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Entries about belize

Kristie's Blog

International Service Learning Program in Belize 2013

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The trip kicked off with a great group of people excited to board our plane from Halifax to Newark. Upon arrival to the airport, we discovered our flight was cancelled due to weather conditions. Go figure, Nova Scotia weather is so predictable eh? That did not stop us from being positive as we embraced the change and ended up on our way to Houston Texas, yeehaw!

When we landed in Belize City of course, my luggage was nowhere to be found. Lost luggage did not get me down, I thought it would make a good story in the end so all I could do was laugh! We experienced an interesting 5 hour bus ride as we got to know each other pretty quickly while we were crammed into a van like a bunch of marshmallows, it was awesome. Once we got to PG we jumped into our work full force. Half of the group went to Hillside Health Centre to shadow professionals in their field of study, while the other half travelled to the local schools in the community to teach about health and hygiene. Each group spent a week in the community schools, as well as a week at the Hillside Health Centre. My experience in local schools was amazing. I was so excited to incorporate my field of study (Therapeutic Recreation) into the education sessions with the children. I was able to bring forward some recreation activities to help demonstrate proper hand washing techniques in a fun way. I facilitated activities involving paints, basketballs and games. I learned a lot about methods used in Belize in regards to hygiene, sanitation practices, as well as the education system. Working at Hillside Health Centre provided me the opportunity to shadow medical students, and work closely with Physiotherapy students and faculty. I gained exposure to a variety of populations across a range of settings. I was fortunate to experience visiting patients in their homes and I was able to assess the patient in their environment and use resources available to within their home.

As a student, I am thrilled that during this service learning experience, we worked in both clinical and community based settings. I feel this combination helped to expand our exposure and knowledge regarding the methods and systems used here in Belize. I feel that through this experience I have grown both personally and professionally. In doing so I have improved my ability to be adaptable, effective communication skills, as well as being culturally competent. This experience will last a lifetime, as I will apply what I have learned to future experiences throughout my life. I have met many amazing people here in Belize, and everyone is so friendly and inviting. There is a true sense of community here in Punta Gorda, and I recommend everyone to experience it for themselves. I love PG!

This experience has been unbelizable!

Kristie Greeno
Therapeutic Recreation Student
NSCC, Waterfront Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 08:01 Archived in Belize Tagged education belize nova_scotia study_abroad service_learning Comments (0)

Amy's Blog

International Service Learning Program in Belize 2013

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After finally making it to Punta Gorda we were off at a fast pace as far as Belizean standards go! After arriving the previous evening we began work the following morning. My first week was to be at Hillside Health Care International.

I followed a wonderful doctor who volunteered her time at HHCI as a physical therapist. She had so much patience and truly provided me an educational experience. While working at HHCI did not fully relate to my field of study (Therapeutic Recreation) I did have a chance to put some of my skills to work by doing home visits to the PT clients and also facilitating bingo at a medication awareness program for seniors. I was also able to be resourceful and create some sensory bottles for mothers with developmentally delayed babies for HHCI to use.

While on the home visits I was truly able to appreciate what I have in my life in Canada. While I cannot say that the lacking material possessions or health caused the residents of PG to be less happy. Many of the houses I visited took great pride in their homes, and their possessions reflected the importance of family and community relationships. While visiting residents homes in the area I tried to “shut off” my Canadian lens and look at their lives with no bias; what I found is that material items do not have a correlation to one’s happiness.

During my time in the schools was very memorable. We visited local schools to provide education to the children regarding hand washing and oral hygiene. This definitely took me out of my comfort zone and ended up being such a great experience. The kids are very loving and respectful; always calling me “Miss”. Recess was a great time to interact with the children and we were lucky to have a few games of soccer with the children and I would be lying if I said I didn’t love being able to run faster than someone!

Another great learning moment for me was from the sense of community here. This town has a lot of much needed international help so it is common to see many different ethnic groups here. I felt completely welcomed to this town and the kindness of an east coaster has nothing on those who live in Punta Gorda. Every evening it was commonplace to have locals say goodnight to you as you walked home from supper-this doesn’t happen back home! Many cars honk their horn at pedestrians here which is for safety unlike the meaning it possesses home!

