Friday, June 12, 2015

Students heading home!

Hello family and friends on the Ensworth Belize program. After a few days at Tobacco Caye the group made it back to Belize City for their flight. They are boarding the flight to head home! Thank you for you trust and support of the program! 

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Erin Hawk
Director of Operations 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Last day at St. Matthews

Today, after a stormy night, we woke up to screeching birds. We had breakfast and drove over to the St. Matthews School, prepared to finish up the service projects. The sidewalks had already been completed, and all that was left to do was paint the walls. We took turns painting the walls green, hanging out with our Belizean pals, and spending time with the infants of the school.  We played multiple games of Ninja and Uno and taught each other various hand games. After finishing the wall, we had our last delicious lunch prepared by the St. Matthew’s staff, and Katie’s water bottle spilled all over Jordan. Multiple times.
Once lunch was over, we split up the class to discuss major worldwide problems and how to solve them. The topics we covered were gender equality, common diseases, literacy rates, maternal health, infant mortality, and environmental awareness. Then we all had refreshing Coca-Cola and ice cream floats, followed by an epic water balloon fight. It was heavily raining while our war occurred, making it that much more fun.
            Once we finished all of our activities, we sadly had to bid our new Belizean friends farewell.  We exchanged hugs and some addresses and phone numbers, and parted ways. We were soaking wet as we boarded the bus and waved goodbye to our forever friends as we drove away. The group headed for the Art Box next, a building that was part art gallery, part cafĂ©, and part store, selling handmade traditional Belizean souvenirs and crafts. We all purchased gifts for our families back home, so be prepared to receive multiple interesting items!
 Upon returning to the cabins, we packed up our bags and prepared for our departure tomorrow morning to Tobacco Caye. We had our last dinner at the Tropical Education Centre, held ANCHOR, and slumbered.

Until next time,
Katie Buttarazzi and Jordan Yi

Monday, June 8, 2015

Service Projects and Cave Tubing!

Today we visited St. Matthews and cave tubed in a nearby cave.  We woke up bright and early to eat breakfast and hop on the bus to St. Matthews. At St. Matthews we almost finished up our service-learning project. We put our finishing touches on the painted walls of the school and the sidewalks. During lunch we enjoyed getting into small groups and talking to the many leaders of the St. Matthews village such as the village chair, middle school teacher, and the local nurse.
After a sweaty bus ride to Caves Branch Outpost, we went cave tubing. We hiked about 30 minutes and finally got to the entrance of the cave. There were many stalagmites in the cave, as well as crazy shaped rocks that looked like a bird, elephant, and a turtle. After exiting the cave we let go of each other and free floated down the stream.

After a wet bus ride we returned back to Tropical Education Center where we took showers and ate dinner. After we ate a delicious dinner, we sat down and wrote poems about gender equality. Then we shared our Appreciations, News, Concerns, Hopes, and Obscurities. We ended the night with a poem that Anne Elizabeth and Eliza wrote about Belize. We then went to sleep excited about our last day of fun with the Belizean kids.

Anne Elizabeth Morgan and Anisa Bhatt

Sunday, June 7, 2015

St. Herman's Cave and swimming at Blue Hole!

Today we went and explored St. Herman’s cave, went swimming in the (small) Blue Hole, and played a game of Amazing Race. St. Herman’s Cave was a quite a large cave with stalactites. We walked for about ten minutes to get to the center of the cave where we learned about the Mayans and the cave’s relationship. Then, Juan turned off all of our lights and we had a moment of silence before heading back to the top.

After the cave we got back on the bus and headed towards the (small) Blue Hole. When we got to the park we sat down and ate our delicious sandwiches.  After eating we got into our swimsuits excited to jump into cold water. When we got down to the Blue Hole we played a game of keep-up and set a new Ensworth record of 220 without out the beach ball touching the water even once.

Before dinner we had a game of Amazing Race; where three teams competed in a series of challenges to get to the finish first. The first challenge was a choice between answering corny jokes and bashing corn to dust. The second was to do an ancient Mayan dance and sing the Belizean National Anthem. The last challenge was to either identify five Belizean animals, or have one person act three of them out and the rest of the team had to guess what the animal was. The winning team was Omri, Jordan Yi, Alex, Charlotte Anne, and Anisa. We can’t wait to go back to St. Matthews tomorrow!

