Time Capsule Letter
Remember that first night sleeping in your cabin, surrounded by unfamiliar people and unfamiliar sounds? Can you believe you eventually adjusted to the heat and sweat and food and the night sounds of the jungle?!?! Can you believe those unfamiliar people became your new best friends?
In 14 days everyone came a long way, not only in distance across the world, but in your growth as leaders and change-makers. From being patient and persistent teachers in the classroom, to taking on all the daily tasks as Leaders of the Day (thank you for keeping us hydrated!), to sharing your voice and opinions in discussions, your leadership traits shined through and through!!
Remember when Tayo’s cabin was visited by a jungle squirrel? And those well-rehearsed skits for Literacy Night when the stories from the pages of URAGA came alive upon the stage? And those delish tortillas everyone made for dinner on that hot day after Sports Day? A day in the ocean hanging out with your students? And cave tubing in those crystal blue waters? I particularly loved answering all your inquisitive questions about what us staff have done in our lives, and how you learned about each other on the bus rides, and while swinging in the hammocks, and chattering from your bunks, long after “lights out.” We also celebrated three birthdays together!
My favorite memories were the daily routine: how Leaders of the Day stepped up to get meals moving, play great music on the bus, and make sure we lugged around those huge jugs of water. Arriving to Helping Hands in the morning to see Belizean students eagerly awaiting their GLA students-turned-teachers to get the morning rolling with Mindfulness. I especially loved the daily Shout-Out circle, where all the warm fuzzies were shared, and gratitude flowed.
Shout-Out Circle made such an impact on everyone’s hearts, that it became the group’s One Meaningful Goal: implement your version of the Shout-Out Circle in your lives back home, tell people how much they mean to you, shout them out for the beautiful little things that often go unnoticed. And remember to check in with each other to keep your One Meaningful Goal fresh in your minds and etched upon your hearts.
The final days of the session were bittersweet, wrapping up and saying goodbyes to TREES homebase, and getting some much deserved rest and relaxation on Caye Caulker. Between the air conditioned rooms, a fun day of snorkeling, and delicious Belizean meals, it was a fabulous ending to a fabulous session.
Even though everyone has settled back into the familiarity of their lives back home, we know that it will never be the same. You’ve all grown as individuals and as change-makers, your perspective has shifted, and you’ve made a lasting impression on each other and on the hearts of the students whose lives you impacted with your warm hearts and dedication to service!
We hope everyone knows how loved and appreciated they are…from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for being you!
Your GLA team – Erica, Dillon, Layni, Whitney, and Kelli
Monday July 22, 2019
Today was a busy yet relaxed day, as everybody was flying in to Belize after a full day (or two!) of flying. We played a few games in the airport and got to know each other, then we took in the beautiful Belizean views as we headed to the T.R.E.E.S home base. Once we settled into our cabins we learned about the flora and fauna around us and had some time to relax.
For dinner we had rice & beans, stewed chicken, and coleslaw. Chocolate brownies for dessert! After dinner we talked about what to expect from service, and got to chat with the students from the previous program (it was their last day) about service and their experience. We had an early night as everybody was exhausted from traveling, and we want to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for service tomorrow!
We are looking forward to meeting our final two students who will be arriving today and tomorrow, Omotayo and Mimi, so we can get them up to speed and integrated into the group!
-Layni (program mentor)
Tuesday July 23, 2019
Hello from Belize!
Today was our first official full day in Belize. We had eggs, toast, fresh banana and fresh pineapple juice for breakfast. After that we boarded the bus and drove through the Mayan mountains to Belmopan, the capital of Belize. We had our first day of service at helping hands. After getting to know our students, we headed back to T.R.E.E.S (home base.)
For lunch we enjoyed tacos with fresh pico do gallo. The rest of the day was filled with orientation, service prep, and a presentation on the culture and history of Belize from Mrs. Emily (the heart behind Helping Hands.) We had basil pasta for dinner with garlic bread and a Caesar salad. We are looking forward to service and dance class tomorrow.
By: Whitney Cooper
Wednesday July 24, 2019
Today was our second day of service! Everybody felt much more prepared and ready to take on their class. We got to know our students better and we’re able to really identify their strengths and weaknesses. We have seen growth already and can’t wait to continue.
