This program started off with an air of excitement as we all anticipated the events to come. After we got to know each other through a “hot seat” questionnaire game and sharing life stories, we learned some intriguing new information about Belize from Ms Emily Martinez, a local Garifuna woman-“peace love hope & joy” was her life motto.
We immersed ourself into the belizean culture by taking a cooking class from our cook Alecia at TREES, visiting Lamani chocolate where the chocolate is made using ancient Mayan technique, and visited Marie Sharp’s famous hot sauce factory. We were able to explore the Belize zoo housing much of the local wildlife, step inside of a green iguana sanctuary, and jump into the warm Caribbean waters at Tobacco Caye where we swam alongside many exotic fish, sting rays and eagle rays! We were even able to explore ancient Belizean culture through the Cahal pech Mayan ruins.
During times we weren’t visiting locations to learn about culture, we were able to experience it first hand while working with the local children during service at St. Margaret’s. The students made many close connections with our GLA group, and as hard as it was for our group to leave, the Belizeans took home an education and experience that they’ll remember forever. Our time spent at service will always manifest physically in the playground we painted and signed with colorful handprints.
During our final evening at TREES, we gathered around a bonfire and listened to local creole drummers while roasting marshmallows. As we said our final goodbyes at the airport, we know that each of us will carry small piece of Belize home with us in our hearts. Tek it light (take it easy).