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Christmas Party

Twas the Friday before Christmas and all through the school…

A photo essay with a few words of explanation thrown in here and there.

christmas party-5The Christmas tree was assembled last week and decorated this week.

Oops, the recycle bin is in the foreground.

christmas party christmas party-2

A few scholarly activities at the beginning of the day, just because we are a party-6


Then a little computer party-9


christmas party-11The food vendor came by as he does every day. Normally we purchase a morning snack but today we let the students also visit the vendor a buy their own snack if they wanted to.





Wilmington Yearly Meeting made a project out of sending Christmas cards. christmas party-17 christmas party-16 christmas party-15They had asked for our class list, so each student received cards with his or her name on them. Very cool. We heard a couple of students commenting that they didn’t believe that the cards were actually sent from the states so Ms Darcel showed them the US mail priority box. Argument settled.  Thank you Wilmington.


christmas party-19

We appreciate all the donors who sent money for the health kits. Each student received a large fluffy towel with his or her name embroidered on it. Wrapped inside the towel was a gallon baggie with a bar of soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, deoderant, etc.

This is the only Christmas gift some of our students will receive, so thanks again.

christmas party-4Oh, and by the way, it’s all work and no play, I tell you. We are serious about this. There a lot of work to do. No time for frivolity here, nosiree.




One more time, your support of the work here is important.  Have I mentioned that before?

The Banners


banner story-7




Each year FUM asks the various ministries for a wish list.  The list is maintained in case anyone might call and ask if there is something particular that they could help with.  Western Yearly Meeting is very good, each year, to ask what is on the wish list.

This fall, we had placed a new banner on our wish list.  Western Yearly Meeting Outreach Board adopted this project and promised the $300 for the new sign.

Creative Marketing is a company a block and a half west of the school where we get our school uniform shirts screen-printed. I asked if they made banners, gave them the 2′ X 5′ dimensions, explained that it was for Friends School and started to say, “Bridging the gap…” The lady waiting on me nodded and finished the sentence. “between poverty and possibilities.”  Guess they know us.

I went back a week later to approve the design and told them that the purchase had been approved.  A couple weeks later the money had been sent and the banners were ready-but I wasn’t.  It would take a while to find the time to put them up on the entryway.

One Friday I announced that we would be working on the entryway sign the next morning if anyone wanted to come. Calbert asked, “Extra credit?”

Me, “No, this is just if anyone wants to help.”

banner story-6The next morning I was working along when Brandon showed up, “You onwon?” meaning, “Are you the only one here?”  I explained that I was and showed him the battery powered drill.  He drilled out the old pop rivets and we removed the old banners. At that point it started raining and we gave it up for the day.

Later on I was talking with Mike Cain at Sunday Morning worship and mentioned that we were replacing the banner. He said that it would be best to use pop rivets again because screws could be removed too easily. I mentioned that we did not have a pop rivet tool. Mike said, “I do.” So I borrowed it.

This week I decided that, no matter what, this needed to be done before I went home for Christmas. I worked late one afternoon, figured out how it could be done. The next morning I got some help to finish the job.

banner story banner story-5












banner installation-4


Thanks everyone. I hope you like it.


Brandy’s Gradecard

As many of you know, Belize Friends School grants a high school scholarship each year.  We pay the annual student fees, about $800 Bz, for our scholarship winner to attend the high school of her (last year the winner was a girl) choice. The scholarship is renewable for four years.

In theory we could have 4 students attending high school on scholarship at any one time, a freshman, as sophomore, a junior, and a senior or, as we say in Belize, Form 1, Form 2, Form 3, and Form 4. All the students need to do to renew the scholarship is to bring a copy of their report card to us at the end of each trimester. We put it in their file, talk a little with them about how it is going at school and at home, and forward the next trimester fees to the school.

Brandy, our scholarship winner last spring, brought us this report card.

Brandy's Gradecard jpg


I looked at the card in exactly the same way you just looked at it, like a parent. I noticed right away the same things you just did.  Brandy is doing pretty well in everything but those classes we traditionally call English: language, literature, and reading.  So I asked Ms. Candi about it.  She said that Brandy can read out loud just fine, but has trouble with comprehension.

I also know, from the short time I have been here, that English is actually a second language for our Creole students. Last weekend when our student Brandon came to help work on the sign at school I was the only one working when he arrived.  His first comment was, “You on wan?”, meaning, “Are you the only one here?”  For these students to write formal English is a struggle. (I had a visit with a man who taught English at St. Johns for years. He laughed when he told me that he finally went into the deans office and offered to take 40 lashes before he graded another Belizean boy’s English paper.)

The other bit of information Ms.Candi shared, after her conversation with Brandy, was that the same teacher teaches all three English classes and the “word on the street” is that no one in the class is getting good grades.  To be honest, I take that information with a grain of salt–I was a teacher for a long time.  But it could be so.

Once I got done looking at the grades, I looked at the bottom of the page.  Hmmm. A check mark in “Has not met passing requirements.”  Demerit: 1. Term average: 77. Class rank: 8.  What does all that mean?  How can a person have a 77 average and not meet passing requirements?  What was the demerit for?  And 8th out of how many?

It turns out that passing requirements are decided on core subjects only, the A in Phys Ed and the B in Spanish do not get to help. The demerit was received because Brandy had not yet had the money to purchase one of the required textbooks. She has it now.

But the interesting statistic was that she is 8th–out of 35.  She’s doing ok.  She is continuing to work hard.  Her English will improve.  We are proud of our girl and continue to wish her the very best.

One final note: there in not a snowball’s chance in Belize City that Brandi could have afforded to go to high school without your help.  So I say to all of you who support the scholarship program, “Thank you-Thank you.”

A Bus for Belize

We’re buying a Bus in Belize.

This bus:

Bus for Belize

Western Yearly Meeting Special project this year is for $10,000.  If we can meet that goal, we will be able to own this bus free and clear.  To date WYM has received $3000.  If you or your meeting was intending to contribute to this project, now you know what you are buying!

For those of you who get into this sort of thing:

It’s a 2002 Chevrolet diesel, automatic transmission, with 138,000 miles on it.

It has a seating capacity of 20 plus the driver.

It was registered in Pennsylvania as a school bus.

It has 6 brand new tires, new brakes, and has just been serviced.

I drove it. It runs well and sounds like a diesel.

It has had a couple small rust spots filled and has been freshly painted.


The bus was purchased by the local manager of a hotel that is part of an international chain.  He was going to use it to transport staff, but the corporate office said that all vehicles used by the hotel must meet corporate guidelines (be van conversions that look alike).

We are going to use it to transport students to athletic practice and events, field trips, to the dentist etc., and to transport work teams.

This is a really exciting development.  I would love to be able to tell everyone that Western Yearly Meeting purchased this bus!

Dale Graves