Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Our final supper !

Currently were at the tropical education center lodge in Belize having our last dinner together. We had a long day of traveling back across the border from Guatemala to Belize. Before crossing back over, we stopped at the Guatemala Walmart to fetch some snacks and coffee. The rooms here at the TEC are beautiful and the kids are really enjoying it. Mrs. Barnett and I have our own little room on the Laguna , which has 3 crocodiles in it !! We visited the Belize Zoo, which featured beautiful animals; Jaguars, howler monkeys, margay, macaws and many more ! We were fortunate enough to watch Sharon Matola ( the founder of the zoo) feed some of the animals there. We are so fortunate that we made it safe through this trip and are hoping for a safe flight home tomorrow. Mrs. Barnett will send a text to all the parents after we get through customs in Miami. Your children cannot wait to see you !

Ms. Martin & Mrs. Barnett

P.S. Thank you parents , you all have GREAT children !!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Day 12


At 3:30 am I received my wake up call for the day. I woke up and headed to the shower in the dark, the electricity was out :( After my shower I headed to the lobby and had the strongest dark roast I've ever had in my life. It was awakening. We all took our boxed breakfasts and went on to our 40 minute hike. We hiked to the ruin and walked about 20 flights of stairs, boy did our muscles ache! We sat and waited for the fog to clear. For a while it became more dense, but slowly cleared up. We didn't get to see a beautiful sunrise like we all expected, we actually all saw more. We saw the jungle awaken! It was AMAZING. Hearing the birds begin their day by chirping and flying across our view to hearing the howler monkeys roar to their mates. Instead of a sunrise, we awoke with the jungle. 


After climbing down from Temple 4, we ate our breakfasts at a picnic table to restore our energy. Then, our guide, Manuel, took us on a tour around Tikal. We walked for a very, very long time, but only covered out 20% of the city, which was insane! We climbed many of the Mayan structures and took lots of pictures. We saw monkeys, tarantulas, giant crickets and many different types of birds. We also did an activity where we found a spot in a Mayan plaza that called to us and sat down to write and discover more about ourselves. After that, we headed to another part of the ruins, which lead to more climbing, exploring, and picture-taking. Finally, Manuel lead us through the woods and to a restaurant for lunch. The food was delicious and the drinks were so refreshing!

Learta & Sanjna 

After lunch, we went to a local market and bought a few souvenirs. Once we finished our time at the market, we all relaxed in our room until it was dinner time. Dinner was very good, we can't wait to be back!

To families, We love you and miss you all!! Can't wait to be home to share our experiences :)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Day 11

Hello, its Amanda
Today was our concluding workday. We made great signs and got to see them put up. Our WHS sign looked great with our names on it. This sign was painted directly on the side of the concrete floor we worked on. We hope whenever the children play soccer, they would see our sign and they would remember us. 

Hello, its Kallie,
After our work concluded we had a community celebration at the school. Each grade put on a little show for us! It was a lot of fun and after that we performed the ChaCha Slide and danced the Macarena. We ate tamales and empanadas that all the village women made. We grabbed our bags from our homestays and had a very tearful goodbye. The people of Las Vinas have really left a lasting imprint on my heart. Next we headed to Tikal. We stopped at a lake and went swimming. The water was so warm and nice. We arrived and settled in and I took my first warm shower of the week! It was an amazing day!

A message to my family,I am having so much fun and can't wait to see you soon. I love you.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Day 10!

For our last full day in Las Vinas we had the privilege to spend the whole day with our host families. For all of us the day started in the same church. For some of us it was completely foreign to be in a Catholic church, but for a few of us we felt at home doing some of the same rituals that we do in the States. Towards the end, the leader gave WH students a "shout out" and wished us a safe journey home.

When church was over (about 1.5 hours, completely in Spanish) we parted. A few of us went to birthday parties today, complete with cake and piñatas. In our house we prepared tamales. Mrs. Barnett worked with our homestay Mom, Enma to make the tamales. We mixed the cornmeal mush and stirred, stirred, stirred so it didn't stick to the bottom of the pot. Black beans were added and it was left to set until after church. After lunch, we wiped the banana leaves, added mush, tomato sauce and a piece of chicken and folded the leaves over in a nice tight packet. Then they were put in the pot and steamed for a few hours.

We all played with our homestay children and  some cousins, too. We took walks and read our books. Learta wrote a college essay with Sanjna's help. AJ and Jack tortured their kids and flirted with the little girls and Amanda and Kallie went to a birthday party with an additional mass!

