Follow one of our newest partners, the University of Southern Mississippi, and their week long adventure in Belize!
University of Southern Mississippi Chapter in Belize
August 16 – 23, 2019
August 16, 2019 – Arrival Day
University of Southern Mississippi has arrived to Belize!!
August 17, 2019
Well! I started today with an open mind and I was prepared to see what our first adventure would be like in Belize. Although the night was quite warm, I slept pretty well. I was also looking forward to breakfast and it was very filling. We had tortillas, eggs, beans, and watermelon as well. After everyone was done eating, we set off to Roseville, which was a very interesting experience. I say this because I was not prepared for what their communities would be like, or how they would respond to us after seeing that we were Americans coming from a completely different culture. With that being said, the first village we went to (after driving through a river) was a little uncomfortable to be in because we felt like outsiders, however, they did sell us some of the produce we went there for. The next Mennonite village we went to was more helpful and seemed to have a genuine desire to provide us with the best produce they had to offer.
Once we left their village, we came back to eat lunch which consisted of chicken, rice, and beans, that was deliciously seasoned and cooked. We headed to Lim Ni Pinut Mayan Ruins and we had a BALL walking through the area and exploring their history. We all enjoyed learning about the Mayan culture and taking pictures of the beautiful landscape and artifacts. Everyone also had a great time laughing at my attempt to be great which involved me getting stuck in a tree; but that’s the fun that memories are made out of! Right? Lol, Any who!
After exploring the area for the day, we returned to the lodge to enjoy a DELICIOUS meal made up of jack cakes, beans, mango (that was the size of our heads), and freshly squeezed watermelon juice. Our nightly discussion also gave us some beneficial insight on what 7elements does for the countries they cater to and it helped me put “everyday things” that I may take for granted into perspective. I enjoyed experiencing some of what Belize had to offer today and I am interested in learning much more.
-Leader of the Day, Bre
August 18, 2019
August 19, 2019
August 20, 2019
Day 5 was definitely an adventure! I started off the day with a workout in the jungle (this has been such a cool, new experience), then I got ready and we all gathered for breakfast. Breakfast was eggs with tomato, okra, and flour tortillas! We then headed out to the Bush Doctor. This was such an interesting and inspiring meeting with Alfonzo, the herbalist. Did you know that there are herbs that can treat headaches, cramps, soreness, and even diabetes, yellow fever, and cancer? He shared personal stories of instances the herbs he was showing us had worked and are still working today. In some of his cases, even modern medicine would not work, but his herbs did. Alfonzo inspired me by his desire to truly help the people. He is not worried about the money at all. He simply treats the people within his community out of the love and kindness of his heart and then asks them how much they can give or feel the need to give depending on the treatment he provides. After the bush doctor, we headed to the Rio Blanco Waterfalls. I was super excited for this, and it did NOT disappoint! The waterfalls were stunning. I have never seen a waterfall up close like I had the opportunity to see today. Not only did I see it, I got to jump off of a cliff into the river of the waterfalls and swim underneath the waterfall with Marie and Saul. My stomach dropped as I jumped off the cliff the first time, but after I did it once, I wanted to do it again and again! It was such an adrenaline rush! Being underneath a waterfall was mesmerizing honestly. It took my breath away to see how powerful and beautiful this water was as it was coming down from the inside of it. I was afraid of how to get out of the waterfall, because of the strong current, but eventually I swam out of it and made it out alive! There was even a “stage” for me to dance on at the waterfalls, which made me very happy. I danced on a platform off to the side of the waterfall, and it was a very freeing, joyful experience. Next, we headed back to the lodge, but we made a stop of Cindy’s grandfather’s on the way back to gather some fresh mango (my favorite!!) and some crafts made by Rose’s mother. Once we arrived back at the lodge, I took some time to reflect on my day and my experience so far in Belize. We ate dinner shortly after, which was spaghetti and the mango we got today. Rose’s cooking has been phenomenal every time! During our nightly discussion, we talked about identity. This was an enlightening and vulnerable experience for me, and I feel like these kinds of talks should be had more often. There are issues people are facing that I knew nothing about and vice versa. Communication and asking for help is so important, and so is being the person to step in and help. However, I do want to say that one major thing I have learned on this trip is to serve alongside others, WITH them. I have adjusted my outlook on how I perceive and think about the people I serve. I do not want to seem superior or more wealthy just because I am here to help. I want to be a friend. I want to give and serve to my greatest ability as well as receive and learn for the Mayan people and their ways. Overall, I had enjoyed my experience here in Belize through all of the ups and downs (mostly ups)! Belize is full of beautiful people and land. I admire how the take care of the earth and rely on the earth to take care of them. I can’t wait to continue with our service project tomorrow and hope to keep learning and growing here in Belize!
August 21, 2019
we had another amazing breakfast and got ready for our last workday. It has been raining on and off, so Marie ordered dirt to be delivered to the site. This was an amazing idea, and saved hours of work, especially since it has been raining so much. The rain really affects the flow of the work at the project site.