Friday, November 28, 2014

For the past two days i have been teaching. On my own. The flu is going around and 7 teachers are out. I have been busy covering classes.  I have gotten to know many students. Its amazing to me what they can do. I have been giving and grading papers and homework. I am very busy. But this is a good thing.
On another happy note. My family surprised me with thanksgiving dinner. Belize style. It was very nice.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

football and turkey but not in Belize

Hi!!!!! The boys asked me about Thanksgiving while at breakfast this morning.  I talked to them about the traditions that I made with my family. I love to cook for everyone and see them together.  I also told them that they play football. So, Kevin and Frankie found a football and brought it to me. They got a few neighborhood kids to play. They didn't believe me when I told them I could play. I threw the ball to them and they screamed. Ohhhhh they asked me if there was anything that I couldn't do. I replied "I can't walk on water."  They liked that one too. So, as you sit around your turkey and games, think of me. Because, the Mayflower didn't land this far south. It was north of Belize. No turkey for me. Think of me, because I will be teaching. Have a blessed day. And for goodness sake someone please save me some pie or have one waiting for me when I get home!!!!!! 
Gobble Gobble. 

Making changes

Today was a good day. The teacher that I am with has been in education in Belize for around 35 years. She, Miss Flores, is retired and has been out of the classroom for some time. She has just began teaching again two months ago. She has been frustrated with the behavior and feels she does not reach the students any more. I have bit my tongue out of respect and only listened and observed what goes on in her class. Yesterday she asked me to be honest with her and inform her of any changes that  I would make. I hesitated and said "Miss you are a wonderful educator. You have been in administration at the school ministry for sometime and I believe that times have changed and that students have changed." She asked me to be honest and tell her what the problem is.  "Miss to be honest the students are bored and it's not you so much but it is the students." You have to change with them. They need to be engaged." Miss Flores then asked me to take over all of the classes and show her what to do. And,  I did. She took notes the whole time. It was the first time I had been nervous the whole time. I turned the class from the lecture type courses they were doing into a student lead class. The students were engaged and completed the tasks I set before them. She thanked me and asked to meet outside of class to go over some ideas to help her. So, now I will spend the rest of the evening researching and writing down resources that I know will aid her through the remainder of her time here. I love Miss Flores. She is opened minded, not set in her ways and still cares deeply for the students. She is a great example to me. I am honored to be working with her.
Stay tuned.......

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The best part of Belize is my host family. Daniela takes care of me. And lets me cry and complain to her. And her eggs are still amazing. I can always count on Kevin and the neighbor boy Frankie to make me smile. And Cayler has one of the best smiles. After a long emotional couple of days i was sad and tired. But when everyone came home they did their best to make me feel better. I was trying to go to bed and they brought me out of "the depths of despair." (Aunt Kim I quoted Anne of Green Gables for you). Oh by the way its Christmas time in Belize.

Glad I brought my big girl pants.

I have been very positive about the information I put on the blog. But, I am going to be real. The honey moon has wore off. Everything was new and exciting and adventurous, and some things still are. However,  not everything has been peaches and cream. I want to say that this is not a vacation. The realizations of how good Americans have it are reiterated to me everyday, just by walking down the street. Belize is beautiful; I can say that. It would be even prettier if the citizens would not throw their trash around. Kids and adults will just be eating and finish a bag of chips and throw it on the ground. Trash pick up is once a month. So there is trash piled up everywhere. They are just now beginning to really push being clean when it comes to the trash. I have not met a negative person. I just don't get why these nice people don't see the trash. I just wish conditions were better. There are almost no trash cans except for the few at public parks. I spent three hours picking up trash for the school I work at. And, I didn't put a dent in it. I have been stolen from 4 times already. They may be friendly but they don't mind to steal from you. 
There is also the misconception that things are cheaper. Ah, NO!!!!!! The only thing cheaper is veggies. But not apples.  Comparatively speaking most things cost the same. Toiletries are really expensive. And my favorite food, pizza, you  can hang that up. 30 dollars for 1 pizza. GAS Is almost 12.00 a gallon. Feminine hygiene products, well lets just say I got a head ache when had to fork over 40 dollars. the salaries are way lower. About half what we make in the USA.  Life is harder here. 
And, don't get me started on the mysterious bug bits that plague me. They bite me. I get huge welts and there is broken blood vessels the next day. Then they start to itch. They don't heal fast. 
I walk everywhere. But its not safe to walk alone. 
They call me clear, not white. So, my question is, are albinos transparent?  
I stand out here. I am taller than most people and I am clear. I laugh loud and often. My hair is light. I might to as well wear a neon sign. 
The condition of the schools is baffling me still. It is sad. The girls don't even have normal access to toilet paper. I have to bring it with me to school and then hide it. 
I can't drink the water. I have to be careful. 
I have no regrets here. None. I miss everyone, but i knew I would. Everyone at FSHS, my family, Charlie and Joann, hot showers, not sweating, fresh coffee, air conditioning, my dogs, my cooking, TV, and dare I say it, Walmart. And, I know I  sound like a prissy girly girl. Please give me some credit. It is not easy doing this. 
But I digress. The positives do outweigh the negatives, this I know. I love the students. I influenced three girls to be interested in reading. They checked out books for the first time from the library. I did this by talking about Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Frost, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.   I then recited my favorite works by each of them. I acted them out in front of the class. It was the quietest I have seen them yet. They clapped and begged for more. 
I went to the, very small, library and looked up authors from the Caribbean. I wanted to relate to them. I found a story I thought was easy for me to work with. I talked about hopes and dreams. I asked them what they wanted to be or where they saw themselves in 5 years. It broke my heart with some of the answers that they gave.  The reality of their lives and their society has stunted many of them to the point they wont allow them selves to dream. To make things better, they need pride. They need encouragement. They need someone to believe in them. They need to trust and to be trusted. The changes need to start in the homes and then the schools. The children in front of me today will have to educate  their own children before real change can be seen. To make things better for the next generation. I am so tired here because I am constantly trying to think of ways to reach them, touch them and educate them in the short time I have here. I find it hard to sleep.  I ache for the change. I want to scream sometimes. I know its not my job to change the world. I also know sitting around watching things with no change makes me feel conflicted. All I can do is be what I need to be and keep trying. My heart is too big, and I feel it may never be full.  Pray for me. 
P.S. I miss my hair dryer and face cream. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014