Enma and Carlos, Jr. invited all the kids to our house to eat the tamales which were delicious and hot chocolate. They played with the kids and we parted for the night. Tonight we pack as tomorrow we will say our goodbyes after a visit to the school for one final fiesta. The students at the school have a presentation prepared for us followed by a lunch made by all the home stay mothers. After the students presentation, we are going to play and dance the Macarena with hopes that the students of the school will join in (Jack and AJ are extra excited!)

Adios! Mrs. Barnett and Ms. Martin

P.S. Last night we gave out the WH clothing we brought here for donations. Everyone was grateful.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Day 9

Hi its' A.J.,
Today we woke up at 7:20, which is very late. We did not have time to take a shower and ended up late to breakfast. After we scarfed down breakfast, I had to go to the bathroom at a very inopportune time which made me late to the school.  Instead of taking my daypack today, I took my fannypack, when I got to the school I opened my fanypack and ravioli spilled out.[inside joke -ed.]

We started shoveling gravel and moving it. Then we started mixing cement and laying it out. We finished work and then Jack and I went to have lunch which was rice and chicken. After lunch we went to someone home who had a coconut tree for fresh coconuts. We watched a young man go up the tree and throw a few down for us. When he came down the tree he used a huge knife to open them for us. They were really good. We didn't work much after the coconuts but watched the final installments of cement.

Hi its Jack,
Today in the afternoon we did the A.N.C.H.O.R., then we went home for dinner, it was Ramen, A.J. and I had a lot. After dinner A.J. and I were playing with some children. A.J. was chasing a couple of the children in the kitchen, and he chased one of the children, he was about two, into the fridge. The child hit is head, and started crying. The other child he was chasing was running out the door, but when he was going up the stairs he ran into one of our homestay sisters, Melissa. He fell, but was ok.
Now we are here at Randall's house trying to write the blog. We all showed up and had an impromptu game of limbo!  Good night from Guatemala!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Day 8


Another day, another ice cold bucket shower :)

We began our work at 8:00 am sharp as usual. Kallie and Amanda were the leaders of the day; they gave us our work assignments and our day began. I was working with Mrs. Barnett, Ms. Martin, Jack, and Aj on shoveling 45 buckets of sand and 45 buckets of gravel. We also carried 10 cement bags out to the center. We then continued to mix the gravel, sand, and cement sacks by shoveling it back and forth. Boy, did our backs ache!  Sanjna, Kallie, Amanda, and sometimes Aj were helping finish the signs. After that all of us worked together to set stones in like puzzle pieces. Later on, we played with the children during break. Mrs. Barnett and I played "London Bridge is Falling Down" with BOTH boys and girls. Kallie and Sanjna led a game of "Head Shoulders Knees & Toes."

The cement was spilled after we set all the stones. For lunch Sanjna and I had spaghetti and marinara. It was very good!!


After we ate, Learta and I did massive laundry, as we had both run out of clothes to wear. It was tiring but in the end, we felt really accomplished. We visited the others at their home stays for some time before heading to the school to start our team building leadership activity. Today, Randal summarized a Ted Talk for us, before the internet was very spotty. It was called "Leading with Lollipops," and it basically said that leading well is making small contributions that have a big effect. Leaders don't have to change the world or be famous; they just have to do small good deeds like inspiring a friend.

Our goal was to, as a group, deactivate a 'bomb' in a very small amount of time with no mistakes. There was a circle made of rope and inside it was the numbers 1-20 scattered throughout. We had to touch the numbers in ascending and then descending order as quickly as possible. Only one person was allowed to be in the circle at once. We practiced a few times with many mistakes and too-long times, but in the end, we made it. Our time was 24.55 seconds!

Finally, we all went back to our homes to relax and eat dinner, which was also delicious. Buenos noches me amigos y familia!

PS. My arm is fine, thanks for asking! I, being a klutz, tripped and probably sprained it.

I miss you guys lots! Going to be home real soon! Can't wait to see Duke! I found him a gf! Her name is Lassie:)

Hey! I love you guys and I can't wait to see you!