          By: Malcolm Bryan and Omri Zamir

Trip to Xunantunich and the Belize Zoo!

On Saturday we went to the Mayan ruins and the Belize zoo. Our first stop was the Mayan ruins. We saw howler monkeys and ancient buildings. Some of those buildings were used for sleeping, ball games, sacrifices, or seating areas. We went on top of one of the buildings and saw Guatemala, where our instructor, Juan, was born. We had a great view of both Belize and Guatemala. We also got to hear the screams of the howler monkeys, whose howls were used as the roars in Jurassic Park.

 After our tour of the Mayan ruins, we ate at a local restaurant called Benny’s. The food and drinks were delicious and everyone enjoyed it. The restaurant was filled with Belizeans eating delicious, authentic, local food. We then drove an hour back to the Tropical Education Center.

When it was nighttime, we departed for our tour of the Belize zoo. We saw eagles, owls, tapirs, jaguars, ocelots, pumas, crocodiles, a kinkajou, and an alligator. Most of us held a boa constrictor, which was very tame, around our necks. Our tour guides knew almost all there was to know about these animals and were very friendly. Some of the boys tried termites, and said they tasted minty. The Belize zoo was most peoples’ favorite part so far.

By: Jordan Williams and Sara Kirkham

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Just checking in...

We had an amazing day visiting Xuanantunich! We're heading out now for a night hike at the zoo across from the Tropical Education Center. Jordan and Sara will be back tomorrow with a full recap of our day!  -Ms. Reiser

Friday, June 5, 2015

June 5 - Work at St. Matthews

Making tamales
Today was our second day at St. Matthews School. Today, in addition to painting, we also took turns creating a sidewalk. The work was exhausting, but we managed to complete some of our given task. We also met with our classroom buddies and they gave us a tour of the St. Matthew Village. We even stopped by some of our Belizean friends’ houses. We learned about their culture and lifestyles.

When we finished, we went back to the classroom and showed them one of our games: Mafia. We explained the game to them by playing a practice round, and then they joined in. They learned really fast and we let them lead. They had Alex “killed” with a knife, but it was all fun. Eventually it was time to go. So, we said farewell to our new friends.
After, we got on the bus for a 15-minute bumpy ride to The Tropical Education Center, also known as TEC. Upon arrival we got settled into our new cabins. We played cards and another game of Mafia until it was time to have a meeting. During the meeting, we learned the five stages of groups and made skits to express them visually. Finally, it was time for a fantastic dinner with bread pudding for dessert. Then, our day was put to an end with a lovely sleep so that we might be ready for the next exciting day to come.
 By Dante Rodriguez and Alex Bond

Thursday, June 4, 2015

June 4th - First day at school!

June 4

Today marked the first day in our partnership with St. Matthews School. We began the day by packing our backpacks and getting in the bus slathered in sunscreen and bug spray. When we arrived, the first thing we noticed was the large truck loaded with books for the kids at St. Matthews. Our instructor, Juan, told us it was like our school library. The kids could check out a book and return it when the truck arrived again.

We unloaded from the bus and put our bags in the small pavilion next to the playground. We met our Belizean partners and played a name game with them. Then they returned to their class and we began our project. One group went to the Pre-school classes to interact with the students while the other painted the pavilion and the playground with a new coat. Eventually, our shift ended and we went to the courtyard with the couple hundred St. Matthews students for the assembly. We switched off singing our national anthems and school mottos. At the end there was a raffle in which a girl won a new bike.

Our groups switched jobs and we got back to work, but not before playing games with the Pre-school class at their recess. After a while, we met up with our middle school partners in their classroom and paired up for a science experiment to practice leadership. We built water filters out of simple household objects with our Belizean partners and tested them with dirty water. We said goodbye to our St. Matthews friends and boarded the bus.

By Max Moeller and Ben Goguen

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Group picture!

Students are in Belize

Hello family and friends of the Ensworth program in Belize. After a short delay from Atlanta to Belize, the students have safely arrived in Belize. They are en route to the Eco-lodge and will start updating the blog tomorrow! Please call the office with any questions - 303-679-3412

Erin Hawk
Director of Operations