Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

We're headed home!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

All is Well from Tobacco Caye

The group arrived safely at Tobacco Caye Marine Station yesterday and, after a quick orientation to the island, jumped in the water for their first snorkel. Lots of excited faces when they emerged. Sean and Jen (the station managers here at Tobacco Caye) are going to talk to the kids about coral reef ecosystems, then we will head out for the day for more time in the water.

We have some blogging to catch-up on but due to limited bandwidth here on the island, it might have to wait until we return to the States. I will do all that I can to share pictures today.

All of the teachers have really enjoyed working alongside your kids these past nine days and we can't wait to share all of our stories with you when we return tomorrow.

- Keith Crowe

PS - Our flight from Miami is scheduled to arrive in Nashville at 10:20pm.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lo Siento

Sorry that we had no new posts yesterday. The kids (and faculty) returned from the work site physically and emotional drained and a break was needed.

We are loading up for the drive down to Tobacco Caye and I will try to get some posts up once we settle in there.

All is well.

- Keith Crowe

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Faces of Belize - Volume II

Kristi and Kelley

Here's a shot of Kelley (left) and Kristi (right), our World Leadership School facilitators, up at Pine Ridge. 

Helping in the Kitchens

Radiance in our kitchen at Pine Ridge. 

Helping at Monkey Bay.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Today after a half day of service work at St. Matthew's School, we went on a canoeing trip on the Sibun River. We first rode on a 15 minute bus ride through orange groves to reach the point of entry on the river. We then boarded canoes in groups of two or three. During the hour-long trip, we saw a howler monkey perching in a tree, as well as many species of birds and a few iguanas. After the trip, we all hopped out of our canoes and swam in the river, many of us trying and ultimately failing at swimming upstream. On the bus ride back to Monkey Bay, there were many mosquitoes swarming around in the bus and people were frantically spraying bug repellent in the air and swatting at the numerous pests.

- Carter and Savanah

Planting Almond Trees

Hello from Belize! Today and yesterday, we planted almond trees for the St. Matthew’s school. The soil was very ‘clay-like’ and was hard to shovel. We planted the trees so that the kids can have shade when they have class outside. So far we have planted five trees, so we only have to plant three more. Cade and Keith really enjoyed using the pick axe. The holes were about two and one half or three feet wide. We hope these trees will grow very big.

- Danielle and Claire


Today at the school we had to mix up cement for the planter in front of the St.Matthew’s sign. We had to shovel up a lot of rocks and dirt and then pour flour-like cement and then water. We would mix all of the stuff together and then put it in buckets. We carried it over and then poured it into the specific place where it needed to be. Making cement and building this beautiful scenery around the sign makes the school more presentable and with all the flowers, it will be amazing and clean for the children.

- Hayden & Anna

More Painting

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Belize Zoo

Tonight we went to the Belize Zoo. We learned that this is the only zoo in Belize. We saw many interesting animals such as, ocelot, puma, jaguar, eagles, owls, margay, howler monkeys, and a tapir (which happens to be the Belize national animal). We were able to feed the tapir and pet it. We also fed many other animals. We were about a foot away from a puma which we know as the mountain lion or cougar. We petted a jaguar paw through the fence and then he did tricks for us. We also saw a crocodile. The howler monkeys were very loud even though they weigh around 15 pounds. When they howled we were startled. Most of the animals were endangered. The zoo was especially fun at night. We had a great time! 

- Natalie & Keith

Faces of Belize - Volume I

Leadership - Marshmallow Challenge

Our challenge was to make a free-standing tower with string, tape, and uncooked spaghetti noodles. It had to be able to hold a marshmallow on top. Whichever group had the marshmallow the highest won. Some of the groups had success while others didn’t do as well. The winner was the River Dam, which was made by the only group without an American student. The activity taught us team building skills and helped us to develop bonds with the students. At first, all of the Belizean students were very shy, but by the end they were laughing along with us when our towers turned into epic failures. We met lots of new friends, and learned a lot about Belizean culture. 

- Cade and Hannah

Leadership - Reading Buddies

Today, after doing service work and playing with the children at St. Matthews, everyone sat down to read with a specific grade. We read with grades 1st-6th, or Infant 1-2 and Standard 1-4. Also, other groups performed a play and did a leadership activity. Everyone picked out an age appropriate book for their age group. Some groups read the stories to the kids while in some groups the kids read to them. While we read the kids were very attentive and laughed at a lot of the lines in the books. It was a really great feeling when you would finish one book and all the kids would crowd around you wanting you to read another. Once our time was up, it was amazing to see all the kids run up and hug you and ask you for pictures. This was a great opportunity to grow stronger relationships with the kids at St. Matthews. 

