Thursday, February 7, 2019

Last Day in San Pedro

I realized as I posted to this site, that St. Luker's my not recognize the names Miriam, Norine and Wendy when you are reading about our team here.  These wonderful ladies have joined us from other congregations.  Miriam is the Vicar at St. Andrew's in Haw River, where Norine is a parishioner.  Wendy is from Trinity Church in Mt. Airy.  How lucky we have been to share this experience with them.

As we reflect upon our time here, we all agree that we are sad to have one less day at the school.  ( due to cost of flights).  Dr. Jim is staying through tomorrow, but we are certain he will have plenty to catch up on.

The medical "team" ( Martha, Norine and Arianie) saw a lot of children and family members as well as people in the San Mateo community.  He has become well known enough that when he walked down the road, people came out of their homes and called to him to come " look at" some sort of medical issue!  They dealt with everything from runny noses, to dog bites to severely infected cuts. It was amazing to hear the stories of all of the folks they helped during their day. 

Peggy rehearsed the school song with the Standard 6 class ( seen in the photos below) taught and worked on a song that pre-schoolers will sing in a presentation in March and had the chance to work with some talented drummers.
Wendy stayed busy in the library and Jan and Miriam finished up weighing an measuring all the students!

All of the students attended Chapel today which was officiated Miriam and several teachers and music was led by Peggy.

We have had some wonderful meals while here and are going back to Elvie's Kitchen tonight , since our meal earlier this week was enjoyed by all.

Many thanks to all who have helped us be here this week!

 Standard 6 class.  Almost 40 children in here and no teaching assistant!  I am in awe of Mr. Ayoni, the teacher!
 The medical team meets to talk about their day.
 Wendy worked hard organizing books as well as delivering book to teachers who made "requests"
Peggy took some drumsticks down and was going to teach a few things...but these kids already had been practicing with pencils and chopsticks and were quite amazing!  
To see more photos and videos of our trip, ( and other awesome things about St. Luke's)  check out the St. Luke's Facebook page.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Week 2

After spending 2 days wrestling with how to get a post on the blog...Here we are!
Team two has had an exciting week.
We were so excited to bring down 6 donation suitcases from Peggy's school and 1 from Wendy's church.  Jan and Miriam have been kept busy doing height and weight checks on the more than 400 students. Jim, Martha, Norine  and former Holy Cross student, Arianie ( who is now in college) have been doing medical checks on site with students as well as in the homes of San Mateo residents.  Wendy has been busy in the library filling book requests from teachers, and reading to classes as well as individuals.  Peggy has been teaching songs and singing to multiple classes, including working with the oldest students on the school song ( which they sing for graduation).  A drumming group was formed on Tuesday afternoon with Standard 6 boys, and some drumsticks Peggy brought from Raleigh.  A video is posted on the St. Luke's Facebook page.
Pictures will help tell some of our stories!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Reading in the Preschool Classroom

On Thursday, Bob read the book Walking through the Jungle (by Debbie Harter) to the afternoon preschool class. Because it's a different set of students, Dan was able to read the same book on Friday morning. On both occasions the students were very interested in the book (which they had obviously heard many times before) and eager to identify the different animals appearing on the enormous pages.

For Bob, the six afternoon preschoolers stayed in their seats for as long as they could stand it; then they came up and crowded around the book.
Bob with preschoolers in their seats

Bob surrounded by preschoolers

Dan reading in the morning.
Dan had a much larger group in the morning class, so staying in their chairs was the only option.

The spelling bee

In addition to our usual work in Standard 6 math (Bob and Dan), one of the Infant 1 classrooms (Nancy), and the library (Wendy), we did a couple of first-time activities on Thursday and Friday. The first involved Dan and Bob. The three older grades assembled outside in the palapa to determine the Holy Cross representatives to the San Pedro spelling bee. This is the first time we have actually seen the palapa in use.
Students in the palapa
The students carried their desks and chairs outside, lined them up, then settled in for the competition.

Dan served as the timer for the competition, while Bob was the scorekeeper.
Scorekeeper and timer
The three contestants on the stage all performed well, but in the end the girl on the right was the winner.
Spelling bee contestants
The only downside of the spelling bee (from my perspective, at least) is that it preempted our math work in Standard 6.

- Bob

Wendy's donations from Trinity Episcopal Church

Wendy with the donations she brought from Mount Airy
We have some blogging from yesterday to catch up on, but this picture is too good not to share right away. Wendy arrived yesterday - the first of our week 2 wave - and brought with her a suitcase full of donations from the generous people of Trinity Episcopal Church in Mount Airy. We've already delivered and unpacked the suitcase, and items are already finding their way to the library, storage cabinets, and office, and a few other destinations. Thanks to all who contributed to these donations.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Thursday, January 31 was Chapel Services Day at Holy Cross.  There were three services held in the cafeteria for the various age-grouped students.  The services included song, prayers, birthday (and other thanksgivings) and a story.  Today, I told the students the story of The Road to Emmaus and how meeting a stranger may, in-fact, be Jesus.  I also described how Jesus, a stranger to Cleopas and the other man, heard the men's sorrows and pain, yet continued to walk with them, eat with them, and reveal himself to them as the risen Lord. We never know if the stranger we meet may be Jesus, so we are treat the stranger with respect; he may be our Lord!
Bob and I were officials in the Holy Cross Spelling Bee today.  I kept the timer and Bob recorded the scores while three selected students competed in rounds of spelling contests until a winner and a runner-up were chosen to compete in the coveted San Pedro Spelling Contests.  The school enjoyed the special event and concluded with the singing of the school song!
In Grace & Peace, Dan+

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Mr. Bob - it's not just math

Just a quick post this time, reporting on something I did yesterday. After Dan and I had finished our usual math work with Standard 6, we got the chance to read to some of the younger kids in the library.
Mr Bob reading The Little Red Hen
Here you see me reading The Little Red Hen to one of the Standard 2 classes. This was how they did their book reports: they listened to us read, took notes on what they heard, and then were expected to insert the information into a standardized format. We don't know how well they did with their reports. But they were certainly paying close attention to me as I read. 

