Sunday, March 24, 2013

Last Day

We had a relaxing last day.  After a chill morning with an optional snorkel we left the island and headed back to the tropical education center.  We went on a night Zoo tour and then had a closing ceremony.  We all agreed that this was the best trip ever!  We will see you all soon!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Second day at Tobacco Caye

Hey guys! On our second day at Tobacco Caye the whole group had tons of fun snorkeling. The day started differently from usual. Because our group leaders thought we did a good job throughout the week, they treated us to a pre-breakfast of ginger cookies and peanut butter while we participated in an activity, where the group put the millennium development goals in order by priority. After that, we ate an amazing breakfast, before we headed off to go snorkeling. First, we went to a beautiful reef off the coast of Carrie Bow (pronounced carry bo) Caye, another small island owned by The Smithsonian Institute used for marine biological research. While we swam, we had reef BINGO cards that we crossed fish and other organisms off when we saw them. The variety of species found in the water was vast and diverse. Afterwards, we actually visited the island while one of the managers of the Carrie Bow told us about the labs and the research gathered there. We also learned about the mangrove trees which are trees that grow in the water. Once we knew about them we snorkeled in a mangrove tree cove and got to see all the fish that feed off the algae and plants. We even saw a seahorse!! But then we went back to the Tobacco Caye for some down time. The time in which I'm writing this blog. But we still have much to come in half an hour we will catch a beautiful sunset on the dock and then have dinner. Finally, to finish our day, we are going night-snorkeling to look at all the nocturnal fish. Then off to bed for good night's sleep. Bitter sweetly, we will be returning home in two days or so, so we look forward to seeing you all again but are saddened to say goodye to our paradise. See you soon!
PS: a special shoutout to Ava's sister for her birthday so Happy Birthday!
-Nicky and Claudi

First day at Tobacco Caye

Hey everybody! This day has been covered with awesome sauce! First, we visited the children at the Mayan school to say goodbye; we gave them overly epic BB&N bracelets and we gave the girls soccer team BB&N tee shirts. Then, we went to the women's co-op and bought some really cool stuff for all of you guys made by the women in the community. After a semi- long bus ride we boarded a speed boat and speed right on over to Tobacco Caye; the island is so small that you can literally see from coast to coast. Our rooms have hammocks (SCORE!!) outside them!!! Ok, next we met Jen and Shan our snorkeling guru's and after so orientation we did a practice snorkel on a sand bar, but we did see four sting rays!! Then, we went over the reef! Jen pointed out a lot of cool sea-life, such as various types of fish and coral. Afterwards, we hung out in the hamocks and relaxed. It was an amazing day!

          -Emory and Ava

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Day 4

Day 4
Hello parents, relatives, and friends!
Yesterday was full with fun activities! Five of us started out the day with an early morning bird watch. We saw five Keelbill Toucans , A White Fronted Parrot, A Hooded Oriole, two Rufous Breasted Spine Tails, a Spot Breasted Wren, A Brown Crested Fly Catcher,  and many other fascinating birds. After a wonderful breakfast, everyone headed out to the worksite. We worked on the swing set until break, and then performed the Three Little Pigs, The Cat In The Hat, and Little Red Riding Hood for the kids at the school in a make-shift outdoor theater. After the performances, work was continued. By the end of the work period, we had finished everything except the hanging of the swings. As a treat for our hard work, in the afternoon we went tubing in the Jaguar Reserve. Our relaxing ride was accompanied by the call of various birds, and even the occasional screech of howler monkeys. We came back to begin a intense game of soccer. Nicky accidentally knocked over Ms. Schultheis in the middle of the game. After the close game, we headed to our last home stay dinner. The food was out of this world (as usual). At the end of the amazing meal, we gave the families our gifts. All the families loved the gifts. That night we heard Aurora, the wife of the man who is head of the lodge, tell the story of how she pioneered the slate carving business in Belize. Everyone was tired after such an exciting day and quickly fell asleep. Lots of love,
        -The Spectacular Kaley and Amazing Max

More on Day 5 (our first day at Tobacco Caye later)

Last work day!

We had a fabulous day!  It was so busy and fun that you will need to wait for a longer update from the amazing Kaley & Max.  In the meantime enjoy these photos!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hello Parents!

