CTurner's Travel Journals


  • 26 years old
  • From California, United States
  • Currently in California, United States


A blog of my adventures while studying in San Ignacio, Belize.

The Clever Kids of Cristo Rey

Belize San Ignacio, Belize  |  Feb 17, 2011
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 They are hanging from the monkey bars and singing from the swings. The warm breeze ruffles the girls maroon school dresses and billows through the boys loose white canvas shirts 


Cristo Rey R.C. School

            They are hanging from the monkey bars and singing from the swings.  The warm breeze ruffles the girls maroon school dresses and billows through the boys loose white canvas shirts as they bounce around the playground.  It’s lunch break at Cristo Rey and judging by the shouts and laughs from the playground, the kids are loving it.  A few weeks ago a volunteer group put a swing set up in the play area, and the kids cannot get enough of it. 

            Once lunch hour is over some of the kids will split into elective groups for one hour.  I am hoping that I will get to see all six shimmering faces that I had last week for creative writing.  I have never taught a class like this before, but they needed a volunteer to fill the spot, so I agreed to give it a shot.  And so far, I love it. 

            Cristo Rey is a small village not far from San Ignacio, but the bumpy unpaved road is scarcely traveled, which gives the village a distant feel.  Let me explain this distant feel a little more.  Winsom took some of the teenagers to a restaurant in San Ignacio for a special treat.  Some of them were taking a long time in the bathroom, and they finally discovered the children did not know how to flush the toilet.  These children had only used outhouses in the village and never encountered such an advanced piece of plumbing.  Another volunteer was shocked that almost none of the children had ever seen the ocean.  It’s less than a three hour bus ride, but the families cannot afford the expense (about $3.50 US). Only two children in that group had been as far as the capital city, Belmopan, which is less than an hour away from the village.  

For one of my ProWorld projects I will go to Cristo Rey each Thursday to help the Winsom Foundation.  This non-profit organization is run by Mrs. Winsom, who is an African artist most recently from Canada.  She has a strong personality, and an amazing heart for introducing the children of this small village to the arts.  She runs an after school art club for the students, and brings people in to the school to teach weekly electives like drama, crochet, painting, and creative writing.  Right now she and the students are spending a lot of time preparing for the “Festival of Lights” which will be an art festival in March.  The proceeds from this festival will go towards scholarships for children of the village.

            Last week I had six students for creative writing and we introduced ourselves using alliterative adjectives.  So I, (Cheerful Carrie) was blessed by the energy and smiles of Active Aniarie, Delicious Deborah, Brave Brandon, Joyful Jean, Rambunctious Richard, and Responsible Ronnell.  They range from Standard 4 to Standard 6, which is equivalent, to 6th- 8th grade in the US.

After the bell rings today we will meet in the library for our second lesson.  I was planning to introduce them to a thesaurus today, but despite the library’s large selection I couldn’t find a thesaurus.  So, I changed my lesson plan a bit, and now we will hopefully get to read the first part of Roald Dahl’s Isio Trot (unfortunately, The BFG, is too long).  Today we will also talk more about the newsletter that Mrs. Winsom has asked our class to produce for the school.  Hopefully each student brainstormed titles for the newsletter because it was there first assignment and I am excited to hear the ideas.

             It seems like time is passing more quickly here, and the last week has held many noteworthy events, that perhaps I will write about later.  But for now, it is off to the library!

… 5 hours later: Perhaps I was over ambitious for class today, I spent a lot of time trying to quiet and re-focus the students.  My ambitions for the class were somewhat larger than the collective attention span. While we didn’t get far into the lesson plan, we did agree on a name for the newsletter: Culture: A Newsletter by the Students of Cristo Rey.

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