Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday

Another exciting day. Up early to eat, pack up and load up for our trip back to Belize City. We stopped at Belmopan at the US Embassy and were greeted by U.S. Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally (the first Indian-American ambassador) and heard dpresentations by the US Drug Enforcement Administration leader in Belize and Sharon Featherstone, Management Officer. J.A. Diffily, Deputy Chief of Mission, joined us for lunch and expressed deep appreciation for the work that we are doing in Belize.

A group of the Justice Administration students toured the Belize National Prison while the rest of helped the local economy by shopping for a few extra gifts.

We are in Belize City tonight and will be up early to go to the airport. If all goes well in the travel world, we will be back tomorrow night. We will keep families posted as to where we are and when to expect us.

Again, thanks for following the blog.

Margaret Pentecost
Faculty/Education



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday

We finished up our service work today in the villages. It was a great experience for students, faculty and administrators. Our projects went very well thanks to the hard work, planning, and talent of our students. As we waved goodbye today, we were filled with sadness at leaving the people that we have come to care about but also a great sense of accomplishment. As faculty, we are all extremely proud of our students. Please know that they represented the United States, the University of Louisville, and your family in a very positive way.

We want to send a great thank you to our family and friends who are caring for our children, pets, houses, etc. Without you, we would not be able to do the work that we are doing. Thanks!!!

Tomorrow, we leave Independence and go north to Belmopan. We will visit the U.S. Embassy and meet with the U.S. ambassador to Belize. The Justice Administration team will tour the Belize prison. Next stop is Belize City before we head home on Friday morning.

Thanks for keeping up with us this week on the blog.

Margaret Pentecost
Education


Pictures from ISLP Belize 2010



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My First Work Days in Belize

After a few days of sight seeing and exploring we spent our first session of work on Sunday night in Red Bank. We set up the dental clinic which was amazing. Watching all of the dental students transform a small one room church into a functioning dental clinic was unbelievable. Children were swarming with excitement and peaking there head into the windows, curious to see what was going on. When we got there I got out of the van and met a group of boys, 3 of them were brothers. I asked them about their family and one of the boys said he had 10 sisters! I was amazed. It took him a few seconds to count them all! The children also love having their picture taken. If you get our your camera you have to take atleast 50 pictures. All of the children love seeing their faces on my camera and love taking pictures of others. I can't tell you how many pictures I have with little fingers in the way!
As the night went on we began taking family pictures for all of the people in the village. The children were so excited that they formed a line of 50 or so and wanted individual pictures of themselves too! Many of the children were dressed in beautiful traditional dresses and boys in nice pants. It was such an event for them because they never get to have a family picture. Watching them file in and seeing the smiles on their faces is something I will never forget.
One thing that I learned after Sunday was a new definition of the word beautiful. In in the US the word beautiful is defined by a lot of things for women, especially make up, weight, hair, eye color, etc. Here, natural beauty can be seen all around, from young to old. I have never seen such intruguing men in women that show such natural beauty no matter what size or age.
Today I will be working in the schools with the children and I can't wait! I am sure I will learn a lot and have some life changing experiences! I will blog again soon :)

Alex

Tuesday

Today was the most influential day of my life. I spent the first part of my day teaching a program to 9-11 years old on having a healthy heart and teaching them about Louisville and about the University of Louisville. To go into these classrooms and see just how similar they are to the school system we have in America, is amazing. They have the same informational banners on the wall, they have morning assembly before school, and they have individual classroom responsibilities that the children are in charge of. The students also have an incredible passion for learning and enjoy the time we spend with them so much. To know that even though I only spent about an hour and half with them in the classroom I have left some impression on them that will hopefully last. Later in the day I went into the dental clinic to serve as an assistant, wash dental tools, and basically due whatever was needed to be done. It was a real eye opener to see these dentists and work and to see the villagers almost come to tears with how truly grateful they are for the services we are providing them with. These dentist come in and pull teeth and relieve them of incredible pain, and for some patients even make them flippers (a false tooth on a removable denture). These villagers live in an environment unheard of in your average city and for them to have the awful pain of tooth decay removed and then a replacement tooth put in place is such a blessing for them. After my work in the dental school I was able to go outside in the field and play with the children of the village. We played games such as Duck Duck Goose, Simon Says, and Tag. It was amazing to see how many of their games are the exact same as ours. Of course there were also games that I had no idea what they were and it was great to learn their games and play them with them. Of course the children also just love having their pictures taken on a digital camera and to be able to then see themselves on the screen is such a treat for them.

I have appreciated my time here in Belize so much and will not take my time here or the blessings I have back at home for granted. I am very thankful to the University and the people of Belize for allowing me this opportunity to make an impact in their lives and have them impact my life in such and amazing way!

