Thursday July 12, 2018
Arrival day has come! GLA staff waited at the airport and welcomed students with sack lunches and smiles. After students arrived we went to a local Belizean store for any snacks or toiletries students needed. It started to rain as we all got back on the bus heading for our home base.
It was about a 45 minute drive to The Tropical Education Center (TEC) in the Belize district where we are staying. A small tour of the home base was given and students met our local staff. After students settled in we had a few ice breaker games and then a traditional dinner of stew chicken, rice and beans, plantains and coleslaw as well as some birthday cake for our birthday girl.
Happy birthday Candace Gardner!
After a long day of travel and making new friends we are excited to start fresh in the morning and meet our last three students who arrive tomorrow!
You better Belize it!
-Maria, International Director
Saturday July 14, 2018
It’s now our 3rd day in Belize! We took an hour thirty minute bus ride, which we listened to music and braided hair while we bonded. We took a semi strenuous hour long hike to the ancient Maya ruins. We climbed all the way to the top to see an amazing view which we stopped for pictures. For lunch we stopped at a local restaurant named Benny’s.
The next thing we did was go to an iguana sanctuary, where they had over 25 iguanas! The biggest iguana was over 5 feet! We were able to pet, hold, and put then on our head. We then headed to Ajaw chocolate and crafts in San Ignacio. While we were there we got to experience how the Maya’s make chocolate. We got to taste many different cocoa beans! On our way home we stopped for snacks. We again sung and bonded on the bus! When we got back, for dinner we had mashed potatoes, pork chops, and lemon tarts. To finish of the night we met with our mentor groups.
-Molly and Leah
Sunday July 15, 2018
Today was a relaxing day after the first few days of orientation. First, this morning, we watched the World Cup. Then we had two inspirational guest speakers from the service site we will be working at. After that, we prepared and reviewed our curriculum for the following weeks at the school. It made us extremely excited to start our service and see the kids!
-Ally and Schuyler
Monday July 16, 2018
Today we woke up and ate breakfast at 7:45. For breakfast we had eggs, toast, pineapple, guava, and pineapple juice. We soon there after (at 8:15) left home base for the school. We volunteered for 3 hours teaching students between preschool and 8th grade. We had been split into groups of 2 and 3 and we taught the students with these people.
After teaching the students for 3 hours we came back to home base and ate nachos, watermelon, and lime juice for lunch. About 1 hour later we had a Belizean dance class for 2 hours. After dance class we had free time in which people socialized, read, and rested. At 5:30 we wrote our first journal log. We wrote about how our day went in school. At 6:00 we had pasta, bolognese, and brownies. After dinner we met as a whole group and talked about service. We then had free time and had lights off at 10:00.
Shout outs to:
Ezra’s parents and Ian’s parents! (We wrote this)
Tuesday July 17, 2018
Today is our sixth day in Belize and our second day of service. We each rotated up an age group from what we had yesterday. The kids were still excited to see us and welcomed us all with big bear hugs!
After service we took a quick snack stop and then took a thirty minute drive to Blue Hole National Park where we swam for about an hour. It was a perfect way to cool down after a long three hours of service. While the water was peaceful, the fish took advantage of us being there and decided to nibble on our legs.
After leaving the Blue Hole, we grabbed milkshakes at Moon Clusters Coffee House and hung out there for a while. To conclude the day, we drove 40 minutes to our home base and are now hanging out before dinner. It was a pretty amazing day!!!
-by Hannah and Sonya
Wednesday July 18, 2018
Hey everyone! Today we started off our day with a scrumptious breakfast which included: eggs, fruit, bread, peanut butter, and fresh orange juice. After filling up our stomachs, we loaded the bus and headed on our way to our third day of service. Not only were we excited to work with amazing groups of kids, but they were super stoked to see us.
After an eye-opening morning with the kids, we returned to home base for some terrific empanadas. We then split up into two groups and prepared for our afternoon activities which included cooking and cave tubing. One group stayed at home base to help cook dinner, while the other group experienced the riveting journey of cave tubing. We then ended the day prepping for a service project involving a parent teacher conference. It’s been a pretty un-Belizable day!!
-Viviana and Anthony
Thursday July 19, 2018
We started off the day with another amazing breakfast made by the wonderful cooks. It consisted of oatmeal, yogurt, and banana muffins. We then went off to service and had a productive morning that was filled with lots of memories that we will carry for a lifetime.
In the afternoon, the groups switched activities from yesterday. Half of us went cave tubing. It is definitely something worth experiencing. While that was happening, the other half of the group cooked dinner for everyone to enjoy. They made mashed potatoes, beef, veggies, pineapple cake, and pineapple juice. We ended our night in the classroom with a fun game of Mafia.
-Fatima & Tyla
Friday July 20, 2018
We started off our day with a delicious breakfast of fresh tortillas, bacon, eggs, and horchata. After, we left for service. Today was Ms. Emily’s birthday so the mentors brought her a pink cake. We sang happy birthday to her in front of the school and started off the school day energized and ready to go!
