Saturday, November 27, 2010

National Spelling Bee

Hooray for our hardworking students! On November 25th we took four children (Sulmi, Kristel, Rayan and Misael) from my class to the National Spelling Bee for the Deaf and brought home a 1st and 3rd place trophy :-).
The children compete in two age groups: Juniors ages 9 and under, and Seniors ages 10-14. The Junior words are predominantly Dolch words with some tougher words like "difficult" and "weather". The Senior words are all monsters such as "advertisement" and "communication". We had a little over two months to practice the 300 words. It boiled down to about 30 words per week plus review of the words fromt he rpevious weeks. Whew! I am glad to be done practicing and to be able to go back to focusing on reading and reading comprehension.
The highlight for the children and all of the Deaf fans who come to watch is seeing Deaf friends from all over the country.
This is the auditorium at the Belize Elementary School where the Spelling Bee was held.
Rayan got first place for the juniors. He didn't miss a single word. Amazing. A lot of credit goes to his mother who practiced the words at home with him almost every night. He is standing with the Spelling Bee sponsor and all of the things he won for first place...chief among them a dvd player. Go Rayan!

Sulmi won third place for the Senior division. She, at 11, was competing against boys who were 14. The two second place finishers had a run off to determine who would be third. She spelled 5 words in a row correctly and then stumbled. I was very proud of her.

When we came back from the event, our whole school was lined up cheering for our deaf spellers. I hope that feeling of success and support stays with Sulmi and Rayan for a long time.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Go Orange!

One of the many events on a Saturday this November took us to Belize City for the Special Olympics. Although it poured in Orange Walk, we had a nice, slightly cool, overcast day in the old capitol. Perfect! I was so thankful we didn't have blazing sun or pouring rain.

Belize doesn't have a Deaf Olympics Team. Our deaf children are encouraged to participate in the Special Olympics events. They hate to practice for the Olympics, but love to spend a weekend cathing up with deaf friends from other far away places in Belize. In this picture are Kristel and Sulmi with their friend from Stella Maris School for the Deaf in Belize City. We took four deaf children from our class.

Kristel watches as two of the other people in her relay try to pass the baton to each other. She is looking up the field and gesturing to help them figure it out.
Sulmi is ready to race.
The other student who is standing behind her is Sarina. She is from St Peter's too.
Miguel, Misael and a child from Corozal all in orange and representing the north end of the country. I was really impressed with this boy from Corozal. He has one leg that is longer than the other by several inches and he still manages to race with a lot of dignity and confidence.
A lot of Peace Corps volunteers helped to make this day run smoothly. I left thinking that it would be fun to have a deaf-only event...gathering all of the deaf children from north to south... who race to earn a place to compete in Deaf Olympics with other countries...hmmm... Anyone want to come and organize that?

Monday, November 1, 2010


I really look forward to this annual gathering of EMM missionaries in Central America. It's a humbling group of people to hang around. One of the men has started a ministry with the boys who live in and around a garbage dump in Honduras. Their families try to make a living by recycling the trash. Matt listens to them, oraganized a soccer team that is beating the richer, taller boys, has school tutoring sessions, a Bible study and he makes each of them feel special by celebrating their birthdays. I am so excited to see how God channeled him to do this work all thorugh "God-coincidences". Read more at
Then there is Andrea who works at an orphanage. She and 5 other people (I think have it right) are responsible for the programing for 93 children! Can you imagine? Her heart goes out to the girls and has a Bible study, teaches English and tries to think of fun things for them to do. It's an on campus 24-7 kind of job. Whew! You can follow her blog at Another couple has been in mission work for about 20 years. The support and encouragement they give me is so wise and valuable. I cherish them. They blog too: It's an oasis for me to spend some time with these English speaking Lancaster Mennos. It doesn't matter to me where we hold the event... just being together, catching up with these fellow missionaries that I only see once a year, worshipping, receiving support and encouragement, praying for each other. It's a "The Kingdom of God is here and now" kind of event.

This year Gloria Myers from Lancaster came to interpret for me. It was so nice of her to come. It was great to be with her. After spending time at the retreat she came to Orange Walk and spent 2 days with me, visiting my class and even riding the bus up to Corozal and checking it out.

Thanks Glo for coming.