students swimming at base of waterfallThis trip has been beyond amazing so far, and it's only the second day!

Today was an all body and mind experience, which I personally feel, has brought our team closer together. We hiked in the Cockscomb Jaguar reserve in hopes of seeing a Jaguar, but sadly we did not. We hiked up to Ben's Bluff, an overlook of a section of the reserve that was 1290 ft. high.

This hike was a literal uphill battle for everyone for the heat, the humidity, the all-upward climb, the lack of jaguars, etc. was daunting. However, everyone was encouraging to one another saying "You can do it!" and "You're doing a great job!" Some would stop to hold out a hand for support through tough areas. And others would laugh and tell jokes, which helped keep the mind off of the climb.

This trip is turning out to be more than service, culture, and immersion; it's a trip that is putting us with unknowns that not only challenge us individually, but also challenge us to overcome those unknowns as a team. Once we reached the top and looked at the amazingly beautiful view we all celebrated the victory that was won. Personally that view at Ben's Bluff has taught me about how small I really am in comparison to the rest of the world. I had realized the problems I may have and encounter at home are nothing; they are insignificant in comparison to all that is out there to experience.

After the hike back down we went to a waterfall and swam for a while, which was a wonderful reward for all of our hard work. The water was cooling and refreshing, bringing all of us back to life.

So to all who read this, I personally would like to challenge you to just take a breath in any obstacle you may take, for its not the end of the world, it's just a challenge to make you stronger; just as the hike we took today has made us stronger as a team.

Stephanie Bass, Class of 2014