We awoke early, when the morning was still cool and fresh and the sunlight had barely broken out from behind the trees. The campers crowded around the campfire and rubbed sleep out of their eyes as the Camp Director, Levi Baldwin, told us what we were doing for the morning.
Belize Eco Kids Summer Camp Day 2 – The Fun Begins!
Armed with backpacks filled with water and long pants tucked into thick boots, we walked for ten minutes to the end of the road, where a Chaa Creek vehicle picked us up. Bumping around, we were jostled to the real starting point of the camp birdwatching hike, where we met our two guides. They quickly proved themselves extremely knowledgeable and we almost immediately spotted a large yellow-breasted thrush. As we continued through the cool, dense jungle, we saw loads of birds and their nests, including a large swarm of spiraling vultures, woodpeckers, parrots and thrushes.
At the end of our hike, the brisk morning air had already evaporated and a hot tropical sun beat down at us. We quickly found refuge in a Chaa Creek truck which dropped us off back at camp, where we had an amazing breakfast of beans, eggs, warm flour tortillas and simply divine bacon.
When we were done, we were led to the Natural History Museum located at the top of the hill that the lodge surrounds. After much huffing and puffing, we finally made it to the summit, where we were shown the skulls of jungle creatures – including the skulls of a jaguar, wild pig and tapir. Then we were shown an ancient Mayan hut, complete with jade, obsidian, grinding stones and a vine hammock! We were also taken to a large exhibit of bugs, where we saw giant three-inch beetles and incredible iridescent blue flies.
Then there was the Butterfly House, filled with butterflies galore! Blue Morphos, Owl Butterflies… every Belizean wonder was accounted for, and they flew around the shelter together in an incredible curtain of shimmering blues, greens, browns and yellows!
Lunch was a filling hamburger, perfectly cooked and intricately prepared. With mounds of potato fries and mountains of crunchy green salad, there was more food than anybody could ever want – and yet every single plate was left scraped clean!
Then it was time for the swimming test! We headed down to the beautiful river, our hands full of life jackets. The junior and senior councilors were allowed to swim without them, but every single camper was forced into one and given a twenty-foot swim to complete with them. The ones who passed, and I’m happy to say that that would be 99% of the campers, will be allowed in the Chaa Creek swimming pool tomorrow!
Of course, the testing didn’t last long and the campers got bored of splashing around, so a cry went up and was quickly approved.
Four canoes were prepared, each led by two councilors. I was in one, and as the count of three-two-one I’m happy to say we blasted off! Our canoe cut through the water like a hot knife through butter. Unfortunately, because of someone, who was lounging around in the back trying to act like a gondolier, our canoe did a complete 180 and we plunged straight into the bushes at the side of the river. We got free, but it was too late – by then, every other team had already crossed the finish line. As punishment for last place, we were given twenty pushups each. Thankfully, by the time we’d cleaned up and put everything away, everybody had forgotten. Let’s hope it stays that way! (Shh, don’t tell anyone).
After the water activities, we came back to camp and played football/baseball – faseball? It’s exactly like baseball, but with a football that you kick instead of bat.
Exhausted but happy, we went and had dinner, which turned out to be the normal – absolutely fantastic! The mashed potatoes were perfectly creamy, the meat juicy and – well, meaty!
The we played games around the campfire, followed by a skit that had never been rehearsed and had been invented half an hour ago. It was total chaos, but the fun kind that leaves people with tears running down their faces from laughter!
Now, completely wiped out but glowing with happiness, the campers are heading off to bed. It’s been an exhausting day, but a very fun one and everybody is in a good mood. We’re full to the brim with good food, surrounded by friends, content with the knowledge that today we actually did something… it’s not a bad life.
And its only day two!