Wednesday June 12, 2019
Welcome to Belize! All of the GLA staff are so excited to finally meet all 28 students on the Belize: Initiative for the Children program. We’ve been eagerly awaiting getting them settled into their new home for the next 14 days at our beautiful T.R.E.E.S. Homebase.
Lush jungle trees, bright red tropical flowers, and the sounds of a symphony of exotic birds greet the students upon arrival. The next 14 days will be filled with new sights and sounds, service learning at the local school, leadership activities and discussions, fun adventures, and new friendships. We all enjoyed a delicious dinner at Homebase and settled in after a long day of travel, to get a good nights rest amongst the sounds of the jungle, ready for a full day tomorrow!
By: Erica Wrona
Belize: The Initiative for the Children
June 12-25, 2019
Thursday June 13, 2019
Hello from Belize,
Today was the first full day of our program. We mainly focused on orientation and getting to know our group. The highlight was the jungle tour and the hike through the orchards to the swimming hole. T.R.E.E.S. is a beautiful and diverse environment. Today we learned about the GLA leadership curriculum and about our new friends. We had pancakes for breakfast, enchiladas for lunch, and lo mien for dinner. We got to try fresh pineapple juice. We are looking forward to diving into service tomorrow and for our cooking class!
-Written by Whitney – Program Mentor
Friday June 14, 2019
We woke up to a very loud thunderstorm at 5:30 that caused a power outage until later in the afternoon. Some of us went to an early yoga class which was hard, but relaxing. Then we had eggs for breakfast before getting on the bus to begin our service journey at St. Matthew’s Anglican School where we helped paint their school and pick up garbage. Also, we got to play with the kids and get to know some of them.
They were all so happy to see us and were super playful and energetic. We had so much fun with them! After playing games like tag, Simon says, and duck duck goose with them, we went back to home base for a delicious lunch with beans and cheese tortillas. Then, we split into two groups and one group cooked dinner for later while the other group worked with Erica in nature, thinking about our purpose for going on the trip. Next, Dillon gave us a biodiversity talk about all the different species of animals in the area.
It was really interesting. Afterward, we got some free time and relaxed on the hammocks before dinner time. For dinner later, we got chicken tortillas that were amazing! Finally, for my personal favorite part of the day, we listened to Mrs. Emily, a teacher and education leader throughout Belize who came to inspire us and teach us about the history of Belize. We all felt so inspired and happy to be doing what we are doing after her talk. After the talk we were all exhausted and went to bed to prepare for another fun day ahead!
By: Elle Snyder
Saturday June 15, 2019
Hi from Belize!
Today is our fourth day in Belize and a fun one too! We started off the morning with some yummy pancakes and fruit salad before getting on the bus to go to St. Ignacio. There, we broke into two groups; one going to the local market and the other going to the iguana project.
At the local market there were tons of vendors selling cool souvenirs and local fruits and veggies. Parents, get ready for some cool gifts!;) At the iguana project, we learned about the threatened species, green iguanas, and got to play with them. Some even crawled on top of our heads!
We then headed to Benny’s Kitchen, a local eatery, to eat a yummy lunch of chicken and rice. After relaxing for a bit, we went to Xhunatunich and viewed the Mayan ruins. It was really cool! We climbed all the way up the highest ruin and got to take some really great pics. And then the best part of the day, WE GOT ICE CREAM!!! It was a good reminder of home:)
We went back to home base and after a quick dinner circle had some yummy pasta for dinner. It was a very hot and long day but super super worth it! Thanks for reading!
– Ella and Siena 🙂
Sunday June 16, 2019
Today we started with bfast at 7:45 and then loading up the buses to go to cave tubing! When we arrived, we got in our bathing suits, helmets, inner tubes, and life jackets. Then, as a group, we began our hike up to the cave. It was not a hard hike, but rather a peaceful walk as we saw the jungle and the river. We took a nice swim in the river before getting strapped together in groups of 8 to go through the cave. Being in cold water felt absolutely incredible.
Going through the cave was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. Our guides explained the carvings, bat holes, and waterfalls throughout our slow travel in the darkness. After the unreal cave tubing, we headed back to home base for a delicious lunch. Then, our afternoon consisted of half the group cooking chicken, beans, coconut rice, and brownies with the kitchen staff while the other half participated in a nature meditation activity. We ended our day with a great meal and looked forward to starting service the next day.
-by Camille Cox
Pictures by Camille Cox and Grace Charwat
Monday June 17, 2019
Today started with a yummy breakfast consisting of fried dough, scrambled eggs, refried beans, and papaya. We then participated in a leadership activity where we were split into groups with the objective to create a sales pitch for a marketing company that would then be presented to the judges. Every five minutes, each group was given a new product to market towards.
Through this activity, we learned the importance of adaptability. After lunch, the group headed to school for our first day of service and lessons with our classroom. Getting to see the kids excited faces and joyful attitudes was the best part of my day; their ambition to learn was incredible to witness. We ended the night with a filling dinner and worked on tomorrow’s service prep and mentor groups.