Filled up on our nutritious lunch of chicken and rice, we headed toward San Ignacio for a few hours to get to western dairy, an ice cream place with two dozen different flavors and other dishes including hot pizza, crispy chicken tenders, and yummy fries. After we went to a market and bought any essentials we needed (some of us bought hammocks). We headed to Art Box after, a store specializing in knick knacks and other souvenirs. Exhausted from the long bus ride, we ate a scrumptious dinner of empanadas and refreshing watermelon juice. Tonight we worked on our presentations for Ms. Emily that we’re giving on Sunday. Wow!
-Meera and Natasha
Saturday July 21, 2018
Today was a very beautiful day. Our group had the delightful opportunity to visit the ATM cave. No one was expecting the adventure that the cave had in store for us. The cave was full of beautiful history that embodied the Maya culture. We swam, hiked and squeezed our way through the day. We also feasted our eyes with ancient pottery and dazzling cave crystals. For some people, it proved to be difficult. Yet, it made those people realize how strong they really were. Also, how much strength they had within them all along. The meals today were super helpful for the hike as well as delicious! For breakfast we had piping hot pancakes as well as fresh pineapple and refreshing melon. For lunch we had sweet plantains, corn with rice and savory chicken. For dinner we feasted on some more flavorful chicken with fresh beans and rice. For dessert we had yummy carrot cake. Overall, we were exhausted from the long yet beautiful hike. It was definitely a day that will stick with us all!
*NOTE: you are not allowed to bring phones/cameras/etc. into the caves with you
Sunday July 22, 2018
We were able to sleep in today. Breakfast was fried jacks with scrambled eggs and some fruit. After that we did a leadership activity called Challenging Assumptions where we practiced visualization. Next we had free time which we spent, bonding, napping, and plucking eyebrows. We ate tostadas for lunch at 11:30. Then we had 3 Maya women come and tell us about their culture as well as teach us how to make bracelets! We also had some fun playing with one of their sons Deray.
At dinner tonight we saw a cute dog while we made our own tacos and had some yellow cake for dessert. Lastly we had fun playing Jeopardy on all the information that we have learned about Belize so far.
Olivia and Mia
Special shoutout to our parents who are the reason we are in Belize. Also happy late birthday to Olivia’s dog, Cosmo who turned 6 on Friday!
Monday July 23, 2018
This morning we woke up bright and early as usual at 7:00 am for a 7:45 breakfast. Breakfast today was sliced bread, scrambled eggs, beans, and pineapple. Then we headed over to Helping Hands (the school), for Monday morning class.
After school, we drove to a nearby park to eat our lunch, chicken burgers. After lunch we took a long, scenic drive to Marie Sharps Hot Sauce Factory for a quick tour and taste testing. We learned about the history of Marie Sharp starting her company and how it has grown. Once the tour of the factory was over, we got to taste test all the varieties of hot sauces and jams made at the factory. The hot sauce was super good and we were able to purchase some at the gift shop there. We took a big group photo outside the factory (pictured below).
Following our trip to the factory we drove back to the TEC, had a rest period and then dinner. Dinner was curry chicken, rice, carrot cake, and fresh pineapple juice. After dinner we met in our mentor groups and had discussions about our experiences thus far and life at home. 8 days left 🙁 See you soon!
-by Ali and Sofia
Tuesday July 24, 2018
Good afternoon friends and families!! Today, we ate a delicious breakfast of cinnamon rolls and oatmeal. We then piled into the bus, cranked up some music, and got pumped for service. After an incredible 3 hours at the school teaching and bonding with the kids, we did our first trip to the local markets. It was an incredible experience to be able to immerse ourselves in the true Belizian culture. As an additional plus, we were also able to buy handmade bracelets and trinkets!
Then, we headed home, went for a swim, did some leadership activities, and ate a fantastic dinner of chicken and pasta salad! We can’t Belize that our time here has gone by so fast, but we are doing our best to make the most of the upcoming days!
-Candace and Sarah
Wednesday July 25, 2018
Today we woke up and had breakfast at 7:45. We went to the school and taught one of our last classes. 🙁 Back at home base we had lunch then a guest speaker. He told us all about tapirs (the national animal of Belize) and ways to keep them safe from their extinction. A tapir is a mix of a horse and a rhino!
Afterwards we had free time and many of us went swimming. Before dinner we had an activity called the appreciation circle where everyone is in a circle facing outwards with their eyes closed. Then 3 people would get chosen to stand in the middle. There were questions asked like “someone who makes you laugh”. The people in the middle would then tap on people in the circle that fit the description. This was a great activity to show how close we have come! After dinner a few of us laid on the dock with blankets and pillows! 🙂
Friday July 27, 2018
Today was sports day with all the kids from the school! We had breakfast then went to a park to be greeted by the happy all the children. At sports day we got to just hang out with everyone we have bonded with from the school and play games such as soccer, basketball and even bean bag races! We had lunch there then headed back to home base. Back there we had some free time in which some of us preformed a synchronized swimming routine for Kacey and Maria, that we had been working on. Before dinner we had a leadership activity, and after we decided to do a bon fire before we head off to our vacation from vacation at Caye Caulker tomorrow!!
