May 22, 2011
(First off, hi mom!)
Yesterday, was the mark of the first week completed here in Belize. In the morning, we went back to Tumil K’in to complete the final day of our service learning project. School didn’t start until 10:30 so at first when we got there we were just hanging out for a bit playing games and taking naps. It was the first time I ever played ‘Apples to Apples’ – what a fantastic game! Once school finally started, we went back to teach math in the First Form – the same class that we worked with the day before. We gave them a quick 5 question quiz on the Algebra that we taught them the day before (combining like terms). Many of the students passed the quiz (apparently more than usual so it was good to know that our teaching helped out). Afterwards we helped review the concepts, and then had lunch with the students.
At around 12:30, we left for Blue Creek, the little river just a few minutes away from the school. This is when the real fun began. We were going to go cave swimming, through the Hokeb Ha Cave. Given that a few days earlier when we went through the Yok Bolum cave was the first time I had been in a cave, it is a fair assumption that I had never been swimming through a cave before. We took a 20 minute hike up to the mouth of the cave and it was then that I realized how ridiculous today was going to be. The entrance to the cave seemed like something that you would see in a movie, or a picture, definitely not something I thought I would be seeing. To be safe, I had left my camera in the car so that no one would steal it while in the water, but I definitely never missed my camera more. Thankfully some of the other girls had their cameras and we all know I will be stealing their pictures. And to top it off, Alice (B.) has an underwater camera so we got pictures while swimming!
Because I’m not a good swimmer, I had my handy dandy floaty/life vest with me and along with the others in my group and our guide, we started swimming through the cave. It was such a relief to get into the water, we had spent the first week of the trip sweating bullets out in the heat and this was the first time really that we were in the water. At first when we got into the cave, there was still light, coming in from the entrance. But a few minutes in, it was all dark – the only light we had was coming from the headlamps we had on our helmets. We used all the possible light we could get to look around at the cave that was thousands of years old standing around us.
We swam (floated) for about 30-40 minutes before arriving at the end of the cave, where there was a relatively large waterfall. Because we were the first group, we got to just hang out at the waterfall until the other group caught up to us. After a week of hard work, sweaty bodies, and humidity like no other, there was nothing more relaxing than being under that waterfall. It was also one of the best massages anyone can ask for, standing right under the water.
The other group got its chance to experience the waterfall, and then we started the swim back to the entrance. After we got back to the mouth of the cave, our guide took a few of us to a side pool off to the side, where the water was so warm it could have been like a hot tub. After taking in all the relaxation, we finally got out of the water (unwillingly) and then began the hike back down to the cars. I can speak for most – if not all of the other Belize-ers that this was definitely one of the coolest parts of our trip. For me, it is definitely in the top 5 coolest things I have personally ever done, it not the top. The rest of the trip definitely has a lot to live up to.
POSC & PSYC double major
photo by Erica Robles