Amy Crowe
Therapeutic Recreation Student
NSCC, Waterfront Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 08:01 Archived in Belize Tagged education belize nova_scotia study_abroad service_learning Comments (2)

Tony's Blog

International Service Learning Program in Belize 2013

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This trip has really been an eye-opening experience for me. I haven't had many opportunities to travel like this, so seeing a new part of the world has been huge for me. The work I've done at the Hillside clinic has been some of the most rewarding I've done since I started in the field, and it really makes you realize what you take for granted at home. The cramped pharmacy at the clinic and their limited supply of medications and supplies forces you to push what you have to the absolute limit. It's clear that this area is in need of better quality health care, and I'm so glad to have been a part of their team.

Our work at the schools has been another great experience. Having the opportunity to go into the classrooms and spend some time with the students has given me a much greater understanding of the health resources they have. Many of the schools haven't been the nicest looking places, but everyone there loves it and they are all so thankful for what they have.

This trip has been a fantastic opportunity for me so far and I can't wait to see what the rest of it will bring.

Anthony Micallef
Pharmacy Technology Student
NSCC, Waterfront Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 09:16 Archived in Belize Tagged education belize nova_scotia health pharmacy study_abroad service_learning Comments (0)

Anne's Blog

International Service Learning Program in Belize 2013

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As we drive to Hillside clinic each day we pass a tree called the flamboyant tree. It has beautiful orange-red blossoms on a bed of green. It is growing on land that is dry and burnt from lack of rain next to houses that are shacks by our standards. It grows unexpectedly and flourishes despite adversity and its beauty never fails to amaze me.

That has been my impression of the Health and Human services students from NSCC.They started as strangers,unsure of themselves and others and have blossomed into mature young men and women. They have endured long delays at airports,a hot an crowded 6 hour bus ride,intense heat and a dry swimming pool.They have tackled new challenges like the heat, close quarters with virtual strangers and new foods(fry jacks) with enthusiasm.They have thrown themselves into new situations like the Toledo schools and Hillside clinic with little trepidation and a lot of passion,eager to teach and learn at the same time.They have offered shoulders to cry on and encouragement and praise for jobs well done.They have truly been like the flamboyant tree, strong, beautiful and an unexpected pleasure .Well done guys and gals.

Anne Schleit
Continuing Care Assistant Faculty
NSCC, Burridge Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 09:12 Archived in Belize Tagged education belize nova_scotia health study_abroad service_learning Comments (0)

Nicole P's Blog

International Service Learning Program in Belize 2013

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As I sit on the balcony at the hotel in Punta Gorda around 8 pm I can listen to the children playing and laughing down in the town and it reminds me of the laughing I got to hear from a 13 year old patient with Cerebral Palsy who was fitted for his very first wheel chair. The volunteers at the Hillside Clinic spoke directly to the boy while working with him. It was wonderful to see the smile and hear the laughing come from the boy as they fitted the wheel chair to his body. The clinic also tried to use resources they know the family can get. They suggested using rolled up cloth or towels to use by his legs until he got use to the wheel chair to avoid sores on his legs and sides. The excitement on his father’s face as he wheeled his son out of the clinic rather than carrying him was a bonus as well. Seeing this brought tears to my eyes as I study in the disability supports field.

This experience has taught me to appreciate the things we take for granted back at home such as the supports persons with disabilities can receive back at home. I also got to take part in home visits with an occupational therapist. Most of the people here have greeted me with a smile as I walk throughout the town. Every person we went to see was happy to have new faces enter their home. I have also learned on this service learning program to not underestimate people and to go into people’s houses with an open mind and to watch my non-verbal communication because life here is much different than in Canada. This will be a valuable tool to have back home as well.

Nicole Peel
Disability Support Services Student
NSCC, Kingstec Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 14:01 Archived in Belize Tagged education belize nova_scotia health study_abroad service_learning disability_support Comments (0)

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