For anyone interested...here is an update of my Belize service learning project trip.
I will try to get pictures up as soon as I learn how to do that web thing everyone else has been doing!
The camp went nicely. We had lots of supplies and the kids enjoyed themselves.
Our group suffered a bit since there were 18 of us including our invisible volunteer who we eventually discovered and named! That was amusing...we got all the way to Big Falls with head counts along the way and each time we came up with 18 people in our group! At the airport when we first checked all of our bags and tubs of supplies we could not figure why we were over by 1 tub!
Finally, when we arrived in Big Falls at the Colemans, we were trying to see how many tubs had not arrived since Tropic air could only hold so many of our tubs per trip. In figuring this all out we took another head count and holy cow!...we were missing our 18th person but we were all there! SO we named that mysterious person, Laura! Not sure where that came from?!
Our group was so diverse and so large it was a challenge not to get on each others nerves. Not to mention we were all struck by virus or some fecally-orally transmitted bacteria or something that kept us, all except for me and one other person, down with vomiting and diarrhea. I eliminated food and water as contaminants and learned some of the kids had been ill too. Again, not to mention that they were spraying poisons to kill the mosquitos because of a Dengue fever outbreak! When I spent the nights in the homes with the village families, the kids stayed up all night crying and tearing up their little faces that burned and itched from the poisons. Some had to stay home from camp they got so bad. Our other fight was those damn little bitting flies...I never could unsterstand the name they called them but everyone remarked how bad they were recently, I guess from all the rain?!?!
Another amusing point was how I had not gotten sick but had gotten one of these flies trapped in my boxer shorts..it must have been the night I slept on the floor in this one house. It must have gotten stuck in my shorts because the next day I was itching my waist band. I pulled my shorts down to see I was covered in bites all over my butt cheeks! Now that was amusing! Then I pulled out my snake bite kit which said it was good for fly bites...lol...I ended up with marks that looked like hickys or bruises all over my be-hind!
Never the less I had a good time and got to see some pretty exciting things. I even got to meet two people from here, Quaxiru and Jim from Pier Lounge...Hi!
Besides the camp we got to visit 2 water falls, one in Santa Cruz and one in Cockscomb. I went to a church service for a 1 year anniversary of a boy who died in the village last year while we were there. I went to service in San Felipe, beautiful area, for celebrating new musicians being inducted into the church. I am not religious but I enjoy the singing and music produced in the services. I also got comfortable and accepted offerings of Caldo, Potch, and other traditional meals. Yum!
I went bathing in the river as usual and this time even washed clothes there too! I asked to borrow soap froam a litle grl bathing next to me...she went and got some and then watched with amazement...then she and her sister must have felt more comfortable because they moved closer down the rocks to me and began to play with me as we washed! They were all smiles then!
I even got asked if I was looking for a husband...but I was not the only one who was asked that. I almost was convinced into staying...yeah, this time I really felt at home!
At our festival I dressed as a clown and acted up...they love to see the way I clown myself! I even danced the Punta..as a clown and as myself...although I was much more comfortable as the clown!
We even went north to Blackman Eddy where there is a UB campus that we might start a second camp at next year as requested by one of our contacts. So we will be doing more fundraising efforts for that too!
I don't think I will go with our group next year but I will still be coordinating fundraising efforts and will be traveling on my own so that I can get more accomplished. Anyone interested in helping me raise funds is certainly welcome to contact me!
We are also trying to put together a foundation here in the states so that we can collect funds raised and so we will be able to transfer money between our Belizean contact's foundation and ours so as to award scholarships to Belizean students that complete our camp and show outstanding community commitment. Also to maybe make an exchange program for our college students and theirs. Lots of work, commitment and fundraising but I believe that it is so worth it!
These are all ideas that spawned from this year's trip!
I will get my pictures up soon so they can tell the story of the kids and the camp!
Thanks to all for support!
[This message has been edited by sarahsmile (edited 08-03-2002).]