Oasis Schools

stories from the schoolrooms in Belize

Washing Up April 4, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Heather @ 6:00 am

We decided we should add chores to our daily schedule. They don’t each have one every day, but at least a few times a week. I think this chore has quickly escalated to the top of the list. Gladys was uncontrollable giggles, while Nigel couldn’t stop snickering. I asked them to “wash up”, as they say here, the blocks and potato head toys. We added a little purple flash, lavender scented, to the bottom of the bucket, tossed in the toys, and they scrubbed. I forgot to give them the red and white marbled dishrags, so I’m wondering if instead of washing up they deposited the dirt from their fingers onto the toys. When I realized my mistake, it was too late, and they had already scrubbed every block with their skinny little fingers. We tossed them all into a basket and rinsed with the pipe water. Can you see the two different shades of yellow on their shirts? It’s because the pipe decided to attack us, and we were all dripping wet. Good thing it has been close to 100 each day for the last week and this was a welcomed relief! Cheers for washing up!!


You want to race? April 3, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Heather @ 6:00 am

We went from race to race, had been practicing for the full week ahead of time. Still, MIss Jolene had to carry someone across the line! This was a favorite race though, as they laughed so hard they could barely keep hold of their partners legs. The partners on the ground had trouble keeping their laughing faces up from the ground; it takes real strength you know to control laughter. I don’t think there was a single winner for this, or the lime and spoon, or the hopping, or the running, or the three-legged race, or any of them really- but there were winning smiles  from every one of the students, parents, and teachers who participated.

It was a hot Friday morning, and Miss Nicole- a parent volunteer, spent 2 hours cutting up the fresh pineapple, oranges, papaya, bananas and watermelon parents brought. I’m pretty sure we took as many breaks as we had races, and it was all worth it. Afterwards, some of the students, and two mothers Yanira and Sonja and I stepped up to play a game of futbol (soccer). I swear the field grew bigger than I ever knew it was in a matter of seconds. Yanira was calling out my name “Heather, Heather” with a sincere urgency, as if I wasn’t running fast enough to reach the ball on time. But in the end our team scored 4 goals- so I think that’s pretty good!

Cousins Ana and Yesenia were quite the pair of three-legged racers int heir matching shirts! You go girls!


Oasis School- Cultural Day! April 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Heather @ 6:14 am

Miss Vanessa- Creole

Miss Karina- East Indian

Miss Jolene- Traditional Indian

Miss Tiffany- Garifuna

Miss Heather- Mennonite

What a day of food, fun, and families from our school. Our outfits, if you could call them that, were indeed the talk of the day!

We all gathered to celebrate the cultural groups students spent the past month learning about. Many children came all decked out and were especially happy when their songs, and lines were completed and it was time to share in the food!


Precious March 31, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Heather @ 3:20 pm

I was checking to see how the independent work went in their prayer journals, as Miss Vanessa and I worked with reading groups. One little girl blessed me so much with her precious entry…

Jesus please help Mis spelk kdn wrd te erewun to me. (Jesus, please help Mia speak kind words to everyone and to me.)

It is common we ask Jesus to help our friends, or mom or someone who is sick. This is the first of many journals I looked at that had such insight, and melted my heart. They really understand what it means to “pray in everything.”

I love this and know Jesus hears these prayers.


Out of Nowhere March 16, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Heather @ 12:45 pm

They became stuck like glue. Occasionally they had chosen to sit together, but this was an unusual day. “Miss Heather, I saved a spot for Adrian.” Elbia commented. “Miss Heather, look I da hold Elbia’s hand,” Adrian responded. I said “OK.”

So we sat in morning meeting, while they held hands and talked.

We went to class and Elbia helped Adrian find the right page. Adrian made sure he smiled and said thanks. Next thing I know they are sitting together at snack and Elbia is handing him some snack to share.

Later in the day they worked together to finish their math and just as quick as they became stuck like glue, they were unstuck again. It was really quite precious the way they were looking out for one another. Maybe next time it’ll last longer….


Let’s Go!! March 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Heather @ 9:59 am

Friday was La Ruta Maya…A day were you awake early in the am, place a “sweater” (long sleeve shirt) on and pile in the truck to go watch the start of a three day race. Many train for months for this event, and some even enter from other countries like Japan and America. Three people make up each team and they ride in a dory. Essentially it is a lightweight wooden canoe like boat, carved out of tree trunks. Some have become more modern I admit. They prepare by stuffing the boats with snacks, many had bananas and granola bars. There were teams from high schools, fruit growing companies, and businesses alike. This year there were less in the crowd, which meant I could see clearly through others heads as we stood on the wooden bridge to watch the start of the race. They had let the dam go and there was water rushing underneath, which meant only a few boats tipped this year as they passed under the wooden bridge. It was over in a matter of seconds, but so worth the early morning rise….

