Friday, March 26, 2010

Coming Home

Hello parents
We heard from Alecia that the kids did make their flight, just barely, but they all made it. They are now on their way home. CO 426 from Houston, according to the website, is on time for an arrival at BWI at 11:32 p.m. Great news!

This will probably be the last blog update so we want to say thank you to all parents for supporting this wonderful program. Once again the kids did wonderfully and thrived under the care and leadership of Alecia and Jean.

Thanks, do not hesitate to call with questions.

Ross Wehner
World Leadership School

Students have arrived in Houston

Hello parents!

We just received a message from Alecia that said the students flight was 2.5 hours delayed leaving Belize City. They are rushing to get through customs to make their next flight that leaves at 7:25pm CST. We will update the blog with information as soon as we receive it. Please call 303-679-3412 with any questions.

Erin Lasky
Program Director

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day Nine

hi everyone. Hopefully this blog post won't be erased. Today we started out early in the morning with some toast and eggs for breakfast. Right after that we put on sunscreen and prepared for snorkeling all day. The stops showed large brain coral and purple sea fans, as well as a wide variety of Parrot fish and other tropical fish. Belize is legendary for its assortment of tropical fish. Our first stop lasted half an hour and after we went to see a bird sanctuary island with frigates nesting. The mating season was currently being undergone as the males displayed their large red throats to attract females. Frigates turn off 1 half of their brain while the other is active. After the bird island we went to the mangrove trees, which are extremely important to the ecosystem in Belize. They serve as a buffer for tropical storms and a hatchery for small fish. When these trees are torn down, fish don't have places to safely grow up and there is no buffer for the islands. We also went to a mangrove swamp later in the day where we examined peat (decomposed material by the mangroves) and took soil samples. We hit a few more snorkeling spots and went to the Smithsonian research lab and talked to scientists who were researching parrot fish feeding. As we returned to the Island, we talked about the night snorkel and got prepared. Excited to be back tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Final Day of Service

Today, day seven, was our final and most challenging day. We made a lot of concrete today by hand, and spread it by hand as well. What does this really mean, you may ask? First, you must make a pile of gravel. Then, you add concrete powder and mix it. From there you make a center in the middle--much like a well. I do this when baking biscuits (my only previous reference). Next you add six buckets of the water that must be brought from behind the school and start turning it over. And over and over. And over more until Luis tells you it is ready. Or maybe Trinidad. From there, you load it into a wheelbarrow and slide over to where it belongs and dump it. Then, you smooth it out in 5 different stages. Every single student did this today, for hours. Some community children also chipped in! All I kept thinking was that their mothers would be so mad when they saw their uniforms all messed up.

In addition to laying concrete, we finished a sink, finished painting and laid some linoleum.

For several hours, I (Mrs. Berman-Dry) was in the school's technology lab. Almost all of the computers were nonfunctioning. So, I provided technical support and got them ALL working, as well as installed four new software pieces that I had brought for them. The teachers had asked for reading software and keyboarding software. We obliged! Later today, I invited all the teachers to come to the lab for lunch break and four students helped me to show then how to use it all. They also had a new printer that I installed for them, as well as three laptops that needed to be fixed. Part of me felt bad that I was not shoveling gravel, but the other realized that they NEVER get someone to fix things at the school. So, I should use my real gifts in the best possible way.

Now, we are done. I feel a bit sad. As I was fixing the computers, students would randomly come visit me and inquire about my work. They would play with my hair and lean against me--so full of love. I'll be sad to leave them, even though we are headed for the sandy beaches of Tobacco Caye in the morning. Only three days left!

Day Six

In the morning, we went and ate some breakfast and then got dressed, put on our sunscreen and bug spray, and headed out for La Democracia. Different people had different jobs. Some people had to finish cementing up the back wall and others had to make the floor even. After a hard couple of hours of work, we sat down in one of the classrooms and had lunch. After everyone finished eating we went back and finished up our work for the day. Then, we went back to Monkey Bay and had some free time before we went to the zoo.

Our first stop at the zoo was at the Tapir enclosure. Some people got to feed them and others stood far away because they can pee backwards 10 feet. Then we stopped by a couple of other animals. Then we came up to the jaguar, Junior Buddy. When he was a baby, his mom rejected him, so the zoo took him and hand raised him with a bottle. The trainers taught him a couple of tricks, such as doing a somersault or walking around a tree obstacle for how old he was. Everyone got to touch his huge paw. One of my favorite animals at the zoo was the Speckled Owl. There were two in the enclosure. They made a sound that sounded like an old man laughing. Back forth they were talking or “laughing.” Towards the end of the trip, Mrs. Smedira made up a joke saying, “And here in front of us, we have the rare Buses domesticus. Make sure your careful not to upset it so you get bitten.” Then everyone got on the bus and we went back to Monkey bay.
---by Halle

After breakfast we went to La Democracia to work on the kitchen and dinning hall. While there I helped work on plastering the back wall of the dinning hall. It was very hard at first, but now it looks great. Before we left, we distributed the gifts to the students at the school. They were all really happy! After we had dinner we went to the zoo.

At the zoo, we went saw many cool animals. One was the tapir which is the national animal of Belize. We also saw Howler monkeys. They are really small animals that can be heard from two miles away! The zookeeper would make a noise, and then the monkeys would respond with a howl. We next saw the jaguar. The jaguar’s name is Junior Buddy. It was rejected by its mother, so they took it in and bottle fed it. They were able to train it, and it can somersault, roll over, and it can kiss you on the forehead! He would have it jump on the fence and we all could pet its paws. Next, we saw the kinkajou exhibit. It was really cute! The zookeeper would stick bananas through the cage and they would climb around and eat the banana. We had a great time and we were really sad to have to leave the amazing animals in the zoo.

--by Kendall

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day Six

Today was our first all-day work day. The students started off by finishing the paint on the trim of the dining hall, and putting up the remaining strips as well. Not long after, two of the boys assisted the carpenter, Louis, as he built a roof onto the kitchen to protect the children when they get their food. Not to worry, they were not on ladders! The next job was to mix cement, in order to finish off the outside back wall of the dining hall--this has to be done by hand and the children were amazed at how difficult this task was. The groundwork was also laid for a sink in the dining hall, which will be finished tomorrow.

We have both been so very impressed with the persistence and dedication our students have shown in the face of real, physical labor that would stymie even seasoned American laborers. Here, there are no cement mixers--it's done by hand! Not single person complained about their jobs and we worked through hot weather!

We hear the dinner bell ringing and are very hungry, so we're signing off here. Tonight is the Belize zoo tour at night. More tomorrow.
Mrs. Smedira and Ms. Berman-Dry

Day Five

Jake = Today, Sunday of the 21st we did many things. First, we went to the school to work on the school to paint and nail wood strips to the sides of the cafeteria it was quite hot. Then we had lunch with empanadas (sorry about the spelling). After, went canoeing where it started to pour on us. We also had coconuts to eat right after (they were really good). Then, we came back had a book discussion.

Katie = Today was a fun day. Early in the morning we went to the school in La Democracia and painted and repaired the dining hall. Soon after, we took a trip down the river in our canoes. As we entered the Monkey Bay facility, we were greeted by another surprise. A kind man working there had gotten 8 coconuts down from a tree and was cracking them open for us. Later we had dinner and a book discussion with an activity too.