Belize Eco-Kids: Camp is in Full Swing!
The Eco-Kids were up to much fun, and even though camp is over we can still look back in fond nostalgia... it's not too early for that right?
Tuesday - Ancient Maya
We started early today, while the sun was rubbing its eyes and the bids were stretching. By the time the sun was truly up and about, so were we, and we started off with camp songs before a great breakfast of eggs, bacon, and fruit. Then, after cleaning up the plates, we had a quick fun game of John Wayne - a Dodgeball-esque game – and then moved onto Arts and Crafts.
Today, we made pencil/toothbrush holders out of toilet paper rolls, cutting and folding them until we had long oblong tubes perfectly sized for pens – then, we colored and drew on them until we had loads of cool figures – for example, the Lego Batman or weird, eye-opening geometric shapes.
Afterward, I went out and we hid loads of farm animal toys in the trail on the way to the Maya hike – on the way to the ruins, the campers had to find them with their newly learned bird-watching skill. They did amazingly good, actually, even if they missed the one in the scorpion nest.
After the long tiring hike, we had a quick break on top of the hill where the ruins were and learned about the Ancient Maya culture while we looked over miles and miles of land in the distance – the hill was tall and clear of tall trees or other obstacles, and we could see huge of land.
Once the Maya facts were swimming in front of their eyes, we took pity on them and took them down to Chaa Creek’s Conference Center, where they learnt even more! But this time it was in the shade in nice comfortable chairs, so it wasn’t too bad, and it went surprisingly well despite the gigantic hike we’d just taken. They were all full of energy and, amazingly, full of questions too.
Then – lunch! It was really good, mashed potatoes with steak and salad, but, let’s be honest, who cares about salad? There was steak – really good meat, too, full of spices and blood.
After lunch, half of us went to the pool, and the rest went horseback riding. It was great. The horses were really well trained and even our worst horse-phobic camper managed to get on and got off smiling. It was a long quiet ride through the jungle, but afterwards, the few campers who could really ride broke free and went full gallop. There was only one word to describe it – glorious.
When we came back to camp, the swimming group was already back and amazingly, the boys decided to have a kickball tournament, and after a while, the girls joined in. It was incredibly unfair – we literally had to kick the ball eighty degrees and that was an automatic home run. But everyone had a great time, and when they finally wiped themselves out it was late in the evening and time for dinner.
Dinner was really good, but the campfire afterwards managed to match it. We had long dumb stories, funny jokes, and even Honey If You Love Me, which of course had everyone crying with laughter, because, well, it was Honey If You Love Me.
And then, of course – it was time to sleep.
But who cares? They stayed up late telling stories in soft voices that floated across the night, and the murmurs were like tiny wisps of quiet happiness.
Wednesday - Traditional Healing
Nobody wanted to get out of bed today, but when we finally flipped them off the beds and onto the cold hard floor, I think they were secretly glad, despite the many shouts.
After breakfast, which was bacon – bacon, let me just repeat that, so you know that I’m talking about real, proper, holy bacon – we went straight to making beanbags, which went surprisingly well, considering half of us can’t sew a square inch of cloth. Still, we were done in record time and everyone had their own personal bean bag by the end of the hour, each in their own team color with their names on them.
When we had finished the bean bags, we had Mr. Brion Young, one of Chaa Creek’s managers, come over and teach us about medicinal plants. He even had some teas and solutions, which was painfully ironic because later that day I got a really bad earache. I poured some hot oregano drops in and it’s doing amazingly well. I don’t want to get a scalpel and shove it in my head anymore, anyway.
Afterward, we went on a nature walk to the lodge, taking it slow and learning about all the different plants and trees on the way – their uses, their characteristics, and which you should avoid.
We had a special treat for lunch today – Miss Deb’s food truck made an appearance, and we all feasted on beef/chicken/bacon – bacon /corndogs. The food was all incredibly good, and the campers were all over the place, just sprawled out eating in the grass as the horses neighed in the distance. It was incredibly picturesque.
