Friday, October 17, 2008

Dangriga Days

kristen 037
Originally uploaded by kristenkk2
We've been in Dangriga, Belize for a week. Our contact for volunteering here was a man named Dennis and The Jungle Huts was the guesthouse I was told to check out. These were boh passed on from The University of San Franciso and were their contacts for student volunteer groups. My conversation with Dennis before we arrived went something like, "Yes, we will find a place for you to volunteer when you arrive. We'll meet and discuss it when you come." A few months ago I might have questioned his lax response and wondered where, how, or when we would meet. But, I've begun to trust and go with it.

And trusting worked. We showed up at The Jungle Huts and met Phil, the owner. While we were waiting for a room to be fixed up, I figured it would be worth an ask if Phil knew where we might find Dennis. Phil said, "Oh yeah, I can take you over to see Dennis right now." Uh, OK. Then Phil also offered us a discount on our room since we were going to be volunteers.

With no warning, but a beep of Phil's horn, we show up to Dennis' front door. He said, "Oh, I was just on my way out." We offered to come back at a more convienent time and he assured us now was great. I laughed and thought in America he'd be like, "Um, yes, looks like I can pencil you from 2:00 - 2:04 tomorrow." But, instead he sat down and chatted with us for about an hour. We agreed to meet him the next day and he'd show us to Holy Ghost, the school we'd be helping out at.

Holy Ghost didn't seem to know excatly what to do with us, but we found our way to a classroom where a teacher was absent and the vice-principal was filling in. The school was much different then what we became accustomed to in Asia. It was much more "American" in it's sturcture and style. The kids are much like kids everywhere...they are interested in you or at least interested in that you pay attention to them, say hysterical things, and love to get their picture taken. After our brief afternoon there, we assured them we'd be back on Tuesday because Monday was a holiday.

On Tuesday, a third grade teacher was absent and we got thrown in there without much direction. We had a good time and got to know some of the students, who of course cracked up us...There was Milton who took our name tag exmples right to heart and wrote Milton Kristen Mary on his tag. So, we called him Milton Kristen Mary all day and were given a huge toothy smile in return. There was Howard who was the first kid's name you learn because you have to. He was obsessed with the dried fruit his teacher gave out despite the fact we told him he'd have to wait until she got back. Howard couldn't stop thinking of it. And there was Latrice who we thought looked like a 70 year old Price is Right contestant. She went to the board with her long sleeve tied around her neck so she didn't catch a chill and was erasing her answer and rewriting it like she was about to win a new car!

On Wednesday we subbed in that class again in the morning and then did some small group work in another class in the afternoon. A note got passed around saying school was closing early because of a tropical storm warning. School actually closed for the next two days. We don't think the storm was so bad, but they were worried about the river flooding. More next week...

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