PSS. We're holding a parrot as we type this! Her name is Hormiga!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Day 7

Today we had our third workday. Instead of doing construction work, like moving rocks and cement, we all worked on the signs that we are placing in the school. The signs were very colorful for the kids, muchos colores! Jack, Ms. Martin, and the other community men started to mix the cement. We are hoping to lay down the cement tomorrow as we keep working towards our goals.  --Amanda

After the work part of the day we went back to our host families and had lunch. After that we all meet at Ms. Martin's house and went to Flores! We first visited the Maya mall which was very much like an American mall. Next we walked to through Florens and it is very, very beautiful. We did some shopping around and got coffee and gifts and headed back to las Vinas. A great ending to a great day! -Kallie

a note to my family,
I just wanted to say I love and miss you all and I am doing great and I am having a ton of fun! - Kallie

P.S. Mr Webster how much money are you going to pay us for the construction work? ;)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Day 6 continued

Day 6

Hi, it's Jack,
We woke up today at 6:50, and we were almost late to breakfast because A.J. couldn't turn on the shower. We scarfed down the our cereal and tea. We had to wait for A.J. to put on his boots and were almost late to the school, where we cleared out more rock and cement. After clearing out the cement and rock A.J. went try hard in soccer and ripped his pants and he got a cut on his knee. After he cut his knee, he threw the ball in the goal three times. (PS - Parents: injury was minor) When recess was over we cleared more cement. Then we went home to have lunch, which was fried beans, rice, fried plantains, and tortillas. After lunch Melissa  (one of our homestay sisters, 11 years old) and I proceeded to beat A.J. ten times in a row in checkers.

Hi, it's A.J.,  
After Jack beat me a lot in checkers we went to a cooking class. At the cooking class I had trouble making empanadas because the dough kept sticking to my hands. After using water it went smoother. The tortillas went even worse. I was not even able to make one. After failing to make tortillas we played a game. We could not look and someone had to guide them across an obstacle course. I did good while Jack on the other hand.... When we got home we played Uno. Jack beat me the first three times then I finally beat him. For dinner we had chicken, rice, potatoes, tortillas, and a banana smoothie. Although its really hot in Las Viñas we are excited to cool off with some ice-cream in Flores tomorrow.

(Pictures on next post: Day 6 continued)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Day 5

Hola de Las Vinas! We are all well! We have been having some technical difficulties but are trying to overcome them.  So, sorry we made you all wait but it was so worth it! Here goes...

We all made it over the border with no problems and had the experience to change money from American to Guatemalan. (1:7 ).  We drove the 45 minutes to the town of Las Vinas where were were greeted by our new moms and siblings!  We separated to our families and spent the afternoon getting familiar with each other. We played games, walked to the park and shared pictures. Learta and Sanjna followed their family to a church and had no idea they were attending a funeral! It was sad but interesting for them.

We all met at the school in the morning today. The entire school greeted us with an assembly of flags and national anthems and speeches. We took a tour of the school. We were introduced to our service project. We are using pic axes, shovels and awls to chop up the cement court floor that has been invaded by the roots of ceiba tree. We moved the rocks and cement from the area but there is much more to do tomorrow before cutting out the roots and pouring new concrete later in the week.

We took a break with the students and shared games, futbol and songs before sending them back to school lessons and us back to work. Lunch came very quickly and we went back to our families. We met again about 2.5 hours later to do some leadership training and learned about the 4 leadership style temperaments.

Before departing we gathered at one house and sang Feliz Cumpleanos to Jack! We all shared a delicious cake made by one of the mothers and set off some fire crackers for the occasion! We parted for the evening to have dinner with our families and continue to get to know them. There is a lot of bonding going on. The children really love us and are so friendly and free. Despite the heat this afternoon and the hard work Jack and AJ ran around with the boys and Sanjna, Learta, Kallie, and Amanda ran around with the girls in games of futbol!

Hasta mañana! We may not be able to post pictures as the connection is so slow, but we are all thinking of you and having a wonderful time!  - Mrs. Barnett & Ms. Martin

Monday, July 11, 2016

Day 4

We left Chaa Creek this morning, which was hard for most of us because we grew to love Dosio and his family so much ! Right now we're just finishing up lunch at Benny's in Belize and we're getting ready  to cross the border into Guatemala. We have to walk across the border through customs which will be a new experience for all . We will then head to Las Vinas and meet our host families at the school we will be working at. We are all excited to finally meet our host families ! 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Learta & Sanjna

Day 2

Last night we participated in many team building activities. We worked in a group and created a list of our norms. We also created a list of expectations and concerns. We feel that we strengthened our bond with one another.

