Friday July 12, 2019
Hello Friends and Family!
Our students have arrived safe and sound to the beautiful country of Belize. We spent the evening getting settled in and learning about the Toucan Ridge Ecology and Education Society where we are staying. We are excited to get some rest and for our orientation and zoo trip tomorrow.
Saturday July 13, 2019
Today we started the day with a bright morning view of the mountains and different wildlife around the home base. We went to breakfast and ate Jellyrolls (which we were convinced were called ‘jolly’rolls), eggs, fruit, and sausages. Then we went to an orientation about the GLA program and the service that we would be participating in. We played a fun activity where we sorted different actions that would result in ‘good behavior’, ‘verbal warning’, or ‘sent home’.
Some of them were so funny: catching a snake to keep as a pet (verbal warning) & hazing someone in the swimming hole (sent home). We ate a delicious lunch of hotdogs, chips and salsa, fruit, and cantaloupe juice! We then headed to the Belize Zoo! It was incredible!! Most of the animals were rescued from local areas, and many of the species are endangered in Belize. A bird peed on several students, Jaguars did somersaults in the grass, and monkeys swung from branches above us! We stopped for ice cream on the way home at a local Dairy and it was really good. Chocolate was the most popular flavor- followed by coconut, banana, and pineapple.
We got home and went directly to dinner to eat rice & beans, stewed chicken, and an amazing vanilla cake! After dinner we did an activity where we wrote letters to ourselves that we will read on the last day. We talked with our mentor groups, and then showered and went to bed. It was a long eventful day but it was super fun!! Everyone got closer and more excited for the rest of the trip.
Sunday July 14, 2019
Today was really fun. This morning we went and did T.R.E.E.S. Workshop which included picking limes, digging up yucca, and picking pineapple. We also went to the swimming hole which was very fun and a nice break from the sun. After lunch we had a very inspiring speech by Mrs. Emily Martinez. The presentation was remarkable and touched everyone’s heart.
We learned to live life to the fullest and use our collective energy to do good in the world wherever we may go. I learned that there are many distractions in life, and it felt very refreshing to listen to someone truly amazing and down to earth. We all loved Mrs. Emily. Lastly we did a lot of service preparation to prepare for tomorrow and to work with the kids. Dinner was the best meal so far.
Monday July 15, 2019
Today was a great day. We started the morning with zucchini eggs, toast, fruit, and juice. Next, we got on our busses and headed to our service sites. We were at our service sites from 9:00-12:00 teaching and playing with the children. Next, we went to the local grocery store and got some snacks.
After that we arrived at home base and had our lunch. After lunch we learned about the Belizean cultural dance, called the punta. Lastly, we finished the day with a fun group activity, dinner, and service prep for tomorrow. We are excited to continue our service tomorrow.
Tuesday July 16, 2019
Today was the second day of service with the kids! We started off the day with a great breakfast of French toast, eggs, and bacon with orange juice. It was great to continue making connections with the kids we are working with.
When we got back to home base, we had sandwiches with ham and turkey for lunch with fresh squeezed lime juice. Then, half of our group took a cooking class and made tortillas and coconut rice, which we cracked open ourselves! The other half of the group played volleyball, card games, and went on a hike with our local director to see minnows and turtles.
For dinner we had burritos with the tortillas and rice that we made earlier. To finish off the night, lots of us are making friendship bracelets while mentor groups are about to start. We can’t wait to see the kids again tomorrow!
Thursday July 18, 2019
Today was a GREAT day, as usual. It was our last day of service and we had to say goodbye to the kids :(. It was bitter sweet but we hope we made an impact on their lives and we hope they will remember us as much as we will remember them. Today for lunch had tacos, which were amazing (Katie thinks they are the best thing she’s ever eaten in her life). In the afternoon we played volleyball and hung out in the yoga fort. Also, for dinner we had a favorite – pasta and garlic bread with brownies. We are about to venture into the jungle for a night hike. Sweet dreams from Belize 🙂
Friday July 19, 2019
Today we drove to the Xunantunich ruins and climbed the stairs of an ancient Mayan temple. Along the way, the bus broke down. But luckily we were able to get a new bus and continue our journey. After, we got lunch at Benny’s Kitchen. We ate chicken, rice, beans, and plantains. Then we split into two groups and half went to an iguana rehabilitation center. There, we were able to hold and interact with iguanas; including the babies! The other half went to the local market and got fresh fruit and shopped for souvenirs. Then the groups switched activities. In the afternoon we drove back to home base, ate dinner, and played the leader of the day activity. Very tuckered out and ready for bed!
Sunday July 21, 2019
Today on our Belizean adventure we started our day off with a filling breakfast meal consisting of pancakes and melon. After breakfast we kicked off our activities of the day with a full group scavenger hunt. We split into teams and solved a series of riddles to win over the grand prize of fresh coconuts. After a bit of down time and lunch we traveled to Belmopan for an afternoon of cave tubing!
As we drifted through the blue transparent waters we experienced the wonders of Belize’s extraordinary caves. To top off our afternoon we visited a local grocery store to stock up on some snacks. To end our wonderful day we enjoyed a home cooked dinner of beef fried rice and tres leches cake prepared by the talented staff!
Tuesday July 23, 2019
Hi Friends and Family!
Today was a busy travel day that marked our transition from roughing it at Trees to the beautiful beachside adventure portion of our trip. We started off with an early breakfast and then embarked on a two hour bus ride to the water taxi that took us to our final destination: Caye Cauker! We were all amazed by the incredibly clear blue water and white sand beaches at the Caye. Upon arrival at our little island paradise, we had a tasty lunch of cheese quesadillas and fries; a welcome taste of home!
Next was an afternoon of soaking up the sun on the beach in front of our hotel and exploring the local shops. Highlights included shopping for touristy T-shirt’s, picking up some handmade jewelry, and happening across some pretty amazing fruit smoothies. We finished up the day with a tasty dinner and mentor groups that included a walk around town to the local ice cream shop. Overall, it was a fun and relaxing day, and everyone is so excited for tomorrow when the real adventure begins: snorkeling!!
Hi Friends and Family!
Yesterday began with an early wake up and tasty breakfast of waffles and fresh fruit. After getting suited up with our snorkeling gear, we boarded a beautiful catamaran and set out into the clear blue Belizean sea for the day. The day was full of snorkeling, soaking up the sun, a tasty lunch and lots of sunscreen reapplication. We saw tons of tropical fish, turtles, and even a manatee! Finally, six hours into our boating adventure we returned to the Caye, happy and a little more sunburned than when we set out.
After an idyllic day of boating, snorkeling, and enjoying our final time together we ended the day with a delicious meal at Food Republic. The day finished out with an appreciation circle, mentor groups, and a final trip to ice cream. Today, as final hugs were exchanged at the airport, we reflected on the two weeks of unforgettable service and adventure behind us. We can’t wait to tell you all about it when we get home!