-Karen Elaine Clough

Dream Job

Today I did art therapy all day. Sigh. The morning we were at the schools doing bullying workshops and I had a group of five kids. They all experienced bullying and came up with great ways to prevent it. Whether or not they do is up to them. We did an art intervention called 'A World Without Bullying' which they were really excited to work on. My group decided that a world without bullying meant that people loved each other and bullying was not allowed. They drew flowers and an earth. They were reallyl excited about it.

At the dental clinic, I went up to the children while they were in their chairs. They were really scared and when I went up to them with crayons, they smiled and I melted. I practiced breathing techniques and coping skills such as squeezing my hand and wiggling their toes with the dentists worked. This seemed to calm them down considerably. I believe I have found my dream job.

Kim Sandage

More on Tuesday

My first work day experience in Red Bank, Belize was with the Dental Team. The day began with Dr. David Jones and Dr. Tom Clark orchestrating a fast and exceptionally well organized setup that was accomplished with the direction of these two knowledgeable and experienced professionals along with their dental team. The residents of Red Bank lined up quickly and the team assessed their needs and prepared them for treatment. It was immediately apparent that these people were desperately in need of immediate attention. I assisted the dental students in filling out the intake assessment and listing the work to be performed in order of priority. I was impressed by the smiling faces that filed to team, knowing that many were in pain, but happy that this service had at last come to their village.
Inside the clinic, Dr. Clark’s self designed “octopus” performed with an efficiency that rivaled any modern dental facility back home. The students, each with previously planned tasks, catered to these grateful people, and amazingly, even though many had never been to a dentist before, eased their fears and were made all as comfortable as anyone can be in a dental chair. The students and I finished a long and arduous morning with a sense of gratitude and self fulfillment, knowing that we were able to serve an equally grateful community. After my time had ended, I could see that the morning was a success by the look of gratitude on the faces of the villagers of Red Bank.
The afternoon was no less rewarding as we traveled to Independence to conduct a Bullying workshop with the teachers of the village school. The afternoon started slowly at first. As the Justice Administration students conducted the presentation the teachers willfully acknowledged that bullying was indeed a problem in the schools. They were definitely appreciative of the information shared and opened up, eventually sharing their feelings and thoughts on how to approach and deal with the problem of bullying in the schools. It was when the Art Therapy Team took charge that the discussion got more lively and interesting. At the end of the day, we left knowing that we had shared and connected a people that maybe we had assumed were quite different, but in reality were the same.
Dave Peace
Justice Administration

Tuesday Pics














Monday, March 15, 2010

The Green Stool Incident

The Green Stool Incident

This is my first year on the Belize trip and I was so excited to see patients today. It was truly an eye opening experience and I learned a lot. The most memorable moment of the day came from my VERY FIRST patient in the Dental Clinic. I was prepared to administer an injection before beginning to take his tooth out--syringe in hand, ready to go. I go to sit down in this little plastic, green stool and it slips right out from under me and I topple to the ground right in front of my patient and the entire dental clinic. Amazingly, the syringe had not touched the floor, but my patient could not stop laughing at me for the remainder of his procedure. I couldn't help but laugh at myself because it was a dental clinic first--the patient made the dental student fall. For the record, I stood for the rest of the day. So, I learned many things but the one things I will not forget is that I should not try to sit in the little green stool.

Autumn Edwards
Dental Team-Belize 2010
ULSD 2012

First Day

Today I went to Georgetown in the morning to talk to the villagers and find out about life in Georgetown. My walking buddy and I found that people were very interested in talking to us. One lady spoke Spanish, Garufina, Creole, and English; but had not been to school. Her children, grandchildren, and great granchildren all went or are going to schohol. We eventually ended up finding the Justice of Peace and went to talk to him about the history of Georgetown. Georgetown was founded in 1963 because of Hurricane Hardy in 1961 forced a lot of people to move. They began living in Geaorgetown and finally got their first school just 10 years ago. Now education is a very important part of their lives.

The afternoon I found myself in the dental clinic. I was really excited about this because I got to do art therapy with the patients before they went into the dental chair. The first woman was nervous about watching other peole getting their teeth pulled, but seemed to relax a little when I talked to her and drew with her. I found that children were more interested in drawing, but the adults wanted to draw birds, trees, flowers, turtles, and bananas. There was one little girl who was probably 4 years old who needed four of her baby teeth pulled. I found that she didn't know what to do with a crayon. I put one in her hand and then started drawing myself. She watched me at first then began drawing very small. Within five minutes, she was drawing in big circles and started smiling at me. She drew so many drawings that I taped the pieces together and gave her a coloring book. After the dental clinic, I went to play soccer and chase with the kids in the field.

It was a glorious day today.