Thankfully I got to experience this year’s race twice! Miss Vanessa and Miss Jolene agreed we could take a walking field trip. How Fun! I bribed the dogs with some food and locked them in the house. The girls single filed behind Miss Vanessa, while Miss Jolene lead the boys and I picked up the back of the line. We marched out the gate, hung a right, and a next right down the crushed stone driveway to our neighbors property. We walked all the way down to the hillside so we could overlook the river. How awesome!

We settled the students on the edge of the hill, and I’m pretty sure they had inched their bottoms further down by the end of our half hour there. The girls mostly stayed together on the right side or huddled back on Miss Jolene’s blanket under her umbrella. The sun was HOT HOT HOT as the Belizeans say. We reached just in time for the leading boats to pass. Wow what excitement. Next bunch of duries came and the cheering began again “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, woohoooo!!!” It was accompanied by a steady clap. For thirty minutes we stood and sat and cheered. The kids loved it!!! So did we…


Two Peas in a Pod March 3, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Heather @ 3:40 pm

Mavrick and Shelton, Shelton and Mavrick. Wherever one goes, the other goes with.

They are really quite a pair. Both began the year as quiet students. Mavrick stemming from a painfully shy family of children, and Shelton never having been in school before. The quietness has so left the school! Well at least Shelton’s. Both have built up some courage and boldness and I think they are enjoying figuring out their personalities and just how special and unique they each are.

Mavrick and Shelton had been “banned” (a gentle ban of course) from sitting together during class time generally speaking, but during Bible and book time Miss Jolene and I often make exceptions to our own rules. They are so hysterical together, that you can’t help but listen and be amazed!

Today I ran in to watch the Infant 1 class, while Miss Jolene stepped out for a minute. They were all sitting in the curved plastic chairs, red, green, blue and purple; while holding their Dr. Seuss board books. They have been practcing reading these for the past month, but since they technically don’t know all their letters yet, they are just making up words and repeating the teacher at this point. But, hey that’s how reading starts!

Mavrick is sitting quietly, flipping through the pages, and keeps stealing a sideways eye glance at Shelton. Shelton is on his right, reading away. The thing that got me was his enthusaism. In Infat 2, I have taught them there are three ways to read a book: 1- read the words 2- read the pictures 3- retell the story. Obviously, the goal is to read the words, but we aren’t quite there yet. So I hear Shelton repeating some phrases he has heard his teacher read in the story….and then in declare in exclamation some phrases of his very own! “They play bat on the wall. Swing the BAT!” and the next page… “NOOOOO Don’t sit there!!!” With the perfect voice intonation and everything. I was in shock! The page actually reads something like… “Sit on Pop. They jump on Pop. NO don’t jump there!”

It was a priceless moment indeed. When Miss Jolene returned to the classroom I shared with her the joy of watching the two together. she reminded me how they play together at recess everyday, and if the other isn’t there it is as if they are in a period of mourning, walking the school yard with a head hung in sadness that their other pea in the pod is missing! She also told me that yesterday she asked Mavrick to ask Shelton to be quiet. They were working near one another, and Shelton was just talking and talking and talking! Shelton has the high pitched voice and it sort of squeaks, for real- not an exaggeration- when he speaks. He has these big brown eyes that just look at you…”Shelton, Shelton, Shelton, please be quiet Shelton.” Miss Jolene had tried several attempts to encourage silence. When Mavrick opened his mouth he said these words “Shelton, shut-up boy, shut-up!” in a QUIET controlled voice and with a smile! Now before you all go commenting on the allowance of shut-up, I will share a few things about that word here.

Yes, I continue to urge my students to use the words Be Quiet, knowing it sounds much nicer and is less insulting. However, shut-up is used here almost as the serious, stern way of saying be quiet. Everyone knows what it means business and the children really do respond to one another of their older siblings when being scolded in this way. Not that I am recommending it, but it was another instance of these two peas in a pod shining, because Shelton’s face was flooded with a grin and he just started giggling, that’s another thing he loves to do.

When I see them on the church bus, or at the bus stop, or even as I pass the village, their moms are always hailing me and asking, “does he like school?” I don’t think they believe me when I tell them how much they love it- they are just two peas in a pod and they couldn’t be happier!