Pictures from our last day at St. Matthew's and Monkey Bay.
Our leaders of the day, Lucas, Ella, and Linden, presented the principal with a gift for welcoming us to their school.
Hanging around and playing games at Monkey Bay on our last afternoon/evening:
We ended our last night with a bonfire, roasted marshmallows, and some drumming!
On our way to Tobacco Caye! (pronounced "key")
Our lodging at Tobacco Caye... not a bad view.
On a tour of the island with James, the marine biologist leading our time on the island.
It has been a busy day! We did not have time again to have the students write a blog post, but wanted to fill you in on what we did today. We left Monkey Bay at 8 am to head to Tobacco Caye. After a long bus ride and then a half hour boat ride, we made it to our home for the weekend. Tobacco Caye is a beautiful island of only 4.4 acres and we are so happy to be here! We had a tour of the island, intro to snorkeling lesson, and reef cleaning session. One group got to do a night snorkel and two other groups will go tomorrow night. Tomorrow is our last day here and it will be packed as well! We will have the students write a post if we have time, and either way we will post some pictures. Looking forward to our last day in Belize together and then seeing you all Sunday night!
Today was our third day at St. Matthew’s Government School. We all got to go to classrooms and play with students today. The older kids were practicing for graduation and the younger students are really warmed up to us at this point, so they were flooding us with hugs. Before lunch, we all interviewed different community members: a teacher, a student, the school principal, our local guide Juan, and our local bus driver Vitaliano. The interviews were a lot of fun and helped us learn about their viewpoints on the world. Some of us got to go to homes for lunch again today, and they were very good. We had rice, chicken, empanadas, and french fries. After we came back from lunch, we got to see the kids again before heading out. Then we had a twenty-minute drive to go cave tubing. We got to float down a river and through a big cave where we saw quartz, a mini waterfall, and some bats. It was really cool and refreshing! We got to jump off of a rock into the river. We had another great dinner at camp, including flour tortillas, drumsticks, and pineapple upside down cake. Finally, we had circle time after dinner where we processed our day and appreciated each other.
-James and Kenzie
The school principal:
A kindergarten teacher:
Vitaliano, our trusty bus driver:
Today was the second day we visited St. Matthew’s Government School. To start off the morning, the group working on the community project moved some cinder blocks into the new office while others went to classrooms again. After we moved enough blocks, we started helping the 8th grade students with their final community service project of improving the school library. We helped by moving all of the books from the previous library to the new one. After taking a brief water break the kids wanted to play soccer. Moving all of the books took time and a lot of effort, but once we were done we felt good because we were able to help them. Also, we were very tired and sweaty. At lunch both of us went to a family’s home and ate a delicious meal. It consisted of rice, beans, tortillas, tamarind juice, and chicken. The family had many pets and children including a really cute baby! After lunch we headed back to Monkey Bay exhausted. After our 2 ½ hour free time we were feeling a little more refreshed. At 3:30 we played 4 human floats. In the game we found four teammates and positioned ourselves on chairs, leaned back, and had the chairs removed from under us. We had to see which group could stay up the longest. It was very challenging but fun! Tomorrow we look forward to returning to the school and going tubing in a cave afterward!
-Corinne and Grant
PS- we are unfortunately unable to post many pictures from the school because we do not have permission to take and share photographs that show any student faces.
Today was the first day we visited the St. Matthew’s Government School. There we bonded with children from ages four to fourteen. Once at the school, we split up into groups. One of the groups helped clear out debris in order to build the school’s new office. Other groups went in different classrooms to connect with kids of different ages. After about an hour, we all played games with the younger children during their recess. These games included tag, soccer, having fun on the seesaw, and just throwing a ball around. After the younger kids’ recess period, some of the groups went back into the classrooms and the working group interacted with the middle school students. We played a Belizean version of Night At The Museum and a trust game taught to us by World Leadership School instructors. At around 12 o’clock in the afternoon, all the students at St. Matthew’s had an hour lunch period. Ten of us were able to go to a student’s house to eat. The families provided a delicious lunch and were quite welcoming and hospitable during our stays. At 1 o’clock we left St. Matthew’s Government school excited to come back tomorrow to see the friends we had made that day. Back at Monkey Bay, our World Leadership School instructors led us through different activities helping us discover our gifts. Today was hot and humid, but we had loads of fun interacting with the students of St. Matthews Government School and can’t wait to go back tomorrow!
-Maya and Sania
PS: more pictures to come tomorrow!
Today was the day that we visited the Mayan Ruins, known as Xunantunich, which means Stone Lady in one of the Mayan dialects. Once we arrived there, we trekked around half a mile to enter into the “plaza” where the view of all the ruins was amazing. Fears were conquered while climbing up to the ancient structure known as El Castillo, still the second tallest building in Belize. Though it was very hot, everyone made the most of the experience and lots of laughter was involved. We ate a delicious traditional Mayan lunch at a restaurant near the ruins. After our drive back home and dinner, we had a night tour of the Belize Zoo, an experience that we will not forget. While we were there, we encountered pumas, held snakes, fed Belize’s national animal, the tapir, and watched the famous jaguar, Junior, climb up a playset and do a somersault on the ground. Despite the heat and fears, today was a great day, and one that we will never forget!
-Camilla and Lauren
This is Eddy, one of our tour guides for the Mayan ruins. He taught us so much and was very knowledgable about not only the ruins, but the history of the Mayans and the country of Belize. He himself is of Mayan decent!
Look closely to see the Black Howler monkeys we saw in the wild!
In front of El Castillo:
We made it to the top! We were rewarded with nature's AC - a cool breeze!
Mayan Salbutes for lunch. They were delicious!
Night tour of the zoo - here is Sylvia the Jaguar, who is trained to jump on the fence to get her food.
Carlos the Puma. The animals respond to the zookeepers calling their name!
We got to hold a boa constrictor!
We have had a very full third day in Belize! Because we went to explore the zoo after dinner this evening, the students did not get a chance to write a blog post for the day. We will get a blog post from today up as soon as we can. In the meantime, enjoy some more pictures from our adventures yesterday!
Exploring the cave:
Thanks to Ella for letting us take lots of pictures on her GoPro at the Blue Hole!
Classroom time with World Leadership School. The students set goals for their time in Belize and did an amazing job introspecting and coming up with goals in the following categories: Investigating the World, Recognizing Perspectives, Communicating Ideas, and Taking Action.
We are lucky to have delicious home cooked meals every night!
Hanging out at Monkey Bay:
After breakfast today, we boarded our bus and drove to St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park. We took a hike and explored the tropical rainforest. We were amazed at all the plants that were so different from the ones back home. We hiked into the inside of the cave, and went as far as 300 meters down. Even though some people were afraid, by helping each other, we conquered our fears. After exploring the cave, we hiked to the Blue Hole. It really deserves its name, as the water was incredibly blue. We swam, splashed, and had a great time. Small fish nibbled on us. After the blue hole, we came back to Monkey Bay and took some time to reflect on our day as a group. The leaders from World Leadership School organized fun games and brought us closer as a group. Overall, we learned a lot and had a blast. It was a great second day!
-Julia and Andy