Sunday, September 5, 2010

September, School, and Sweating (and Alliteration!)


Glorious greetings to you!
(There's pictures down below, don't worry)

Thanks for traveling far on the net of inter to visit my humble blog. I hope all is well in your world and you haven’t been washed away by the hurricane.

No hurricanes down in Belize, though nightly thunderstorms roll across the ocean and often bombard PG with crazy winds, rain, and good ol’ thunder and lightning. It is always entertaining to see people start sprinting for cover when the rain starts. Belizeans believe that the rain makes you sick, so they avoid it like the plague.

Anywho, this was the first week of school for all elementary students in the country. The uniform that is being made for me is not yet ready, so I had to show up not in the proper attire. Not that I don’t stand out already or anything. There are 958 students at St. Peter Claver School with 48 teachers. There are no other white teachers, one Japanese volunteer named Kay who runs the computer lab, and two white students that are born and raised in Belize and speak great Kriol.

Wednesday was the first day of school, so I got up, ate some breakfast, then made the epic 20 second commute to the library. After opening up all the windows in hope of a breeze to give me some air, I found a book and started to read. My goal is to read all the young adult novels in the library, so I’m starting at “A” and working my way down the alphabet. For anyone looking for a good book, Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott is wonderful. I’m keeping a book diary where I write up a little review and good quotes, so hopefully I should have a pretty good notebook worth of books by the end of two years. Being the first day, no kids dropped into the library in the morning, as they were eager to get to class. The first bell for the students is at 8:30, when they have to be in the classrooms. At around 10:15, there is a 15 minute break for the students, where they proceed to run around, get snacks, or come amuse themselves in the library. Kids would walk in, glance at me, then wander around, taking various books off the shelves and, of course, leaving them scattered about. One kid came in and started telling me a story and has proceeded to tell me a new story every day. He is quite funny. There have some regulars already, especially the ones I help with their homework. There is a lunch break from 11:30 to 1:00 (not shabby). School gets out at 2:30 for the younger divisions and 3:30 for the older kids. I have to keep the library until 5:00, so lots of kids come in at the end of the day to read and do their homework. I feel like a genius helping some of them. It is great to be old and wise working with elementary school kids.

On the first day, one of the vice principles came in to ask me how I was doing. I said fine, though I was unsure when I should approach the teachers about finding kids for the reading program. She then told me that this week was a three day week, next week there is no school Thursday or Friday, then the two weeks after that are four day weeks. Since there is little time coming up, the teachers won’t be sending me anyone for the reading program for a while. Thus she told me to relax, though relaxing alone in a library all day can be quite tedious. Much of my relaxing time has been spent making library cards. I found out that this is my duty. I didn’t let any kids check books out this past week because the cards hadn’t been made yet, though I promised that by Monday they could get a book. Students can check out one book at a time for one week. Sadly, making 800 odd cards by hand is quite unpleasant. I’m 400 in right now. On Monday I will be visiting every class to introduce myself, tell the students about the library, then pass out the cards. There will probably be a big rush at the end of school to get books, so this might be my last post. Until after my full body cast is removed that is.

Apart from the entertainment the students have provided me in the library, this week was pretty boring. I went on a sweet bike ride yesterday, during which I took many picture, found great sea glass, and biked far back into the jungle as I had strength for. It was a great Saturday adventure. Afterwards, I helped our Jamaican neighbor and head of the fishing co-op, Tony, in how to convert meters to feet. Perhaps I shall become a math teacher, though the use of a calculator that isn’t on a phone would have been nicer.

I met a man who is managing the money for the new computer lab being built at the school. He is originally from New York, but has lived in Belize for over 50 years with his wife, who was in the first Peace Corp year in 1962. He works with Rotary Clubs to raise money for projects and suggested I contact them to get funds for fixing up the library. On the back of his business card was a wonderful mini-bio:

Andre Lopez

A man of pleasure, enterprise, wit, and spirit.
A lover of fine wines and banjo picking music.
-Rare books and fine art-
Bullfighting, Cockfighting, and Revolutions,
A champion of the underdog,
Lost and unpopular causes.
It was a great business card.

Today is St. Peter Claver feast day, so there is a big hooplah at the church. I hope to eat much food and to enjoy the lovely people.

Here are some pictures. I hope they amuse you as much as my words.

Thanks for taking some time to visit and read about my sometimes interesting life.
Stay well. Come again. Bring friends.

First day of school!!! This is the outside of one of the main buildings of St. Peter Claver.
Kids super pumped to be coming into my library. That is their uniform.
Playing football (the original) at the school.

The dark shapes on the horizon are Honduras on the left and Guatemala on the right.

A nice flower in our yard.

What is this you say? Why, those are awesome red ants carrying leaves to their ant hole.

And a very long line of ants it is.
Cool dugout hanging out next to the water.

Sunrise over Punta Gorda.

Pretty flower in the jungle.

Lightning! I've been trying to capture it on camera for a week or two now and finally I got a few pictures the other night.

Hey! It's me! I'm alive! It's not someone that is pretending to me writing this stuff.
Thanks for visiting!!!
(sorry about the beard for those of you who don't approve. It'll be gone soon, don't you worry. Unless I dred it...)


  1. I have a couple comments about your pictures... I love the beard. you should ABSOLUTELY dred it. also, your picture of sunrise in PG looks an awful lot like my current FB profile picture of sunrise in PG! I miss you Jer. I hope teaching is going well. keep up with the blog!

  2. jerio

    your beard looks beautiful on your beautiful face.

    i miss you dog.

    blog blog blog