts to experience the Holy in God's natural world. It really helped me as I dove under the water and swam with the sea turtles. Today we heard the sound of the Holy Spirit in the singing of children's voices at chapel services. I was impressed by how they prayed and sang and shared a bit when I spoke about God's creation of human beings in God's image, and the responsibility of humans to take care of God's gifts and creation. I'm looking forward to spending some more time tonight with Mr. Kenny, our local cook who has not only showed us how to cook but also shared with us some of the values of his culture: not worrying so much about the material and always being willing to share of your abundance with your neighbor. Thanks, Mr. Kenny.

Keith: Wendsday morning we got up without the assitance of Joe and Amy (I guess we're big kids now) We did everything, suprisingly, that we would normally do if Joe had been there. We walked to school and stopped by the bakery, which wasn't as good today because the bread was kind of hard. We got to the school and did the norm: scrubbing, painting, working with the kids. The kids really made me happy when we walked in and they were like Hello Mr. Keith!! You've come back!!, etc.. We left earlier today at 1:00 p.m. so that we could get ready for snorkeling. As you probally don't know, I'm not a all, So the whole snorkeling thing was kind of strange for me, but I did get in the water and I'm really glad that I did because it was something I will never forget. The coral reef is like God's underwater Jungle with huge flying sting rays and eels, barracudas, and all other stuff you see in the aquarium. Really fun! Thursday Morning we came and worked on the bathroom (I swear God must have forgotten to turn the a.c on this morning) It Was HOT!! Also when I was working with the kids one of them asked me for my autograph. It was really a WOW moment and it caught me off guard. Made me feel really special and appreciated. Coolest kids.

Harris: Okay so Wednesday the leaders let us get up and ready in the morning by ourselves. No wake-up call and no telling us when to leave, but we were able to get to the school EARLY and still stop by "Casa Pan Dulce" (the best bakery EVER!) At school I scrubbed some walls and I got to take some of the Infant classes to the library to read. At about 1:00 we left the school and we got to go snorkeling, which was the coolest thing. We got to see turtles, sharks and stingrays. We also saw an abundance of so called "Horse-eye fish", and apparently one thought my hand looked appetizing around the chum bucket. Now I have a good story and am going to have a killer scar! So the next day (today) we came to the school and we had chapel. Joe told us we now knew what it was like to be clergy members, because we did the same service three times. It was still all fun and I later got to go to the Infant classes. There is one class that I have become particularly fond of, and am really going to miss them. OH! and don't forget to watch the USA vs. Slovenia World Cup game tomorrow! I know I'm watching it (at 5:00 in the morning!!!) GO USA!!!!!

Maggie: Good afternoon everyone! Well, Wednesday morning brought more scrubbing. I believe as a collective amount, I may have scrubbed half of the school by now. It wasn't all that difficult once we found out we could use rags to get the dirt off instead of brushes. (Which only took a total of two and a half days to figure out.) Once that was all finished I moved on to pulling out random nails in a railing leading up to the office of the school. That proved to be a bit more difficult seeing as the nails were jammed in the infamous "hardwood" and the entire area was being hit by direct sun. Once that task was complete I held a ladder for Naomi as she painted. After that was another delicious lunch served by the lovely cooks at the school. Okay, skipping ahead.....SNORKELING! We got to the sight and everyone was eager to jump right in. We had a very knowlegable guide, Herman. He showed us many beautiful things as we swam for about thrity minutes. As some of the parents know, those of you who have been to Belize with me before, I have a waterproof bag that I can seal my camera in to take underwater pictures. Unfortunatley, more than half of the trip was over before I realized there was a hole in the bag. Needless to say my camera is now out of commission. Mom, I am sorry you had to find out about this over the blog, but I have money for a new camera :) Our second stop was to shark and ray alley where I got to hold a rather large shark. It was pretty dang amazing. Once back at the hotel Elizabeth and I got to follow Mr. Kenny around Belize and shop for food. (amazing experience) When we got back home and Mr. Kenny prepared his Marinade, Elizabeth and I wrote down the recipe, for any of you who would like to know it! Okay, I will make this next bit was EXTREMLY HOT! And of all the days, Abby, Jessica, Elizabeth and I got to scour the basement of the soon to be finished bathroom. What a task that was! I won't say anymore about that because I am tempted to rant about how hot it was. I also got to help with kids. Okay, sorry that was so long. (and possibly boring) Talk to you all tomorrow!

Elizabeth: Good morning!! On Wednesday, we all went to Casa Pan Dulce, as you've probably heard 9 times by now. Then when we got to school, I got to play with the kids after breakfast but before school started. That was so much fun! I played tennis ball catch with these 4 Infant I boys, and they were all so cute. Then another little boy, Levon, came up to me and said, "A pretty shell for a pretty girl," and handed me a really pretty, small white shell. It made me feel really appreciated. I painted for the first half of the morning with Abby and Sally and we made that so much fun by singing songs and goofing off. Later that morning I read to some kids from Standard I and also Ms. Spain's Infant I class. Snorkeling was FANTASTIQUE. I'll go on and on if I start talking about it, plus you've already heard about it by now. Well I will say that I did get to hold the nurse shark. Moving on to Thursday: Maggie, Keith, and I got to take some awesome pictures with Ms. Elsie's Infant II class. Maggie, Jessica, Abby, and I cleaned out the basement of the almost finished bathroom house. (It's a big basement.) That was quite the experience!! Chapel was also a lot of fun and the kids were so cute when they prayed. They really liked us teaching the Pharaoh, Pharaoh song. Shopping with Mr. Kenny was amazing! Okay jumping ahead to this morning, we met up with this little girl who had a kitten in her bookbag. She wanted to take it to school! We were all scared for the kitten's life. It was quite an ordeal, but very funny. Until next time, bye bye!

Amy: Everything about this trip has been a blessing. I have enjoyed getting to know and working with our youth group "pilgrims" so much. They have a talent for embracing each experience and finding the fun in everything, whether that be playing with kids at the school or scrubbing walls. (Even on our way to Lamanai, squished and huddled together under a tarp in the pounding rain, I heard no complaints.... but a lot of laughter!) It has also been a joy interacting with the children and staff at Holy Cross. I have spent some time giving math tests, reading, attempting to teach juggling, and especially enjoyed the chapel services yesterday - hearing the Holy Cross children sing, and watching the smiles and giggles as our group led them in an exuberant rendition of "Pharoah, Pharoah". I've gotten to try new things and stretch myself as a group leader, and have learned so much from working with Joe. And the beauty of this place sinks into mind, heart, and body... the sunrises, the breeze, the coral reef, the faces of the people all around.


Martha Lassiter said...

Wow- sounds like an incredible day for lots of reasons. Thanks for taking the time to share the journey! Martha

Peggy said...

Well you guys are having and amazing experience! The kids at the school are so wonderful. High five to Keith for getting in the ocean!
Maggie.... I noticed you were looking at cameras online before you left.. did you poke a hole in the bag? :-) Well... buy a disposable for the rest of the trip!
Malaria pills today for Friday folks! (Maggie..that's you)