Written by Bri Stunda
Tuesday June 18, 2019
This morning, we woke up to a delicious breakfast of bread with peanut butter, refried beans, and fresh orange juice. After breakfast, we hiked down to the river here at home base to gather macro invertebrates to take back to the T.R.E.E.S.’s lab. Next, we had some free time before lunch, where we had tacos and refreshing watermelon juice.
After lunch, we traveled back to school to begin our service for the day. We finished painting the school’s church before joining our classes for teaching time. Playing with the kids was the highlight of my day. They have the most amazing smiles and hugs. We ended our busy day with a delicious dinner and bonding with our mentor groups.
Written by Emma Ashton
Wednesday June 19, 2019
After a delicious breakfast of cheesy potatoes, eggs, melon and papaya, we were all ready to start our morning service project. Everyone got their hands dirty weeding, planting, picking limes and working with the chickens and compost process. Climbing back up to home base before lunch, many of us rinsed off in the showers and some also broke open coconuts as a refreshing drink/snack. For our second meal of the day, we enjoyed tostadas with beans, cheese and purple cabbage, and hydrated ourselves with watermelon and carrot juice. Once we finished eating and got ourselves prepared to go, we were on our way back to the school we have been volunteering at.
For about two hours we all spent time with the different age groups of students. Some of us taught lessons in the classrooms, while others spent time playing and talking with the kids. After our work and play with the kids, everyone was delighted to indulge in ice cream at Country Barn before returning to home base. Following dinner circle, we had a lovely time eating pesto pasta, salad and garlic bread with brownies and lime juice- compliments of those who picked the limes this morning and the hard work of the kitchen staff.
The following hours before lights out consisted of mentor groups in which we all played games that we could lead the students in when we go back to the school next Monday. Some took a night hike through the forest as well before getting to sleep. Tomorrow we will be going on an adventure to a new town where we will explore and take a dance class!
By: Gabby Shaul
Thursday June 20, 2019
Today we visited the Ignacio cacio library in Dangriga and helped clean books. This library was very unique considering it had an ocean view! Right after we were done with our service at the library we walked over to the beach.
Next we took a trip to the famous Marie Sharp’s hot sauce factory. Here we got to sample popular hot sauces and purchase many souvenirs.
By: Payton Richardson
Friday June 21, 2019
Today we left T.R.E.E.S. to begin our weekend excursion! We went to the Belize Zoo and saw many local animals such as jaguars and monkey. We also fed toucans and tapirs. Then we enjoyed lunch at the zoo before heading to Belize City to embark on the water taxi. While waiting, we walked to the Belize sign and had a mini photoshoot. Finally it was time to board the boat. We enjoyed an hour of beautiful Caribbean water before arriving at Caye Caulker! After a short walk to our hotel, we settled in, and then started dinner. Over fresh local foods you could hear chatting of AC and wifi! We ended the night with some souvenir shopping and ice cream on the beach. We went to sleep, dreaming of tomorrow’s snorkeling excursion!
Photos coming soon!
-Kat, Mariah, Addy
Saturday June 22 and Sunday 23, 2019
Hello from Belize!
We had an adventure filled weekend at Caye Caulker! On Saturday we went on a catamaran all day. We saw sea turtles, sharks and a Tonna fish and some really pretty coral! Lots of the group got some sun! We ate some tasty rice and beans, chicken and an assortment of vegetables! Although a typical meal, being on the water made it taste even better. Afterwards we were able to walk to dinner on the small island, which doesn’t have any cars, only golf carts!
At dinner there were three options of either fresh fish, pasta with garlic bread and chicken. Then we hit up the homemade ice cream shop which was delicious and then made some stops to pick up some souvenirs. This morning we took the advice of the islanders and “took it slow” and we went back to our favorite breakfast spot, Amor y Cafe. We did some final last minute shopping and packing before starting our trek back to our home base at T.R.E.E.S. Overall the visit to Caye Caulker was so much fun and everybody had an amazing time! We’re looking forward to our last day with the kids tomorrow and coming home!
Written by Kate and Audrey
This morning we woke up to the song “who let the dogs out” around 7 am, and went to a delicious breakfast consisting of cheesy potatoes, papaya salad, and orange juice. Right after breakfast, we went to our last day of service. The group split into different tasks, such as finish painting the church, gardening, and planting trees. But most importantly, we played with the children. Everyone was smiling from ear to ear, and any thought of parting was pushed to the back of our minds.
Leaving the school was sad, but a sense of fulfillment flowed from our hearts. After lunch, Wilson promised us that the kitchen would cook whatever We went for dinner and everyone voted on tacos, zucchini bread, and lime juice. “We are really leaving” sank into us as we wrote parting words for everyone. Looking at all the signatures and all the good wishes was very emotional. At 4:30 pm the different cabins had a cleaning competition, and we rushed trying not to be the one to clean the bathrooms. We finished the day with dinner circle and mentor groups. We are sad, but thankful for our time here in Belize together.