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You Better Belize It!

19 September 2010 One Comment

My husband John and I, with our two children, Jenny, age 12 at the time, and Todd, age 15, visited Belize in July 1991.  I had chosen the former British Honduras for a research project to enhance my teaching style and resources as an elementary teacher in Chesterfield County, Virginia.  And what a success it was!  We stayed at Chaa Creek, experiencing first-hand the rich natural environment, varied cultural legacies, and learning further about Mayan history.  From Chaa Creek we toured Tikal, Mountain Pine Ridge, and met the Garcia Sisters.  A favorite memory is our first night at Chaa Creek.  Our daughter, Jenny,  met Mic and Lucy’s daughter, Bryony.  Before we knew it they asked permission for Jenny to sleepover at the Fleming home.  I’ll always remember watching our little girl walk across the field in the fading light on our first night in a mountain jungle environment.  But that was the beginning of hers and our love for the remarkable Belize.

Next we visited the elementary school in San Ignacio and I made contact with Consuelo Waight, a teacher from Santa Elena.  The following summer Consuelo attended a seminar in North Carolina on wetlands ecology.  She visited with us for nearly a month as we exchanged teaching experiences and visited local sites in Richmond, Virginia and the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

After Chaa Creek we traveled to South Water Caye.  Snorkeling over the second longest barrier reef in the world solidified us as ambassadors for Belize.  Jenny and I watched our first seahorse swimming among the coral off the southern shore of this Caye.  Todd made fast friends with Polly the parrot, now a resident of the Belize Zoo.  John fulfilled his dream of catching a permit. The trip to Belize became the grandest travel memory for the Boykin family.

In November 2008 Jenny and her husband, Parker Roe, visited Chaa Creek retracing her 1991 experiences and adding to them to an extraordinary degree.   Parker fell in love with Belize too.  They tell of their adventures with nothing but superlatives.  In fact Jenny and Parker are hoping to renew their wedding vows at Xunantunich for their fifth anniversary on Nov. 4, 2011.  Who could have known how far the ripples of our ’91 trip to Belize would have traveled over nearly 20 years?

They returned in June this year and became members of  the Belize Zoo and are sponsoring a family of eight Belizean children to pay for a year’s school tuition.   It is my pleasure to think that our first trip to Belize was such an inspiration to our daughter and her husband.

John and I are in our mid 60’s and nothing would give us greater pleasure (except of course grandchildren J) than to visit Belize once again.  We would love to travel concurrently with Jenny and Parker without tagging along or cramping their style!

Please accept this entry for the 2010 Rainforest and Reef Vacation Sweepstakes.


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  • Consuelo Waight said:

    Great Story, Rita :)

    At that time I was teaching Pierce (Mic and Lucy’s son). I can still remember the excitement in the classroom when the penpal package arrived from Chesterfield, Virginia. My kids (students) would totally engage in the letters that your students would send –and could not wait to start writing their responses.

    If I remember well Lucy connected us.

    Drop me an email sometime, I am now an Associate Professor of Human Resource Development at the University of Houston (cwaight@uh.edu)

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