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Saturday June 16, 2018
Arrival day has come and gone and we can hardly ‘Belize’ it! Staff and students alike were up early to be at the airport, with our first arrivals landing in Belize City around 6:30am. It was a long wait at the airport made shorter by new friends and a yummy sack lunch.
We took a bumpy but scenic two hour ride back to our Home Base, TREES, located in the beautiful Stann Creek District. A spaghetti dinner and some basic survival orientation awaited us, and then it was off to our colorful cabañas set against the backdrop of the Maya Mountains. Each cabaña is named after local flora and fauna! We have students staying in Treefrog, Gecko, Honeycreeper, Blue Morpho, Jackamar, and Mayflower!
We are so happy to have students here with us and cannot wait to hit the ground running tomorrow with orientation!
Sunday June 17, 2018
Whew, are we tired!
We had a very full day of orientation, complete with games, a trip to our swimming hole, and prep for our first day of service tomorrow!
We are having a great time getting to one another and getting to know Belize. Our leaders of the day were Emily Pe. and Kayleigh, both of whom are GLA alums! They gave us some great tips on how to adjust and have the best time these next two weeks.
We’d also like to wish all of our dads, stepdads, grandpas, uncles, and father-figures a wonderful Father’s Day! Sending our love to:
Christian “Cri” Williams
Eric van den Beemt
Monday June 18, 2018
Today was a fabulous second day in Belize! Starting our first day of service, we met and taught 1st-8th graders English.
The kids were so eager and positive and it was heartwarming to see them welcome us in the way that they did. After a long day of service, the group went to the Belize Zoo and received personal guided tours. We saw the national bird, the toucan, and the national animal, the tapir, in addition to seeing a jaguar up close!
Finally, after a delicious meal of beef stew and rice and beans, we had guest speaker Emily Martinez speak to us about Belizean culture and history. She ended with some inspiring words regarding what we can do as individuals, and even more powerfully in a group, to make a change in our community.
Like Ms. Martinez said, “there is so much you can do in a day,” and GLA Belize Day 2 proved her statement right!
-Phoebe and Abby
Tuesday June 19, 2018
Hi family n friends of GLA Belize: Initiative for Children program, today was our second day of service but third day over all…at service we’ve been working with the kids at the St. Augustine school, we work with the Standard four class so we went over the blue morpho butterflies and played a game of fútbol, otherwise known as soccer in the U.S. Being with the kids has already been such an amazing experience and to know it’s just the beginning !! Each kid is so special in their own ways and getting to know them all has a lasting impact on everyone.
After spending time with the kids, we took an adventure to an inland swimming hole known as “The Blue Hole” while another group stayed at home base and took a cooking class. The sapphire water was like nothing we have ever seen before and all of us were amazed by Belize’s natural beauty. On the way back to T.R.E.E.S, the group stopped by a local ice cream shop called “The Country Barn”. The ice cream was freshly made on the farm which gave it an authentic taste unlike the ice cream back home. Later in the evening, we participated in a leadership activity involving the issues regarding the eviction of locals in response to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Each was assigned a point of view in which we would answer questions on during a debate. This activity showed us how to be a leader in matters of conflict and how to handle heated situations. Overall, today we got to experience so many new things that we will carry with us through the rest of our lives.
-By your leaders of the day – Jamie && Olivia
Wednesday June 20, 2018
Today was an action-packed day full of service! After the initial three hours of teaching, the group stayed at the school to plant trees, learn about reptiles, and interns from T.R.E.E.S came to talk about their turtle project.
The kids from the local school are getting super comfortable with our group and tons of friendships are forming. With only 3 days left of service, our GLA group is making sure to have fun-filled school days for the kids. After meeting with our leadership groups and sharing our thoughts about the trip so far, we enjoyed a delicious meal consisting of pasta, Caesar salad, and hibiscus juice.
It was truly an amazing day full of fun activities and developing friendships!!
-Stacia, Riley, and Sophie
Thursday June 21, 2018
This amazing day started out with a delicious pancake breakfast before our 4th day of service. Today, connections were made stronger with the kids that they showed through gifts and letters they gave to us. Our kids are beginning to ask when we are going to leave and have been saying how much they will miss us after Tuesday. After service we headed back to home base for lunch and leadership activities. We held a discussion reflection on how leadership qualities were shown at home base and the service location. We also discussed some problems we were having during the school day and some tips to help solve them and have an overall better experience.
