Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday at the School

During our Thursday evening devotions an incredible and quite unusual rainbow appeared.  We were all amazed. Here is a picture Jim Short took.

On Friday no classes were held because Holy Cross School held a Valentine Fair with games, tattoos, movies and food.  There were lots of adults and children and loud Caribbean music.  The pictures say it all.

Thursday at the School and in San Mateo

Jim and Elizabeth Short  and Joyce Avery comprise our health team.  Joyce keeps track of every student’s height and weight and refers any who have health problems to Dr. Jim.  In addition to tending to medical problems at the school, Jim and Elizabeth go out into the San Mateo Community to visit families with preschool children. There are two volunteer social worker working with Holy Cross School and the community of San Mateo who refer medical problems to our health team.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Last night and today it was all things Lenten.  Last night was Carnival in San Pedro.  Music was loud and blaring while young people squirted paint on each other and men cross dressed. It's the custom to throw raw eggs at each other, and it is especially effective if the eggs have been buried in warm sand  for a few days to make them rotten. We walked up the park where all this was happening and saw some of the Holy Cross students having a good time.

Today, Ash Wednesday, the festivities were over.  Miriam and Jan led the Ash Wednesday service for the younger kids in the cafeteria.  Hundreds of students and teachers received ashes. In the afternoon five of us took the water taxi to Cay Cauker, a nearby island, and enjoyed walking around the town.

Carnival pictures:

Ashe Wednesday Service at Holy Cross

Classroom furniture at Holy Cross School

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

February 9 in Belize

We learned how to post pictures so here they are!

Happy students with Elaine

Jan and Miriam celebrating the Eucharist in Standard VI classroom 

Team Two enjoying a great dinner - lots of sea food, coconut rice and beans

San Mateo where the students live. Notice that there is now a road.

 Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Belize Team Week Two is off and running!!

Team Two is a group of 8 adventurous people working at the school in various capacities. Jim and Elizabeth Short are out in the community of San Mateo visiting families with preschool children and assessing their health while the rest of us are at the school doing whatever needs to be done.  Meanwhile Joyce Avery continues collecting the height and weight of each student at the school.  Nancy Williams and Elaine Scagnelli are working with the children and teachers in 2 Standard III classes, fifth grade in the USA. Miriam and Norine from St. Andrews in Haw River are working in Infant I, first grade in USA. There is plenty to do here and Jan Lamb, with all her Holy Cross experience, can do almost anything and she does.

It's not all work and no play here for us in San Pedro.  On Saturday we had planned to sail to a great snorkeling place inside the barrier reef, but the weather did not cooperate. It rained all day and the temperature was in the high 60's.  So, we put our rain gear on and walked all around San Pedro looking at the sights and visiting the crafts at the farmer's market. It cleared up on Sunday but the temperature did not improve. We started off with breakfast at Estelle's where we enjoyed fry jacks, unbelievable fried bread with jelly. At 2:00 we walked to the school where Miriam (a priest) and Jan celebrated the Eucharist for the community of San Mateo and the students of Holy Cross. Since there is no Anglican priest on the island of Ambergris Caye, celebrating the Eucharist is a rarity and thus especially appreciated.

We have pictures to share but haven't found a way to get them from our phones to the blog.  Mike Henry from Week One knew how to create a blog, but none of us in Week Two has ever done it before. We are trying to figure it out because we know you want to keep up with our adventure in Belieze in Central America and pictures are worth a thousand words. Be patient with us.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Friday at the school

Friday was the last work day for team 1 but no less packed with activity.

Nancy continued her participation in Mr. Ayoni's class.  One wouldn't know that she wasn't a seasoned teacher and the kids clearly loved her.  Following is a link to a video of Nancy reading to the class.

     Share your video    

As has become a tradition, we presented the cafeteria staff with card and contribution in appreciation of their outstanding service and hospitality in keeping well nourished throughout the week.  Ginger assisted the staff with lunch cleanup most every day.

Friday was a big day for Mr. Ayoni's and Nancy's class as we planned for a pizza party during lunch in the nearby park.  While Friday was the first rainy day of the week, thankfully the weather cooperated, and the party was a rousing success.

Lydia and Benjamin joined us for the pizza party and Peter provided mom with a little break so she could eat her pizza.