I went snorkeling for the first time on Saturday.  I saw sea turtles, Sharks, sting rays, and beautiful colorful fish and coral. I also saw a very huge lobster. Which rinds me, that's what I look like, a red lobster. My sunburn is still hot to the touch. I was singing "This Girl is on Fire."
I met a really cool group of people on the snorkeling trip. They were from Spain, London, Poland and India. I mingled with the people that live on the island. I learned a lot and made a couple of friends. This was a very fun weekend. I will never forget it. Today was a long trip of buses and taxis, and I made it back to Belmopan in one piece.

 The island was peaceful in the mornings and active during the day. I explored the island in the mornings, and I found a school. I found some big pink shells and some cute birds. There was a 14 year old boy they call ninja that helped me everyday. He gave me advice about food, attractions and the people. He was always available to answer a question or show me where something was located.  The pace was slow and almost Everything closes at 9. I enjoyed my time there, and I hope to go back. There are so many other things that I would like to do and see. So, this blog is short and simple and I am just going to let the pictures do the talking.
The very colorful place that I stayed was called The Macaw. When I woke this morning there was a cat sleeping on my porch. I had my own hammock.

Friday, November 21, 2014

I found sponge bob, rainbows, Dolphins, crabs and a swing.

Today school was like a free day. They are getting ready for testing in a week, so they are going to start preparing for the tests. The students played games and sang. There is a glee group and I joined in the singing, so much talent.  That was really cool. Some of them should be famous with their voices. These kids amaze me everyday. 
Later I took a one hour boat trip to the island of Caye Caulker. It's a beautiful place. The waters are clear blue. Just like on tv. Upon arrival, I quickly secured a humble abode, And I went to get some food. It was amazing. Then, I explored the island in my bare feet, because the whole thing is white sand. Only gulf carts here, no cars.  I found sponge bob!!! Then I saw a sting ray that an old man caught while fishing. It was dark and stepped on crabs rushing to the ocean. I finally came to rest at a lonely swing at the end of a dock. I sat there and listened to the peaceful waves, feeling the cool breeze off the ocean. I watched the tide come up. I thought about how weird life is, and everything I overcame to get here. I worked so very hard. The road was so long. I cried a lot and I wanted to give up. It was not easy. The finish line is just three weeks away. I still can't wrap my brain around that. 

 I wished that my family was here. They should be here. We all made sacrifices to get me here. I am humbled by that and what God has let me accomplish. Life is crazy. I would have laughed if someone would have told me I would be here. Some days I feel guilty because my family isn't with me. They worked just as hard as I have to get me here. They went through everything with me. They got tired of hearing about school, tests, and my lists of things to get done. All the late nights and early mornings had brought me to that point, sitting on a swingat the end of a dock. My family, I can't say enough. But, I do know my oldest two girls, Megan and Nakia, would love it here. The beautiful elegant Megan would read her Bible on the beach with SPF 1000 on her skin. I don't know if 1000 exists but Momma would make her wear it. The lively exotic Nakia would mingle with the locals and have a best friend in minutes. The sand and sun are her favorite things. My wonderfully rotten son, Ben, would be like me; tickled and amazed. Probably try to catch a crab to take home. He would want to touch the sting ray and ride in a boat. My ever so tender and beautiful inquisitive  Sally, with her inner beauty, would be wondering how things got here. She would worry about the crabs and the sting ray. She would make us all laugh with some off the wall question. My rock, my love, my Michael,  would want to take a romantic walk, and I would make him take a picture with Sponge Bob. After all, he is the only celebrity on the island. I can hear him now saying "wife really I don't want to take a picture with Sponge Bob." He would do it because I am spoiled. He did it; it's his fault I am spoiled. He knows it. Just ask him. Or, you could just see my closet just for my shoes. I am blessed with all of the love he has for me. I know me being gone is not easy on any of them. I love you all so much. That's what I thought about on my Caye Caulker swing. I stayed there relaxing and thinking until it started to rain. The sound of the ocean when it's raining was indescribable.  It was nice to just sit. I have been going nonstop since I left my home. Tomorrow I am going snorkeling and diving. I hope I don't chicken out. Then, I hope to visit the big island of San Pedro. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Not futbol but basketball

IIt has rained here in Belmopan for two days. They think 75 is chilly and I am saying (in my best creole voice) "no man this feels good man."  They whip out sweaters, And I am saying bring on the shorts. Today I explored the school grounds and I spoke with many teachers. I also tutored a student named Daisy. I had a great time today. I took pictures of all of the buildings. We had an afternoon break, and I watched the students play basketball. It look fun so, I asked if I could join. They asked me if I could play and I said "I play a little." They could not beat me. I had so much fun. I played one one and two on two. They said "what about futbol?" I said "no man, I don't play futbol I play basketball and American football."   It was another good day. But, let me just say that I am not as young as I used to be. I am feeling it now. Ugh! 
These two pictures are the computer lab. They do not have Internet access. These are just for learning computer skills and typing papers. 

This is the cafeteria 
The kitchen and lunch ladies
These are class rooms
Storage and maintaince 
Class room
Class room
Class room
Class room