- Bob

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Nancy Is Back In Belize

I am back in Belize for the fifth year in a row, hoping to beat my record of twelve summers in a row at Camp Kahdalea in Brevard, NC. Every year the old friendships become more precious even as I make new friends and start toward sweet new connections. 

I enjoyed a restful weekend and spent Sunday afternoon doing a bit of souvenir shopping and making our Saturday restaurant reservation for eleven people! The delicious part of the afternoon was a visit to Belize Chocolate Company for a chocochino and a chocolate chip cookie! Chocochino is a heavenly cold chocolate drink with foam on top and a cold chocolate drink on the bottom. It's more like chilled hot chocolate than cold chocolate milk.

Having requested my classroom assignment ahead of time, I knew that I would be in the classroom of Ms. Tanya that is filled with an infant I class of 5- to 7-year olds. Ms. Tanya is a marvelous teacher who likes to have visitors in her classroom. On Monday I shared with the class the poem "I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly." Tuesday I brought the illustrated book of a poem I've found since last year: "I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Shell." The one with the shell has a happier ending; the old lady burped up all she had swallowed and all that stuff turned into a sand castle all by itself! 
Here I am at the blackboard.

Unfortunately Ms. Tanya isn't feeling well, so today (Tuesday) I found myself teaching the whole class with minimal guidance. In English we worked on the 5 Ws: Who? What? When? Where? Why? I gave them some words from the poems to use in sentences that began with the one of the "W" words. After snack we worked on math, practicing writing the numbers from one to one hundred using numerals, not words. This revealed that many of the students don't understand the concept of place value so we may work on that tomorrow. 

The little ones are such fun to work with since they are full of hugs and excited to have a visitor help them. I was reminded on the playground that they are also full of screams which make me jump. 

St. Luke's has done so much good work here over many years. I hear people say, "St. Luke's helped build that" often, and I see the influence we have had in the lives of several particular students. Deacon Jan (Lamb) says that some people come and are bitten by the "bug" here, destined for a multi-year ministry. She also recommends putting a little Belize money in your passport to assure you'll return. It's worked for her 18 times, I think, and for me, four times.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Mission trips are life-changing

Mission trips are a life-changing experience, regardless of your background or experience. Each trip is different and that's what makes them so special. For me, this was my first trip to Belize with Team 1 from St. Luke’s. Team 2 arrives near the end of the week and also includes members from other churches in NC.

Going into this trip, I held little to no knowledge about the culture or even the location of Belize. Right off the plane, warm tropic breezes, delicious food and friendly smiles greeted us.
Bob and Dan with Mr. Ayoni
Along with the school donations we carried with us, Team 1 is dedicated to assisting instruction at Holy Cross Anglican School.  Now, it has been decades since I calculated the perimeter and area of shapes, but gratefully, those old formulas soon came back to me and I am able to help the older students with their math quizzes. In addition we are reading to the younger students. 

On every mission trip, it is always the local people who pull on my heart strings.  Their sweet smiles will forever be embedded in my mind and their genuine laughter is priceless.

For mission trips, you do get to have fun/free time on the weekend or after school. Sunday afternoon, Bob Moore and I went snorkeling near the barrier reef. That was indescribable! Where else can you say that you swam with sharks, stingrays, and colorful fish too numerous to count? Also, I saw a sea turtle! Who casually does that? STL Belize Team 1 does! 

What is making this time so valuable is meeting new people. I now have lifelong friendships that started with a simple conversation. This isn’t just the people who work or go to Holy Cross, but also people we meet in town. I am able to grow stronger in my faith alongside my team mates as we continue our mission journey this coming week.

In Peace & Grace, Dan+

Saturday, January 26, 2019

We have arrived and left off our donations

After an uneventful trip down (kudos to RTP TSA for their professionalism, speed, and friendliness), our week 1 team arrived in San Pedro. After settling into our new hotel and the mandatory trip to DandE's, we called it a day for Thursday.

Our major activity for Friday was delivering the first round of donations to Holy Cross. In addition to the two laptops - one from St. Luke's and one from St. Michael's - we left off three suitcases full of donations that Peggy collected at her school, Pleasant Union Elementary School.

Nancy and Dan with suitcase #1 contents

Closeup of the message from Pleasant Union to Holy Cross

Suitcase #2 contents

Mr. Aaron is thrilled with the 100+ flash drives from suitcase #2

Dan with the contents of suitcase #3, including several nice backpacks

Everyone at Holy Cross who saw us unloading these donations was overwhelmed by the generosity of the donors at Pleasant Union and by Peggy's organization and hard work making it happen. Thanks to all.

After one more day of relaxation, team 1 will hit the ground running at the school on Monday morning. Look for more blog posts then, including a newcomer's perspective from our one rookie team member Dan.

- Bob