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Saying Goodbye

August 3, 2017

Our morning started early. Many of us gathered to watch the sun rise. Small rays passed by below, pelicans soared above, and the sounds of nature were evident all around. After an early breakfast, we had to say goodbye to the staff of this tropical paradise. We boarded the boat and headed to the mainland. Along the way, the captain made a slight detour so that we would have the opportunity to see brown boobies on a small island. We approached the island and were amazed to see the number of birds enjoying the mangroves. Baby brown boobies were visible, and to our surprise we found out that they are white when they are babies We continued to the mainland, met our bus driver, Bruce, so that we could begin our drive north towards Belmopan and then to the airport. The beauty of this area captivated us again, just as it had done at the beginning of our trip. We made our way along the Hummingbird Highway, past the sleeping giant, and through the rolling landscape of Belize. A low altitude rainbow caught our attention, along with several toucans, that gently glided over ahead. During our short stop in Belmopan, we had to say goodbye to Noelle, one of our Belizean educators. As a native Belizean, she shared with us how much she had enjoyed learning and traveling with us. The bus continued onward towards the airport. A few miles out of the airport, we made a final stop at a grocery store so that we could purchase native favorite pepper sauce, Marie Sharpes, Belizean coffee, tropical fruit jam and spices that would allow us to cook some of the wonderful Belizean dishes we had enjoyed during our visit. Melanie, our second Belizean educator, said goodbye to our group.
As we ventured the final few miles to the airport, we all realized that this was truly a remarkable place. Sad to say goodbye to our incredible guide, Nathan, and our driver, Bruce, we preferred to say “see you later” instead of goodbye. Nathan had made our learning experience one that we will never forget. Many of us want to return to Belize, probably sooner than later. We learned so much about the diversity of this tropical place. Our experiences in Belize have changed many of us as educators. We recognize the delicate balances in place in nature, the need for awareness of environment, conservation, and the need to educate all generations, not just the younger generation. We are incredibly grateful to our group leaders, Liz and Jason, who have helped us enjoy the beauty of Belize, helped us navigate through the varied environments, and educated us for the duration of this opportunity. The group has thoroughly enjoyed the Tropical Ecology Institute and take pride in being lifelong learners and Educators of Excellence.

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