-Mia and Olivia
Saturday July 28, 2018
We made it to Caye Caulker! Today we took an hour bus ride and a 45 minute boat ride to the island. We had chicken quesadillas for lunch. Then we headed to our hotel and checked in and unpacked. After an hour or so, we hit the town to shop where we found amazing custom made bracelets, necklaces, and more. Then we got ready for dinner and went to a local place in town called Roy’s and for dessert we headed to get so Boba Tea and delicious homemade ice cream.
(Shoutout to our fabulous parents and siblings!!!)
Sonya and Hannah
Sunday July 29, 2018
Today we ate breakfast at 8:00 at a local restaurant called Amor y Café and then went to get our snorkel gear at Carlos Tours. Once we had our snorkel gear and had lathered up in sunscreen we proceeded to our tour boat. We boated for around an hour to our first snorkel destination where we saw manatees, turtles, a manta ray, a shark, and various fish. We got back on the boat and went to a snorkel spot where we swam with sharks. After this we had chicken, rice and beans, and macaroni on the boat. After lunch we went to our third and final snorkel spot where we saw eels, barracuda, and more fish. When done with this final snorkel we jumped off the boat and swam a bit. We arrived back at our housing a bit after 4 PM and we had rest time until dinner at 6:00. After dinner we had dessert which was ice cream or boba tea. We then did an activity called Appreciation Circle and then had some free time and went to bed.
Shout out to:
Ezra’s parents and Ian’s parents
Today was another amazing day. It’s hard to believe were leaving so soon. We started our morning with a delicious breakfast at Caye Caulker. After that we went back to Belize City in a Water Taxi. When we got to Belize City we went to the Belize sign and took lots of pictures. From there we drove back to home base. Once we got to TEC we had free time until 3:30. Many of us unpacked, packed, and took naps. At 3:30 we met at the dining hall. We practiced our skits for literacy night. We then had dinner at 5 that consisted of spaghetti, garlic bread, and flan. At 5:30 we left to Belmopan. Literacy night started at 6 at the park. After watching the kids perform, we were able to say our goodbyes to the students and teachers. We ended our night by dropping off Mrs. Emily at her home and saying goodbye to her.
~Tyla & Fatima
Tuesday July 31, 2018
Our final day in Belize has come. We all have grown, overcome challenges, bonded with new friends and made memories that we will always cherish. One of my favorite memories is……
When we spent time with the kids at sports day because we got to have a good time with the kids and celebrate with them after their hard work at Helping Hands. –Jennifer
Going through the ATM caves because it was a lot of fun swimming and climbing on the rocks and it was really cool to see. –Tyla
Snorkeling was insane! I was really able to get out of my comfort zone and have a lot of fun with everyone. –Vivi
Literacy night was amazing because we were able to bond with the kids and say our final goodbyes. It was full of tears and smiles. –Candace
Our service was truly one of the greatest things I have ever experienced, I will never forget the children that we had an opportunity to help, or forget how immense of a positive impact those children have made on my life! –Schuyler
Our service days was one of the best things I have experienced. The time we had interacting with the kids individually was so special, and the connections we’ve made will never be forgotten. I will miss them so much! –Sarah
Service was everything I could have imagined and more. The kids were so welcoming and excited to build relationships with us. Once in a lifetime experience I will never forget! –Ally
One of my favorite memories was on the first service day. I taught my very first class ever and at the end of the class some of the kids hugged me goodbye. I will always remember my very first class! –Mia
My favorite memory was seeing this one kid’s eyes light up after I explained a problem to him. Oh and swimming with manatees was pretty rad too. -Meera
The sports day is one of my favorite memories. Getting to play with the children and interacting with them in an environment that was not the classroom was awesome. – Anthony
One of my favorite memories was literacy night because it was when I got to say goodbye to most kids and the things some kids said will stick with me forever. Having the experience to work with them for two weeks is beyond amazing! -Leah
One of my favorite memories was on sports day when I automatically made a connection with one of the children I had not worked with yet throughout the two weeks of service. –Olivia
One of my favorite memories was the snorkeling day in Caye Caulker where we saw manatees, sharks, manta rays, etc. –Ezra
The moment I learned I could beat up any shark because they are all not Jaws. – Ian
My favorite moment from this trip was working with the children and the school and helping them understand new information –Sonya
My favorite moment was when Sonya and I were laying on top of the ship looking out at the sea and reflecting on our experience as a whole. –Hannah
My favorite memory was jumping into the ocean for the first time in a few weeks; it felt great to be there with everyone after three weeks of hard work. –Ali T.
My favorite memory was our boat day at Caye Caulker, specifically swimming with the sharks and turtles. –Sofia E.
My favorite memories include working with infant 1 and infant 2. The kids always helped put a smile on my face. –Natasha H.
My favorite memories are at night when all the girls gather together in a bedroom and chat. We had some pretty great conversations. –Fatima
My favorite memory was decompressing with my friends in the pool by making a synchronized swimming routine. –Mo Bomann
Best Belize we had a great time!