Travel to Belize – Day 6

The June 14th post is written by Maddie Brooks, Class of 2021.

Today was incredible day full of learning, fun activities, and final home visits of the trip.  We began our day at 8:30 AM in the Pentecostal School in San Antonio (after a delicious breakfast of French toast from miss Attalia and her husband) to teach our lessons that we have been working on for a while.  Our book, Lola Has Questions, was finally put to use by the group teaching puberty to the 6th-8th grade girls (Madeleine, Kara, Erin, Ingrid, Anaiya, and me).  We had great success with our lessons!

We split the groups into two and had three of the GHFs in each group teaching about the menstrual cycle, periods, female anatomy, and good hygiene.  We also discussed how it is important for girls to help girls and how would should always feel empowered.  Being able to educate these young women especially about their bodies, what as wonderful opportunity to make them feel strong and put them in a safe environment.  We became familiar with one another after sharing a little bit about ourselves, such as what we want to be when we grow up or what we wished we learned in school and even about our family.  After reading the book together, since ever girl received her own copy, we dove into some explanations using posters and labels within the book.

We finished the book and all our discussions we closed with a final activity of reflection.  We broke up into small groups and went outside of the cafeteria and each girls shared what we learned from the lesson using a crumpled piece of paper as a ball to toss.  I was so impressed and surprised at the responses that were given because they were so detailed and thoughtful.  It was amazing how much information the girls retained and I was very excited about this as it was my rose of the day!  We then went back inside so the girls could write anonymous questions for us to answer which was a great opportunity to make things more private.  We hope to use some of these questions in the future for another book!

While some of the girls were teaching the puberty lesson, Ray, Andrew, Ella, and Michela taught several classes on nutrition and exercise.  In the classroom, they showed the 5 main food groups and MY PLATE before going into an engaging activity where students determined which foods were placed into which food groups.  Then, the students were taken outside to the soccer field/recess area to participate in some physical activity which consisted of a fun and competitive relay race with both boys and girls.  It was so much fun to watch the students run and the GHFs interact with them!

At the same time, Leila and James talked with the principal of the Pentecostal School about what the community and school’s needs are and specifically the school’s computers and their lab.  the two installed a new software program onto several of the school’s computers, which could help the school to start teaching a new computer curriculum.  Some students even came in to test the new software and played games on it which make the GHFs very happy to see that it worked!

After a few more nutrition and exercise lessons, we departed from the Pentecostal School to have a long and relaxed lunch.  We reconvened at 2 PM in the community center to begin our final home visits of the trip which were in San Antonio.  Since there was only one community health worker, one group went at a time to different homes to once again measure blood glucose, blood pressure, and vitals such as temperature, pulse, respiration rate, height, weight, and BMI.  As Ray took blood pressure, or Ingrid and James took blood glucose, or I took vitals with Erin and Ella, we would ask our patients a few questions to get to know them and their community better.  We asked them questions about their family and history of lifestyle which gave us more perspective and clarity.  My group of 6 visited about 3 hours in an hour and a half, which totaled about six people.  Differing from some of the other communities we visited, most of the people in San Antonio could communicate  with us in English – although it was very fun to practice our Spanish with them!

After we finished our home visits, we worked on some of the lesson plans for the clinic on Friday, which consist of stations for vitals, blood glucose, blood pressure, infant measurements, educating young mothers, and activities with some of the kids!  We closed with our daily reflection of roses and thorns, and deltas and positives.  My rose for the day was hearing all of the amazing things that the young girls at the Pentecostal School learned from the puberty lesson and the details of those as well as the anonymous question, which shows how attentive they really were.  It was a very exciting day, although my thorn from the day was seeing some people on the home visit who really needed to see a doctor but were unaware and did not feel the urgency, which was really upsetting.  We want for them to get the proper care they need and deserve, which is a very hard thing to do, but is also the reason that we are here.  Hopefully, we will come back with even more knowledge of how we can help.  Overall, everyone had a fantastic day and we are very sad to see the week is almost gone!  Thank you for reading!

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