Thursday, July 2, 2009
A big thank you to you all for your contribution at La Democracia and please know that this is a gift that will keep on giving in the years to come. Remember, you can always be involved here in the years to come. All the best to you this summer and beyond! -Christopher John Lindstrom
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
These past two days we have traveled to an island paradise called Tobacco Caye by boat and snorkeled in the Caribbean sea, but that would be a huge understatement. On the simple boat ride from the city of Dandriga we saw many dolphins that circled around our boat. When we arrived at the island it was paradise from the clear, blue waters to the soft sand that we desired most of us wanted to call it home forever. Our cabins were small and not fancy but that was not important because amazing snorkel spots and many snack shops that had everything we ever wanted surrounded the island.
Before snorkeling, we visited the Smithsonian Institute field station on one of the neighboring audience. Snorkeling was like going into a whole new world under the waves. There were many exotic sea creatures and coral kingdoms. The barracuda was the coolest thing we saw it was huge probably over 3 or 4 feet long with razor-sharp teeth. Three to four feet long does not sound like much but when you are in the water it is the biggest thing out there except for you. The barracuda swam at the top of the sea it had grey scales and a big mouth. We had lunch on the beach and took a little swim to rest. To top it off the end of the days we all walk over to the pier and watch the gorgeous sunset.
We had an amazing time on the island and now are ready for a long day of travel. We can't wait to see you all and we have had a great experience and many stories to tell!!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
I spoke with Chris Lindstrom, WLS instructor, who told me the group had a wonderful first day in Tobacco Caye. They learned how to snorkel in the incredible shallow-water coral reefs that start right at Tobacco Caye's dock. They then ran through Marketplace of Ideas, an activity that challenges students to come up with innovative solutions to a key challenge. In this case, the students were challenged with the following questions: how do we make this experience sustainable? How do we continue this cross-cultural relationship with Democracia School after we return to Graland? They also had a wonderful meal and enjoyed a Caribbean sunset. Tomorrow the students will head to the Smithsonian Center and continue to explore Belize's reefs. It is likely the group will not make any further updates until returning to Denver, as there is no internet access on Tobacco Caye. We are so proud of the work the Graland students have done -- they have been a fantastic, and very mature group of students and have been extraordinary ambassadors for Graland.
Friday, June 12, 2009
To complete our work and benefit the students and community
We finished what we set out to do. We benefitted the community by offering them a place to eat. The meals are critical because it’s difficult to learn when you are hungry.
To put how lucky we are in perspective
It definitely did. The back flips they were doing in the dirt were amazing. The one store they have is in a house and we have many grocery stores in walking distance. They only have a few items in their schoolyard (e.g. swings) and we have many options. They are able to enjoy themselves like we do, but they do not have as many resources. Their lives are good and they have many talents (e.g. 14 back flips in a row, building skills, etc.). We aren’t better than them.
To give back to the community of Belize
We did this by building the part of the dining facility (i.e. the knee wall). We gave them school supplies. We also played with them and watched their gymnastic skills.
To make four new friends. To get to know one of the school kids and establish a friendship
Check. Everyone made new friends. What broke the barrier for us was playing soccer and basketball with them on the first day. There were also instances where we introduced ourselves and then played other games with them (e.g. hopscotch, cards, etc). Even on their day off, they chose to participate in the building with us.
We will have a good attitude when we work in the village
We didn’t complain even though we were tired and sweaty. The breaks were needed. We had motivation because the community needed the building.
To make a change in one life
“I made a big change by building them a place to eat and making friendships.” We changed all of the kids’ lives with the dining space.
They made a difference in our lives by giving us the opportunity to do something for them. It was a gift being able to give to them.
Hey parents, siblings and Mrs. Kuhn,
The Belize trip is amazing and today didn’t disappoint any of us. After washing our laundry we packed up sunscreen and got ready to go back to La Democracia for half a day to finish our “knee wall”(which ended up being a waist wall). All of the local kids pitched in and helped us work. It showed all of us how much they appreciated what we were doing. We formed relationships with all of they kids. We saw them doing phenomenal back flips and other gymnastic moves. They tried to teach us but it didn’t work that well so we taught them how to play cards. We also played with a baby brown dove that fell out of its nest. The kids’ bright smiles definitely lit up the rest of our day. After leaving La Democracia, we got ready for a three-hour canoe trip down the Sibun River. We got our canoe groups and dipped in for a swim. Then we were ready. We went down a small rapid with a hard turn at the end and then we were off. The trip was fantastic! All along the way we stopped to cool off and swim in the river. In the final stretch, all of the canoe groups had a race to the finish. Today was awesome and we made amazing friendships. What more can you ask for?
Connor and Rachel