Friday, February 15, 2013

Report from Friday February 15

The Valentine's Day Fair

This is a real play day and fun day at Holy Cross School. This fair is a major fund raiser for the school and all grade levels participate in one way or another. The kids get a day off from uniforms and classes. There are games, food, face painting and tattoos. This is a special treat for volunteers as well as the whole school.
Lining up for some food

Crowded walkways

The DJ, Mr. Aaron

Teachers selling baked goods

Not everyone gets to play all day though. George, Mike and Bob are still at work doing hard labor. The frame work for the cover for the water garden is finally taking shape. These guys will be very happy to see this project end. It has not only been hard work, but also a challenge for their noses as they have spent a week working over the effluent from the sanitation system. No margin of error for a fall, or a dunk in real gunk.
All it needs now is the cover over the frame. Way to go guys!!

George finishing up at the water gardencaption

Be careful, you don't want a bath in this

Dr. Jim, Kristen, Clara and Anna were the San Mateo visitors today. They were finishing up their final checks on patients before we depart.

All of the rest of us were helping with the fair. Dr. Peter, Sandra and Beth were very busy with face and body painting, while Ginny and Kathy were swamped with kids wanting tattoos. The kids kept pushing closer and closer and the temperature kept climbing. It was total chaos and the kids loved it. The volunteers did too!! Scott stuck close to the computer lab and worked on getting the blog pictures ready to post.

Smile after Ginny applies tatoo

The Tatoo Station

Ginny and Kathy putting tatoos on the kids

Beth doing body and face painting

We said farewell and many thanks to the kitchen staff. They have been so helpful and kind to all of us during our stay. We gave them a gift of appreciation for their help.

Our thanks to the kitchen staff!

This has been another terrific week in Belize at Holy Cross School and San Mateo. We have learned from the kids and they have appreciated us being with them. Updating the physical plant and the computers in the computer  lab have been important projects. The medical team has done so much in both the school and the community. St. Luke's Church is leaving a permanent mark on a place that has so many needs and we feel privileged to have been a part of the continuing commitment to this project.

Report for Thursday February 14 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

Today was an extremely busy day for Holy Cross. The teachers and students were so busy getting ready for the Valentine's Fair on Friday.The smell of baking cupcakes was travelling throughout the school all daylong. The older classes were selling them as their fundraising project. Many of the students were working on valentines and decorations in the computer lab where it was a little cooler as yesterday was a pretty beastly day.

Students preparing for the Valentine's Fair

The boss, Estrella

Even the teachers were working

Bob, Mike and George finally began to feel like they were making some progress on the cover for the water garden after having to buy some heavier duty chain to work with. They were extremely tired for Valentine's dinner after a long hard day of work in the hot sun. There was another group of volunteers here hauling sand from one end of the property to the other. They were young people from the YWAM organization. they found a large lizard while digging and drew a crowd of kids to check it out.

A little rest for the weary

Michael and Jason goofing off

George taking an agua break

Wishful  thinking for Bob

Lizards draw kids

Y-WAM workers hauling sand

Kids try to help?

Today's venture into San Mateo included Dr. Jim, Kristen, Sandra and Anna. They again were doing rechecks and seeing new people as they passed through the community. The afternoon brought Kristen, Joyce, Clara and Ginny trying to finish up heights and weights, vision checks and physicals on kids who had been out earlier in the week. Scott and Kathy were working on the blog and helping out where they could and Sandra was finishing the work on her photography class.

Joyce prepares for exams

Kristen asks Scott for help doing heights and weights

Joyce saying , "take a deep breath"

Beth checks blood sugars and blood pressures for the kitchen staff

Kristen and Beth doing data entry
Sandra finishes her photography project

Kathy and Scott, the bloggers for the last few days

Last night we split up for dinner celebrating Valentine's Day. San Pedro was very festive for the occasion!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Report for Wednesday February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday at Holy Cross

Today was a very busy day for us at Holy Cross. This morning we had a priest fly in to hold Ash Wednesday Services for the school. Three different services were held for the various grade levels. A lot of singing, clapping and sounds of Amen were heard in the cafeteria all day. The priest was very generous with the ashes and we all had large black crosses on our foreheads. The children seemed very prepared for the Lenten season and were able to answer numerous questions. It was a very special beginning for the next forty days.

