The sun was breaking out over the golden clouds as the camp stirred to life, and as the camper rose and trudged up to the dining hall, clean white rays fell on our faces and warmed our skin. By the time everyone had gathered around the campfire, we were all wide awake and the campers sang along loudly. By the time breakfast came, we were all ravenous and the sausage-and-eggs filled us up nicely. Then we grabbed our bean bags – the ones we’d created the day before – and used them in a basket-ball-like game, where we threw them into hoops. The winners got extra snacks, and then we started on Arts and Crafts!
Maya Organic Farm session at the Belize Eco Kids Summer Camp 2016
Using recycled water bottles and zips, we made pencil holders for the campers’ pens and pencils, then gave them stickers and colored tape for decoration. By the end of the lesson, everyone had a stylized pencil holder and the campers were covered in tape and animal stickers.
Then we trekked to the end of the Chaa Creek Camp road and caught a bus to the natural Chaa creek gardens, where we were shown around by the owner of Chaa Creek himself, Mr. Mick Fleming. He gave us a brilliant tour that began with the compost piles, where he showed us how to make them, the desired conditions, the temperature, and the basic ingredients. Then he led us onto the actual gardens, where we saw lettuce, Chaya, cabbages, dragon fruit (pitaya), eggplant, passionfruit and bell pepper fruits, all planted in rich composted soil. Then Mr. Mick took us to the animal part of the plantation, where we saw lots of fat, happy cows, and glossy baaing sheep. We even managed to find a baby lamb that the girls smothered half-to-death – when it finally escaped its mum gave us all the death stare and walked it away with her tail held high.
When we got to the lodge for lunch, we had delicious quesadillas with French fries and ketchup. It was an amazing, filling meal, but we still managed to force down the incredible chocolate brownies that were served for dessert!
Then the next group went horseback riding – it was a beautiful sunny day and the stray rays of light broke through the trees wonderfully as we rode under the canopy. When we finally broke through the dense jungle and into the bright road, we cantered lightly until we reached the stables, where we dismounted and started the walk back to camp.
About half an hour later we reached it, and the different groups immediately settled into their separate groups and started on their songs, which they practiced faithfully for the next hour. By the time we called them back to the campfire, everybody was pretty satisfied with their songs and they immediately jumped into our new game, which incorporated the three R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle. All the campers had a fun time and when the game ended, they went and had a shower.
Dinner was an amazing blend of fry chicken, mashed potatoes, and salad. Once the plates had been cleaned up, the campers gathered around the campfire and played ‘Honey If You Love Me’ and ‘Wink Assassin’ until we were called in for a brilliant comedy play called The King’s Ring, which ended in tears of laughter and had the campers howling from start to finish!
They’ve drifted off to bed for now – the darkness is quiet but the jungle is just waking and the soft creak of bending branches and scraped dead leaves is filling the air. The stars are silent tonight, and the darkness is absolute, so thick you can feel it over your skin. This the wild, and the choice that lies in it – you can be scared by the unknown, impressed by the beauty of the jungle and all its possibilities…or you can just go to sleep and miss it all.
I think I’m going to go down to my cabin scared, sit in the hammock outside impressed and then fall asleep happily exhausted as the jungle creeps outside my thin mesh window.
Sound good to you?