After pizza, an impromptu but highly competitive football (soccer) game ensued.  Mike and Peter both served as goalie for each team.  Clearly they were no match for the skilled kids and both gave up three goals in very short order.

Team 2 began arriving today.  Elaine, Norine, Miriam and Jan all arrived safely in time for the evening meeting and devotion followed by another excellent group dinner.  We are anticipating Jim and Elizabeth Short's safe arrival on Saturday.  Mike departs for Durham on Saturday.  

Friday, February 5, 2016

Thursday at the school

Thursday saw a continuation of the week's activities.  The recording of heights and weights for all children was completed, painting and maintenance continued and support for the dentists was ongoing.

We updated the St. Luke's panel to celebrate the pioneering work of John and Jean Willard as well memorializing the friends and team members we've lost, Jim Hooker and Pam Chapman.

A daughter of one of the cafeteria workers enjoys a lollipop compliments of Ginger.

Randy and Ginger added to the artwork in dental waiting area with (pleasant) biblical versus with references to teeth.

In addition to the day's work, weekly chapel occurs each Thursday.  Chapel is held in the cafeteria in three sessions, divided by age group.  The first two sessions (younger children) are led primarily by the teachers, with the third session (older children) led primarily by the children.  We were very impressed when at one point when the children were reciting the Apostle's Creed, and got out of sync, the youth leader, stopped everyone so they could restart and stay in sync.  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Wednesday at the School

After breakfast the team all began what trust will become a tradition and signed the new St. Luke's panel.

Randy and Ginger continued with much needed painting duties, with Ginger painting that exterior of the cafeteria and Randy adding a nice touch to the dental waiting room.

As always, the students were full of good cheer and and not shy about getting attention.

Bob and Nancy continued working in the classrooms.  Here's Bob with Japhet, who recognized Bob from previous visits.

After lunch we made a visit to San Pedro high school to visit the students sponsored by St. Luke's:  Ariany, Amini and Kevin.  Our fourth student, Valdimir was absent and we hope that team two will see him next week.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tuesday at the school

Nancy spent most of the day teaching and tutoring. She'll be spending time with this same class (standard 3- the equivalent of our 5th grade) for the remainder of her two weeks at Holy Cross.

Eileen was skilled enough to get a few of the children to slow down long enough to get their picture taken.  Most of the children are clearly not shy and most enthusiastic about getting their picture taken.

Lunch is a typically joyous time, managed as always with speed and efficiency by the staff.  The 2007 St. Luke's team helped construct the cafeteria.  

Peter and Eileen confer with Mr. Rodney Griffith, the school's new principal.

Following our evening meeting and devotional, our group dinners are a relaxing end to the day.  Here we are at Elvi's, one the regular hangouts for each year's St. Luke's teams.   

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Monday at the school

After a typically hearty breakfast served up by the excellent cafeteria staff.  Ms. Dora, our volunteer contact and a graduate of Holy Cross, took us on a tour of San Mateo.  In addition to being on staff at Holy Cross, Dora is currently studying tourism at local junior college and is the daughter of Mr. Freddy, the school's head of maintenance and Ms. Rosalea, who heads the cafeteria.


Eileen, Mike and Lera spend the day recording heights and weights of the children.  Beyond the the important tasks of, gathering the children, measuring height and weight, recording them on paper and then adding them to the spreadsheet, this was a wonderful time to interact with the children.

Randy and Ginger ensured that St. Luke's is properly represented among the many murals and other paintings from the many churches and organisations who support Holy Cross.

The finished product celebrates a wonderful 10 year partnership between Holy Cross and St. Luke's.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Off to Belize City for church

Eileen, Peter, Lera and Mike headed off to early to catch the 6:30 water taxi to Belize City to the 8:30 service at St. John's Cathedral.

The congregation at St. John's could not have been more welcoming and the group was introduced during announcements.  After the service we found a taxi driver who gave us a tour of Belize City before dropping us off for a quick brunch.  We caught the noon water taxi back to Ambergris Caye. 

Breakfast on the beach with Lydia 

The team had a long restful breakfast with Lydia, the Holy Cross Volunteer Coordinator and her family, including their newest arrival, Benjamin.  Benjamin gets to know Eileen and Lera.


The team enjoyed good food, much coffee and fellowship.  Lydia's older son Jonathan was thrilled with a gift compliments of Peter and Sandra.