Our Norms:
Be here
Be safe

 One of the activities that stood out to us was the circle activity. There were 3 circles. Each one represented our comfort, growth, and panic zones. Our goal is to maintain the growth zone and sometimes step into our comfort zone. If we happen to be in our panic zone we should comfort one another in those times. We also learned about AMPing.

Analyze the situation
Manage the situation
Prepare to handle the situation

We all slept well last night. Well, Jack and Aj stayed up a little and listened to dogs barking. Unfortunately the howler monkeys weren't as loud.

Day 3

We had to wake up early this morning to eat breakfast and leave for a cave called, ATM. Instead of our normal bus, we got onto an air conditioned one. When we got to the site of the cave, we hiked for 45 minutes before reaching the mouth. We put on out helmets and headlights and swam into it. The water was very cold and refreshing. As we walked around the cave and in the water, we saw stalagmites and stalactites as well as a mixture that our guide referred to as, "true love." As we got deeper and deeper into it, the rock formations got cooler and cooler. We had to squeeze through small crevices and climb slippery rocks. It was amazing that no one got hurt! At one point, we turned off all the lights and become surround d in utter darkness. Closing your eyes and keeping them open produced the same view. It was terrifying but also really cool. Finally, we reached a point where we took off our shoes and climbed high into the cave to see Mayan ceramics and skeletons. We saw skulls with extremely flat foreheads and pots with carved monkeys. We were all in awe of all the untouched artifacts. Unfortunately, we couldn't take any pictures because of an incident involving a clumsy tourist, and camera, and a Mayan skull. After, walked and swam back out of the cave, changed, and ate a delicious lunch. We ended the day by taking a dip in the resort pool and just chilling.


To my parents and my sister,
I love you and miss you all. I wish you could see how beautiful this place is.

To Duke,
I miss you the most.


To my parents and siblings,
I hope you guys are having fun because I really am! I miss you guys!


To my mom, dad, and siblings,

I miss you guys and love you. Don't worry I'm perfectly  safe. ❤️❤️💕

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Day 2

Hello from Belize! After a long bus ride from the airport (with a stop for lunch with excellent cool drinks) we made it to the beautiful Chaa creek lodge. We walked in the woods to find our lodgings in the Macal river camp. We met our guides Randall and Juan and they explained the rules of the camp and we had a delicious dinner. AJ and Jack were awesome at spotting homes in the ground for furry tarantula friends and Learta, Kallie, and Amanda noticed the complete darkness of the rain forest at night. Sanjna slept with no problems to the pitter-pater of the occasional rain on the roof. Mrs. Barnett and Ms Martin listened to the howling of the howler monkeys in the trees!   - Barnett

We've made it to day two! Our first night in Belize was very relaxing as we were all exhausted after a long day of traveling . Today we started our morning with breakfast which included fresh fruit, tortillas, eggs , bacon , guacamole and a bean purée. After breakfast we went to the local flea market where we bought some souvenirs . We just left the Mayan ruins which were absolutely breath taking, they were said to be built in 700 A.D. If you ever get the chance to visit Belize , you have to visit the ruins because words can not describe how beautiful it is.

Moms and Dads - all of the kids are enjoying themselves and each other . They are really bonding well together. After today , we are going to allow a post a day from individual students 
(if we are in an area with service).

Kallie- Hi mommy I just wanted to tell you that i really really miss you and I am having a great time. I wanted to remind you to keep your phone on and answer any call even if you don't recognize the number because it might be me calling you from a different phone. I love you across all the universes and I am keeping you in my thoughts as i know you are keeping me in your thoughts and preys. I love you so so so so so so much!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Arrival at Macal River Camp, Chaa Creek

Group Has Arrived!

Hello Wardlaw-Hartridge families:

I spoke with Juan, our instructor, and the group arrived safely a few hours ago and they had a great lunch at a restaurant en route to the Macal River Camp at Chaa Creek Lodge. This camp is in a beautiful section of rainforest next to Chaa Creek. The adventure has begun. Please check back on this blog for updates.


Ross Wehner, World Leadership School
Awaiting to board our flight to Miami ! 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

One Day More!

Feeling very excited and filling up that backpack with everything on the list! Does everyone remember your Keirsey assessment? (Go to

We HAVE A NEW MEETING TIME: 5:30 AM!  Giving you an extra half hour!
See you in Newark tomorrow!

Mrs. B & Ms. M

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Hello All!
Sending out our first blog to show everyone where they can follow our adventure! Just a reminder we will see all of you at the airport Friday morning at 5 am !

Mrs. Barnett & Ms. Martin