Leadership Lab for GHF ’19s

While our GHF ’18s and ’20s have been in Belize this week, a few of our ’19s have been participating on the Leadership Lab alongside all other Center for Civic and Global Leadership Fellows in their class (Chesapeake Bay Fellows, Literacy Fellows, International Relations Fellows, Engineering/Design/Innovation Fellows). Three week-long Leadership Labs are happening throughout the course of the summer. Half of the week is spent in the wilderness at Calleva Farm and the last few days are spent in Washington, DC. Here is a picture of the first CCGL ’19s Leadership Lab group after their solo night in the woods:

 

Thursday: Home Visits and Tech Sessions

Written by Laura Read (GHF ’20) to recount Thursday, June 16, 2017:

It was yet another hot, sunny day in San Antonio. We woke up early to a delicious breakfast of toast, peanut butter, and coffee from our host family mother, Miss Sandra. At 8:00, we headed off to the community center for an activity packed day! It was going to be out last day of home care visits. 

      The three groups split off again to cover the villages. Gabi, Connor, Claire, Mrs. Goodson, Hector, and I (the Tortilla group strikes again) took the city bus to Cristo Rey, a village about 25 minutes away from San Antonio. We had a interesting conversation with a family about the Belizean education system, which was awesome to hear. The woman we talked to had a lot of insight and a strong opinion on how it should be changed to better the community. Gabi and I got a lot of practice taking glucose levels! I made an effort to practice more of the Spanish I’ve been learning. It’s wildly cool to see how I’m able to understand the conversations the families are having between themselves and Hector. Then, a few hours and some good laughs later, we headed over to the bus stop to travel back to our town. 

     After our last few visits, we headed back to our home stays for some rest and lunch. Olivia and I had a kind of chicken wrapped in fry jacks and it was incredible. Then I played with Miss Sandra’s adorable son, Norbert, who is five. He’s been so cute this week and I’m going to miss him when we leave!

     At 2:00, we all met up in the community center for a tech session. We covered the different uses of ser and estar, listening comprehension, and the pretérito (past) tense in the advanced Spanish group with Hector. I’m learning to think quickly through my Spanish. After our lesson, the groups switched and Kristen (who is awesome and living in my home stay with me) taught us all about maternal health. We learned about maternal mortality, teen pregnancy, family planning, the stages of pregnancy, and maternal health in Belize. It was a really informative presentation!

     Then we headed home for a quick dinner. At 7:30 we were to head over to Sahib, Lawson, and Hector’s home stay for a bonfire and some bonding time. We roasted pineapple and marshmallows! We all hung out in the hammocks for ages. It was a great time. Sahib made us all die laughing, as usual. Then we played Mafia in the back of the pick up truck. It was a lot of fun despite Hunt personally turned Johan against me (cough, cough). 

     Unfortunately, our last round was cut short when the clock struck 9:00, and we all had to say goodbye for the night. We took a few pictures and walked back to our home stays.

     I can’t believe tomorrow is our last full day here. I’m going to miss it so much! (especially Norbert.)

Wednesday: Health workshops at a school and more home visits

Written by Hunt Stockwell (GHF ’18) and Ells Boone (GHF ’20) to recount Wednesday, June 14, 2017:

After yet another delicious breakfast set up by our host mother, we all met up at the San Antonio Pentecostal School to teach the lessons on hand washing and toothbrushing we had created in the previous days. There were four separate groups: two taught the younger kids (kindergarten through third grade), while two had slightly more advanced lessons for the older kids (fourth through sixth grades). As a member of the group that taught toothbrushing to the younger kids, I quickly learned how difficult it was to capture the full attention of six through nine year olds, especially in a classroom setting. Our lessons went extremely well nonetheless, and I was pleasantly surprised by the fact they already kept up good toothbrushing habits; they claimed to brush their teeth three times a day for three minutes each, but I’m not sure if I fully believe that. We ended our sessions with a game of “tooth tooth cavity,” an educational alternative to “duck duck goose”. After we finished our teaching, we joined the kids for recess. We played a myriad of games with the children, including soccer and tag, in which either I was it, or everyone else was. We left to return to our homestays for lunch exhausted but ecstatic from our time at the school. – Hunt, GHF ’18

Having just woken up from our post-lunch siesta, we headed to the community center for another round of home visits. My group went to Cristo Rey, a 30 minute bus ride from San Antonio. In Cristo Rey, my group and I visited houses located near the school. The first house had just one man who graciously let us take his vitals. The 2 other homes we visited were rather uneventful but we collected important data for our needs assessment. A quick bus ride back to San Antonio, a visit to the bakery and Marleney’s store, and we completed the afternoon. – Ells, GHF ’20

After we completed our home visits, everyone reconvened in the community center to discuss our plans to prepare a presentation for another school near San Antonio. We split into on two groups, one group discussing hygiene and nutrition, and the other group discussing sexual education. When we completed these discussions, we walked back to the school and played a pick up soccer game with some very skilled locals. Despite our best efforts, our team lost in the last two minutes by two, unfortunate goals. 

Tuesday: Home Visits in San Antonio

“Team Torillas” trek through San Antonio conducting home visits.

