Caye Caulker, Belize (2)

 …Still in Caye Caulker, still “going slow”. After just one week here we are already dark brown, bright blonde, and severely bug bitten. We woke up to torrential downpour yesterday morning, which was alright with us because we’ve all had a bit too much sun lately and were already planning on a shade day. Megs and I went swimming in the rain– the Caribbean water was still as warm as a bath so it felt nice to dive in and swim laps against the current at the Split. We picked up some fresh papaya juice and hot coffee before retreating back to the room until the sun came out.

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We met two awesome Canadian chicks, (Brenley and Krystle,) at Fran’s Grill the other night  and shared some good conversation and a lot of laughs over dinner. The five of us decided to join forces for a little food crawl the next day to check out some of the restaurant recommendations we’d gathered from tourists and locals alike. We met up just before noon on Friday and walked to an inconspicuous house near the airport where we ate some of the best ceviche we’d ever tasted. It came out in a goblet, which was more than enough to feed all five of us for only $9 US! From there we checked out Syd’s, which is said to have unparalleled fried chicken, and then came back to the room for a little afternoon R&R.

Brenley is a musician and mentioned that she might be playing with a friend at the Barrier Reef Sports Bar around 4PM so we decided to swing by after we’d digested our afternoon feast. We walked into a lively scene and sure enough, Brenley and Danny took over the stage for an extraordinary jam session. After a few songs, other people started getting involved, claiming whatever instruments were momentarily unused, or simply dancing and singing along. Much to our surprise, Kyle got up there and laid down the beat on the drums– we were so impressed and felt like proud parents watching him on stage!

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Danny, like Brenley, is an exceptional musician from Canada. When recording an album in Belize with the Garifuna tribe, he got involved in fundraising for the local non-profit community high school here in Caye Caulker. Up until 2008, this island didn’t have a high school. Few children were able to go to Belize City to pursue their education, but the vast majority stopped attending school around age 12. Thanks to some passionate and hardworking individuals, (like Heidi and Haywood Curry who we were fortunate enough to get to know over dinner at Sandro’s,) the Ocean Academy was founded and continues to provide educational opportunities to Caye Caulker’s youth.

Heidi mentioned that they were getting together with some students in the morning to fix up the school– paint the classroom, repair desks and chairs, etc. and seemed thrilled when we offered to come along and help out. We met for breakfast and from there headed over to Ocean Academy to get busy! It was an amazing opportunity to get to know some of the students and witness firsthand the love and dedication that goes into keeping the program alive.

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These students truly are exceptional– listening to the stories of their personal achievements and understanding how education influences their futures, it is clear to us just how important Ocean Academy is… Please, if you can, make a donation of any size to the school and know that by doing so, you are making a big difference in both individual students’ successes as well as the Caye Caulker culture as a whole.

We are physically exhausted and covered in paint but emotionally elated and in love with this island. It is with heavy hearts that we will be leaving tomorrow, but it’s time for us to move onto our next adventure and see what northern Belize has in store!.

Posted on by Erica Duncan in Belize

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