Geographers in Belize

A year on, and RGS students were back in Belize this autumn. We have developed friendships in a number of locations from the rainforest to Mayan villages to a Mennonite farming community and to the coral cayes.

In a half term packed with a wealth of opportunities, we contributed to our school’s focus on sustainability, making a difference to various projects in this small and friendly Central American country. We have paid for the installation of solar lighting at Hillbank Field Station and for a harness that will enable rangers to climb trees to check on the nest sites of endangered yellow-headed parrots. We gained an insight into the life of immigrant farmers by weeding a plot for a farmer we have come to know over the years. At one stage we morphed into a sports tour, taking on community football teams in an ad hoc fashion. We especially enjoyed our interaction with local school children, painting a pre-school building and delivering educational supplies to our adopted school, Our Lady of Sorrows. On Spanish Lookout Caye we snorkelled amongst hawksbill turtles, rays, nurse sharks and vast shoals of fish in a marine national park, protected by strict conservation policies and marvelled at the privilege of spending time with rare manatees.

It is testament to the positive attitude of our Belizean hosts that our diverse programme of activities was delivered whilst the country struggled with the worst flooding in living memory. As a small thank you we shall be raising funds to commission the crafting of a class set of desks and chairs to be made by Mennonite carpenters from mahogany confiscated from rogue loggers.

This year we had the added bonus of a day spent in New York City on our way home. Our stop coincided with Trick-or-Treat which saw a high percentage of New Yorkers dressed in various costumes as they went about their daily routines. A number of students enjoyed a Fifth Avenue concert by Pink, and of course election fever added to the electricity of this dynamic city.

Click here to see the photo gallery