Belize Eco-Kids Summer Camp – Waste Management & Sustainability Day 6

The morning started off cold and fresh, and as the campers awoke they pulled on sweaters and made their way up to the campfire. After singing some camp songs to warm up, we had a delicious breakfast and moved straight to work – after picking up smooth round rocks and jagged square stones from the river, we cleaned them, dried them and then splattered them with paint and stuck googly eyes on them until they resembled something out of a Tim Burton movie! We cleaned the tables and laid the ‘interesting’ stones out in the clean sun to dry.

Belize Eco Kids learn about Waste Management & Sustainability

As the day warmed up, we grabbed our backpacks and hiked through the sweating jungle to the lodge, where we were taken to the Ixchel Conference room so that Ms. Lucy Fleming, one of the founders of Chaa Creek, could give us a presentation about one of the greatest growing industries in the world – tourism!

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The presentation was very good, accurate and to the point, and interesting too because the heads of all the different Departments came in and introduced themselves and explain their jobs, from the Front Desk Head to the Head of the Horse Department.

Afterward, we went to the Chaa Creek entrance by the horse stables and feasted on Ms. Deb’s food, from Ms. Deb’s Food Truck. The campers had three choices – corn dogs, beef burgers and chicken burgers. I chose the beef burger and it was really good – the French fries were heavenly – but everyone else had just as much pleasure in their choices. After we’d finished the food, we lay outside under a giant tree on the smooth, sweet-smelling grass, grinning contentedly as we talked.

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When we finally forced ourselves up, the junior councilors, including me, were dragged off to prepare for the splash party later! However, I heard later that the FCD presentation to the campers was very good. They heard all about the Chiqibul jungle and its caves, and the presenter was very knowledgeable, short and to the point.

Meanwhile, back at camp we started on the water balloons! In the time it took the campers to come back, we filled around a thousand apple-sized balloons and although our backs cramped and our fingers ached, at the end we were very satisfied (and dripping wet). We filled two shower cubicles to the brim with the multicolored bubbles and as the campers began to trickle in, we spread the silver tarps over the ground and drenched them in soap and water for minimum friction. The ground sloped, so we put a water slide on one of the higher ends.

Finally we were ready, and at first, the campers just had fun slipping and sliding over the smooth slimy tarp, but as the first water balloon came out – carried by yours truly – it turned into a full-out war. I tossed the first one up and it landed on someone’s shoulder.  As it splattered there was pure silence and every single person turned to look at me.

Then I was hit by a hurricane that literally blew me off my feet. All my balloons were ripped away and fired at the opposing groups – as a battle exploded above my tangled remains, I managed to crawl to safety and hide.

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Within minutes I was back with a vengeance, though. I grabbed as many balloons as I could fit in my hands and barreled back into World War Three, firing left, right and center and causing havoc. I  was eventually taken down by a flying tackle that propelled me fifty feet through the tornado of whirling limbs and flying water-bombs  and covered me in soapy suds, but  I jumped  straight back into the watery fray, as did  everyone else!

Eventually, we exhausted ourselves and we started on the games – obstacle courses over the tarp, water-tag, dodgeball… we all had great fun, and by the end not a single person didn’t look like they’d just crawled out of a (soapy) black lagoon!

It finally came to an end, though, and as we washed ourselves off and cleaned up the tarps, everyone was exhausted but very happy. We all had long hot showers and then went back to the campfire for more songs.

Dinner was a delicious plate of steaming spaghetti that was practically inhaled – then we once again crowded around the campfire for more skits, songs and jokes. Everyone was wiped out but jubilant, and as they finally drifted off to their cabins, the moon broke over the clouds, shiny and metallic as it washed over the campers, seemingly also both melancholy and happy. Only one night to go!

I have no tidbits for tonight – to be honest, I’m exhausted and my eyes are closing by themselves. Maybe stop being embarrassed and just have fun cause even if everyone around you looks at you like your mad, because only by letting go can you be truly free – truly wild, truly human, truly yourself?

No, how about this.

If you see a water balloon thrown at your head, and decide not to duck because it was thrown by a three-foot girl who looks like she couldn’t harm a microbe, DO NOT TRY TO HEAD-BUTT IT.

Seriously.



Tomorrow!

-Alex Atkinson

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