Friday June 29, 2018
All have arrived and students are adjusting well to the Belize humidity! We had a quick arrival day at the airport, with all students arriving within four hours of each other!
We had a short drive to our home-away-from-home at the Tropical Education Center (TEC by nickname) and settled in with a swim test and dip in the pool. Staff and students enjoyed a welcome meal of homemade tortillas, beans, chicken and vegetables.
Our night consisted of a few get to know you games and our “Story of Self.” Each student and staff shared their personal narrative – an wonderful spin on bedtime stories. Students quickly went to bed, and all but three were asleep before we showed up for bed checks!
This afternoon was spent at the Belize Zoo, and tomorrow our first Leaders of the Day will be taking charge and writing the blog posts from here on out, which we send to GLA headquarters staff to update on the blog page!
English quote of the day: “I am not the same, having seen the moon on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
Kriol quote of the day: “Weh wi gwen?” (Where are we going?)
Saturday June 30, 2018
Leaders of the Day: Claudia and Cathryn
Today we all went to the green iguana sanctuary where we held iguanas. Our favorite was named “Kim Kardashian,” and known locally as “Ziggy.” Her spine is deformed because she was once a pet and had a lack of calcium and natural light. We went to the San Ignacio market and bought everything from fruit to hammocks to bracelets. After a filling lunch at Benny’s, we traveled by foot to the Maya site of Xunantunich, because our bus was too big to fit on the bridge they crank by hand. Some people weren’t big fans of the hike in the heat, but it was worth it for the view. The guides told us many stories and legends about the site while we were there.
Sunday July 1, 2018
Leaders of the Day: Chloe and Rachel
Met Miss Emily and saw the amazing school Helping Hands that she put together with her own money
Inspired by Miss Emily’s life motto
Sang the song for our first day of service
Sipped Belizean blue lemonade and other Belizean delicacies
Emily gave us stones and hugs and told us to be a “shining light”
Many full bellies; good eats
Interesting stories of Belize’s culture and past
Love, peace, joy, hope – this is Miss Emily’s motto
You don’t know it yet but service will be fun tomorrow
Monday July 2, 2018
Leaders of the Day: Helen and Grace
This morning was our first day of service. We welcomed the kids with song and dance. It was a very fun but exhausting first day of service! In the afternoon we went cave tubing, which was a great way to cool after a long day of work. We are excited to continue working with the kids for the next two weeks!
Wednesday July 4, 2018
GLA Belize continued to grow their teaching abilities taking on varying roles in different classrooms. Students showed extreme amounts of flexibility with the unpredictable school environment, growing as educators and individuals while forming deeper bonds with their students. Despite being overseas for the Fourth of July, the group made a snack run and enjoyed some traditional American junk food. Overall great day!
-Leaders of the day: Jordyn and Stella
Thursday July 5, 2018
Today we continued our service at Helping Hands. We are all feeling more comfortable and accomplished in our endeavors in the classroom. After service, we visited a Mayan Chocolate making workshop. In the workshop we learned about the history and origin of chocolate as well as sampling tradition Mayan chocolate. We all got to try and chocolate drink that was mixed with honey, water, cinnamon, and chili powder. Lastly, we went to an ice cream place in Cayo and enjoyed delicious ice cream. All around today was a good day.
-Caroline Kilgallen and Carolyn Moyer
(Leaders of the day)
Friday July 6, 2018
Today marks an entire week of service completed! Although there were moments of being out of the mood, everyone pushed through and pulled their weight, putting the kids before themselves. Sadly, next week is our last week working with the students so we are going to soak in our final moments. The afternoon was spent watching Mama Mia with each other and ate a s’mores bake made by Jordan, Codi and Megan. We are all excited for the long and early day at the ATM cave tomorrow!
-blog by leaders of the Day: Hiyasmin & Kaitlyn
Saturday July 7, 2018
Even though none of us dropped a camera on a mayan skull, like former tourists, today we did lose a croc gibbet as we journeyed across paths and rivers to the Actun Tunichnil Muknal cave. We adventured to the atm cave today, pushing ourselves to climb large rock formations and view ancient mayan skulls and artifacts that prove that mayans practiced human sacrifice.
We waded through water that was up to our necks, and squeezed through small openings in rock formations. The food served to us at the end of the day was one of the best meals yet, and we ended the day with a wet and bumpy bus ride back to home base.
-blog by leaders of the Day: Claudia and Rachel
Sunday July 8, 2018
After a full week of service and many days immersing in the many cultural activities, we had an opportunity to sleep in until 8:30 and eat a late breakfast! Students had a restful morning, and a super engaging Maya workshop with two women from Punta Gorda. We learned about Maya culture in Belize, women’s empowerment, tasted sweet corn tortilla and aged sugar, and even learned how to weave. Our night concluded with a GLA/TEDex activity, where each member of our community shared a 3-5 minutes story of something they are passionate about. Students are super excited for our final week at Helping Hands with Miss Emily!
-Blog by leaders of the Day: Jordan, Meg and Codi
Monday July 9, 2018
Today GLA Belize began our second week of service with the kids at Helping Hands. We kicked off the week with a new “theme song” to get the kids stoked and it is now stuck in everybody’s heads. We were thrilled to see that the number of students attending is continuing to grow. We were also excited to see that not only did the kids remember us and what we had taught them, but also were happy to be back at school.
After lunch back at the TEC, Garifuna women Dixie and Amber came to teach a Belizean dance class. We got in a good workout while learning a lot about Belizean culture and the dances of many coastal cities.
After dancing we all needed some downtime before dinner. During our time usually reserved for mentor groups, we tested our knowledge of Belizean culture with a game of Belizean Jeopardy. Overall, it was a great day, and we can’t wait for a good night’s sleep and another day of service tomorrow.
-blog by leaders of the Day: Caroline D and Jordyn
Tuesday July 10, 2018
Yesterday marked our last rotation through the classrooms as we began second day of our second week of service. We continued to develop our skills, foster relationships with students, and enjoy a positive day overall. In addition to our personal success, Miss Emily was interviewed by a local news station about her Helping Hands Summer Program. Later that day, we journeyed to Marie Sharpe’s Hot Sauce Factory where we toured the production floor and sampled a variety of the products, including jams, hot sauce and steak sauce.
-Blog by leaders of the Day: Cathryn and Stella
Today GLA conquered another successful day of service at Helping Hands. The kids continued to improve in skills and relationships were further developed. One of our favorite things is watching the bus come from San Martin, a neighboring village with 14 students and one teacher!
It really is more of a van, than a bus. After service, Celso, who manages the TEC and Belize zoo, shared his knowledge on the Tapir. The Tapir is Belize’s national Animal and can grow to be 550 pounds! After, we enjoyed some down time including: movies, painting, ab workouts, and zoo gift shopping! As the day wraps up we are enjoying some homemade lime juice and some good spaghetti.
We are finishing the night talking as a group with our journals. Yet another good day. Excited to see what tomorrow brings!!
-Blog by leaders of the Day: Caroline and Chloe