- James and Savanah

Leadership - Ms. Peshe's Play

At around 3:00, Grace Ann and I went into a Standard 5, Mrs. Peshe’s class, to do a play. It was called, “The Great Snakeskin.” Grace Ann and I went in all nervous and shy. Once we started to read and act, all of the jitters went away. I was the Watersnake and Grace Ann was the Coramount Queen. It was a lot of fun acting with the kids. We had a lot of extra spots left, so we gave them to other kids in the class. The rest of the kids that didn’t get any roles, so they were the birds' chorus. Miss Little was the narrator. We started with Miss Little introducing the cast and the play. She read and we started acting. I read my lines and the other kids acted so well. They really adapted to their roles. One kid was a parrot. He did a parrot noise before he said his line each time. That shows that they are not afraid to be another person or in this case..... a bird. We did what the play really said to do. We fought if we had to fight and hissed if we had to hiss. It was fun to see the kids laugh at me while I was on the ground dead. At the end, all of the kids had smiles on their faces. You could tell that they had a good time watching and/or acting with us. 

- Maggie

Chairs for Preschool Classes

The new principal at St. Matthew's places great emphasis on group work in the preschool classes. Part of our service at the school is to paint new chairs (built right across the street by a local craftsman) different primary colors so that the kids can be organized into groups quickly and easily. We hope to finish fifty chairs by the end of our project.

- Keith Crowe

Sunday, June 10, 2012

News from Belize

We have arrived safely at Monkey Bay and the kids are currently off exploring, playing basketball, and resting before dinner in an hour or so. After we eat, several groups are going to work on writing blog posts that fill in details of their adventures while at Pine Ridge. Lots to tell. Everyone is having fun and learning lots.


- Keith Crowe


Today we traveled to the Mayan ruins in Xunantunich. Before we got there we passed many shops selling woven bags, pots and vases, and slate carvings. We then took a ferry with a metal hand-crank to power it across the Mopan river. Once on the other side, we stopped for sodas and met our tour guides. We hiked down a hilly road for one mile before reaching the site. Along the way we saw all kinds of ancient Mayan ruins that made up the market place surrounding the major Mayan palace. We saw avocado trees, palm nuts which had oil that could be extracted for cooking, bananas, and the “tourist tree” which had flaky reddish-brown bark and represented the peeling and burnt skin of a tourist when they come to Belize. We also saw wild okra while walking towards the palace. The palace was four-sided, one being the side where the sun came up, and another being the side where the sun set. The steps of the palace were steep and narrow which made it easy to fall, but luckily no one did. Surprisingly it didn’t take long to reach the top. Once we got there people were afraid to look down but eventually they did and we all couldn’t believe the amazing view.

- Julia and Connor

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Cashew

The devil was convinced that he could create something as wonderful as God so he made the cashew tree. When he showed off his new creation, God asked, "How is it going to reproduce? You left out the seed." So the devil responded by sticking the seed, as an afterthought, underneath the yellow fruit.

The seeds of the cashew have toxic oils in them and must be roasted over fire to release them. It is a dangerous process likely accounting for the high cost that we see in the States.

- Keith Crowe

Five Sisters

Today we went to Five Sisters Waterfalls. To get there you go down 306 steps. They get their name because there are five different waterfalls going into pools of water. There are two pools: a higher pool and a lower pool. We enjoyed swimming in both of them. While we were at Five Sisters, we did an activity where you only get a piece of paper and four paper clips. You make a paper boat to see how many Belize coins your boat can hold up while floating in the water. The best boat held about seven coins. By the end of our activity we enjoyed some delicious ice cream.

- Elizabeth and Grace Ann

Spiders, Spiders, Everywhere!

Hello from Belize! This afternoon before dinner, we walked out of our cabins and saw Chester, one of our tour guides, holding a huge tarantula. At first, most girls freaked out when they heard he found it behind our cabins... and it was a tarantula. Everyone was very hesitant to hold it, except Cade. After about two minutes, Claire offered to be the second to hold it. She said it was like a hand massage, now she says she is not half as scared to hold tarantula. Next to hold it was Danielle, she almost started crying, but she was not the only one. Hayden and Rachel and Bri, our photographer, were probably the most scared out of everyone who held it. Chester said that the tarantula was probably a 20 year old female. He said that female tarantulas can live up to 40 years, and males die about 6 months after they reproduce. We named it Randy. Cade, being the “outdoorsy” person he is, decided that he would like to put the tarantula on his head... so chester set the tarantula on his head. After Cade put it on his head, Claire, Danielle, and Hayden decided they wanted to put it on their heads also. It felt awesome when it crawled down your arm. It was a really cool experience to hold and handle a tarantula.

- Danielle and Claire