Day three of our stay was the best yet! We started off the day with a jaguar scare! Yikes!  One of the instructors told us he came and night and was scratching at the door. So, as a result, he had to scare it away. Turns out the whole thing was fake and the door scratches were faked, although you never know. Our breakfast that morning at 7 was fried jacks, papaya, cookies and ham. After our delicious breakfast, we took a short walk over to the school to continue to work on our swing set service project. We rotated shifts on painting the corn hole games, creating a play for the kids, and the extremely exciting and invigorating job of mixing and filling concrete. The kiddos were overjoyed to see us for a second time and had tons of fun playing soccer and tag. By the end of the work time, we had the holes filled with cement and posts up. We will be finishing the worksite tomorrow by setting up the swings! Exciting! By 12 we left (aww) for some delightful lunch of bean empanadas, meat and veggie pizza and scrumptious fruit of watermelon and pineapple. We had some down time after lunch where we played card games and some soccer with local kiddos. After that we went on a thrilling tour through the cacao forests. We learned how the varieties of plants and animals in the forest helped the cacao thrive. Then we tasted some juicy cacao beans which had a white coating that tasted like yogurt. At the maya center museum, the glorious curator, Julio, who showed us how to make chocolate bars. To tie off that portion of the afternoon, the group bought a family size helping of chocolate. In the next five minutes, the chocolate melted. Again that afternoon everyone had some down time followed by trips out to dinner at our home stay families. The food was spectacular as usual and the conversations thrived. In the evening, we had a spontaneous discussion of our fecal matter to make sure everyone was feeling okay. What an experience! Finally, Ms. Schultheis taught us how to see spiders in the dark with our noses and a flashlight. Lets just say everyone was shocked how many spiders lingered in the grass. We tried not to think about it and not to worry, we'll teach you at home. Okay, you can relax now after your mind has just been blown by our blogging finesse! We hope to have a good day tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and the one after that, and the one when we go home. Love you guys, see you soon!
  - Abby and Charlie (The greatest leaders of the day yet!)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Day 2: Mayan Museum

Day 2
Hi guys!
Day two of our trip is now complete! We started off the day with a refreshing wake up call at 6:45! Luckily, there was no tarantulas found this morning, but unfortunately there was a scorpion. The breakfast was delicious, as all meals have been, and it was some fruits, biscuits, meats, and eggs. Then, we walked down the street to the Maya Center school for our first day of work on our service project. We are part of a larger effort to build a better playground, so a seesaw has already been built, which the kids love. We will be contributing a swing set to their playground, which we hope they will love equally as much. We got off to a slow start in the intense heat because the lumber was delayed getting to the work site, so we occupied ourselves with several games of mafia and murderer. As some people got busy digging three holes in the ground for the structures to be placed, the wood arrived and the work start picking up. The diggers switched off and everyone got a chance to dig. Before we knew it, the children who were busy taking exams, came out for break. They were extremely cute, happy, and excited for company. We played with them on the seesaws and had a game if duck duck goose which they were very enthusiastic about. When it was time for them to go back to their classes, we went back to work. We finished the three holes and sanded some of the wooden beams for the structure. When we were done with that for the day, we went back to Nuuk Cheil lodge, which is the complex where we're staying. There we were served a delicious lunch buffet, followed by an hour of down time. Then we walked down the street again to the Maya Center Museum. There, we learned about the tools used in a traditional Mayan house and we made corn tortillas. Then we came back to the complex for some downtime before going to the first host family dinner. More on that later!
Lexie & Jackson

Jackson & Lexie

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Day 1: Xunantunich and Maya Center Arrival

 Day 1
Today we visited the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich and then we arrived at the village of Maya Center where we will be doing our service project.

We started the day with a delicious breakfast of eggs with peppers, bacon, fresh fruit, beans, raisin bread and homemade freshly squeezed Tamarind juice. We checked out of the Tropical Education Center and arrived at Xunantunich after an hours drive. To get to the ruins we crossed a river on a hand cranked ferry. We were given a tour of the ruins by Peter, and we learned about the history of the Maya and the ruins. We got to climb up two of the buildings where we saw some amazing views of Belize and of Guatemala, because we were very close to the border. We saw first hand the damage caused by erosion and we also saw a Mayan frieze. After visiting the ruins we went souvenir shopping. We bought some beautiful bags, bracelets, headbands and carvings.

Eventually we hopped on the bus for a short ride to lunch where some of us got chicken burritos, hamburgers and fries or barbecue chicken. No matter what we ordered it was all tasty and flavorful. Afterwards we hopped on the bus for four hours to Maya Center, some of us talking, spacing out or spreading out across seats to sleep. Well rested we found ourselves at Maya Center, got settled and made our rooms feel like home. We met Ernesto and Aurora who talked about staying aware of our surroundings and had an amazing dinner of beans, rice, chicken, juice, homemade rolls, rice pudding, coleslaw and birthday cake. We finished the night full, tired and looking forward to tomorrow's work.


P.S. Happy Birthday to Simone and to Erica's mom!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

We are here!!!!

Group in Belize

Hello families and friends of BBN! The group has safely arrived in Belize. They will start updating the blog tomorrow. Call with any questions -303.679.3412

Erin Lasky.