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The Office of Social Justice Service-immersion Experience

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....Click here to read more.

Mount Student group in Belize with Mount flag

The Mount's adventure to Belize was one that involved much traveling. It all started in lower McGowan. As everyone one was arriving we all greeted each other with anticipation for our adventure. Our first trip was to Dulles, where there were very sleepy people on a 2-hour car ride to the Airport. Once we made it to Dulles, we had to go through security, and then got on the plane to Miami. For most of the group, this plane ride was one of many in their previous travels; for one, it was a first-time experience ... I am that one!

My first plane ride, for me, was exciting, and everyone was very supportive. It was a new experience that will lead to many more trips. Once we got off the plane, our excitement reached a much higher level; we were so close to Belize!

The plane from Miami to Belize took a little over an hour, and everyone was pumped. The nice warm weather welcomed us with palm trees surrounding the airport. Then, Jeff picked up our rental van and we were off to the Cockscomb Wildlife Basin, where we would be spending our first part of the trip....Click here to read more.

Our last day in Belize was lived in true Belizean fashion of not worrying about plans and calmly reacting to last minute changes. Because of the tropical storm in the area we couldn't go snorkeling as planned, nor could we stay at Pelican's Pouch. When Jeff told us this we were all disappointed, but he said we could probably take a tour of Marie Sharp's Hot Sauce factory and maybe snorkel for half the day if the weather got better.

We woke not sure of what we were doing, but ready to roll. As we said goodbye to Hopkins the hope of snorkeling began to fade as the clouds ahead of us grew darker.

low sun in the sky

We pulled into the Marie Sharp's factory ready for our tour. We were given highly fashionable hairnets that we wore for the whole ten minute tour that consisted of one big room where the vats and empty bottles were kept and filled, and the warehouse where the packed boxed anxiously waited to be shipped around the world. We learned that in this modest factory 12 different hot sauces are made by the same workers who also produce jams, corn chips, and pork rinds. After a quick visit to the gift store and taste testing many of the jams and hot sauces, we set out for Pelican Beach Resort....Click here to read more.

Today is the tenth day in Belize; we only have one more day in Belize until we head home. Wake up was at 8 a.m. but some of us felt like over-achievers and woke up at 4 a.m. to watch the sun rise which ended up being at 6 a.m.! After a well-balanced breakfast of Fruiti Rolls (similar to Fruit Loops), we attended a Catholic mass at 9 a.m. We were all pleased when the lay minister welcomed us travelers to the church.

After a short walk back to Seagull's Nest, we used the rest of the day to shop and relax on the Caribbean beach! We spent about two hours walking around Hopkins and stopping by some cool arts and crafts, wood carving and souvenir shops. Of course I bought more than needed! All that shopping made us girls pretty hungry so we stopped at Innies, a recommended restaurant, for lunch. We kept it simple and ordered burgers, fish burgers, fish and chips, and chicken burritos (vegetarian for Ali); don't worry Marie Sharpes, hot sauce was included! Even though it was raining during our lunch the sun came out long enough for us to get back to Seagull's Nest, change into our bathing suits and jump in the Caribbean. Which is how we spent the rest our day.

We eventually headed out to dinner at Love on the Rocks! Which is basically…AMAZING! The food is served on 700 degree stones and you cook it yourself. There were no burns, thank God! During the dinner there was a storm going on and it caused the power to go out but luckily they had flashlights and small battery operated candles on the table. The darkness definitely heightened our taste buds while we ate salad and soup.

Food on the stone

(Mom and Dad, even though you probably will not see this until we get home and show you how to figure out the computer, I would like you to know I have still not been sunburned yet!)

Marilyn Brohawn '13

Today began our ninth day in Belize, I can't believe we only have 3 more days here! We woke up for breakfast at 6:30, what a treat! No really waking up at 6:30 felt like sleeping in compared to the last 4 days of waking up before the sun. Feeling rejuvenated we sat down for our last breakfast at the Nazareth Retreat Center and said our thanks and good-byes to Sister Josephina. We packed the van once again with our large over stuffed packs and headed out to Punta Gorda for the last time for market day. The streets were covered with tables over flowing with fruits, vegies, and trinkets. After some last minute shopping for family and friends we headed back into the van and off to Lubantuun, a Mayan ruin site!

Mayan Ruins...Click here to read more.

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