Day 3: Learning About The Ancient Maya
Wow, can you believe it’s already been 3 days? I’m not sure how time feels like back at home but here at camp its going super-fast! We’ve been having so much fun that most of the kids were shocked when they realized it’s already day 3. Never the less, let’s get back to today’s adventure.
Starting off with our regular bright and early morning muster, everyone rushed to the camp fire at the sound of Levi ringing the camp bell. After building up our appetite with camp songs, Johnny cakes with eggs and tomato salsa were on the menu. With the tables now cleared and tummies stuffed, we got our daily arts and craft session under way. Each camper creating their very own Pencil case/toothbrush holder out of recycled materials.
With our daily recycling now completed, we began our hike up to Chaa Creeks Archeological site. After a quick hike…well maybe not so quick. Okay! Okay! After a loooong hike, we finally arrived on top of TunChilen, the local Maya site. You probably knew that we have around 350,000 people living in Belize right now, but I bet you didn’t know that we had over 1 million Mayans living here around 1200 BC. Yup! We didn’t know either but you bet we do now!
After a snack break, in the middle of an ancient Mayan settlement, we trekked down to the lodge to learn about Cocoa. Again, you probably knew that the Mayans loved eating Cocoa, trading Cocoa and even cultivating it. However, I bet you didn’t know that the first chocolate bar that was created in Belize is as recent as 2005 down in Punta Gorda. We learnt this and a lot more through an educational chocolate presentation done by the Ajaw Chocolate company. With the delicious smell of chocolate in the air, all eyes were focused on the center table as the presenters demonstrated how the chocolate was grinded by hand to form its mushy texture. Ending the presentation by passing out chocolate samples to everyone, we thanked the presenters with a loud Eco Kids Thank you!
Knowing we had horseback riding coming up soon, we devoured our delectable local Belizean rice and beans and headed off to the stables. With the chatter of eager children ever growing as we got into view range of the horses, it was clear that not a single camper would turn down a ride. One could easily mistake them as professional and experienced horseback riders while on the jungle trails, dodging branches, galloping down hills and each properly directing their own horses.
Once arriving back at camp, we broke off into free time. Yes, although we tend to follow a strict schedule of activities throughout the day, we also know that a personal break is needed for both kids and counselors to relax and just enjoy being in nature. With a few games of kick ball and football being played, the sidelines were packed with energetic screams cheering on their favorite teams while the smell of BBQ cooking on the grill engulfed the camp. We even played the Pok-a-Tok (The famous ancient Maya ball game), but of course, you’d be happy to know that we did not sacrifice the losing team haha.
After dinner, we all surrounded the camp fire, with smiles equally as bright as the flames. With BBQ chicken now in our bellies, we prepared our camp stage with make shift water bottle lights, plastic pallets and a center chair. Silly stand up jokes soon turned into dance competitions as campers, now fully into the camping spirit, lined up to show off their dance moves as the crowd roared once more for their favorites. Ending with a short skit by the counselors, the kids were off to get ready for bed.
Soon after it was light out. With the kids now in bed, we had surprise cabin inspections to make sure the cabins and its surroundings are kept clean, this is Eco Camp after all. With a few being busted red handed, and a few promising to be cleaner, we called it a night.
Stay tuned for day 4 as we explore traditional healing, hike down the Chaa Creek Medicinal trail, and start our talent show preparations. Talk to you soon!