Back at home base, we participated in a Belizean dance class. We learned many different styles and had a lot of fun with it. Some got to wear the traditional skirts and we all danced to the local music.
We continued the day with a leadership activity, discussing the best and worst leaders in our lives and their traits and habits. After, we met with our service groups and prepped for tomorrow’s class. After a long day we enjoyed free time and ate dinner. We are very excited for tomorrow!
By Alexa Feder, Iman Khanbhai, and Annika Patel
Thursday July 25, 2019
Today we started off with French toast to lead us into service! We had some trouble making the kids cooperate and pay attention, but the little accomplishments made by the kids were very rewarding. After service, we stopped at a china shop (“a little mall”) and stocked up on snacks and some treats for the kids. We came back to lunch and ate sandwiches that were well deserved! With our power out, our schedule required flexibility and we switched our plans from a cooking class to everyone going on a turtle telemetry expedition. We learned about how a machine detects turtles with distinct grooves in their shells.
We then headed over to the swimming hole and relaxed for a while. Some of us got to try out a move called the monckeydoo. This is a position performed by hanging upside down on a fallen tree log overhanging the swimming hole. On the way back, we collected pineapples and limes. We did a role play leadership activity letting us learn how to communicate different opinions in respectful ways. We ended the day with a delicious dinner and a hangout in the possum pad along with our mentor groups!
By Mimi Novak & Riley Buehler
Friday July 26, 2019
Woke up to another beautiful day in Belize!! For breakfast we ate yummy sausage and egg tacos. Then we got on the bus and headed to the school. At the school we all got in our classes and got back on the bus to go to the Philip Goldson House. The house was where he lived and is now a museum. We learned about the history of him and Belize in the air-conditioned museum.
After eating some snacks with the kids we went back to the school and then to home base. Lunch was yummy veggie burritos and then back on the bus to Marie Sharps Hot Sauce Factory where we tested and bought hot sauce and jams. We were surprised with ice cream on the way back to home base where we did service prep and leadership activity. After a dinner of lo mein some of us went on a night hike. It was the perfect end to an amazing day.
Lola & Tayo
Saturday July 27, 2019
Today was a busy day for the GLA students. In the morning they celebrated two birthdays- one amazing student, Jules, and one awesome staff member, Dillon. After a breakfast of pancakes and bananas, the students loaded on to the bus to go hike the Xunantunich Maya Temple. They took fantastic photos at the top of the temple. Following a long but rewarding hike, everyone went to a local restaurant for a hearty meal of barbecue chicken and beans.
Next stop was a nearby hotel where students enjoyed WiFi and spent time at the iguana conservation. From there, everyone went to the local markets to do some shopping and grab some ice cream. After a long day, the students headed back to home base for a dinner of chili and to continue the birthday celebrations with cake. To wrap up the evening, everyone participated in Game Night. Ending a fun-filled day, students returned to their cabins to rest up for their next adventure!
Sunday July 28, 2019
Hey there it’s us again, the young world travelers! Today we had a jam packed day of adventure that included meeting Belize’s most popular animals. We met a tapir, a speckled owl, a howler monkey, a jaguar, and so much more. After the zoo, we relaxed by tubing down crystal blue cave water. Everyone especially loved the cold water and shade that the caves gave us.
By Emilie & Hannah
Monday July 29, 2019
Hi everybody! Today we got up bright and early to go to sports day with Helping Hands and played with the kids for a few hours. After that we came back to the base for a delicious lunch. Then the staff taught us how to make some cultural food including tortillas and zucchini bread. Yum! Following the cooking class we did leadership activities.
The first one we looked at some quotes and said what we thought they meant or what they meant to us. For the second we learned how to use social media responsibly to portray Belize as the wonderful country that we have experienced! Then a dinner made by our very own hands. After we prepared for our service tomorrow and practiced the play we are giving for literacy night with the kids. We are already over the half way mark, it’s crazy how fast time flies when you’re having fun!