Kim Sandage

Georgetown

First off I want to say that this trip is AMAZING. This is my second year coming to Belize and I have experienced and seen more than I ever thought I could. However, the most memorable of the trip so far was my morning trip to Georgetown. Georgetown is a small village about 30 minutes from our hotel. It is very close to the village of Red Bank where we base most of our operation here, but the people are very very different. In Red Bank the people are Mayan and are very reserved and shy. In Georgetown most of the people are creole, and everyone was very curious and eager to talk to us. Our goal today was the walk around the village and ask the people a variety of questions that were meant to help us get better aquainted with the people there. We began the day not knowing how well the people would recieve us, or even answer our questions but what we found out was anything short of rewarding. Everyone that I encountered in the village had a wealth of knowledge and shared it with us liberally. The most interesting person that I talked to was May Castillo. She was an older lady that had been live in the village since it first opened in the early 60's. She had nine grown children, all of which had completed college and worked in very rewarding professions. She told us this was the case because she valued the power of an education, and did everything that she could to make sure her children succeeded. This became a reoccurring trend in the village, and we quickly learned that most of the adults in the village highly valued education, much like how we do back in the states. It was really a profound moment for all of us because we all realized that even though we are worlds apart we all value similar things. It is encouraging to know that in a place where resources are few and far between, education and knowledge are still held in high regard. My hope for this program is that we continue to reinforce this thought and help the community to ensure that every child is offered the education that they truly need to succeed. Based on the people that I have been around so far this week, I have no doubt that it will make my hope a reality.

See you soon,
Dillon Miles

Belize!!

Hey guys!

This is my second year here in Belize and I am loving it once again. Yesterday I had the opportunity to go snorkeling for the first time. It was definitely something I had to get used to. I am so glad I stuck with it and finally swam out with the guide. The coral and fish were beautiful. I even saw a lemon shark! The guide assured me that he wasn't going to eat me though. I really enjoyed my experience snorkeling even though I did bring back a ton of salt water in my ear.

Last night we went into Red Bank for the first time. We were able to take family pictures. It was really cool to see all of the kids again. One of the older boys from the village communicated with me through email throughout the year so it was really good to get to see him again. I swear I felt like I had a kid attached to my side the whole night. The families were so excited to get their pictures taken and I can't wait to see how they turn out when we print them tonight.

Today was the actual first day working in the village. This morning I started working in the schools as part of the Education Team. We were giving the students a health education lesson. We gave the lesson to two fourth grade classes. We started teaching them the importance of taking care of your teeth. We even took the kids outside, made the chew a tablet that showed plaque on their teeth, and then brushed their teeth. The kids were so proud when their smiles were bright and white. We also taught them about bones and eating healthy foods.

Later this afternoon I went to the Georgetown schools with communication team. We taught them a program on heart health and showed them a comparison between our lives in Louisville to theirs in Belize. We ended up giving our program to the entire school. It was definitely challenging adapting our program for kindergarters all the way up to eighth graders. The younger kids were adorable. We had some trouble getting all them to understand how to take a pulse, but they loved exercising and looking at the pictures in the workbooks we gave them. We then split our team up into two groups to cover the rest of the school. Myself and two others ended up going up to the middle schoolers. One thing I have learned is that the kids down here are the same at home. Middle schoolers are definitely middle schoolers. Many of the kids got really into the program and learned a lot though. The whole team was very pleased with the outcome of the day.

I am having a great time though. While I miss talking to my family on the phone, hanging out with my friends, and eating traditional American food, I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. It is truly eye opening. I love meeting new friends and playing games with them at night. I love having children constantly waving at you and always holding your hand. I would encourage anyone who has the chance to join the ISLP program and travel to Belize.

I hope everyone is enjoying the March Madness back home. See you soon!

Stephanie Bonenberger

Monday Pics


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday March 14

Hey everyone!

Sorry for the delay in writing, but we've been having a great time here in Belize. On our first full day, we got to see some amazing Mayan ruins, and see some of the local culture up close and personal with a music and dance performance. Needless to say, it had us running all around the country to experience everything it had to offer. Today we got to make a choice about what we could do with the first part of the day. I joined a group of students that got to explored the jungle, climb a peak that overlooks the country and play in a waterfall. I don't think I have to tell you how amazing this experience was. I'll try to upload some pictures soon. After our adventure in the jungle, we got to prep for our days of work ahead by visiting Red Bank. Once there we set the clinic, spoke to the people, and took pictures of families. I got to spend some time playing and joking with the kids and it didn't take any effort from them to melt my heart. The people here truly are amazing and I look forward to being given the opportunity to work with them over the course the next few days. I wish I could write more, but everyone wants to get a word in sometime tonight, so I'm going to have to sign off. I hope everything back in Louisville is going well. We miss you all!
~Paul Morgan


