Saturday, January 31, 2009

a quarter of a century

Weather report: rainy with scattered sunshine- just enough to go to the market for tamales!

Hmmm... what to say. It was the premier week for peer tutoring at Julian Cho Technical High School and Toledo Community College. And though things did not go as 'planned' the experience as a whole was positive. The day before the peer tutoring program was set to commence the vice principal @ JCTHS decided to inform me of a last minute change to their class schedule. Since I had intentionally correlated our program with after school activities this news caught me off guard. Thankfully, this will be a simple amendment as long as the students are willing. JCTHS will officially begin peer tutoring next week. Wednesday I met for an hour and a half with the students @ TCC. There is so much potential bottled in young minds- my goal is to get them excited about unleashing its power in the coming weeks!

Okay everyone, remember those dorky games that teachers would make you play to break the ice when you get into groups? I was SO that teacher this week. They grimaced and rolled their eyes as I asked them to pair up and exchanged preferences about chores, 'soft-drinks' and waking up for school. And don't think I wanted to be THAT teacher. But, I felt lead to do it and in the end we all learned something about each other and shared a couple of good laughs. I found out that all of my student rise before 5 in the morning and one gal catches a bus into town at 430 am. If you have a moment, stop and consider the challenges of paying attention through eight hours of class-chemistry, physics, literature- after a morning like that. Talk about self-discipline.

In other news, although I can't say I am glad to have left another year behind, I am happy to report I had a blast welcoming in the next one- live reggae and a bit of punta dancing on the sea :D

And in spite of the rain, we spent last weekend at a privately owned 'Caye' or key about an hour and a half off the coast. The family, which recently made the switch from fisheries to eco-friendly tourism, boasts of world class diving and some of the best conche ceviche south of the border. I didn't need any convincing; Belize is said to be second only to Australia for its coral reefs and you can't get much fresher than sea to stomach in about an hour.

Alright already, I've gotten myself all excited about food again, typical. That's all folks!

signing off.....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Punta Gorda is a town of about 6,000 people commited to helping save our planet. Conservationists have conviced local authorities that the best way to attack the world's energy crises to lead by example. The solution: cut the flow of current to the entire southern district, without warning, during peak consumption hours. Some would say, "Extreme," but to us it's living greeeeeen!

Being without electricity isn't as bad as it sounds. It not only breaks up the day, but makes room for those tasks that don't seem to get accomplished when the lights are on! For example, Cristina took advantage of yesterday's outage with a team building exercise. Always the 'go-getter,' within 30 minutes of the shut off she had the staff piled in her pick up truck headed straight to the mountains. En route to Blue Creek we made brief, but necessary, stop to take a dip in the river for which the village it is named. That out of the way, we were able to complete our mission of dropping off a book donation to a local school. Tumulkin high school is locally renowned in that incorporates classes in traditional Maya trades into its curriculum: basket weaving, canning, bee farming, butchering, music and dance. The students are so successful in their practices that their preserves and honey are sold in shops around town! During todays outage Morvin climbed up one of the tree is Cristina's yard, wacked off a bunch of coconuts, and we enjoyed a mid afternoon snack- yum :D

After meeting for a second time with the pricipals where JCS supports students, all seems to be in place for the peer tutoring program to commence. Tuesdays & Thursday I will spend at Julian Cho Technical High School and Wednesday afternoons at Toledo Community College.

The upcoming weekend boasts two great outings: a visit to the farmer's market and an overnight voyage to one of the keys.
Until next time......

Growing pains by ANITA

My child-eyes cried for chocolate treats...And sticky sweets...'Twill rot yu' teet'!
Tinkly silver wrapper hides...Germs....Worms....Decay....How can a child-eye see?
This child-heart cried for mid-teen love....A blow, a shove.......Study yuh' book!

Leather jacket.....Football boots......Are not the most sought-after truths...

How can a child-heart know?

So watch the young-girl-heart take wing!....Watch her groove.....And watch her swing

She's old enough....She's strong and tough.

She'll see beneath the silver wrapper...beneath the flashy football boots...

She'll find the great sought-after truth.

That child-eye tears are not as sad......And child-heart pain is not as bad...As grown-up tears and grown-up pain...

Oh Christ, what do we have to gain...

From growing up....For throwing up...Our childlike ways..

For dim.....Disastrous.....Grown-up days

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Adventures in Belize

Day 10-
Fact: Belize's rainy season typically runs May-November.
*We're experiencing a run of 9 of 10 days and 36 of the previous 48 hours in intermittent to continuous precipitation ;D

Today we hosted a group of 20-30 Maya youth and their parents under a thatched canopy on Cristina's roof!
The students on scholarship through the Julian Cho Society & Maya Education Foundation gather twice yearly to discuss performance and upcoming events. My knees were knocking while presenting our ideas for scholastic improvent after less than a week on the job. Thankfully, the initiatives were well received and I was able to return to the comfort of my corner, aware that most people were probably thinking more about their long trips home than my ackward delivery (20+ mile treks- by foot, on a bus and in the rain- back to the surrounding villages).

On a more thought provoking level, what are the chances that 3 1/2 yrs after graduating from the University of Minnesota- Duluth (UMD) I find myself in a town of less than 6,000 residents in Central America with eight students, on eight week tenures, teaching, from the University of Minnesota, Duluth? I will never ceased to be amazed at the furtive manner in which Life makes an effort to remind us of who we are and where we come from, no matter where we go- DONTCHA KNOW!

Signing off......

Thoughts you cannot see
Thoughts that want to be
Thoughts can set us free
Thoughts you cannot cage

Thoughts that dot the page
Thoughts can heal the rage


Thoughts you choose to share
Thoughts that show you care
Thoughts can get you there!

yeah, really signing off....