This morning we began with a filling breakfast of pancakes and fresh fruit. We then left our home and headed to the community center to begin our first day of home visits. My group stayed in San Antonio and we visited a total of four homes. We completed blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and other calculations for the free screenings. We also conducted our needs assessment after our screenings. So we asked questions on topics regarding education, nutrition, and illness. Around 11:30 am, we all returned back to the community center and returned home for lunch to refuel for the rest of the day. – Lawson, GHF ’18 

This afternoon, we split into two groups based on our Spanish proficiency: there was the beginner’s group and the group comprised of those who study Spanish. As a member of the more advanced class, we discussed the difference between “por” and “para” in Spanish. Later we were given a lecture about malnutrition, undernourishment, and its impacts on the culture and daily life in the context of Belize. We then spent time refining our needs assessment after our first round of home visits. We discovered that some of our questions were not pertinent to Belize while they were to Haiti. In preparation for our lectures to school children tomorrow about hand washing and tooth brushing, the different groups continued planning and lesson design. Later that night, we went to the local restaurant and had competitive games of cards. – Sahib, GHF ’20

Monday: Tech Sessions, Pottery, Tortillas, and Football

Monday, June 12, 2017:

To start off the day, we woke up early and ate breakfast with our host families before setting off for an activity-packed day. For the first half of the day, we again met at the community center for a tech session, led by Kaitlyn, one of our GPSA student leaders, on the tests we will be administering durning our house visits with the community health workers. We started by learning how take blood glucose levels using a finger prick. Our group split up into our three working groups, which we will be in during the house visits, and we each practiced being the doctor, assistant, and the patient as we all got our blood glucose tested. We then worked to perfect our skill at taking blood pressure, which some of us picked up more easily than others. Kaitlyn then talked to us about measuring pulse and respiration, temperature, and BMI. In order to be able to go to the houses and put our newly learned techniques into practice, we had to pass a test. We were each partnered up and took each other’s blood pressure while Vanessa, our GPSA leader, examined us to make sure our procedure was correct. Thankfully, we all passed and we are excited to get to work in the communities tomorrow! After this morning session, we headed home for lunch, but on the way we were eager to stop at the bakery, which is only open a few times per week. Most of us bought either a freshly baked cinnamon roll, a slice of bread pudding, or a sweet bread that were all very delicious.  

– Gabi Diskin, GHF ’18

For lunch with our host families, we had the national dish of Belize: rice and beans. It was delicious! After a post-lunch nap, we headed over to the local women’s co-op. We observed and participated in the making of corn tortillas which is a Mayan tradition. We mashed the corn and flattened the tortillas and then cooked them on a wood-fire stove. We ate them with coconut oil and salt which made them amazing! After the tasty snack we looked at the Mayan traditional pottery and the various paints they use which are specific to the type of clay used in the pottery. After learning we were able to take part in making pottery and using the wheel where I made a bowl. After our fun day of learning we settled under the gazebo to write our schedules for the school day about tooth brushing and hand washing. – Liz Heckard, GHF ’18

After a long day of learning about and experiencing Belize’s culture, the ’20s and ’18s, along with Mrs. Goodson, Mr. Runzo, a few GPSA leaders, and a couple local children, competed in a friendly game of soccer. Many laughs and falls later, we walked to our separate home stays to shower and prepare for dinner. In the evening, our host mom prepared delicious johnnycakes, which we ate with peanut butter, jelly, cheese, or beans. After we finished eating, we headed to our room to play with our host family’s three-year-old son, Leo. His high energy level brought smiles to our faces, and we spent time laughing along to his antics. Later, we headed to the local restaurant, where we shared a plate of watermelon as we watched the NBA finals. A few of us also drifted to different tables to play a couple rounds of the card game, Hearts. A couple of nodding heads later, we all admitted that we were tired and headed off to our separate home stays to sleep.     Julia Duarte, GHF ’20

GHF ’18s and ’20s head to Belize to work with GPSA

Written by Courtney Kilduff (GHF ’20) to account for June 10-11, 2017:

After two flights and a long bus ride, the Global Health Fellows (’18s and ’20s) arrived in San Ignacio, Belize! We took a relaxing afternoon to settle in and get to know our host families. The following day (Sunday, June 11) started off with a meeting with Global Public Service Academies (GPSA) volunteers; we listened to presentations about hand-washing and patient care, were informed of the week to come, and even learned some more Spanish. Some things we learned included the 7 steps of patient care: preparing the station, greeting the patient, introducing yourself and your program, making sure the patient is in a relaxed position, explaining what you hope to do, following the protocol, and gaining consent before anything else. We role played interacting properly with patients. After eating lunch with our separate host families again (we eat all our meals in our homes), we took a bus to see the Mayan ruins at Xunantunich.


Written by Claire Cunningham, GHF ’18, to recount afternoon of June 11, 2017:

After lunch with our host families we all met up to go to the Mayan ruins. After about an hour long bus ride with our bus driver and tour guide, José, we got on a ferry to get to the ruins. To get to the ruins we walked up a big hill and saw howler monkeys on the way. José told us many interesting stories about the Mayans including the fact that the did not call themselves the Maya. When Columbus arrived in Central America he asked the people what they called themselves. They replied “maya” which means “I do not understand.” Therefore, Columbus wrote about the people who call themselves the Maya. We saw several different ancient buildings. The largest of which was the Castillo. The Castillo is a staggering 40 meters tall. It was hard to imagine how the Mayans were able to build such grand structures without modern tools. The view from the top was breathtaking. We had lots of fun exploring the ruins and the animals that now inhabit them such as monkeys, tarantulas, and iguanas. Visiting the ruins really gave us insight to the culture of the ancestors of many people in Belize. Afterwards we visited a market right outside of the ruins to buy souvenirs. We all returned to our host houses for dinner and went to the store afterwards to buy ice cream — which is without a doubt the best way to end a great day in the sun.