After eating our fill, we went to the pool.
The pool. Ah, what can I say? It was an… experience.
Well, first of all, we started chasing around our head counselor, Levi, but some of the campers took offense to the fact we were chasing – ah – Mr. Sharky. Yeah. And I’m not kidding either – if anyone needs some child soldiers, these kids are for you. They literally dragged me off him and beat me to a bloody pulp. I will never, ever recover. The earache from all the waterboarding wasn’t the worst of it, either – I can barely hold up my head. Those kids are heavy, and having five kids simultaneously choking you and shouting, “Let go of Mr. Sharky!” didn’t help.
So, I mean, they had fun. The councilors? We’re just happy to be alive.
And, as far as I’m concerned, there was no afterwards. I’m completely serious – I spent the rest of the day in a weird daze, drifting through the song rehearsals and Mayaball tournaments. I’m still in a different dimension right now. I can honestly say I have never been knocked around that badly.
But! You want details, so I shall oblige. As far as I can tell, the separate groups went off and came up with songs that they want to sing for our song competition. Then they had some Mayaball, and Dodgeball, and after dinner – which I did have, because it was really well done – fry chicken and rice, and some chocolate cake that was chocolatey.
Then we sang, played some of this and some of that, and fell asleep the minute we hit the bed.
Thursday - Land Conservation
I woke up like a zombie today, but somehow the campers managed to jump start me. Probably by threatening me with pushups.
So, yeah, we woke up really, really early this morning. Too early, in my opinion, but the campers were buzzing with energy, so hey. We started the morning off with songs and then one of our campers proved his prophetic powers by asking for pancakes straight off.
And, yes, pancakes were for breakfast. Just…yeah.
They were good, too, and afterward, we went straight into playing Dodgeball. Surprisingly – disappointingly – there were no noteworthy headshots, but it was still pretty cool, and once the Howlers had thoroughly smashed the rest of Chaa Creek, we went inside and made wallets from milk cartons, and they actually came out looking pretty good.
After the milk-carton-wallets, we went straight on a hike to find the bus that would take us to Chaa Creek’s farm. We met Mr. Mick there, the co-founder of Chaa Creek, and he was great, showing us all over the place and taking us through his farm talking about, well, everything – the plants, Chaa Creek, its history – and all the kids seemed pretty happy. Mind you, the big fluffy dog probably helped. When don’t they?
Straight after the farm, we went to lunch, and a lunch it was. Chicken, rice, and salad doesn’t sound incredible, but you have to remember its Chaa Creek rice, chicken, and salad. It was great, and the pudding just sealed the deal.
Then, we went our separate ways. Half of us went swimming and the next half went horseback riding. I took the latter, and it was great, even if my poor horse got a weird cough halfway through a full sprint and nearly sent me airborne. I was flying for half a second, and I can tell you – it’s not all it hyped up to be.
We walked back to camp, and when we reached everyone went straight to song rehearsal. I don’t know how it happened, but apparently, I’m writing the Howlers’ lyrics, and we don’t even have a soundtrack yet. Oh, and, you know, BTW – its tomorrow night.
After that, we had our bean bag throwing competition, and the best way to put it is there are going to be a lot of beans growing there soon. Sorry, but my stitching can’t handle a full fastball into a wooden plank (yeah, yeah, I missed).
Then we had dinner – stewed beef with rice and salad, followed by chocolate cake, which was just a predecessor to our main even of camp, which, I’m afraid, is a secret, and would cost more than my life if I divulged it. Let’s just say there was lots of screaming, quite a bit of running and so, so, so much laughter.
We finished the night off with some Wink Assassin and a cabin inspection that ended up very badly for me and the girls – I mean, the girls looked like magpies, hoarding shiny sweet wrappers under their beds, and our cabin looked like my bedroom, so, yeah. Use your imagination.
But, hey, hopefully, all my push-ups will be forgotten by tomorrow, and I can sleep like a deeply sleeping something tonight.
Tune in for a recap of our last days!