Following dinner we headed to a town called Dangriga for a grocery run and open mic night at the local library. We got lucky because they are only held on the last Thursday of every month. We watched both locals and GLA students perform songs, poems, stories and much more. It turned into a late night because of how many performers showed up. Everyone is looking forward to tomorrow, our last regular day of service before the party on Tuesday.
-Zita & Amelia H
Friday June 22, 2018
Hi friends and family! On Friday we had an exciting day! We had our last full day of service which also had a thunderstorm added to it! We also got to have a meal at the school for a fundraiser! Barbecued chicken, rice and beans, and Cole slaw were cause for some tired students! After lunch we came back and played an appreciation game. It really helped everything to see how they affect others!
We then split into two groups for cooking and the blue hole! The cooking team made tacos and brownies! Having a cooking class definitely showed the students that the cooking staff does so much. Shoutout to the cooking staff!! They also found a secret hiding spot where a chicken hatched eggs! The blue hole people embraced the fresh rain water filled hole and loved it!
With love and smiles,
Rachelle, Katya, & Ellie
Saturday June 23, 2018
Hi GLA blog visitors!
Today was long but arguably one of our best days. We all woke up bright and early to no power and no water, because of a thunderstorm the swept through the area while we were asleep, but nonetheless we then all headed to breakfast at 7:30. After a delicious breakfast of french toast and hydrating for the day we hit the road promptly at 8 am.
On our way to San Ignacio in the Cayo district, we passed through beautiful scenery and new places we hadn’t seen yet in Belize. Then close to 10 am we arrived, split into 2 groups and headed to an iguana conservation center and to learn about the spiritual and cultural aspects of Maya chocolate and the history of it and made some yummy chocolate drinks. We then sat down for a lovely lunch on our way to the Maya Temples and where we talked and bonded some more as we sipped on sodas.
While at the Maya temple of Xunantunich, we walked 1 mile to get to the tour guides (all up hill). Once there, we got sprayed in bug spray and sun screen. We should mention that today was particularly exasperatingly hot, so you can use your imagination about how we all looked. We then headed up to Maya temples of Xunantunich (stone lady in Mayan). Took a walk around and learned a LOT about the religion, society, culture, life, and games of the Maya people.
We were all very intrigued by the astounding architectural restoration projects from the past and the just now from all the new discoveries. All before heading straight up to the top of a 140 foot Maya temple where we could see Guatemala and enjoyed the beautiful view.
Over all the GLA Belize family had a wonderful and colorful day especially because it was the amazing Ellie Shimp’s birthday! We are excited to enjoy some cake and celebrate this evening!!
Hope all is well back in the states, goodnight!
-Hailey Overholser and Alexa Orzolek
Sunday June 24, 2018
Hey guys! This morning we didn’t have breakfast till 9 so we finally got a chance to sleep in! After breakfast we had the choice of participating in 3 activities: a creative writing workshop, a mini Spanish class or going to the swimming hole. After lunch we had a little bit of free time until we had a Mayan presentation. In the presentation we learned more about the mayan culture and practicing making weaving baskets. It was a pretty relaxing day for the most part. We ended our day with dinner and a little activity and reflection in our mentor groups.
Emily Pi, Evelyn, and Vishva
Monday June 25, 2018
Today was one of those days that feels like the morning happened two years ago. We went to Marie Sharps at 10 and got too much hot sauce (duh). It’s really cool that all of the people here have an interesting story, like Marie Sharp herself, who was present at the factory to tell us her own story. We got lucky— she doesn’t do that all the time! Once we got back to T.R.E.E.S. we didn’t want to get off the bus because that meant another adventure is over. We’re finding that we’re trying to absorb as much of everything here before we leave, so our days are seeming longer. We know it’s cheesy to say this trip has been life changing, but really, we feel like whole different people. All of our perspectives— on almost everything that we think is important— have changed. We are thankful for all the talks that help me broaden my perspective of others.
Reanie and Kate
Today we spent our day sailing on the open Caribbean Sea! We saw endless colorful fish, a friendly sea turtle, sea cucumbers, purple and red coral reef and even a sting ray!
After we finished snorkeling- we boarded back onto our catamaran and enjoyed an awesome lunch of grilled chicken, rice and beans, potatoes salad and basil tomatoes and cucumber.
We sailed around for a few hours more on the crustal blue Caribbean sea and then dropped anchor to meet some nurse sharks!