– Maddy and Meagan
Tuesday July 30, 2019
Hey guys today was Tuesday and we had a looooonngg day! 😋 We woke up and had a delicious breakfast of eggs, beans, sausage, and fry jacks at 7:30! Then we went to Helping Hands for our last great day of learning and lots of fun! We stayed at Helping Hands and had a filling sack lunch with sandwiches, tiny bananas, and cookies! After lunch we went out to Moon Clusters, a Belizean coffee and ice cream shop, for a refreshing break before we got to work again. Then we met with students from an organization called Tek Time Fi Read, which is creole for Take Time For Read. We split up into groups and talked about our lives and cultures back home with the Belizean volunteers.
We then helped set up for literacy night while we sang and danced to some of our favorite songs. Literacy night is a night that is annually celebrated at Helping Hands where the community comes together to bring a story to life, and honor its author. We had lots of fun helping decorate the stage!! Then we stopped to eat a delicious sack dinner as well. Our dinner was warm tortillas filled with vegetables and cheese. We also devoured an amazing chocolate cake for dessert in celebration of Jordan’s 16th birthday! After finishing dinner, we were all full and literacy night had begun! We watched our students put on amazing performances and even participated in a GLA group play as well which we had practiced a couple days prior. Then literacy night ended and we all headed home to quickly shower and head straight to bed!! 😁
Love your Leaders of the Day
Caro & Jules
Wednesday July 31, 2019
Hey peeps at home!! Wuz poppin?!!
We had an awesome day which began bright and early at our 6:30 breakfast. We had to start early to get in a packed day- our field trip and the last day of school :(We had a nice hearty breakfast with biscuits, eggs, beans, papaya, and orange juice.) We then boarded the bus and met up with our students and their families, here at TREES.
Then we left to our first activity, the Mayan Centre chocolate factory where we met with the rest of the students and families. We took a tour of the factory and got a look into the chocolate making process. It even included taste testings of raw cocoa beans and freshly made chocolate!
After the chocolate factory we got back on the bus to head to the beach. We were all super excited to spend our last day with the students, swimming and playing in the sand. It was a beautiful day and the water was super warm, so we swam for hours. For lunch we had a taco bar, watermelon, chips, and wafers. After some more time relaxing on the beach and swimming, it was time to say our final goodbyes to the kids. We were heartbroken to leave them but we’re so grateful to have had such an incredible experience throughout the last week and a half.
After a great day, we came back to home base and got some free time to relax before a comfort meal of pasta and chocolate cookies. Dinner was followed with mentor groups and a free night!
We’re also all really looking forward to going to the Caye and can’t wait to update you all on the rest of our trip!
-Jordan and Jasmine
Thursday August 1, 2019
Last day at helping hands! Spent the day cleaning the school with miss Emily, and did fun closing activities back at Trees. Everyone has their bags packed, and we are ready to head to the Caye!
Today we made our way to the caye for our mini vacation after a long 12 days of service and leadership activities! We started off by driving to Belize city and then taking a water taxi to the island. When we arrived we had lunch and were able to walk around the island and buy gifts for our love ones at home. Then we had some free time where we checked into our hotels and were greeted with air conditioning and our own showers and bathrooms. We were all very excited. After some free time on the island we ended the night with dinner and some yummy ice cream. It was a bitter sweet day because of the fact that we were so excited to go to the island but it means that our trip is coming to an end. 🙁
From yours truly,
Carly and Tapaynga
Saturday August 3, 2019
Hi blog! Today we went to a nice breakfast at the cafe Amor y Cafe and got some delicious food. Then, we headed on over to the boat for snorkeling!! The Catamaran bot was a great way to relax in the sun in between snorkeling adventures. We saw nurse sharks, coral, a sea turtle, and all different kinds of beautiful fish. When we finished up snorkeling we headed over to ice and beans for a coffee run, and then watched the sunset. We got some great pictures! Next stop was dinner and it was at a beautiful tropically designed restaurant with pretty string lights. Then, we headed back to Laka Laka for some souvenir shopping and then had a closing activity and evaluations. It truly was an awesome day!!
-by Keeley O.
Sunday August 4, 2019
We are so sad to see our students go! This group of GLA students made it hard to say goodbye at the end of an awesome summer in Belize.
We ended the session with a much-deserved trip to Caye Caulker, where we snorkeled and went souvenir shopping and ate delicious Belizean cuisine. We hope the flights home aren’t too uncomfortable for those who got a bit too much sun on the boat yesterday!
Erica, Whitney, Layni, Dillon, and Kelli