Day 3: Learning About The Ancient Maya
Another day, another happy camper at the 2019 Belize Eco Kids Camp. Day three turned out to be another incredibly successful day.
Early rising for most of the kids, around 6:30 a.m. movement at the camp grounds was loud and alive. Running around from the cabins to the outpost, while others brushed their teeth. Like the previous day, Mother Nature blessed us with good weather. The sun was bright and shining as the orchestra of birds harmonized in celebration of life.
The Morning Muster went smooth as everyone gathered around with their song books. Mr Levi lead in the singing, then explained what the day would encompass. The activities for the day were on learning about the Ancient Maya.
Around 7:30 a.m. the troopers gathered at the dining hall to have a typical Belizean breakfast that consisted of fry eggs and sausage with journey cakes.
When everyone had finished and cleaned their tables, they took a break before playing some games outside. The games they played included the famous John Wayne and Dodge Ball.
With high energies the kids walked into the dining hall for the daily arts and crafts session. This time they worked on making tooth brush holders from recycled cardboard rollers. There was a great variety of beautiful designs and colors which resulted from their creative genius.
At around 9:00 a.m. it was time to begin the days’ grand adventure. This adventure was a walk to Chaa Creek’s maya site, one of the seven located on the reserve. The site is located three miles away from camp. The tour guide for this adventure was Chaa Creek’s specialist in the Ancient Maya, Mr Miguel Choco.
First the campers traversed a trail where they searched for action figures hidden by the councilors. The team with the most action figures collected took home the prize. In a highly contested search, the result was a tie between the Holwer Monkeys and Tapirs.
Exiting the trail the kids refilled their water bottles and commenced their trek on another trail with the final destination Tunchilen Maya Site. The trek up was not an easy one. The trail was rugged and steep, snaking its way to the top. On top of Tunchilen, Mr Miguel was delighted to share his wealth of knowledge with the eco kids as they were eager to learn about the Ancient Maya history.
Following Mr Miguel’s indept explanation about Tunchilen and how it related to the other Maya sites like Xunantunich, the campers took a break to eat their snacks. As they munched away on their chips and biscuits, out in the horizon Xunantunich was visible as it peered out from the green dense of the jungle.
With many notes taken from the Maya site, it was time to move on to the next activity. The little troopers formed a single line and carefully marched down the mound like army of ants with their bright yellow shirts. Down below, the Chaa Creek bus was waiting to take them to the lodge for a lesson in chocolate making with Mr Adrian Choco from Ajaw Chocolate.
At the Ajaw Chocolate setup under Chaa Creek’s pavilion Mr Adrian had cocoa seeds, a stone grinder and many calabash dishes. He explained the history of chocolate and the significance to the Maya. Each kid was given a dry seed of cocoa to chew, surprisingly they discovered that the cocoa had bitter taste. Not like the sweet buttery chocolate they had in mind. There after the lady helping Mr Adrian ground some of the seeds with the stone grinder, allowing each camper to take turns at the stone.
Finally the activity ended as Mr Adrian explained to them the process to make the chocolate drink and chocolate bars, with each camper drinking from the calabash dish and eating their bar of chocolate. By far, it ended being one of the best experiences for many of the kids. So much that they asked for another round of the drink.
Lunch time came around and the campers walked down to the restaurant at the lodge. The day’s special was the Belizean delicacy, rice and beans chicken and salad and everyone enjoyed with zero complaints. Then some good ole chocolate cake was served for dessert.
After everyone had lunch, around 1:30 p.m. the eco kids were divided into two groups. One group went for some splashing fun at the pool, while the other went to the stables for some horse riding on the trails. The horse riding was a first for many of the kids. At first some felt intimidated but soon got comfortable when they realized that the horses, apart from their beautiful colors, were friendly and tame. The remainder of the afternoon was all about fun and adventure for the campers.
At around 3:30 p.m. all the kids had gathered at the camp grounds. It was time for more fun as everyone gathered to play games such as kick ball, John Wayne, and a version of the Maya game Pok Ta Pok. As you can imagine, lots of laughter, running, shouting, and competitiveness.
When all the evening games were over, the gang took turns taking showers before supper. At supper the troopers were greeted with a well done piece of chicken barbecue, courtesy of Mr Tio from the camp’s kitchen.
The day finished off with everyone gathered around the camp fire for some classic camp games and singing of songs. The fire in the middle kept glowing orange with shadowy faces and silhouettes until it was time to get ready for bed.
All the campers took turns to brush their teeth before walking back to their respective cabins to rest after a wonderful day of adventures.
One by one the lamps went off inside the cabins as each person fell asleep.
More photos of day 3:
Photos courtesy of Nadir Price Photography