Wow! We can’t believe how much time has passed since we were all in Belize together! I can still picture all of us sitting in the dining room eating empanadas, taquitos, chicken, and (of course) the rice and beans. It feels like just yesterday that we were all snorkeling in Caye Caulker, singing and dancing on the boat together. Most of you are probably back at school, some of you are starting college, and some of you are working and back in the swing of things, but we wanted you to know that we are all still thinking of you and the impact we made this summer together.
Our adventure in Belize was genuinely an incredibly unique experience. I hope that all of you know that you left making a genuine impact in Belmopan, not only with the connections you made with your students, but the connections you made with the volunteers, teachers, Miss. Emily, and each other. You were able to help start paving the way for a parents night, facilitating many different opportunities and perspectives on how to connect parents and their students. We found a genuine need in the community, and made a genuine impact. You helped fix up the classrooms at Helping Hands, and really became part of the community at Literacy Night. You provided help and showed leadership in an incredibly real way throughout your experience. You made real, lasting connections. You found what you loved, what you weren’t so crazy about, and some of you even found a path for your future.
I will also never forget how much fun we had together. Your amazing attitudes, diverse personalities, and incredible perspectives & insights made the experience what it was. We experienced Belizean culture through adventures, food, connecting to the people, and more. We went to a local market, learned about Maya culture, made jewelry, and learned creole dancing. We hiked up Xunantunich, swam in the blue hole, and trekked through the ATM caves. Some of you concurred your fears, tried new things, and got out of your comfort zone. All of you walked away from the experience learning something new about yourself.
We worked hard, played hard, and had an amazing 21 days together. We made memories to last a lifetime and have a million laughs to look back on. Thank you all so much for the amazing program, and being part of our lives.
Some special moments from our trip:
· Playing chess and dominos with Juan Carlos
· Watching students perfect their handstands in the pool
· Conga lines on the dock in Caye Caulker
· Swimming with the manatees and sea turtles
· Feeding bananas to the spider monkeys at the zoo
· Learning how to make real chocolate from Mayas… and watching everyone’s faces when they tasted it
· Holding the iguanas… or letting them climb on your head.
· Moon-Clusters, Western Dairy, Scoop Dis on Caye caulker… ALL of the ice cream
· Meeting Miss. Emily, and creating connections with her high school volunteers and students
· All the morning cheers to get us pumped for service (ehhhh!)
· All the bug bites
· All of the laughs and love
-Kacey (Mentor), Patrick (Mentor) and Maria (International Director)