Washington Elementary students in Boise conducted a school supply drive for the children of Bella Vista Primary school. Here are some pictures of our team carrying in the supplies from Washington we brought down. Tory, seen below also brought a load of books from family and church friends.
Here's the stash of supplies we provided, thanks Washington Elementary and the McAlvains. One of the things we have seen spending time in classes is the extreme shortage of school supplies. For example, most children are using small remnants of pencils. Erasers are a luxury.
In Belize, the Government provides funding for only teacher salary. All books, school supplies, maintenance, paying electricity and water must be generated by the school. At Bella Vista each student is required to pay $10 US for the school year as registration. Principal Ovado tells me that about 1/2 of the families can actually afford to pay that amount. As you can imagine school supplies such as pencils, erasers, paper, glue are in very short supply.
I promised a picture of our main project site. Here it is. You are looking at the pre-K, Kindergarden building. It's one of the newest buildings at Bella Vista. It was completed 4 years ago. This is where you will see a playground for the kinders magically appear in the next couple days. If you look closely, you can see some of the holes that the group dug yesterday.
That's Ben carrying a 90lb bag of cement. That's more than most of the children weigh at the school. Ben was the project manager for the AM construction crew.
Kirsten showing Caia how to plumb an end post.
A great production system of placing poles, placing buckets of mortar, then plumbing. More on the buckets of mortar in a minute.
Caia still plumbing.
At recess, the AM work crew stood 'guard' on the fence posts. We didn't want the school children leaning or pulling on the polls. That would require Caia to re-plum. Oh yeah, look... it's Darren juggling again!
Now back to the mortar. Here you can see Daryn mixing sand and cement. The mortar was prepared on the ground. We did not have gravel to add to the mix so we made a field change to mortar for setting the poles. Preparing the mortar on the ground should make up for the laughs Cody (in black shirt) and I received when we asked for the pre-mixed bags of concrete at the hardware store. "Pre-mix?, you must be from the US"
Darren and Cody mixing the sand/cement into a mortar. The mortar was carried in the white buckets you see to fill the post holes.
With posts placed, plumbed and holes filled with a mortar mix. The team began working on the class garden portion of the playground. Here Drew and Caia are seen seen beginning work on placing block. This was a re-design from our original design. The path you can see was placed in 2008 by a group of students from Virginia Tech. We are going to place the garden between the building and the first row of block. The second row of block is removed and will be placed on top of the first row to create the garden box. So, we are saving $$ and reusing existing materials.
Placing the second course of block for the garden.
Another "no helmet" sighting. I'm going to use this as a "when in Rome" example in the PM blog.
Now to the Classrooms
Here is Ms. Marin's class. 4th/5th Graders at Washington elementary in Boise wrote pen pal letters to their counterparts in Bella Vista. We presented the letters this morning to the teachers of the 4th graders in Bella Vista.
Here is Tara showing the class a picture of Ms. Hausley's class from Washington elementary. Tara then handed out the letters... the first was from Ms. Housley to Ms. Marin.
Ms. Marin reading her letter to her class. She was in agreement with Ms. Housley's comment that as a teacher she had to be VERY patient.
Tara presented letters to each child in the class
Here's an example of one of the letters from Washington elementary.
Here's Yesenia reading her letter from Gwen Hadzor to her class.
Tory and Nathan were in Ms. Alvarez's class to present the letters
Tory helping a student read his letter
A letter from Finley Butler
Nathan helping students read their letters. After reading their letters, Ms. Alvarez's class wrote letters to their new pen pals at Washington Elementary. Tory and Nathan helped the students write their return letters.
Ms. Alvarez's class
The letter scene was repeated in Ms. Bull's class. Scott VanKleek's 4th graders wrote to Ms. Bull's class. Each letter was accompanied by a hand made bracelet. This picture shows Sara helping students with their letters.
A return letter ready to head back to Boise. It's hard to see but this letter includes a heart w/ "I Love You" written inside.
The orange letters were from Scott's class in Boise, many of the Bella Vista students wrote their return letters on the back of the received letters (a good example of lack of paper at the school... also a great example of sustainability)
Here's a classroom's water supply. Students fill the white buckets from a water source put in the school 2 years ago by Water Missions International. They then use the water for drinking as well as washing their hands (in the green bucket)
Here's Kirsten washing her hands for lunch (good role model Kirsten). Note the water being poured from a pan.
After a great morning working on the playground and in the classrooms we take a break for lunch.
That's our morning... more later on the DAY 2 PM post