Buenos Noches,
That means good night.... Today was the end of our relaxation. The real work began at 6:00 pm Sunday. We went to the village and introduced ourselves and what we would be doing the next three days in Red Bank village. The people were very gracious and proceded to sing us their national anthem along with some cultural dancing. It was a perfect start to the week. We also set up the dental clinic so it would be ready bright and early in the morning. These people will be there when the sun comes up. Lastly we took family photos of the family's in Red Bank. They were so excited to have pictures of themselves. As I walked toward my van to leave the village and little boy said, "Buenos Noches". I responded by saying, "good night but I'll see you bright and early tomorrow!" It is difficult to walk away from the little kids but knowing I'll be back tomorrow gives me the courage to leave for the night.
Sending my love back to the states,
Erin E. Roberts

Good Night! (As they say in Belize)
This weekend has been beyond amazing. From climbing the ruins to scuba diving in the carbbean ocean, every moment is more exciting than the next. This is my second year going to Belize with the university and it is like a whole new experience. We've already experienced new adventures and I am sure there is more to come. Today I went to scuba diving caribbean ocean and to say it was incredible would be an understatement. I have never swam in water so clear or seen been so close some of the most exotic fish. After we all returned from our different adventures the whole group drove out to Red Bank for a community welcome, somthing new we did this year. I forgot how much I loved and miss the children until I saw them. It amazes me that they can remember who I am and my name even after a full year has passed. After they greeted us with songs and dances we organized a family picture session in the schools for all the families in Red Bank. It was really neat to see all the families come together to get what may be the only family picture they will ever have taken. Being in Red Bank is truly an experience that has influenced me in such a huge way. I am a better person because of the people I have met in Belize. I cannot wait to go back tomorrow and spend the next three days with the most amazing people. Not many people can say they have experienced a once in a lifetime trip twice; I am lucky to say I have. Oh, and hi Mom and Dad!!

Adios!
Lauren Hendricks, Communication Team

Waterfall Goddess

After being indecisive for a long time, I finally decided to join the rainforest hike. This turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences in my life. I felt so alive while exploring as much as possible within the trail. Our tour guide was so smart. I think my favorite story was about a certain type of vine that you can crush and put in the water to catch fish. The juices from the vine make the fish drunk! Pretty cool huh.

I tried very hard to take the vigorous and most impossible hike to the top of the hill/mountain and failed miserably. I probably would have fainted off the edge of the mountain if I did. Jill and I decided to accept our losses and trek back down to the waterfall.....hello.

The waterfall was so beautiful and was so cozy. It's hard to describe the feelings I had today. It felt like I was home; like I finally found where I belong. This might be because of the traveling high I get, but this felt different. I was exactly where I was supposed to be today. That's the most satisfying feeling I've ever had in my life. It was nice.

Kim Sandage

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Xunatunich

Left early for the Mayan ruins called Xunantunich which means Stone Maiden. We heard a cultural talk from our guide and then took in the beauty of the runis and the surrounding rain forest. Climbing to the top of the temple was an experience that we will not forget. Everyone is doing fine, and we are back at the hotel for lunch. This afternoon we head to Dangriga for dinner and will see and hear the Garifina drummers and dancers. After dinner, we will depart for Independence...our home for the week.




Interdisciplinary Teams

Communications Team


Dental Team
Education Team
Justice

Administration Team
Art Therapy Team

Friday, March 12, 2010

Arrived Safely


We made it to Belize on time and with all of our luggage. Everyone is doing well and enjoying the sunshine and the warmth. Will send more info later tonight, but we wanted everyone to know that we have arrived in San Ignacio...our home for tonight.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

ISLP Belize 2010

The UofL International Service Learning team for 2010 is ready for departure on March 12. The interdisciplinary service learning teams include students and faculty from:
Art Therapy
Dentistry
Education
Communication
Justice Administration
The interdisciplinary teams will implement service projects in the villages of Red Bank, Independence, and Georgetown. The villages are located in the Stann Creek district which is in the southern portion of Belize.

The team has many projects planned:
* Dental Clinic
* Workshops on Bullying and Conflict Resolution
* Teaching and Work in Schools - Science, Health Communication, Art/Drama/Music
* Teacher Workshop
* Health Classes for Women

The one week trip also includes some cultural and fun time at the Mayan Ruins called Xunantanich and snorkeling on the barrier reef. We will visit the U.S. Embassy in Belmopan, and a team of justice administration students and faculty will tour the Belize Prison.

Our teams will post information and photos each day of our trip on this blog. Please send notes and comments back to the the team. This will be our way to stay in touch with our friends and family while we are on the trip.