You guys did it, way to go. From bats in the shower to scorpions also in the shower, you guys survived everything that was thrown your way. I’m writing this on the last day of the program, and I’m going to be sad to see everyone go their separate ways tomorrow. We have built a tightknit community these last three weeks that I feel lucky to have been a part of. I hope you all enjoyed your time here as much as I have. It was truly a pleasure to get to know all of you. You should be proud of all you have accomplished in your time here.
The transition from the first to last day of service was remarkable. By the end of day one, everyone was exhausted and saying how hard it was to look after a group of students, and that was completely fair. Over the two weeks, there were fights that had to be broken up, students that had to be called down from the roof, band aids that needed passing out, walls that needed painting, and a few classrooms had t literally had kids climbing out of the windows to run away. To add to it, all of this was done in the hot Belize sun without any AC. The service was in by no means easy. The last day was tear-filled and heart wrenching however. And that’s because even when managing the Belizean students was difficult, there was never a lack of love. The students that you worked with looked up to you and loved you. They came to school every day waving with a big smile on their face, excited to be back for another day. You played with them and made them laugh. You taught them and helped prepare them for a better future. You got to know them and made them feel special. They have the letters you wrote for them and I know that they will always remember you. They all loved you too much not to.
The trip was also a full-blown adventure. You lived one hundred feet from a pond that a crocodile called home, and you snorkeled with schools of sharks bigger than yourselves in the middle of the ocean. You explored the ruins of Xunantunich in an absolute down pour and swam through the ATM caves to see the skeletons of Mayan sacrificial victims. You braved cold showers, mosquitos, dorm-life, and outdoor bathrooms. You swam in the Blue Hole, tasted Marie Sharp’s habanero hot sauce, encountered a jaguar, and floated on tubes through caves, disappearing into the pitch black. You also swam with a Mantatee in the crystal blue water of the Caribbean (that in itself is pretty unreal). I know I’m leaving things out, but that is only proof of how great of an adventure you’ve had the last three weeks. Everything you guys have done is impressive. Here’s to stepping out of your comfort zone, you guys really went for it, and I know you have the memories of a life time to show for it.
While it is easy to look back and remember the service you did, the adventures you had, the different cultures you learned about, and the country you explored, it is vital to also remember the friendships you made. Last night I heard countless conversations about ways to see each other again, be it at home or on the road. Do it. You guys should see each other; make the effort, it is worth it. You became really good friends these last three weeks. Honor your friendships, for each other and yourself. The thought of you guys continuing to be a part of each other’s lives makes be happy, and I hope that this program not only does the incredible task of bringing you across the world to see and participate in a different way of life, but that it also makes lasting friendships that can continue to grow and prosper as you get older.
Like I said before, I consider myself lucky to have been a part of the last three weeks. I have learned so much and I had such a great time Reading this, I hope all of you are doing well, and that your next chapter of life can be as vibrant and fulfilling as this one was. I hope the love of helping others and the spirit of adventure is still alive in you. I hope your all living the lives you want to live. I wish all of you the best of luck, and remember that attitude is everything. Life is what you make of it, so go have a great one.