Students line up to receive ashes

Adorable Kindergartener with his ashes
Dr. Peter receives his ashes as Clara waits in line
 Meanwhile, our team was involved in a lot of different activities. The men definitely had the dirtiest job as they continued to work on erecting a cover for the water garden. They were hot and very dirty and smelly before the end of the day. In fact, they even accepted a cab ride home, forgoing their usual water hole stop on the way back to Ruby's. Bob, Mike and George enjoyed a Belikin when they got back to the deck.

Bob holds the beam as the others try to push down

Dirty work, be careful, Bob, that not just dirty water below your feet

Dr. Jim, Kristen, Anna (from Ole Miss) and Kathy headed out to San Mateo to do some rechecks and picked up a few new patients along the way. Maggie was the delightful guide and translator as usual. There was a lot of laughter and were many smiles during the visits. Even though some of the people have serious problems and their health outlooks may not be great, we were always greeted with hospitality and gratitude.Dr. Jim and the team from St.Luke's have developed a great sense of trust with the people of San Mateo.

Dr. Jim revisits patients from last year

Kristen checks out the baby's eyes as she get a snuggle

Dr. Jim with a sick little child, he is so gentle

 Dr. Peter, Beth, Ginny, Joyce and Clara continued working with the kids at the school. Eye checks, heights and weights, and physical exams were the morning work at Holy Cross. Sandra continued her class with the kids and found time to work on the blog too. Poor Scott stayed in the computer lab with his foot immersed in a bucket of ice. He wants to be out with guys, nasty work or not!!

Scott cools his heel in his ice bucket

The students were dismissed early and so Ginny and Clara spent part of their afternoon working with the ladies in the kitchen. The kitchen staff always appreciates  the help that they get from St. Lukers.

Clara and Ginny helping in the kitchen

Mr. Freddie provided dinner for everyone at Ruby's, it was delicious! Then we had a nice visit with Maggie and Brittany. We don't see as much of Brittany since she is now in high school and doing very well we were told by proud Mama Maggie!

Sandra has very gratefully handed the blog over to Scott and Kathy, she has been so busy. This also gives Scott something productive to do and occupy his time.

We got some random pictures from previous days and thought we would just post them today. Tomorrow, Friday will be the Valentine's Fair here at Holy Cross, this will be fun for all as well as a fund raiser for the school.

Priest on Ash wednesday

Lady? Dancer on Carnival night

Clara's 84th!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Report from Tuesday, February 12

Unfortunately this morning Scott twisted his ankle badly. Jim accompanied him to the Poly-Clinic and after a few hours he had an X-ray that confirmed no bones are broken. Kathy and Peter went to the Clinic and eventually Scott and Kathy went back to Ruby’s. Scott has crutches and a boot to stabilize his foot.

 Joyce and Ginny get report about Scott from Jim

In the morning Kristin and Anna went into San Mateo to follow-up with patients they had seen on Monday with Jim.

Kristin reading to Destiny, a child we have been following for years

Joyce, Clara, Beth, and Hilly continued eye exams, heights and weights and began medical exams on the students new to the school while Sandra continued her literacy through photography work with the students in Ms Virginia’s Standard V. Outside construction work continued on the structure for the new roof over the Water Garden.

Mike measures drill depth as George and Bob hold the heavy post

It is Carnival time here in San Pedro and the streets are hopping with music and people of various ages painting one another and everything in sight. Several shops are covered with plastic sheeting and the clock tower in the main square is covered with a blue tarp and masking tape from top to bottom. The dancing is done by men crossed dressed as women and a few women. It’s lively! We may have some pictures to share tomorrow.

Report from Monday February 11, 2013

On Sunday the Bishop of Belize was in San Pedro for a Baptism that Joyce, Hilly, Peter, and Jim attended. Ms. Grace, the principal at Holy Cross, teachers, and families are pleased that the Bishop is supportive of a Church being built as part of the school.

Canon 580EX Speedlite
Joyce speaks with the Bishop

On Monday morning Ms. Grace and volunteer coordinator Lydia welcomed us to the school

Flexibility was the order of the day as representatives from the Belize Department of Education came to evaluate the school all day and Ms Grace requested we postpone interrupting classes for heights, weights, eye exams and physicals, so we focused on other projects. Kristin and Anna (from University of Mississippi) joined Jim in making house calls in San Mateo.

Kristin checks an infant's eyes in San Mateo

George, Bob, and Mike prepare post holes for the new Water Garden roof  

Two new construction projects are underway: a secondary roof structure over the Water Garden, a part of the waste reuse system at Holy Cross, and a shade structure that will eventually be built near the Standard V and Standard IV classrooms. Enormous batches of thatch needed to be hauled from the area near the Computer room to the area close to where they will be used.